My “Never Forget Garden” in Tribute to our Men of the Armed Forces

May is a great month for gardeners. Spring is in full force, and everything is blooming. Here in the South, it was such glorious days.

I have never seen my garden so beautiful. Last year was a bummer. Early in the season, my husband was so sick I had no time for gardening. After he passed on, I was so depressed and could not get going. So this season, I made up for what I lost last year, and it shows.

I packed the front bed with plants, just what I did in my garden in New York. I have orchestrated the planting so that I have color in the garden continuously. I usually forget to take photos of my garden, but this year I took some to plan where to put more spring bulbs for next season.

The season started with spring bulbs and violas. Pansy loves the cold weather. I tried tulips years ago, but they don’t do too well in the South, and the squirrels had a field day that only a few were left in the ground by springtime.

So I skipped planting tulips last fall. For next year, I’ll try tulip again. I ordered different red tulips for next year already. We’ll see if I can get the squirrels off my flower bed. But I planted Royal Navy hyacinth along the edge of the beds. I had pink hyacinth last year, but they were not as impressive as the blues. The Royal Navy hyacinth was fantastic the year before last, so I switched back to blue, and they did terrific again this year. I also have patches of daffodils this year, both in front and in the back of the house. I also had Siberian irises, showing their blue color.

After all the spring flowers faded, I let the leaves turned yellow and started trimming them. I have Kalmia (mountain laurel) I planted between my two Bow Bells roses. It was at the boundary of my property, but somehow, it was not doing well there, so I moved it to where it is now. It sent a gorgeous white flower this Spring. I am constantly moving plants if they didn’t do well in the original spot I planted them in. After I find the right site for them, I leave them alone.

Next came the next show.

The roses and perennials started showing their color. I planted five new roses in front in addition to what was there already. Cramoisi Superieur (left photo), which is an old garden rose, started the rose season. It is a no-maintenance rose and much, much better than Knock Out roses and fragrant too. It bloomed profusely every year throughout the season. After it finished blooming, I had the HOA landscaper trimmed it with their hedge clipper, ready for the next bloom cycle – every five weeks. I don’t prune this rose like my other roses. It is just too much work. I asked the landscaper last year to trim it, and it made no difference, so now, I let them do it. After Cramoisi Superieur, there is Dublin Bay, a climber on the post.

Then the other roses started blooming. I have Sedona (top left photo), Opening Night (top right photo), Rosarium Uetersen (bottom left photo), Moonstone (bottom right photo). I also have Full Sail, Scentimental, Othello, Bow Bells (photo above- pink roses behind the big pagoda), and some minis that I planted from some flowers I received after my husband died. Bow Bells and Cramoisi Superieur were planted almost ten years ago and have performed very well every year. I’m surprised the minis came back. Usually, these minis from the florist don’t do well in the garden, but I just put them in the ground and hoped for the best. I also have a few roses in pots that I rotate: Caldwell Pink, Alfred Sisley, Miracle on the Hudson, Firefighter, Veterans Honor, Benjamin Britten, Rock & Roll, and a lot more.

I also have some annuals, but mostly perennials on my front bed trying to vie for attention. The daylily, echinacea, echinops, gaillardia, gaura, phlox, pineapple sage, salvia, scabiosa, and shasta daisy are all starting to put on their color parade. I edged the bed with variegated liriope, which will soon give me purple flowers. Their yellow and green leaves are such a delight in the garden for year-round color.

I had a small plot, but I squeezed too many plants there to fend off weeds. I also have arborvitae, a Norfolk Island Pine, a dogwood tree, and a couple of camellia plants in pots. This is just the front bed. Wait till you see what is in the back. Just bear in mind, I live in a townhouse where ground space is minimal, but it did not stop me from putting all the plants that I love in that tiny space.

Please note that most new plantings are red, white, and blue because I want this to be my “Never Forget Garden” in commemoration of the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2021 and also a tribute to my late husband, who served in the U.S. Navy. Bless our men and women who sacrificed their lives to give us the freedom we have today!

Happy Gardening!