Mandevillas such as ‘Red Velvet’ (red-pink), ‘Alice du Pont’ (rosy pink), and ‘Summer Snow’ (white) love to twine and grow well on trellises and pyramidal forms. Allamandas are known for their bright yellow blossoms but also come in purple, white, and chocolate shades. All like rich soil and can be maintained in containers sunk into beds during the warm season and then given protection in winter. Coral vine is a South Texas standby. Airy and graceful, it comes in pink, dark pink, and white. Flowers begin to appear in late summer and attract hummingbirds.
• Garden rooms--Outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and dining areas should be located where they will be used and enjoyed to the fullest. If privacy is needed, add hedges using ‘Dwarf Burford’ hollies, dwarf cherry laurels, or sasanqua camellias. Accessorize your new room with a large, self-contained fountain or specimen container plants. Choose practical outdoor furniture to complete the setting.
Central, East, and South
• Turfgrass--St. Augustine, Bermuda, centipede, and Zoysia grasses can all be grown in our region. St. Augustine is shade tolerant, but it uses more water and is less drought resistant than Bermuda or Zoysia. Common Bermuda grass can be started from seed and grows fast. Zoysia provides a beautiful, fine-textured lawn but spreads slowly and needs plenty of sunlight to thrive.
• Chrysanthemums--These perennials thrive in our region but should be divided and reset at this time. ‘Country Girl’ (pink) is among the best with its daisy-like pink flowers and yellow centers. Be sure to pinch them back by removing the top several inches of growth several times until about September 1. You will be rewarded with drifts of blossoms during mid- to late-fall.
North and East
• Hydrangeas--These plants thrive in partially shaded areas that have adequate moisture. French or mophead hydrangeas can be pink, blue, white, or nearly red. ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Mini Penny’ are newer selections that rebloom from summer through fall. Double-flowering oakleaf hydrangeas, such as ‘Snow Queen,’ are particularly handsome and are popular as dried flowers.
Central, West, and South
• Mulch--Add mulch to vegetable and ornamental areas to conserve moisture and limit weeds. Grass clippings, coastal Bermuda grass hay, and shredded bark all work well. Mulches also reduce soil temperatures and help keep plants growing during the hot weather.
"Around Your Garden" is from the June 2008 issue of Southern Living.