Ready to Garden: Itchy Palms and Spring Planting!


Are your palms itching to dig in the dirt and fill your containers and beds with spring and summer annuals? Our frost date in North Carolina is April 15th but we all know how unpredictable Mother Nature can be.


I learned the hard way not be tempted by all the beautiful flowers arriving in the garden centers in March and early April, since it I find myself scrambling to cover or drag heavy pots to the garage to protect them from a late frost or cold snap if I plant too early.

Do you have favorite annuals you always plant? A couple of my favorites to use in containers are lobelia and angelonia.


 Angelonia, also known as summer snapdragon, comes in a variety of colors, grows in full sun and is drought tolerant. The white variety stays more compact than some of the other colors and grows about a foot tall. I was thrilled to find a new heat-tolerant variety of lobelia last year that bloomed all summer.


Another favorite is coleus. I love its red foliage and use it to pair with white and blue for a patriotic combination for Memorial Day or July 4th!


You can see used here paired with Endless Summer Hydrangea and Queen Anne’s Lace for a Red, White and Blooming Patriotic table.


And here with white sprigs of angelonia and hydrangea for a table centerpiece.


Coleus is easy to grow and root from cuttings, comes in wide variety of colors, sizes, and leaf shapes. Just add water and it will grow! It fills all three rules and categories of “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” when it comes to container gardening~ from tall upright varieties, midsize, mounding varieties, and trailing varieties, to spill over the sides of your pots.

PicMonkey Collage1

I love the varieties of coleus too that have a punch of bright green to pair with sweet potato vine and pinks and purple flowers. You can see it in my potting shed window boxes here.


A favorite trick I like to use is to add an accent to a pot when it’s newly planted until it has time to grow and fill in. A plate provides an accent in a pot of Blue Salvia, Creeping Jenny and Stock. Salvias, also called sages, are drought tolerant and good choice in containers and beds and borders since bunnies and deer aren’t fans.


I salvaged a broken {*sniff*} Portmeirion Botanic Garden plate as a planter accent  . . .


And used it here another season in my Bicycle Built for Planting.

Gardening on Wheels Bicycle Planter

Adding accents to containers fills in the “dead” space which works for arrangements indoors as well as your outdoor pots.


Here for indoor arrangement with eggs, a bird nest, and stamped spoon marker . . .


And here with bunny in a pot of sweet alyssum, geranium, dusty miller and verbena.



I tucked a broken tea cup in a pot of petunias, million bells and asparagus fern as a planter accent until the flowers fill in.


Black-eyed Susan vine is another favorite to plant, a fast grower and will bloom until pumpkin season!


It grew to cover my bench from a pot and spread over to climb the spokes in my bicycle planter.


It looks like our below freezing days are behind us after our cold snap this weekend, so if you’re looking for me this week, I’m going to digging in the dirt :)


I hope spring planting season arrives where you are soon!


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  22 comments for “Ready to Garden: Itchy Palms and Spring Planting!

  1. Linda L
    April 11, 2016 at 7:24 am

    So inspiring! Better than a seed catalog. Will have to wait until after Mother’s Day to plant in Ohio.

  2. April 11, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Awesome containers! I’ve used several of your choices in my summer annuals, both containers and beds, but I really love the accents you add to the containers! I’ve only used solar lights in mine as accents, but the plate idea is an added beauty. Note to self: move plates destined for yard sale to garden containers!

  3. Dianne Sharpe
    April 11, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Everything you do is amazing. I live in Asheville and did buy a little early. I know better but I have been covering and taking inside. Thank you for sharing with us. You are so inspiring.

  4. Robyn
    April 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt! I have some cool weather veggies in a raised bed that are doing well, but I spent the weekend making sure they were covered and protected from the cold. I will also be doing some planting the later part of the week! Enjoy your week and thanks for all your beautiful inspiration!

  5. April 11, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Oh, be still my ♥! This is just a delicious collection of inspiring ideas & eye candy, Mary! I’ve never found lobelia and angelonia around here in our garden stores but I will search more seriously this year. Just beautiful…love your idea of repurposing cracked china into your planters, too. I have a few that might work nicely.
    You are always so full of ideas…your brain amazes me, Woman. I’m so jealous of your creativity!

  6. Shirley
    April 11, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Beautiful photos as usual. Weather is very changeable here in England. One day last week we had sun, rain,sleet, snow & thunder & lightning! Still frosty some nights. I collect the Portmeirion dinner service so was pleased to see it in one of your pots. I find seconds at TJ Maxx.

  7. April 11, 2016 at 8:53 am

    You sure gave me some flowering inspiration, dearest Mary! I didn’t know that there is a heat tolerant lobelia!! I love it and will certainly look for that variety, as all my other attempts, didn’t make it when the scorching temperatures arrived. The coleus and the angelonia provide a nice mix, too. The black eyed Susan vine would be fun to try. I’ve planted some morning glory and moon flower seeds, and also some zinnias. I hope they bloom! Even my hydrangeas look like they may bloom this year. Now if I could just get the company to come out and fix my waterfall, I’ll have my little oasis back! Happy digging in the dirt!!

  8. April 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

    This post is like a mini garden encyclopedia for me Mary, thank you for all the info on the angelonia and coleus. These drought hardy easy growers sound perfect for me. I tend to stick with begonias since I can’t kill them :) We even have some in pots on the coast still blooming all winter after being planted last spring! I also love how you tuck wonderful surprises throughout your plantings. Have fun digging this week, I’m sure everything will bloom where it’s planted!

  9. Bonnie Keearns
    April 11, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Beautiful blooms and ideas for containers. I have the itch too but I don’t start until Mothers Day weekend. It’s been unusually cold here and drab, but the arrival of song birds keeps my spirits alive. Happy Planting♡

  10. April 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Mary, what beautiful blooms…I love coleus, also! Hopefully, our ground will warm for spring planting. My husband prepared the ground for our sunflower patch! Happy Monday, Pam @ Everyday Lifing

  11. April 11, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Beautiful inspiration this morning. I’ve got to get cracking! I don’t have the excuse that it is too early to plant. In our neck of the woods it is ok to plant now. The old tale that if the pecan trees have leafed out there won’t be any more frost has always held true here in lower Alabama.

  12. franki
    April 11, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Oh, my…those pansy vases…”hearts!” We were JUST talking about “frost dates”…I pulled in our “palms” from last year…some are 8 ft tall…and…they NEED to go outdoors…guess I’ll wait..we’re zone 7…gaaa…COME ON SPRING! franki

  13. rattlebridge farm
    April 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Oh, yes, I want to plant so badly, my palms are itching, and my soul is antsy. Because I’m always thinking of blooms, I have never really stopped to appreciate the coleus, and you’ve presented it so beautifully. The colors are versatile, and I love how it thrills, fills, and spills. I looked ahead to our weather forecast, and aside from a bit of rain (but we’re in the legendary month of showers), the evening and early am temps are stable. I need to rework the mailbox for sure, and snaps may work great. Happy planting to you!

  14. April 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Your Garden is simply Enchanting! NOW my palms are itching! Happy Spring from the Arizona Desert… Dawn… The Bohemian

  15. Cyndi Raines
    April 11, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Oh, so pretty Mary!! It will still be a while before we can plant – has to be AFTER Memorial weekend – so sad! But I can enjoy yours! Yesterday we had snow and sleet – 4 inches and today should get close to 60, so we’re happy it’s all melting. Will remember your helpful hint on using Alum. Will also look for the heat tolerant lobelia, love it as a filler, but mine dies out after a few weeks and I wasn’t successful with the Million Bells either, which made me very sad as they are SO pretty. Any helpful hints for “staying power” with those? I usually stick with Geraniums, Petunias, Begonias, Impatience. May try some of your mixes this year!! Thanks.

  16. Ellen Stillabower
    April 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Seems this year we Sprang forward on the clock but jumped right over Spring into or back to winter…we too are anxious for planting and playing in the pics have given some pretty ideas..thanks for sharing..💐🐝🐞🐛🌺🌻🌼🌹🌸

  17. April 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I think we’re all ready for some sunny warm weather Mary! I love that the little bee was salvaged on your plate:@)

  18. April 11, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I have already had the itchy spell and am now watching them grow. Still have a few more to plant. Enjoyed your post very much. Everything looks terrific.


  19. Kathy Rademacher
    April 11, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you, Mary, for this wonderful post. All of your plantings are just beautiful–makes me want to move to South Carolina. Here in AZ things are a bit different. Beautiful right now but soon many of our plants will fade because of the high heat. I am going to plan better this year and try some new things!!

  20. April 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I am saving this post and making lists of flowers to get. I am still struggling; going form all shade to FULL sun! Your pots are ALL gorgeous. I wintered the “spikes” in all my pots in the garage this winter and they all lived! But that is going to limit me as to what I can plant around them, I think. This year will be alot of experiments!! By this weekend we are going to be 70!!! I MAY go get some annuals:) Have a beautiful week, planting!!

  21. April 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    YES, My palms are very itchy! I love flowers and get Impatient this time of year. I know we will have frost until around Mother’s Day so I try to wait to plant. Your pictures are so inspiring and pretty.

  22. April 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I love Spring…that is the time I can drool over your magnificent flowers and how you display them so beautifully in your planting beds, containers and the tables!…

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