Livening Up My Landscape

Cary, NC – Here are a few plant ideas for late spring to liven up the landscape. All pictures are from my garden.


Hosta is a green, leafy shrub grown for it’s lush leaves. Hostas come in a wide variety of sizes from six inches to four feet. The can be green, blue green, or variegated with white and yellow.

Hosta is a perennial that dies back in the winter. Plant it anytime of year, They can easily be divided every year or two.


Hydrangea is a medium shrub that puts on a massive color show in the spring. Blooms vary from white through pink to blue depending on soil pH.

You can plant Hydrangea anytime of the year. It dies back to the ground over the winter.

The big, mature blooms get all the attention, but here’s a close-up of bud just staring to unfurl.


There’s something about Zinnias I just love. It’s their sturdy, neat appearance that always appeals to me. This year, I’m growing them in a bed and in a raised planter.

Zinnia can be grown from seed, but I bought these as a 6-pack of small plants. The grow quickly, like sun to part shade and produce blooms from late spring to early fall.

Asiatic Lily

In May and early June, Asiatic Lilies add a strong splash of color to the landscape. They come in shades from yellow and orange to fuchsia and almost black.

Asiatic Lilies are planted as bulbs in the fall, so take note if you want to add them to your garden for next year.


Here in Cary, Coleus grows as an annual. Lots of different color combinations and sizes are available at the garden store.

Coleus grows quickly and does well in bright shade.

Sweet Potato Vine

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine is used for it’s impressive trailing leaves. Let it spill out of planters and boxes.

Sweet Potato Vine grows quickly and tolerates most light conditions except blazing sunlight at high noon.


Gardenia is an evergreen shrub that produces one of the finest scents in garden. In May, Gardenia erupts in white flowers, perfuming the immediate area of the garden. Every morning at my house, we lean in and inhale the sweet fragrance.

Gardenia likes partial sun, either early morning or late afternoon. It’s a perennial and can be planted anytime of the year.

Story and photos by Hal Goodtree. All the Cary news every day since 2009. Subscribe by email.