I have a plan to become a billionaire. I will put a dollar in my bank account for every time I heard “can I have English style garden”. I will also deposit another garden for when I am asked for French gardens, Italian cypresses, and lavender. I cannot count how many times I have been requested for these garden styles in Atlanta. So the question that remains is- can we have these gardens in Atlanta? – and like most things in life the answer is complicated.
English Gardens are colorful with hollychocks, peonies, tulips, rhododendrons, geraniums, lavender, delphiniums, and allium. They are truly amazing plants but unfortunately these plants do not thrive in the south. These plants would appreciate cooler summer nights and we happen to be in Hotlanta and without those chilly evenings of France and England these plants will be short lived, plagued with disease, and simply not perform well. Let me put in perspective; the biggest producer of peonies for the flower industry is Alaska. Let’s just say that Fairbanks is a little bit cooler than North Georgia.
But remember my goal is to become a billionaire so I will also deposit another dollar from when I hear “but neighbor has beautiful peony (or lavender, or rhododendron). How is that possible? Very simple, for every 10 lavenders or rhododendrons planted in Atlanta 9 will die. Your neighbor just happens to be the lucky one. While I am not a rich yet, I can assure you that big box stores and garden centers are laughing their way to the bank with the plants they sell repeatedly, indeed my “let’s get rich plan” is not that effective because I have spent my fair share on these plants and have killed dozens of them.
Is there hope? Can one dream with colorful gardens in North Georgia? English gardens also use hydrangeas and roses and that do ok in the. The work “ok” is important because both roses and boxwoods can succumb to disease. Drift roses, knock-out roses are two varieties that can be used sparsely and not be completely disfigured with black spots, nor be heavily infested with rose rosette virus (at least not yet, more on that on another post). Boxwoods can also be used but beware of boxwood blight, a disease that is not exclusive of the south (also another post on that). So, there is hope we can sort of have English or French garden in Atlanta. But perhaps we are asking the wrong question? We should not be asking for English Gardens in South. We should be asking for southern style gardens instead. The grass is not greener across the Atlantic Ocean, neither are the flowers more colorful. Truly, my answer to clients that ask me for English gardens is always the same – “ I can get you that vibe” but it will be a beautiful, bright, and colorful southern garden. We will use cone flowers instead of hollychocks, blue salvias instead of delphiniums. Big blossom heat loving Camellias or native azaleas instead of peonies (take that Alaska).
So instead of spending loads of money on plants that underperform in our hot weather we can grow heat loving plants. While I am not a billionaire yet, I am positive that I can make your garden can look like a billion dollars, it just won’t be English or French, it will be Southern with pride. This way you can save a few bucks for that visit to lavender fields in Provence or perhaps enjoy some tea with the queen.
If you have questions about residential or commercial landscaping in the Atlanta area, we can help. Contact Designed Landscapes or call 770-313-1022 for all your landscaping needs.