Alabama Smart Landscapes & Gardens

2014-05-16_14-22-49Having just returned from a trip to Ohio, it reminded me how differently we must think about our gardens. Most of Ohio is in hardiness zone 6 and North Alabama is zone 7. There are some beautiful plants that will grow in Northeast Ohio that would only last a short time in an Alabama yard.

Knowing your hardiness zone helps in the selection of plants that will tolerate the heat and drought in our area. Selection of native plants will reduce the amount of care and attention your garden will require once the plants are established, and the right habitat and nutrition will be provided for native wildlife.
Invite wildlife to your yard by adding native flowering and fruiting plants, seeds, and nuts to your landscape. Alabama is a stopping place for migrating butterflies and birds so think about adding flowers to your yard that will attract and feed them.


Know which plants are invasive and avoid them! Invasive plants are never native and will crowd out the plants that keep the area’s ecosystem healthy.

Don’t forget to add trees to your landscape as well. Learn which trees are tolerant of drought and which trees need to be planted near a water source. Choose a tree that is the right size for your yard, and plant it carefully, taking into consideration that shading your home on the sunny side will help reduce air conditioning costs in the summer.

Don’t forget to call before you dig! If you are not absolutely sure where underground utilities are located, you do not want to start digging before calling 811 and having your utilities marked. Be sure to call at least 48 hours before you plan to dig.

If you are a visual learner, it helps to visit nurseries with garden displays, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, or other private gardens in your area for ideas. Remember to look for native plants!

Spring Garden Tour – June 7th

Friends of the Athens-Limestone Library will host a tour of gardens from traditional to modern on Saturday, June 7th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eleven gardens will be open for viewing including residential and church prayer gardens. Some of the gardens included are the Davis Garden, 202 Washington St., Kuykendal Garden, 309 South Clinton St., the Bolton Garden, 222717 Winged Foot Lane, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church Prayer Garden, and several more.

Tickets for this tour are available until June 6th at Crawford’s, Pablo’s on Market, Pimento’s, Trinity’s, Athens-Limestone Public Library, and from members of the Friends of the Athens-Limestone Library. Tickets are $20 each with proceeds supporting the library.

Online Information
A publication titled Alabama Smart Yards, introducing environmental consciousness and practical management options to our yards and neighborhoods, is available online at This publication is provided by ACES, ADEM, ALNLA, Alabama Master Gardeners, and the Auburn University Department of Horticulture. It is a wonderful resource for information on creating landscaping that will support the biodiversity of this area, proper mowing, pruning, mulching, composting, water conservation, and more.
Happy gardening!
By: Lynne Hart