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Gardening in Richmond, VA


Although Virginia is known for its history, nature is also an important part of its identity. Virginia was once reliant on silk and tobacco as one of its primary sources of economic income. While silk is no longer the main crop, the state still relies heavily on tobacco cultivation for revenue today. Fortunately, Virginia has a versatile climate that supports a variety of plant life. It has relatively long growing seasons and a mild climate. Virginia is located in a transition zone. This means it can support both cool-season and warm-season varieties, which ranges from crops and grasses to plants, flowers, and trees. If you're wondering what to plant in your Richmond garden this season, or if you're looking for ways to make it better then there are many options to choose from.


Starting a Native Garden


Native gardens include species adapted to the local environment. This means that they require fewer resources than non-native varieties. They are also easier to maintain. Some are also resistant to pests and disease. Some plants have additional environmental benefits, such as deep root systems that make them ideal for mitigating erosion. Virginia's native species also support wildlife by providing shelter and food such as nuts, berries, and seeds. Some even have nectar.


The USDA notes that no matter what flowers you plant, knowing your hardiness zone is an essential first step. The USDA classifies different parts of the US into various "hardiness zones." This tells locals what kinds of plants, crops, and trees are best suited for the local environment. Virginia has two hardiness zones, which are 6 and 7. This means its temperatures can reach -10ºF to 10ºF at their lowest. Therefore, you'll want to find plants that can tolerate those drops in temperature. Cool-season plants can withstand colder temperatures in the fall and early spring. They may even survive an early or late frost. But warm-season flowers, on the other hand, will not last through a frost. They can handle a low soil temperature of 55ºF. Experts recommend waiting until May to plant warm-season species since by that time the most severe threat of frost has passed. If you want to get a head start on the season, you can always start growing plants indoors first.


The Best Plants for Richmond


Living in Richmond means you have many options when it comes to establishing a garden. The local climate can support a combination of annual and perennial flowers that are adapted to either cool-season or warm-season temperatures. Here are some lovely native species that will make your Richmond garden stand out from the crowd.



Bluebell produces small, dainty flowers. But those flowers make a big impression. Bluebell is most frequently associated with flowers of a dark blue or rich purple hue. However, they can appear in shades of white and pink, too. Bluebell is a species endemic to the British Isles and Spain. However, it was introduced to the US by early trade ships delivering goods from overseas. Today, bluebell flowers are a common and popular addition to gardens in Virginia and along the East Coast. Bluebell flowers are also a rich source of nectar and pollen, which means you'll attract pollinators by having them in your garden, too.


Bleeding heart is one of the most beautiful and recognizable flowers around. Bleeding heart has a distinctive appearance with its exotic flowers, which take the shape of a heart. Bleeding heart has green foliage, but its flowers vary in color from white to red and pink. Bleeding heart is native to Japan, China, and other parts of Asia. It flowers from the late spring months through early summer. Bleeding heart is a perennial that does best with shade and moist soil. It can be grown in a garden or containers.


Spiderwort closely resembles the Iris family in appearance. However, the centers of its flowers have slightly less yellow. Spiderwort is historically a wildflower in Virginia. Over the years, however, it has become a prized addition to residential and commercial gardens for its beauty and ease of care. Spiderwort plants generally grow in clusters. They can be used for establishing garden borders and edges. Spiderwort plants do best in the shade and cooler temperatures.


Aster is a beautiful perennial with star-shaped flower heads. This flower is one of the most versatile and wide-ranging in terms of physical conditions. It reaches a mature height of eight inches to eight feet. Traditionally, the plant grows wild in wooded areas. But like other common native Virginia species, it has adapted to grow equally well in gardens. An added benefit of Aster is that it blooms from summer through fall, so it gives your garden color even with most other flowers have faded.


Richmond's Natural Areas


Virginia is fortunate to have environmental conditions that are highly favorable for plant growth. By contacting Lawn Love, the local gardening and lawn care experts, you'll get a good idea of how to start a sustainable garden. But visiting Richmond's outdoor areas also provides inspiration. Here are some top places to check out.


Maymont


Maymont combines history with natural beauty. This attraction is a lovely Victorian estate that dates back to the 19th century. It has been immaculately preserved and maintained over the years. Its property, which includes artful landscaping, gardens, and wildlife, will inspire your own yard.


Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden


This botanical garden has both indoor and outdoor exhibits so that you can pay a visit in all seasons and all weather conditions for inspiration. A domed conservatory is a highlight of the garden, which has themed gardens featuring local and exotic species. This botanical garden sits on a property that covers over 50 acres.


Living in Virginia has many benefits. One is that its temperate climate and long growing season supports a variety of plant life. If you want to get a stunning garden started or improve the one you have, Lawn Love will help you get a garden that you're proud of.


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