Plant Highlights across the Year


January marks the mid-point of the camellia-blooming season. If the winter is mild with no hard freezes, more and more Japanese camellia variety shrubs don numerous perfect blossoms. Also note the various bark textures and colors, such as that of river birch and crapemyrtles. Also enjoy the berries on holly trees as well as the fronds of many cold-hardy shrubs. In some years, the star magnolias are in bloom as early as mid-January. In the Orchid House, look for cymbidium orchid flower spikes.


February finds winter on its last leg and the first of the early daffodils, saucermagnolias and even some azaleas daring to flower. The peak of camellia-flowering occurs around St. Valentine's Day to Presidents Day. Japanese paperbush also fragrances the air this time of year. As March approaches, look for the fringey pink flowers on loropetalum. In the Orchid House, enjoy cymbidium and dendrobium orchids.


March is when spring arrives in Coastal Georgia. Early in the month you may find saucer magnolias and many late-season camellias still flowering. Eastern redbuds, Chinese snowballs and flowering dogwood trees put on their floral shows by mid-month. A wide variety of azaleas are blooming by the first day of spring, as well as other early spring-flowering shrubs such as spireas, hawthorns, quinces and viburnums. In the Orchid House, look for moth orchids.


The vast majority of trees have sent out their new leaves by April 1. Trees that flower this month include the native grancy graybeard and Chinese fringetrees. Strawberry-picking season is in full swing now, too. The first waterlilies tend to bloom in April. April is also a month to expect tall bearded irises, Dutch irises, and woodland hyacinths to flower. Look for the mashed-potato-like creamy flowers covering the muscular branches of Delavayi's Chinese evergreen oak trees by mid-month. By the fourth week of April, roses are at their spring flowering peak.


While roses look lush this month, also continue to admire tall bearded and the Louisiana irises. Daylilies and lilies-of-the-Nile also flower in May. The large fragrant white flowers of the southern magnolia tree open this month in abundance. Gardenias tend to be blooming around Memorial Day. In the Orchid House, look for dancing lady orchids, also called oncidiums.


The red-and-yellow spiral flowers of the gloriosa lily are a hallmark of June. French hydrangeas, chaste trees, and yellowbells/esperanza capture your eye this month. Also expect the first blackberries for harvest in our you-pick field. In the Orchid House, many vanda orchids begin putting on a show with shades of purple, blue or fuchsia. By mid-June, the fragrant white blossoms of Japanese crapemyrtle are evident.


Tropical waterlilies appreciate the heat of July and produce lots of blooms above the water surface. On land, white panicle hydrangeas, white Formosa lilies, garden phlox, butterfly gingers and blue plumbago capture your eye. Early July is particularly good for seeing a huge array of hybrid crapemyrtles in flower.


The oppressive heat and humidity of August favors all tropical plants. Look for white crinum lilies in bloom, firebushes, ornamental bananas, butterfly gingers, spiral gingers and sweet almond bushes. Tropical waterlilies continue their flower production. Venture into the Orchid House to see if any corsage orchids (Cattleya or Laelia hybrids) are still in bloom. By the end of August, the lush sweet autumn clematis vine is both seen and smelled.


September is a transition month: while it's still hot, the sunshine isn't as burning anymore. Tropicals such as ginger lilies, lantanas, sweet almond bush and firebush continue flowering. This month you'll encounter more and more native butterflies across the Gardens! In the Orchid House, check out the large, fragrant corsage orchid blossoms. By the end of the month, you'll catch the fragrant teaolive on the slightest breezes.


October is almost a second spring, with many roses bursting with a renewed floral display. Also look for butterflies fluttering above a wide array of tropical plants such as lantana, firebush, blue plumbago and salvias/sages. Encore azaleas wake up from their summertime sleep to again bloom. Look for the white flowers of tea camellias in October and smell the fragrances of sweet almond bush, teaolive and loquat this month.


Tropical plants and annuals continue to flower until the first freeze which usually occurs in late November. The fruits on holly trees begin to really redden this month. November is also the month of the sasanqua camellia. Look for the yellow daisy flower spikes on giant leopard flower. By Thanksgiving, the red to rust foliage on Oliver maple, Chinese pistachio and bald cypress finally becomes delightfully apparent, peaking into early December.


With the Holidays approaching, fall foliage gives way to the colors and textures of holly, China fir, Arizona cypress and palm fronds. December brings the earliest of the hybrid camellia and snow camellia blossoms. Pay a visit to the Orchid House, as a wide variety of orchids continue to flower as the days shorten.