Retreating to the front porch to catch a summer breeze is bliss as Seals & Crofts so poetically sang in the seventies, “Summer breeze makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”
While the Confederate Jasmine perfumed the May and June breezes as we sat on our front porch with a glass of sweet iced tea and a copy of Garden & Gun keeping us alert to all things Southern, it’s the shade loving plants of summer that bring an airy respite to the dog days of summer.
All self-respecting porches in my youth displayed a giant Boston Fern swaying between the porch columns or nestled in a corner on a metal plant stand. It was the plant that my grandmother nurtured all winter and brought out of hibernation to say that porch living had commenced.
A fresh coat of white paint on the wicker chairs, airing out the feather pillow cushions and washing down the wooden front porch meant that homemade peach ice cream socials and watermelon splitting parties were to begin. With regularity, friends and neighbors made their way outdoors to enjoy a cool evening breeze and have a good visit.
And it gave porch gardeners the chance to display an array of shade-loving plants in containers and hanging baskets, bringing great color and movement to the outdoor setting.
Perking up your front porch for summer soirées is easy with many varieties of plants perfectly suited to our sweltering South Texas summers.
Impatiens, the shade-loving favorite, is one of the few bright-flowering plants that thrive in deep shade. Available in a wide range of colors including white, pink, salmon, red, and purple hues, these mounding plants are great in mixed pots and hanging baskets.
There are almost as many varieties of begonias as there are stars in a West Texas sky. New begonias specimens include trailing, angel and dragon wing with spectacular blooms lasting all summer long.
Coleus is an old-fashioned shade plant that is even known to survive on a sunny spot on your font porch. The color choices are incredible with leaf shapes that give texture to a container garden.
Other plants to consider are Caladiums, Creeping Jenny, Cast Iron Plant, Sweet Potato Vines, Vincas and Hostas, just to name a few. Visit your neighborhood nursery for ideas and plants that suit your needs.
Putting together a shade-loving container for front porch living is a breeze with plants that are made for the shade. So dress up your front porch and get out there where the living is easy and the summer breezes make you feel fine.
*Article as seen in Alamo Heights Living Magazine. Photos courtesy of Debbie Weber.