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A Southern garden thrives in the heat

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Courtesy of Helen Yoest

(Read caption) Crinums, also known as crinum lilies or spider lilies, are an old favorite in Southern gardens since they are not only attractive but can take the heat.

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Summertime conjures up thoughts of cookouts, camping, and anything to do with water -- the pool, beach, or lake.

Many people abandoned gardening when spring’s door swung shut. For me, however, gardening remains high on my list of summertime pastimes, despite record heat.

Surprisingly, with no rain and since i prefer to take my watering forays in a hole in the ground and not with a hose in my hands, my garden, Helen's Haven is looking mighty fine. Summer may not be my favorite season to garden in, but I’ve learned how to cope.

Morning in the garden

As a natural early riser, I welcome morning in the garden. While the temperatures are at their coolest, I can weed, putter, and peek at the flowers.

As the dew dries and sun rises, the wildlife wake from a restful nap. A butterfly comes out from under a leaf, a frog opens one eye, then the other with thoughts of noshing, and a bee, having fallen asleep on a flower head, doesn’t have far to travel to break its fast.

My success for a summer garden lies in the use of plants suitable for my climate.

Since Raleigh, N.C., receives about 44 inches of rain a year, one doesn’t think of it as dry, but, come summer, we can go far too long with no rain at all. It’s during these times when we root for a tropical storm to come our way.

The 3 C's don't mind the heat and lack of rain

Realistically, though, it’s best to plant what will grow without worry of watering.

If you are wondering what will grow in our southern summers, remember the three C's -- crinums, cleomes, and crape myrtles.

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