Flowers that Not Only Survive but Thrive for this “Wannabe” Master Gardener

This post was updated throughout last summer to show you how our flowers have literally blossomed!

I just love spring flowers but I don’t have a green thumb.

You see . . . I am a “wannabe” master gardener. ?‍? ? I struggle to keep plants and flowers alive. ?⠀This is when I really miss my Dad. He became a certified master gardener late in life. He and my grandmother had green thumbs. ?

Rio Dipladenia

We discovered these flowers last summer which not only survived but thrived . . . even in the sweltering heat of Alabama!

Why? Because they are DROUGHT RESISTANT (i.e. they survive when I forget to water them). ?‍♀️

They are called Rio Dipladenia. We bought them at Home Depot.

The pink ones pictured below were on my Mom’s deck last summer.

The red ones pictured below were on our dock last year.

Here is a close-up of these beautiful flowers.

Neal likes red and I like pink . . . so we put red in hanging baskets on the dock and in the erns in front of our house (perfect for 4th of July gatherings) and pink ones on our deck, where we have breakfast ? ☕️ each morning in the spring and summer.

Here is an updated picture from early July:

Yellow Tickseed (Coreopsis Grandiflora)

These hardy yellow flowers are perennials and thus delight every year when they grow back. It is like they are saying, “Spring is here!” They resemble a daisy and add a bright splash of color.

Creeping Jenny

Our next discovery was creeping Jenny. It is a light, bright green, and cascades over the sides of pots or erns. It really is a nice finishing touch. The picture below is what I planted the other day. Soon Creeping Jenny will be cascading around all sides of the pot. I love my new friend Jenny and am thankful she is a creeper!

The picture below is an update from early July. Creeping Jenny has really been creeping! Notice we have replaced our deck railing since the earlier photos.


First, check out these beautiful zinnias! (It is amazing how much my photography has improved. Am I allowed to say that!?! Oh well, YEA for me! ?

For many, many years I have loved zinnias. They remind me of my childhood. My parents planted an entire row of zinnias in our garden each year next to the green beans. As a child, I loved picking flowers but hated picking green beans.

My mother cut zinnias and made beautiful flower arrangements for our home. I have adopted this same practice. I love having beautiful flower arrangements in the house.

Since living full-time at the lake, we have struggled to find the right spot to grow zinnias. They need full sun and we have a lot of trees (i.e. shade).

During the last few years, we have tried planting zinnias in containers on our side deck. This really did not work well.

All this to say, my sweet Neal used a stack of leftover simulated stone from various DIY projects (our house, porch, outside fireplace and inside fireplace) to make a zinnia flower bed by our shop.

What started off as a quick project of planting some zinnias turned into an almost full-day project of building a stone flower bed.

We dug a little trench, strategically stacked the stone, lined the area with landscape fabric (no weeds allowed), added 14 bags of potting soil . . . and then finally planted a large back of zinnias. Whoo wee, that was a lot of work!

VOILA! We have a zinnia flower bed – – all thanks to my wonderful DIY, loving Neal! ? Here is the final flower bed. Isn’t it pretty!

Here are my zinnias popping up!

Check out our Zinnia garden now (early July) . . .

Here is another mid-summer photo.

This picture of cut flowers is from last year.

Below is a recent picture (early July) of a bouquet I arranged for my neighbors.


This year, we have added pretty light pink geraniums to the collection. They like full sun in the morning and light afternoon shade. We will see how these do.

We really love the color; it reminds us of cotton candy. Again, I love pink and because Neal loves me, we have more pink flowers this year.

When we planted them, they only have small blooms.

Below is an updated picture from late June. One thing I learned is to pinch off each bloom at the node when the blossom starts to die. This keeps the flowers repeatedly blooming all summer. As summer progressed, it has more and more blooms! This was my favorite flower last summer.


And last but not least are impatiens. We planted these little beauties outside our basement apartment when we were newlyweds many years ago. Our toy poodle Jake would stop and smell them each morning. They are perfect for shady areas. We have them in small pots on the front part of our deck for that reason. And again, they are pink!

And there you have it!

Neal and I have been married for almost 35 years and it has taken us that long to figure out what flowers work for us in the hot Alabama heat. Our learning continues . . .

I am also really getting into composting . . . more on this soon!

What are your favorite flowers to plant in the spring and summer?

Happy Planting!!!!!

Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

12 thoughts on “Flowers that Not Only Survive but Thrive for this “Wannabe” Master Gardener”

  1. Beautiful! Did you plant multiple sprigs of creeping Jenny or just one sprig in a pot?

    1. Marianne,

      I just planted one creeping jenny spring in each pot (one sprig). As it grows, it will fill in the pot.

      Happy Planting!


  2. Thanks for sharing about drought tolerant plants. I have a black thumb too and perhaps these plants will survive me.

    1. Karen,

      They have survived us, so I know they will survive you!
      Maybe our thumbs will turn green!

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  3. I haven’t planted zinnias for years. You got me thinking about planting them this year.

  4. Hi Suzanne, I’m Angela from a rural community in Piedmont section of our beautiful state of North Carolina. We are about 20 miles northwest of Charlotte in the country, which I love. I just came across your blog today while on Pinterest. I love everything about your blog. I too am a retired educator (25 years) but went back to work part time the last two years as a teach assistant in a private Christian school. There are so many things you have shared on your blog that I love, have in common with you or want to learn from you how to do myself. I love the chalk painting projects you have done and am very interested in trying that in the near future. I sew some, so I want to try your technique for pillow covers because I love pillows and have collected quite a few so instead of purchasing anymore I can maybe use them over by recovering as you did. I’ve never put a zipper in one but yours looked so good, I’m going to have to try it. I love flowers, especially impatients, begonias, and I planted some creeping Jenny in a couple of my pots as well. I’m going to try my hand at raised bed plantings. My husband just put together one for me yesterday and put it on legs so it wouldn’t be so hard on my back. I’m looking forward to planting this coming week. Thank you for expressing your love for the Lord. He is so good…….all the time, even during these challenging days. We are so very blessed! I sing as a soloist, in church choir, and have been a part of a Praise Team at our church. I love giving the gift of singing he has given me back to him and to encourage and comfort others. The song you shared, “It Is Well With My Soul” is a favorite of mine as well and the story behind it is so inspiring. I have sung and still sing this song at many funerals. He’s still working on me. I’m still learning, a work in progress and thankful to know that I am His and He is mine. Blessings on you and all your family. I enjoy learning more from you as you share your projects and words of wisdom from our Lord. Thanks, too for the encouraging scriptures you have shared.

    1. Hey Angela,

      Your comment made my day! You must be my soul sister! I cannot thank you enough for your words of affirmation about my blog!

      I just love making or transforming things – – there is just something so rewarding about the process and the end result.

      It is always a delight to connect with others who love Jesus and cannot imagine living this earthly life without Him. ? I am still learning and growing in my faith and always will be. I am so glad to know you are active in your church. You are so blessed to have the gift of singing. I wish I had the gift of singing, but I don’t. ? However, I am learning how to play the violin. I am still terrible, but at least our cat Buddy no longer runs and hides each time I practice. ? Neal even says I am improving! My goal (maybe in 5 years) is to be able to play for family and church (in the background and not as a soloist). I love playing hymns and sing the verses in my head as I play. It is sort of becoming an extension of my quiet time.

      It is so funny you should mention raised beds because that is something on our list. Neal and I think we have finally identified a place in our yard to build some raised beds. However, I think that is a project for next year. Please let me know how your raised bed project goes for you.

      I love your beautiful state! We have visited Charlotte several times and many years ago almost moved to Clover, South Carolina, which is very close to Charlotte.

      Thanks again for connecting! I am just delighted to “meet” you digitally! Again, your sweet comments made my day!

      Blessings to you and your family during this “new normal”. May you feel the presence of Jesus each and every day!




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