Planning a Vegetable and Cut Flower Garden in Zone 8

June 17, 2020

It's finally close enough to time again to start planning a garden. 

Have I got a realtor? Not quite yet. 

But as soon as I land a teaching position for next year I will be working towards the house hunt. 

Let me tell y'all this though, the number 1 things I've missed the last two years has been gardening. 

Winter gardening in Zone 9 with my easy to assemble landscape timber raised bed.

In the past I planted a kitchen garden that was a long rectangle, to one end was a variety of herbs, then lettuce or cabbage, root veggies during the winter or squash in summer, whatever suited my fancy, and then my perennial strawberries. 

I loved how these strawberries just took over the far side of my garden over the years! 

One of the big items I'm looking for in a house is space to have a kitchen garden yet again, raised bed of course (again). As well as adding a cut flower space. I honestly love flowers but am not the type to splurge on buying them. What honestly seems more appealing to me is being able to water and cut them myself. 

As far as going the (and excuse the fact that I'm not well versed in lingo -  I have other gifts) landscape timber route again or more towards that 5x7 look, or whatever that cut of wood is. I do not know. It'll depend on ease of assembly, if my Dad is helping, and cost. 

The first tiny strawberry! Not long after that we started trying to keep the birds out.

What I'm most happy about is to be in Zone 8, or 7 depending on which site you ask. Either way it allows me to plant more of what I like to plant without the pain of the heat in Zone 9. Summer gardening in 9 was a beast due to the sun just burning everything, it's had to keep a garden going when the grass is scorched. Plus I will admit I'm awful at watering and that is why I tend towards a winter garden. 

Carrots just make me happy. And lemon thyme. Oh I can't wait to plant lemon thyme again! 

So, cut flower! In the past I've had your typical landscape flower beds, but I want to take it up a notch and grow a few bushes that are simply meant to be cut and brought inside. I've got some ideas, but luckily I've got time to further research 1) what I want to plant in Zone 8 and 2) what will grow best in Zone 8. 

No sense in planting anther bush just because I love it only to watch it never grow due to the zone. 

Click the photos below for a link to their websites! 

Low maintenance being the keep word here, this seems like a great list of shrubs to use and be able to cut for indoor use! 

If you like more of a wild flower look, which I do appreciate, this has some good options. I really like the style of many English gardens and how some of the flower placement feels more natural. I'm not one for a sculpted garden. This site also give a nice list of perennials and shrubs, because easy to tend is always my kind of garden! 

Here's a zone's list in case you need it. Most of the South is in Zone 8 with much of Florida and the lower areas of Louisiana being a touch more tropical. It definitely made it harder to grow coming from 8 down to 9/10 and initially thinking about gardening like my Dad does. What finally thrived was planting what I purchased at the local nursery and not a big box store. 

There are even more complicated hardiness zones if you want to get super specific. 

I love these infographics from Family, Food, & Garden about spacing and how to plant. I'll admit in the past I just planted, but there are plant species that bode well next to others. Some thought does need to go into it. 

Either way they had two great graphics on spacing and ideas for what to plant! Both images link back to their post. 

So, that's an idea of where I am mentally going with a new garden. I might even throw in a 3rd and have just herbs! It all depends on yard space. I want a garden to serve a few purposes 1) pretty 2) provide some veg and flowers, but not the sole source and 3) be a relaxing way to piddle outside after work. Watering and messing around in a garden is such a great way to not think and unwind at the end of the day. 

Two more posts I didn't link but are useful: