Creating Your Secret Garden | Part 2: Frost Doesn’t Have to Be a Foe

One of the toughest decisions to make when creating your garden is when to plant your crops. Choosing which plants to plant can be a daunting task – I always struggle with this. Whether it’s because I want to plant too much, worried about space, or timing of plants. The next several posts will be about when to plant, what plant for each season, and some helpful hints for success as well. Of course, planting is subjective due to weather, environment, and time of year – but I hope this article, and future ones, will give you some helpful hints and help guide your planting experience. This article will specifically be focused on the early spring and frost resistant crops. Frost can be a major danger to a lot of plants. Not only can it cause damage to foliage, but it can also kill some of your plants altogether.  It is important to make sure you plant frost resistant or cold hardy plants during these early days to ensure success in your garden.

Flowers – Bulbs and Annuals

Bulbs are essentially the resting stage of a plant. When the bulb reaches the right temperature, saturation and nutrition, then it grows into a wonderful plant. There are several cold hardy flowers that grow from bulbs including daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, irises and crocuses. These bulbs are typically planted in the fall and bloom in late winter early spring. Here you will find some more information on great bulbs for your garden.


Annuals are plants that need to be replanted every year. These are plants you can typically buy in seed form or once they have sprouted and had their first blooms. Some of these cold hardy annuals include pansies/violas, calendulas, snapdragons, sweet peas and poppies. Personally, in South Carolina, I have not had a whole lot of success with poppies (even though they show magnificently at Brookgreen Gardens), but I have had a lot of success with pansies in the past that last through the fall! Here you will find a great list of cool-hardy annuals with some information on best time for germination as well.

Make it Green – Shrubs and More

Shrubs are great for a variety of reasons. They can add privacy, color, and shape to any garden. There are many different types of shrubs including ones that are evergreen, flower, and produce fruit. Some of the ones that we grow that are frost resistant are hollies, azaleas, and boxwoods. Each have their own purpose on our property. Yes, flowers can be fragile and difficult to grow while shrubs tend to be overall more hardy. Don’t be afraid to use shrubs in a variety of colors, flowers, and fruit bearing to add color to your garden during these cooler months. Here is a link to some of the cool hardy shrubs that can bring some color to your garden.


Trees may not be something you think of as having trouble with frost. As far as the cold, killing a tree in its older years of life is not likely. There are several trees that bloom and leaf during the cooler months or even year-round that can help bring color to your garden. Evergreens are easy because they are cool hardy and stay green year-round. One of my favorites is the magnolia. Not only is it an evergreen, but I love the large blooms of early summer! Some other early leafing or blooming trees are dogwoods, cherry trees, and crabapples. Here is a link so some of the other early flowering spring trees.

Crops – Can you really grow some cold hardy crops?

Yes! There are definitely plants that are resistant to cold temperatures and even frost. Cold temperatures can not only kill plants, but can also burn the foliage of some crops as well. Some of the crops that we have done well with during the spring months are sugar snaps, cabbage, spinach, and even strawberries. Listed below are some links with more helpful information on cold hardy crops and how to insure success with insight on some planting techniques.


Covering Plants for Late Frost

If you do plant your crops too early or there is a very late frost, it doesn’t mean you have signed their death wish already. There are definitely things you can do to help protect your crops from frost and help ensure a successful future.  Whether it be bringing container plants indoors for a night’s stay inside, saturating the soil thoroughly to help maintain the warmth, or covering your beds with a bedsheet overnight to insulate them, there are methods by which you can potentially evade the worst.

So in short, you don’t have to leave your garden barren during these cooler months. Not only are there cold hardy plants that flower but cold hardy crops that do just fine in these cooler temperatures. There are steps you can take to not only protect your plants – but in general plants are resistant and resilient. They will probably come back as long as the frost and cold doesn’t last for long periods of time. Remember you won’t know how successful you will be until you try! So get out there and get started!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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