I would like to spruce up the area around my mailbox, which is currently just lawn. Do you have any recommendations?
Answer: The specifics of what you plant will depend on your climate and your taste, but here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
Choose low-maintenance plants that don't require frequent deadheading or watering. You want this area to always look its best, since it is front-and-center to your home.
You can plant a quick-growing vine to climb up your mailbox post. Mandevilla, morning glory and climbing nasturtiums are lightweight, floriferous choices that won't overwhelm the mailbox and interfere with delivery.
Use annuals that bloom all summer, mixing a variety of height. Tall options to hide the post include cleome and cosmos (shown). Shorter choices for the front and sides of the area include tender geraniums (Pelargonium), impatiens and marigolds, just to name a few.
In areas with heavy snow fall, where plowing and salting are frequent, avoid using shrubs that could be damaged by these winter activities.
If you want to include perennials, be sure to choose a range of plants that will bloom at different points in the season and to include some foliage plants.
Plan your garden with the Perennial, Annual and Shade Garden Wheels, 3-D tools that make garden design easy.
Read about familiar and less common annuals, plus seed-starting and transplanting techniques, in Horticulture's Annuals CD.
Attract hummingbirds to your garden with Renee's Garden Bonus Pack: Seeds for a Hummingbird Garden.
Get a grasp on gardening basics and more with Session One of Garden How-To University.