Lawn and Garden

Old House Garden Staples

August 6, 2022

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I'm Heather, an Old House Lover, DIY Addict, Gardener Wannabe, and Crazy Dog Lady. I have renovated historic houses for over 20 years now with an emphasize on preservation over a quick flip. Now, I take great joy in teaching others the ins and outs of the renovation world.

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For me, the garden is just as much a part of home as the house. I spend countless hours outside tending to my garden and it is truly a labor of love. I love watching the plants grow and the garden mature because it reminds me daily to enjoy the small things in life and to be patient. It’s especially rewarding to care for plants that have been around for years, some dating back 50+ years.

When I purchased my house five years ago, I had two camellia trees and an otherwise clean slate. While I had hoped for more mature plants, it did give me the opportunity to select plants I loved. Most of what I chose would have been garden staples in the early 1900’s when my house was built.

Old House Garden Staples

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Hydrangeas: While the big full blooms are my favorite, I have several varieties in my yard and over 30 in total.
  • Carolina Jessamine: This trailing beauty grows quickly and I hope in a couple of years will cover my new covered pergola.
  • Gardenias – These evergreens have beautiful white blooms and are very fragrant.
  • Confederate Jasmine: Another trailing evergreen, these can be found in many gardens in historic Charleston, SC and their aroma is intoxicating.
  • Boxwoods: A classic in any garden, these bushes provide structure throughout the year.
  • Roses: No garden can go wrong with roses with their beautiful, colorful blooms and since they come in such a variety, there’s plenty to choose from.

Click below for a few more.

Trailing Plants

With my new Covered Pergola complete, I have started trailing the Carolina Jessamine I planted three years ago. I used garden training wire and hooks, and although it will take some time to fill in, I can already envision how beautiful it will look.


The Inspiration:

The dream is to have Carolina Jessamine trailing from one direction and climbing roses from the other. This would create an arch of plants on both sides of the covered pergola and a cozy, beautiful place to hang out with family and friends.

Last week I asked friends on Instagram what are some plants they think of when they think of an old house garden and there were so many great suggestions. Below is a list of all of the Old Garden Favorites I hope will inspire you to add a few to your own garden.

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