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Garden Style in New Orleans

New Orleans is known for jazz, beignets, and letting the good times roll. It’s also very floral city. By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Petal-Packed Urn in Jackson Square

One of the most visited spots in New Orleans, Jackson Square is located in the French Quarter. Named for Andrew Jackson, who was the hero of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans (and later became president), this popular spot features a statue of Jackson on horseback. Just inside the gate opening into the square stands an impressive black metal urn filled with a topiary boxwood surrounded by a flush of white petunias. St. Louis Cathedral, stands in the background.  

Jackson Square is home to artists of all stripes: plein air painters, caricaturists, musicians, jugglers, magicians, fortune tellers. The square has been featured in movies and television shows, such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, King Creole, and HBO's Treme.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY 
Plant a boxwood pyramid or other columnar shrub or tree such as arborvitae and surround the base of the planter with cascading flowering annuals such as petunias or calibrachoa or foliage annuals, such as creeping Jenny.

Channel Your Inner Flamingo in the Marigny

The most colorful neighborhood in New Orleans is the Marigny, a section that features street after street of brightly colored jewelbox houses. This Creole neighborhood is filled with courtyard gardens, front porch containers, and overflowing window boxes.

In this courtyard, a small garden features a pair of whimsical plastic flamingoes holding court. The candy-pink house with bright blue trim is complimented by an exuberant swath of early-spring flowering pansies.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Add personal elements to your yard that express your own style or humor. Color coordinate flowers and foliage with the yard art you choose.

French Quarter Balcony Gardens

Ornamental curlie-cued cast iron is an iconic feature of the architecture of New Orleans. The ornate iron work, including porch and balcony railings, gates, and garden tables and chairs, date back to the 1850s. Balcony gardens, with hanging baskets of ferns and railing-anchored boxes of blooms grace building after building in the French Quarter. These high-rise gardens above the street keep gardeners looking up in admiration as they walk by.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Get the lush look of ferns by using hanging baskets of big-leafed macho ferns. Flank doorways with upright-growing Kimberly Queen ferns in urns.

Formal Downtown Planters

Even though New Orleans is known for the Cajun French tagline "laissez le bon temps rouler" (let the good times roll), there’s also a formality to some gardens and planters. Seen in the area around Canal Street, this black, wrought-iron planter is filled with a trio of pyramidal boxwoods surrounded at the base with pink double-flowered kalanchoe and swaths of variegated ivy.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
This formal planter gets its good look for the repetition of three simple elements: pyramid tree, pink upright flowering plants, and variegated white-and-green spillers. The green and pink combination is a winning look.

High-Rise Excess in The French Quarter

New Orleans doesn’t hold back. Not in their music, their food, or their flowers. In the French Quarter, balcony gardens on second and third stories transform small spaces into expressive floral fantasies.

This house dresses up with eight matching planters that create a uniform, but beautifully excessive look. Upright plants are mixed with hanging plants to create foliage that blooms in all directions.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
See how to plant a container in 6 easy steps.

The Power of One

When you discover a good thing, why not repeat it? That’s the decorating theory behind the success of this second story balcony garden. Six, side-by-side haybasket-style window boxes are filled to the brim with big masses of fuchsia petunias. So simple, and so effective. Massing color delivers a bold look.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Start with good soil, and keep pots watered well all summer. Doses of foliar fertilizer will help keep flowers flowering.

Streetside Planter

New Orleans isn’t all about balconies; there are plenty of street level flowers that keep the tourists entertained and impressed. In this cool weather trough planter, annuals such as pansies, snapdragons, and sweet alyssum mix it up with hot-weather lovers such as caladium.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Mix hot-weather annuals in with cool weather beauties to make the transition from spring to summer.

Audubon Park Walkways

Take the Charles Street Trolley (for $1.25!) through the beautiful Garden District to the Uptown neighborhood and get off at Audubon Park where you can wander leisurely through this 350-acre wonderland. Shaded paths skirt ponds edged with giant elephant ears (aka Colocasia).

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Elephant ear does best in rich, slightly moist soil. The plants thrive in sun or partial shade and look stunning in large planters or urns. Because this plant likes wet feet, it can also be grown in bog or rain gardens.

New Orleans Botanic Gardens

Located inside New Orleans City Park, the Botanical Gardens feature the nation’s largest stand of mature live oaks and more than 2,000 plants from around the world. Ten acres of gardens includes rose gardens, water gardens,  native plants, ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and theme gardens, which includes the Butterfly Walk and Hummingbird Garden.

TOURIST TAKEAWAY
Plant your own butterfly garden that features nectar for butterflies and host plants for larvae. See how to attract these winged wonders to your garden, here.