I am so sorry to hear that you were injured and about your garden loosing so many plants. Last summer, I had infected stitches and my doctor said I couldn't sweat. I live in Florida. :) I hand water all my plants, and I lost many plants because I couldn't keep them wet enough. I was heart broken. I am sorting the pots now. (Some come back from roots.)
I grow mostly carnivorous plants, and there are many that are native to Alabama, Georgia, . . . and would do very well for you if you made a little bog garden for them. With your talent of making new things, you could make a bog garden out of anything -- a bathtub, an old boat, a wine barrel . . . They require a mix of peat and perlite with no fertilizers and lots of rain water. Other than that CPs are easy. Put them in full sun, keep them warm, and wet in summer, and let them go dormant like any other temperate plant in winter. The first year for seedlings, I would bring them in. After that you could safely leave them outside to 20 F. I would be thrilled to send you a few seeds to get you started: Sarracenia (American Pitcher Plants -- native depending on species from Newfoundland to Mississippi), Venus Flytraps (native to NC) and Drosera filiformis (Thread sundews depending on type from New Jersey to Alabama). All of these would do great for you. Keep them wet and they would be happy. Very easy to grow and beautiful. Have to be patient though. The plants need to be 5 years old to bloom.
The picture is from my hybrid Sarracenia "Daina's Delight". First bloom this year.