Sunday, December 4, 2011

5 Plants I Want in Every Garden

Our current garden is still a work in progress, as every garden will ever be, but sometimes I like to think about what my next garden will be like.  We have no immediate plans to move but one day our growing family will need more room in the house (and with two girls probably more bathrooms!). When that day comes there are several plants from my garden that I enjoy so much I will be sure to replant in that new garden. My list for this post isn't all inclusive (or ranked in any way) but here are five plants that I will be sure to get established in any new garden in the future!

Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low')

I like catmint for several reasons. It's a constant bloomer.  It always seems to be one of the first perennials to get going in mid-spring and one of the last perennials to stop blooming for fall.  Catmint attracts pollinators constantly and would be a great asset to a vegetable garden for that reason but also as a pest repellent.  Not much bothers a catmint!  The leaves smell great too and can be used in herbal teas.

Catmint on lower left, Poppies to the upper  right.


Poppies

Poppies would be another plant for any garden.  Poppies are extremely easy to grow and if you allow them to set seed they will self-sow.  I planted the red poppies here in this garden from a free packet of seeds several years ago and ever since they have gifted the garden with their beauty during spring.

Japanese Maple

Who wouldn't want a beautiful Japanese maple tree in their garden?  I plan on keeping several in my gardens.  Right now we have six Japanese maples planted.  They were all planted as relatively small plants (they can be quite expensive otherwise!).  My most recent planting was a 'Crimson Queen' which is a beautiful weeping maple with dissected leaves. It's a slow grower and will only reach about 5 feet tall in ten years or so. 



Coneflower

Coneflowers may be a common perennial, but for good reason!  They attract pollinators like magnets, they look great, self-sow nicely, and need very little care. The only issue I have had has been from caterpillar damage in the fall when the silvery checkerspot larvae are hungry.  Of course that isn't even an issue if I consider my coneflowers a butterfly host plant!



Heuchera

For the last of the five let's look at the heuchera! This one is 'Silver Scrolls' but I like so many varieties of heuchera I can't pick just one.  Heuchera is one of the plants in my garden that is never bothered by deer or rabbits.  The only maintenance my heucheras needs is the removal of dead flower stems and an occasional division although I don't consider dividing plants as work! 






There are so many more I could mention,  I'll have to have a follow up post!


How about you? What five plants would you plant in every new garden landscape?

11 comments :

  1. Heather-Lin BrannonDecember 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Oh Dave, pick just five? That's like picking your favorite child, or ice cream flavor:) As an unrepentant plant hog, I think it would be a challenge just to pick five genus... Or categories! Edibles, wildlife-friendly, drought tolerant, fragrant, and....... Evergreens! Whew, I didn't think I could actually do it. Good challenge:D

    Great article! And thanks for the encouragement on the poppies. I've been saving up poppy seeds for years now, never planting because I didn't want to lose them. Bet yours are already up now, aren't they?

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  2. Heather,

    It sure is like picking a favorite child! There will be another post later in the week with a few more. These were just a random set of five that I thought were a good start! You're right, the poppies are already growing!

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  3. Dave,
    This is a great list! A few Japanese maples are a must for my future garden! Hope this becomes a reality for you some day!

    Nate Armstrong

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  4. We've got four out of the five in this garden and we had the other one in our last garden. Lovely choices especially the heucheras...

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  5. I have all five, though I dug up most of my heucheras and potted them for the winter to keep the voles from tunneling the roots in the cold weather. I may just keep the heucheras in containers as they do look so lovely on my patio.

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  6. Hi,

    I have to agree with them all - and there's no way I could chose only 5 for my list! :D

    I'd love to have the Nepeta, but we already have enough problems with cats in the garden that I don't want to give them any more reason to come visit, otherwise they would definitely feature here.

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  7. Thanks Nate! My dream would be several acres to tinker and toy with! Oh and a big enough house for the family too ;).

    Thanks Gail. They've done a great job here for sure!

    Janet,

    Which one was left behind? Any reason for not using it again in your new garden?

    Freda,

    I'll bet they look great! I haven't met a heuchera I didn't like! I suspect their drought tolerance makes them great choices for pots.

    Liz,

    I have way more than 5 to talk about for sure. These aren't at the top of a list, just on the list! You should try the catmint. It doesn't attract cats like catnip. We have cats floating about here but they hunt the voles and rabbits and don't bother the gardens at all.

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  8. Hmm, I might have to try planting catmint next year - it looks so pretty! I tried planting poppy seeds last year, but they didn't do so well (we had barely any spring and the temperatures soon shot up to the 90's, which were not kind on little seedlings). They are so pretty, though!

    I'd have to think about my top 5 list. It would definitely include clematis, salvia, and butterfly bush. And probably rudbeckia. And daffodils. So many plants to love!

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  9. Brilliant, Dave! I will retweet this and your other post because they are both bang on. A little adjustment for our colder climate, but we roll with it.

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  10. I moved here from NJ this spring, and had so much fun picking out garden flowers. Now I get to see what comes back in Spring. Love your 'top five' and 'five more' picks. I would humbly add perennial plumbago (the low growing kind) and annual verbena bonariensis (the tall stuff). In Jersey, the verbena self-seeds so well it may as well be perennial. Guess I will find out next year if the same goes in Tennessee.

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