Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Six Plants I Cannot Live Without, 2010 Edition

So this is a continuation of a post from last year, which was following up from an interesting meme I wasn’t invited to participate in.  ;-)

I wanted to chronicle how my garden favourites change from year to year with experience.   Indeed, some favourites have stayed on the list; others have bumped a couple of last year’s favourites.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still love last year’s!  But these are the plants I’m enjoying most right NOW.

Last year, everybody’s favourites seemed to be flowers and ornamental plants, even though they are not exactly essential to our human life in as direct a way as some vegetable and grain crops.  Still; we are sentimental folk.  Two of mine this year are edible, but the rest are still “just” decorative. 

So… The Six Garden Plants I Can't Live Without!!!  In no particular order.

1. Back from last year!  Coleus (Solenostemon scutelleroides). Of course! It's a mint, so it stands up to almost anything (except cold - what a wimp when it comes to cold!) and it's almost as varied as the rainbow. Lights up the shade, propagates oh so easy.

2. Back from last year!  Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). Not so decorative, kind of weedy-looking actually, so why does it linger as one of my favourite plants EVER? Well, that's easy! Three reasons: yum, yum, yum.

3. Back from last year!  Hosta (Hosta). Okay, they are workaday and very much overdone in everybody's yard, including mine. But they grow and thrive with mostly neglect, come back reliably every year, and there's a lot to be said for that. Like I said last year, being green in the background is hosta's job... and it does it so well.  Oh, and this is the second year for my FRAGRANT BOUQUET hosta – so I can truly say they sometimes even smell great!

4.  Swamp Milkweed (asclepias incarnata).  Sounds hideous, but they look lovely.  And the fluffy seedpods provide an exciting science lesson for the kiddies.  I know, I know… a dandelion provides the same lesson, for free.  Nevertheless, there it is.

rasps 002

5.  Raspberries (Rubus idaeus).  Why haven’t I given these guys credit before?  They are amazing!  I love them!  We all love them, and they just kind of lurk, like weeds, at the side of the garage.  Okay, they’re huge now and need a ton of pruning, but hopefully I’ll get to it someday really, really soon.  Meanwhile, they bear fruit twice a year and need zero watering.  The ultimate low-maintenance, kid-friendly garden plant.

6.  Rock Cress (Arabis alpina).  First to bloom, and it’s true that they spend the rest of the season just lying there, like flat green rugs.  I can’t even find a picture of these to include, but believe me, they were a gorgeous, lush carpet of white at a time of year with nothing but daffodils were blooming.  Why am I not similarly grateful for daffs, crocus, grape hyacinths, etc?  You can see those everywhere – but I had to go into my backyard to see the Arabis.  They were recommended strongly by Canadian garden writer Patrick Lima, and I ran out and bought some immediately after reading his book.  I have not been disappointed.

Notables that almost but didn’t quite make it on:  BANANA, BEE BALM, GOLDEN TANSY.  I have written a separate ode to the golden tansy here.  The truth is, August is NOT prime time for the tansy; it flowers and gets floppy and I sometimes forget how truly wondrous it was back in April, and June.  Maybe next year I’ll post this list earlier and the tansy will make it on at last (I did sneak in a picture of it on last year’s list!).

That's my six, for now!  I plan to update with pics once my batteries recharge from taking blurry spider photos.  And, of course, I’ll hopefully get a chance to update again next year!

…So what are yours???

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