Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Three plants in particular


No, not the ones I would take to a desert island, though I like that challenge and have read a few thoughtful selections. Instead, I have decided on three commemorative plants. Recent events have been exciting and momentous; after 8 years of turning down the radio periodically so I would not have to listen to certain voices, I am interested in political events once more. Who knows, by May, when I plant these, I might be disgusted again, but for now I’m hopeful. I’m thinking I’d like to plant some new cultivars that would mark this optimism.

The first will be a hydrangea. These are my favorite shrubs; there is something so typically hometown American about them, though many are not native plants. A quercifolia is, though, and it’s one of the few I don’t have. I do have the other native variety, arborescens.

The second plant will be an unusual clematis. I am choosing plants that people notice for their beauty, not the sort of mainstay plants that everyone has, as appreciated and wonderful as these are. I have selected the clematis tangutica “Chinese Lanterns.” It might blend well with my c. alpina "Stolwijk Gold," which has gold foliage.

The third one will be a striking shade plant. I am thinking of pulmonaria saccharata "Mrs. Moon." I have one with narrower leaves; I think it is the majeste. (Many would consider this and the hydrangea ordinary plants, but I don't—it's all in ones perspective.)

I’ve not chosen plants I routinely add every year, like lilium, verbena bonariensis, tall nicotiana, dahlia, and so on. The plants here—a perennial, a shrub, and a vine—are meant to be high impact cultivars that will only get better over time.

16 comments:

jodi said...

I'm with you, Elizabeth; I'm going to plant a quercifolia this year, having had success with various lacecaps, PG-types, and others. The trick in my Fundy garden will be to locate it in a microclimate protecting it from the worst of our vile winter winds, and also in a spot with better drainage than some parts of our clay-and-spring-riddled land.
You will love 'Mrs Moon' pulmonaria, I think; but then I never met a pulmonaria I didn't love, mildew being a very minor concern here despite the fog and clay. My personal favourite is P. longifolia ssp. cevennensis (whew, try saying that in a hurry, and I'm not sure I've spelled the subspecies correctly); its leaves are longer and spangled in a lot of silver, and the flowers are a rich cobalt blue. When they're not pink, of course.
You've actually thrown open a real nice topic for discussion; trying new plants in the garden. I'm going to chew on this while I do some housework (waiting for email/phone calls from interview subjects) and see what comes up for me.

JCharlier said...

The only plant I'd take to a desert island would be a desalinization plant.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Lovely pics EAL. I like the clematis the best.

ledgeandgardens said...

Every garden can use more natives! I need some H. arborescens. I think I like them better than the cultivar 'Annabelle' which has almost garishly big flowers. How do you like yours? H. quercifolia is another one for the 'list'. Great fall color...oh, wait a minute, I do have one of those! Do you ever lose plants or forget you have them?

EAL said...

I don't have a huge property like you, LAG. I like my Annabelle. It's big and blowsy, but that's cool.

flowergardengirl said...

I was distracted for just a minute while reading your post----James Taylor was singing. He's so dreamy.

I like how you said that a hydrangea is so American. It will never go out of style.

I'm always trying new cultivars and it's so exciting. The wait is fun. I'm not surprised at your choices. Unlike your highly intoxicated name---you really have an elegantly quiet garden. It's peaceful.

Chandramouli S said...

Great choice, Elizabeth! Dahlia and Lilium! Aha! Go! Go! I was excited on reading this post as if the optimism could flow through the monitor into me. With that energy alive, I sowed the Aster seeds. Let's see how our green friends grow into.

fairegarden said...

Hi Elizabeth, this is good food for thought, I love your choices but the hydrangeas have been struggling with the drought we have had the last two years. My Mrs. Moon actually died from the dryness. What a great clemmie, those too have had a hard time of it. Winter rains have brought the water levels up some though, maybe our gardening will return to its normal robust self. I don't want my new plant choices to be cacti.
Frances

lisa said...

Good selections! I've coveted that yellow clematis for some time, and I finally got some seeds!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Yes, you must get a Hydrangea quercifolia! I love my H.q. 'Snow Queen.' It just gets better every year. I love quercifolias so much I planted another one last fall. 'Little Honey.' The only caveat I would make is that you should site it away from where any one (painters, utility people) might drop something on it. The branches are brittle & break easily. (I learned that from several painful experiences.)

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence said...

I got very practical
I choose:
grapes for wine
wheat for bread
hops for beer

Gail said...

EAL,

Love your plants. This is the summer that I want to try some new and different...Natives! Like the H quercifolia "Little Honey"...what a lovely color. Btw, Pee Wee an Oakleaf hydrangea is a nice size for a smaller garden. It has great fall color. Gail

garden girl said...

Very nice choices! I love them all. I had Mrs. Moon in my last garden, but haven't added it here yet. She's my favorite pulmonaria.

Steve said...

What always amazed me was the wide variety of cultivars in the Hydrangeas. I have now used Hydrangea Vines, Tree Hydrangea's and the various shrub Hydrangea's all over the place. The tree Hydrangea's are particularly gorgeous, to my mind. They take up some serious space as well and bloom for long periods. Neat plant.

Nice choices!

EAL said...

Steve I think I could probably have a garden of nothing but hydrangeas.

wabisabi said...

you will love your quercifolia. it's gorgeous in every season. watching the colors of the blooms change from pink to white to pink again -- and the leaves in autumn -- it's just my favorite.