Posts Tagged ‘Three Neat Plants’

Three Neat Plants

Plectranthus argentatus

Finding plants with interesting foliage is always a treat, but if they’re discouragingly expensive or too fussy to grow successfully, the thrill can go off pretty quickly. So these days, I turn first to seed catalogs to see what I can grow for myself before I start hunting through online nursery listings or visiting local garden centers. Here are a few of my favorite foliage finds that are easy to start from seed and easy to grow in the garden, too.

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Three Neat Plants

Abelia mosanensis May 19 2011

The list of neat plants I want to tell you about keeps getting longer, so it’s about time to have a crack at checking off a few of them. First up, a must-have shrub for those who swoon over scented plants: Abelia mosanensis, known variously as hardy abelia, fragrant abelia, and bridal veil.

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Three Neat Plants

Tanacetum vulgare 'Isla Gold'

Herbs were the first group of plants that grabbed my attention as a youngster, and they quickly became a passion in my later teens, when I started gardening obsessively. Eventually I moved on to ornamental perennials, but lately, I’m finding myself drawn to herbs again, and I’m excited about planning an herb-themed planting for a new space I have to fill. In the process of sorting through plants that I already have here to see what might be suitable, I found a number of neat plants are both ornamental and – at least tangentially – herbal.

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Three Neat Plants

Oenanthe javanica 'Flamingo'

I’ve long been a sucker for plants with showy foliage, often falling for their pretty leaves without careful consideration of their sometimes less-than-attractive habits. I don’t much mind plants that produce lots of seedlings; if they’re truly gorgeous, having to snip off the spent flowers or weed out excess offspring seems a fair trade.

Plants that sneak around by creeping roots or stems are another matter. They look all cute and innocent for the first year or two; then suddenly, they’re popping up everywhere and generally making a nuisance of themselves. If I suspect or know for sure that a plant is likely to be a creeper, I’ve learned to trial it in a pot first.

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Three Neat Plants

Amaranthus 'Autumn Touch' July 4 10

It was tempting to go another direction with this post: along the lines of “be careful what you wish for.” After desperately wishing for rain all summer, we ended up getting all of that missing rain yesterday: 9 inches in just one day. So much for the one day this year that I had agreed to open the garden for a tour.

This morning’s reality included a toppled arbor, washed-out paths, and bedraggled asters. But really, fussing about too much rain isn’t any more helpful than all of the previous whining about too little, so I’d rather think about some new plants that have performed well this year, despite the adversity.

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Three Neat Plants

Polanisia dodecandra late July 10

The growing season is going strong and plenty of cool plants are strutting their stuff, so it’s a good time to choose a few candidates for Three Neat Plants. First up, redwhisker clammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra). Gee – doesn’t that common name make you want to rush out and buy it? Personally, I prefer “dwarf cleome.”

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Three Neat Plants

Hemerocallis 'Milk Chocolate' at Hayefield

I’m not a huge fan of daylilies (Hemerocallis) in general, but really, who could resist any plant with the name ‘Milk Chocolate’? And what an intriguing color it is: a rusty orange to coppery pink-orange, depending on the light, with a bit of darker maroon and a yellow throat, creating all kinds of exciting possibilities for combinations. I currently have it against ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus), shown above and below. Continue reading