18 March 2009

I WANT THAT! Plants that are trying to seduce bloomingwriter...

(Photos from GardenImport or Terra Nova Nurseries)
Ohhhhhhhhh nooooooeeessss. It's that time of year again. I've kept a pretty tight rein on my emotions, but the fact of the matter is, calendar spring, if not real spring, is almost upon us. And in the spring a gardener's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...

New plants, of course. Luscious, heartwarming, plant-lust-inciting new varieties like Hot Papaya coneflower above, new-to-us varieties like Candy Mountain Digitalis below, old favourites...I simply need new plants. Never mind that my OLD beloved plants (some of which are relatively new plants) are still buried for the most part under the slowly-diminishing glaciers in our yard. Tonight while walking in Bridgewater, I caught the scent of spring on the air, and that tripped me from garden-denial into instant plant-seeking frenzy.

Of course, it's way too early for garden centres to be open or new plants to be beckoning to me from nurseries and greenhouses. Doesn't matter. I saw green shoots of crocus coming up in the garden at the house where I stay in Liverpool, and that did the trick. I started thinking in earnest about what I'd NEED to get this year, and started compiling a list of things that may or may not make it into our garden. Here's a few of them. 

You've seen a few of my latest plant obsessions in recent posts, from the huge collection of gotta-have coneflowers to a green primula (and other greenflowered whimsies). But now, we're going to delve a bit deeper into the wonderful world of new plants. 

Before I go on, a clarification. I grow a LOT of heirloom, heritage and native plants in my garden. It's easy for me to do because I have a LOT of room, and our garden (in my mind) includes the edges of the paddock and pasture, the perimeter of our very wild and grown-in pond, and the boundaries of our acreage. But I do love exploring new plants and resist absolutism in almost everything, including eschewing the 'only native' or 'only heritage' mindset. That's find for those who choose that route, just not my way. My only absolutism is in despising goutweed. And federal conservatives (by which I mean OUR federal cons, not those of other countries. Chacun a son gout!)

Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Little Honey'. Oakleaf hydrangeas have been on my want list for about five years now, ever since I saw one don its fall foliage finery in a garden a little further down the Valley. This goldleafed variety sent me into a tailspin, I was so charmed by it,. Will I go for this one? Probably not this year, even if easily available. What I'll do instead: Try one of the older varieties and see how it fares.

Scabiosa 'Beaujolais'. I love pincushion flowers, which we normally see in blue, white, or a sort of tepid pink. This is none of those colours, is it? Will I go for it? Absolutely, although at the moment I only know of it as available by mailorder; from a reputable company, GardenImport, who I wholeheartedly recommend. My only problem (and it's not the nursery's) as everyone knows, my microclimate here on the high hill means that spring puts in a later appearance here than in much of the province, and then there's the whole 'will it accept my clay?" issue. 

Never met an agastache, or hummingbird mint, that I didn't adore. For the past few years I've been buying several from a greenhouse I like in Waterville, and attempting to overwinter it outdoors without much success. (But to be honest I haven't been trying all that hard.) This new colour variety is 'Summer Glow', and while it might not attract hummingbirds as strongly as red or orange-flowered ones, I bet that the bees and butterflies will also love it. Will I go for it? If I can find it, absolutely. If I can't? The salmon and hot pink varieties will do for now.

Ohhhhhh, this is too pretty for words. Meet Cercis 'Hearts of Gold', a truly well-named redbud cultivar. Those luminous gold leaves make MY heart happy, and of course prompt me to sing Neil Young. Will I go for it? Unlikely at this point. I don't have a redbud and think they're a bit marginal for my hill, though not for other parts of the province. I'll let someone else try this first and report on it.
Hypericum 'Mystical Red Star'. St. John's worts are just awesome plants, whether they are herbaceous or shrubby. I have several different shrubby varieties in the garden now, and they've done well for me, although I sadly abandoned trying to grow 'Brigadoon', a gold-bronze-leaved perennial, because it wouldn't overwinter for me. There are four or five in the 'Star' series of hypericum, and I'd gladly try any of them. So if I see any of them around the nurseries in NS, I'll be dragging them home in the PlantMobile. 

Nigella 'Moody Blues'. I love Nigella, also called 'Love in a Mist.' I've long been a fan of The Moody Blues. Will I plant this? Absolutely, along with every other nigella variety I can find from seed. They tend to self-seed for a few years but last year I had very few, so it's time to cast around some seed again. 

Helleborus 'Jade Tiger'. Oh. My. Goodness! This made my heart quiver with plant-envy. As faithful readers know, I've been not-hugely successful with hellebores, but last year saw success thanks to the wisdom of other gardeners who do hellebores very very well. So far, mine are still buried in snow this winter, but I expect they'll emerge from the glacer one of these days, and then it'll be time to protect them with evergreen boughs til the weather levels out. Will I be seduced by the jade tiger? Probably not, but I've had another hellebore called 'Gold Finch' on my mind since last spring when I saw it at Briar Patch, so maybe, just maybe, I'll succumb to that temptation instead. 

Heucherella 'Sweet Tea'. Heucherellas are interesting plants, crossbreds between Tiarella (foamflowers) and Heucheras (coral-bells, alumroots). Breeders have gotten quite exuberant about hybridizing them in funky new colours, same as with heucheras, and this one is certainly a pretty pretty thing. Will I go for it? Unlikely at this time. The orange/salmon/yellow-leafed heucheras, in my experience, have been the least hardy at overwintering in my abrupt climate, and while I do have several Tiarella/heucherella varieties now, I'm going to wait a year or two on this plant, pretty as its foliage is. 

Or so I say now. Who knows what will happen if I see any of these plants at one of my favourite nurseries. You'll all back me when I tell longsuffering spouse I needed them, won't you? 


  1. Why of course I will! Amazing list of flowers you like to have.
    And I say go for it!

  2. Stop showing me that agastache and scabiosa. My heart will not take it. My garden is busting at the planned seams this year. Nothing is really planted in it yet but I'm pretty sure there are more on the want list than there is room in the garden. I'm enjoying being seduced though.

  3. I want them all, jodi! I've had a taste of spring weather and felt the warm sun kiss my face ... buds are swelling, sleepy plants awakening, and my heart is swelling ... I want, I want, I want! (Thanks for the tempting post ... I might not sleep tonight!)

  4. It is so easy to be seduced by all the new plants on the market each year. I did order Little Honey though, I needed an Oakleaf for my collection. :)

  5. Of course we will and you would do the same for us! ...and now on to the fabulous beauties you've shown us....they are lovely and oh so tempting, several will go on the
    already miles long "I want those beauties for that spot over there and there and there..." list! I am hoping the snow is receding fast in NS! gail

  6. Hi Jodi~~ Thompson & Morgan is selling seeds of Scabiosa 'Beaujolais Bonnets.' I purchased a packet but haven't started them yet. This scabiosa has been a must-have on my list for a few years now. I kept hoping the local nurseries would sell it but I finally succumbed to T&M's persuasions.

    I bought Hydrangea 'Little Honey' last fall. Love it.

    I've got a variegated hypericum in a shady spot under an arbor. Great plant. There are some hypericum "ground cover" types that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

    I totally concur with your plant choices. In fact I don't do much yellow but 'Summer Glow' agastache
    is looking mighty tempting. :)

  7. Oh Jodi, talk about plant lust! I am in love with 'Hot Papaya'! Have not seen that one before. Makes the sundown series pale in comparison. And that 'Scabiousa Beaujolias is a must, must, must!

    I hope this isn't a 2 part post. I wasn't going to add anything new this year other than what I started from seed.
    (thanks though for showing these beauties)

  8. Jodi, Jodi, (shakes head), the way you go about it you will need to rob a bank to pay for all that plantlust. ;-)

    Nigella's are great, aren't they, veru pretty and so easy to grow. Love the hearts of gold too!

  9. If only I'd seen this earlier - I could have sent you some Nigella seeds!

    I've been nurturing a tiny oak leaf Hydrangea in my cold frame over winter. I think now is the time for it to go into its new home.

    Do you think that all gardeners are never satisfied with the size of their gardens - there's always a couple of dozen must-haves that have to fitted in somewhere aren't there?

  10. Jodi, plant lust and plant lists are never ending here. I can grow all the plants on your list but I don't have your acreage. Our garden centres are open year round - the temptations! I am trying not to buy plants until I know where they are going but the temptations! If I saw Hot Papaya coneflower, it would come home with me, I haven't grown agastaches before but have some seed for this year.

    I am going to dig up a bit more lawn! Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  11. OMG Jodi, you have given me a bad case of the wants. That golden leafed hydrangea is an eye popper.

  12. Hi Jodi, or should I say Ha Jodi? Plant wanting, sometimes needing madness strikes us all, even though whose spring has sprung. Early mornings are the weak point for me, going to visit those mail order nurseries that keep me abreast of the latest and greatest via email. I could unsubscribe, but like looking. Sometimes the fingers type in the credit card number before the coffee has kicked in. Sometimes it is quite surprising what they have ordered. :-)

  13. Jodi- I really like the Scabiosa Beaujolais! I have only seen the blue and pink variety...blah. I too have coveted Little Honey. It is so interesting. I like your entire list as a matter of fact. Great wish list!!

  14. Hi Jodi !
    Hope you are feeling great ! .. signs of Spring helping ? LOL
    I have run across most of these on my web travels .. and YES !! I want all of them too girl : )
    Sweet Tea really struck me since I love that group of plants and they are tolerant of drier conditions.
    But YES !! to all of them for sure : )

  15. Don't worry Jodi - we've got your back! Good thing the long-suffering spouses of gardeners throughout the world haven't united and organized (yet.)

    Just tell him you're doing your part to stimulate the economy. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

  16. Jodi, all your choices are wonderful -- especially on this dull, drizzly morning! -- but that Heucherella toward the end takes the trophy for me! What a gorgeous colour! I must, must, MUST see your garden this summer! :)

  17. We probably should have had to include something about this problem we gardeners have in our marriage vows to the longsuffering spouses. Bless their hearts. They just know how it goes with our gardening obsession and they hang with us anyway. I'm looking at some of your choices with envy this morning.

    Imagine this... I DO have oakleaf hydrangea. New to me last year and just bought another one. They don't turn that amazing gold but more of a rust color in autumn. To get any change of color here is a treat.

    Hot Papaya and Sweet Tea are jumping out at me this morning. All very fabulous choices actually... lucky you for having so many choices and so much room for them.

    Here's to plant seduction... got to have it!
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  18. The digitalis is certainly spectacular. I'll look for that one. The agastache is pretty, I'm trying a new one from seed. Hope it has time to bloom in our short summer season.

  19. You are not helping my willpower at all. With the economy the way it is, and my not actually needing a single thing for the gardens, I have been trying to resist, but I think I've come to the realization that it's useless.

    Your taste and mine in flowers is nearly identical, so just know that every time you post photos and tell of something new, you're contributing to my "problem."

    You enabler, you.

  20. Jodi, every time I open a new catalog, I am seduced by certain plants...and now you have added to that list! The scabiosa Beaujolais is a beauty and so is the heucherella "Sweet Tea." I'm going to be on the lookout for both of those. I was given some nigella seed; now I really hope they grow--I wonder if mine are blue? And thanks for the reminder about the agastache--I don't have any yet and wanted to plant some this year. Now I'm going to have to go write all these down, so I don't forget them!

  21. I'm holding off my wish lists until I get to the nursery. Then I'll wish I had a bigger truck :)

    I love that Hot Papaya coneflower. It figures my favorite nursery has 22 coneflowers listed but not that one.

  22. I agree with you about new plants. Part of the fun of gardening is trying new things and fitting them in with the natives & heirlooms we already grow. The Scabiosa is such a fantastic color. It would look great next to either Hydrangea 'Little Honey' or the Cercis (which I lust after in my heart, but doubt I can grow in my garden).

  23. You and I should switch places periodically. You'd love that our garden centers stay open YEAR ROUND and have lots of outdoor aisles to browse for year round gardening. And I would love to explore your garden centers for all the exciting things that I've never seen before (like just about everything you've featured in this post).


  24. Ooh, that Scabiosa 'Beaujolais' is scrumptious! I love the Nigella too and want to try some this summer. Agastache too. That 'Jade Tiger' Helleborus is quite the temptress, oh my! I'd settle for any hellebore!
    We can dream, can't we? :)

  25. Jodi:
    My 'Little Honey' requires lots of pampering during the winter but is so well worth the effort. I love the 'Jade Tiger' Helleborus.... might have to check around to see if I can locate one. The local hort society headed to Canada Blooms, but with nursery work ahead, I had to forego - of course that did'y stop me from stuffing an envelope and sending it and a list with a gardening friend... can't hardly wait to see what she returns home with for me.

  26. Jodi I understand the obsession. Love all that you've shown but the Heucherella....mmmmmmmust have!

  27. KUDOs you have some excellent photos there! Really enjoyed the foxglove photo, to die for.

  28. Hey! I'm in Bridgewater! And my little front garden is almost chock-a-block with lovely green shoots -- crocus, tulips, daffs and even a day lilly is showing it's little head. Several of my small crocus were in bloom yesterday. Yes, I smell spring as well. And my head has been in the Vessey's catalogue for the last 3 weeks. Spring fever is hitting us!

  29. okay i know i am slow coming to the party. i had no idea you had another equally wonderful blog. i love the hellebore variety you are going to plant, i want hellebore in my garden too. my head is swirling with gardening ideas and my heart is swooning for what i want to do. love this post and glad i found your other blog.

  30. Ohhhh, I know what you mean!
    Beautiful photos, and great plant picks!
    Absolutely, we have to back each other up--we need these plants! Really, they're such a great deal for keeping fit and exercising. Yeah, that's it, they're my outside gym equipment.

  31. Yes, you 'MUST' have these, and it's totally understandable! I'd like them too...such wonderful colors! You've picked great ones to drool over, and now you've made ME want to find them, too!!! I'm not feeling my best right now, but as soon as I am, it's out to the nurseries for me!!!! Hope you get some warmer weather soon! Happy first day of spring! (Your card is on it's way...I finished it!!!) Yay:-)

  32. Oh my! I want them all too! ALL of them. Every single one. NOW.

    Wish spring would hurry up. Thanks for the photos. They'll get me through a little longer.

  33. All I can say is . . . ME TOO! Love all those new plants.


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