Choosing the Keepers on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

July is when I start realizing it's time for a change. What's a true garden without change? Boring, for one. I've added and subtracted plants since I began to garden. But I'm talking about creating swathes of bare ground and employing plants with kinder, gentler natures. I've notified my staff (read: husband Dave) that we'll be pulling up square yards of plants when the weather cools off. But first, I'll identify a few of the keepers.

Corydalis sempervirens is thriving in an area of my garden I consider "sunny."

With a name like "rock harlequin," how can I say goodbye to this adorable, self-sown native? According to the USDA, it's endangered in Indiana. Corydalis sempivirens seems to have made itself comfy in a spot I created for the placement of a pot. It's a corner of the garden that cries out for color and which I covered with a found bag of aquarium rock and a leftover ceramic floor tile. In nature, this little charmer is either a biennial or annual that grows in rock crevices and/or poor soil in a woodland clearing.

Spigelia marilandica (woodland pinkroot) is an easy keeper if it has a good location.
I've had Spigelia marilandica (Indian pinkroot) for at least six years, and it's one of those plants that just chugs along happily without requiring anything at all from me. This native is also endangered in Indiana, and is finicky about its location. Give it shade and ignore it, and Bob's your uncle, as they say. Okay, perhaps it requires more than that, but if you're not successful at first, try again and again in different spots throughout your garden and you're bound to make it happy eventually. I probably wouldn't bother if it weren't such a perfectly-compact, brightly-colored, interesting re-blooming plant. And come to think of it, those are some pretty great features!

Hydrangea Let's Dance(c) 'Starlight' is one of the best rebloomers in my garden.
And don't even get me started on Hydrangeas! I'm going to try to winnow them down to fewer than a dozen varieties. One that I'm really impressed with for its wondrous lacecap style and large sterile flowers is a Proven Selections variety called Let's Dance Starlight. Sent to me as a trial plant in the spring of 2008, this variety really started to show off last year, and this year to an even greater extent with lots more blooms. It's a rebloomer, so it can be cut back in spring and still have flowers.

Echinacea Big Sky 'Sunrise'
I've found myself with an abundance of coneflowers, some of which I'll need to give another year or so as they also have been given to me to try. Two of the keepers are Big Sky 'Sunrise' and 'Solar Flare'. Both of these outstanding coneflowers were bred by the Saul brothers of Itsaul Plants.

Echinacea 'Solar Flare'

Other keepers include those that have made their way upward so as not to take up as much horizontal space. It's taken awhile to get going, but Clematis 'Avant Garde' is a keeper for its color--a cheery raspberry red with a cute little tuft in the center.

By no means are these all of the plants I'll be hanging onto during the upcoming plant eradication. What we have here are shots of the plants that happen to be clamoring for my attention on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. See more of what's looking its best here at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Loved your ‘keepers’, I think it is great to every now and then pull out some plants and put in something new, it rejuvenates the garden and there are so many exciting plants to have! Loved your Echinaceas, both of them :-) and I agree your blue hydrangea is a stunner. I am redesigning one of my flowerbeds this autumn and can’t wait to get started planning new plant purchases, I have already chucked out the ones that were not for keep.

    1. Thanks Helene. It's truly an obsession, isn't it? But one that's lots of fun.

  2. OOOooo that clematis is certainly a keeper. I can't wait to find that one available around here. Happy GBBD.