New Plants and Old Standards Keep Garden Interesting

After the peonies are deadheaded, the rest of the show-offs come out to play. It's not the same old tired types, although I certainly have consistent favorites - plants that earn their keep, give me the most bang for the buck and blind me with science. These include a couple of Clematis varieties, some perennial Salvia, a few shrubs and a handful of Hostas.

Clematis 'Happy Jack Purple' after three years. It was a
trial plant sent to me by Proven Winners.
The meaty part of the garden comes from the new guys--bulbs, annuals, perennials that I decide to try, sometimes in the dead of winter.

Some seed-grown plants, and all of the shrubs and vines take two years or more before displaying their charms. Clematis 'Happy Jack Purple' is a perky little sprite, playfully winding through the pergola's upright supports and around one of its posts.

And it all began early, starting before the summer containers came to life, yet still going strong to accompany the bush honeysuckle Diervilla 'Kodiak Black' and Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit II'. Both shrubs, though hybrids, are North American natives.

The Diervilla 'Kodiak Black' and Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit II' both were given to me as free trial plants in 2015.
The bush honeysuckle is not invasive, but fills a space nicely with healthy leaves all season long. Its bright yellow flower clusters at the tips of each branch aren't showy, and the leaf color is nowhere near black, which is what it was said to be. As for the Hydrangea, it seems to be standing up well so far, and its flower color will hopefully even out when it is finished opening. It looks like it will be a hardy landscape brightener in its spot alongside the driveway.

Last year's growth of three plants, including a
silvery foxglove.
Digitalis (foxglove) 'Silver Fox' makes a spectacular showing this year.
I'd given up last season on a pot that contained a foxglove I'd started from seed, a tuberose and a rain lily. The only one that bloomed was the rain lily. I stored the pot in the garage for the winter, away from the garage door but with no other protection.

And guess what? They survived! It was a pretty slow process. It was touch and go for quite awhile, but finally, both plants conspired to fill the pot.

The pot, which is around 14" in diameter, is so root bound, it requires daily watering. But I think it's the cramped quarters they seem to like. I hope the same goes for the tuberose, whose foliage is looking good so far.

I imagine that when the foxglove begins to falter from the heat, it will be a call to the tuberose and the rain lily to get their bloom on.


  1. I was just on a garden tour and saw Invincibelle Spirit. It gave me a bad case of the wants. The overall view of your garden looks so pretty.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I like that the flowers seem to be unfolding slowly.