If you could custom design your own plant...

christinmk z5b eastern WAMarch 11, 2013

Posted a similar question some years ago on another forum, but I thought it may be fun to do it here ;-) The Penstemon thread got me thinking about it again...

Have you had a spot in your garden where you knew all the qualities you wanted, but there was no plant to match?

Have you ever wished a plant came in a color other than what it normally is? Any plant you would like to change the leaf color, height, bloom time, or hardiness on if you could? Any plants you would like âÂÂimprovedâÂÂ, such as less disease or bug prone, less invasive, more or repeated bloom, less flopping, etc?
What annual/biennial/monocarpic/short lived plant would you like to turn into a perennial or longer lived plant?

Mine would be: a variegated Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis russeliana), with a wide golden margin on the edge. Think variegated comfrey. I love this plant because it takes full sun and has somewhat large leaves. The blooms are unusual, plus it does well it difficult areas (mine is in a dry, rooty area). I would love it even more if a variegated form was available, lol.

A variegated Smoke Bush with a creamy yellow margin on green would also be killer.

Phygelius that were hardy in my zone would be awesome. IâÂÂm sure I could think of myriads of other plants I wish were hardy here too. Just give me time, a couple pens, and a ream of paper and I will get that list going for you, LOL.

A self-cleaning hops vine. Try chopping it back in fall when it is still alive and you get painful scratches, do it in spring and it is dry and dusty. HACK, HACK, one too many dry cone flakes down the olâ windpipe for me, lol.

Very curious to know what plants you have always wanted to change if you could.

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Yeah, if I could breed/hybridize a red leaved, shade tolerant, evergreen flowering shrub, I could make a fortune!!

As for perennials, there's not too much I'd change.....other than some echinaceas that were truly more perennial than annual and a number of other perennials that were less thuggish/aggressive or even sterile compared to their current counterparts.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Can't make my mind up whether this is positive or negative thought! OK, it's just dreaming.

I'm willing to work with what I feel is worth it and avoid what's not, along with my extreme hostility to invasive runners and seeders.

Still to dream, I'll have garden phlox for the whole growing season and maybe through winter too (if somebody can turn the snow off).

Then again, why have mixed perennial gardens in cold climates? So there can be blocks of changing colour at changing heights, requiring a wide variety of different perennials, throughout the season!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:20PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Gardengal, nice to see you posting again! ;-)

-Sunnyborders, not sure why it would be a negative thought? If that were true I guess hybridizers are some exceptionally nagative people, going and thinking up new crosses and changing the look of plants lol ;O)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Maybe "futile" is a better word, christinmk.

Tend to think gardening is about challenges, rather than dreams.

And hybridization must involve recognizing limitations as well as possibilities.

But I'm quite satisfied with our garden phlox, both hardy old no-names and useful and showy more recent introductions!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:36PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I don't have to even think twice about my answer, and the plant wouldn't even be for me. The request has been heard so many times over the years, there would be a fortune for the developer of an evergreen tree adapted to all climates, quick growing and not getting taller than roughly 20-25 feet, with beautiful, long-lasting flowers and not at all messy or having invasive roots.

That's all.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:54AM
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It's a great idea!
That fortune would be well deserved.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:30AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Oh, this is easy. Truly, truly deep blue flowers as an option on pretty much any perennial. You want real blue creeping phlox? done! You want real blue speedwell? done! How about real blue clematis (I mean REAL DEEP DARK blue)? done!

Oh, and on the flipside of that, Lithodora (one of the few real blue flowers) that I can't kill! Let's just say Lithodora plus clay soil is a recipe for disaster--over and over and over!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:42PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Mine is similar to Gyr-Falcon's.

An evergreen shrub that could handle cold, cold winds, shade, alkaline soil and deer.

Then I could take my royalties and hire some gardeners :-)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:02AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Oh, I just thought of another one after my trip to a local nursery today. How about hardy Ranunculus? For zone 7, that is? Love, love those, but am not planting them every year. Uggghhh.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it would drive itself to my house.. free of charge ...

bringing some adult beverages with it..

it would walk itself out to the perfect spot.. and plant itself..

and require.. no care from me in any sense ...


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:33PM
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How about a climbing rose that repells Japanese beetles, has disease-free foliage, is hardy to zone 3 or 4, and has a wafting scent like rugosas.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:04PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Oooo...just thought of a dandy one this morning. Sound-proof shrubs and trees :-) Dreamt it up when a few neighborhood dogs rudely woke me up at the crack of dawn! Lol.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:33PM
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