Fresh Start: plants that bring you joy

mrtulinAugust 12, 2013

(I hope people don't think I'm presumptuous but I'm starting a fresh thread on a previously popular topic. My suggestion is to start to post to this, and leave the original one alone, so it will quickly drop off the page.)
I am no longer a big daylily fan, but "Chicago Apache" is such a rich color, heavy blooming and its foliage stays decent looking for much longer than most daylilies. The form and color make me happy.
I had a big empty spot next to "All Gold" haknone grass. I put a beautiful clump of sedum "Autumn Joy" there and was reminded again why this plant is a classic. Maybe it will be replaced by Autumn Charm, but its form and vigor when well grown is unmatched. Same for Matrona, which would be a great contrast with the gold grass; however I didn't have a spare one foot clump hanging around to transplant.
If I went to the garden I know I'd come up with others. Isn't it interesting how often the tried and true rises to the top? If something is beautiful but only hangs around a season or two, the joy it brings me is diminished. Sort of like loyal people you love: part of their beauty is that they keep showing up.And everytime they do, their beauty and the happiness they bring you is clear.

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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Group hug?
I don't know if the rudbeckia are loyal or not, individual plants only last a season or two but the kids keep coming back. The phlox and perovskia are old friends.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:58PM
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Idabean, here is your Chicago Aapche. I agree, as Daylilies go this is an above average one. I think the last bloom on mine will open today. It has been going strong for about 3 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:33AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Yes, Chicago Apache is still one of my favorite daylilies and as we speak, mine is still going strong too. Love this one!

I've been on this binge to eliminate all the daylilies in my garden which just don't cut mustard for me anymore and from an original high of 30-40 varieties, I'm probably down to maybe a dozen plants. Interestingly, almost all the ones I've kept are the reds, the oranges and orange reds. IMO daylilies are one of the best sources for strong reds in the summer garden. You just can't beat some of those colors.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Currently getting enormous pleasure from the humble oreganum vulgare - a rather lovely flowering bee attractor which assorts well with the many shrubby salvias (microphylla, greggii et al) in shades of purples and lilacs.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:55AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I appreciate info on good daylilies, thanks! I love them and have several swaths but I wouldn't mind getting some stronger varieties. Chicago Apache looks like a winner!

'All Gold' Japanese Forest Grass sounds excellent too. I just got 'Aureola' last week and suddenly I'm infatuated with these.

Great thread Idabean!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:08AM
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franeli(z4 NH)

I love when 'Indian Summer' rudbekias bloom.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Echinacea Sombrero 'Salsa Red' is so beautiful in the second year. I really love the color red.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:50PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-kato, that is a good question. I've always read that the hirta Rudbeckias were short lived perennials/biennials but this is my third year with my plants. At least I assume they are the original plants and not seedlings of the first year plants....

Right now I am mightily enjoying my bronze fennel plant. I find the taste of it reasonably revolting, so am leaving it for ornamental purposes. It is so useful in the garden! It is like Thalictrum- adding an airy presence and some height without blocking the views or giving any feeling of "heaviness" to the bed. Plus the foliage is nice and dark colored. Me likey. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:43PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

OK, I may be breaking some rules here, but technically you didn't state our photos have to be of perennials. I guess this one could be a perennial in a very warm climate, but it isn't around here. It comes in for the winter.

Colocasia 'Black Coral'

This is my second year with this one. Last year I had one plant, but they multiply, so this year I have 6. Maybe a dozen next year?

We've had a pretty cool summer, so my Colocasias haven't grown like they normally would in a hot, humid summer, but they're still fun to grow and pretty dramatic.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 4:24PM
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How did you overwinter that? I brought my 'Black Coral' in the house last winter, and it's done OK this year (back outside), but didn't grow as strongly as it did last year. Of course, our season has been shorter and MUCH cooler, so that could have something to do with it.

Echinaceamaniac - love that 'Salsa Red' and great shot!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 5:22PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Great for part shade, this daylily also blooms over 3 weeks.

Cedar Waxwing


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:19PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Ooh, tj, that is a beautiful daylily!

I also love my Chicago Apache. I don't even really like red, but I was walking through the parking lot of my local supermarket, of all places, and was stopped in my tracks by Chicago Apache in the rows of plants for sale in the front of the store. Bought it right then and there and decided to start a red/orange/yellow bed, which is a huge departure for little old pink/purple me.

But sadly, my Chicago Apache is long gone for this season. It bloomed last month. Everything is early this year, it seems...

Two things making me happy right now (and for the past few weeks) are my rooguchi clematis. Got this from a friend who moved several years ago, and it lived in a pot (where else) for many years till I finally planted it this spring. It has climbed higher than it ever did in my friend's garden, which surprised me because I didn't think it was much of a climber, and while the bloom has not been profuse, it has indeed been prolonged, and the little bells hang down around the arbor and over the white picket fence and make me smile.

The other thing that makes me smile is the Quickfire hydrangea I just got at a swap this spring. Again, still in its pot on the patio, but the color has turned to a lovely pink now and every time I come in the house it makes me happy.

Kato, your photo makes me happy too! LOL. Love the phlox and the perovskia together, and the rudbeckias set it off so nicely!


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:50PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I plant mainly for the butterflies now and I have to say the A variegata - aka Red Ring Milkweed probably makes me the happiest.


A variegata - aka Red Ring Milkweed

close up of the bloom head

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 6:59PM
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mary_littlerockar - Absolutely LUV that red ring milkweed! TFS the photos. Any chance you can share the botanical name? I have species milkweed that have been perennial in my garden for the past 40+ years but that one looks like it would be a very lovely addition to the garden.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:45PM
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All lovely photos and sentiments. Remember someone else started "this thread" ; I just wanted to dig us out of the ditch of nastiness we fell into. Maybe that's why I used the word "joy" instead of "happiness." I didn't remember the word was happy ...but I do like the concept of joy......
Ech, would you share the link to your ech website?
That ech you photographed is spectactular. And you say it is in its second year? Well, it passed the first hurdle, or the first year. I'm still lookiing at that puny double delight and feeling p'o'd. I really don't need to wait till I have the trowel in hand. I can just rip it up by the roots, can't I?!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I have a little surprise that I found in the garden recently. I has this plant in one of my shadier beds and it looked kind of like some sort of cimicifuga, but never could remember what it was and didn't bother to check to see if there was a tag. Well, it bloomed and I rushed to check for a tag. It is Anemonopsis macrophylla and she's a beauty! So happy I purchased this one, even if I hadn't remember what it was I had bought!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:27PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

That milkweed is awesome! I love the white flowers with the dark stems, butterflies or not I'm going to be on the lookout for that one!
Dee, Mary has the name in there, it's asclepsias variegata. It makes me happy just thinking about getting it :)
Karin- I love the forest grass. The only time it doesn't look great is winter, and even then it still looks a neat tan.
Must not aknowledge the elephant ear. I thought I was past that obsession.... Obsession does not always equal happy LOL

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:35PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I agree, that milkweed is probably one of the most spectacular plants I've seen recently. The leaves remind me of something and I'm not sure what - a poinsettia or fig or ?

ruth - I keep it in a sunny window, but in a unheated part of my house. When temps drop below 50, I stop watering. Around mid February I take them out of their pots, clean and divide and start them growing again in a warmer area. They seem to need a good long growing season to do well.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:58PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

That asclepias is lovely. I'd never seen that variety before; it's very different from tuberosa.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 11:15PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Susan, I would love to see a pic of that Anemonopsis if you can get one! That guy has been on my want list (aka where-the-heck-do-I-put-it-list) for a long time.

So here is a shot I took of the bronze fennel. Didn't show up as much as I would like, but it adds such a nice light touch to the garden. Hopefully it will bloom next year...I thought it was biennial but it flowered last year too.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 1:21AM
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I too love that red ring milkweed. Also love the red Echinacea.

Sedum Matrona, mentioned by idabean is a very worthy sedum to have. Always a good show. Here is one of mine.

And diggerdee mentioned Hydrangea Quickfire. A lovely shrub with snow white bloom that over a couple weeks turns to pretty pink. Bees love it. And I do too. First the whole shrub. Then a closeup.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Wow. I love the nice Hydrangea, Milkweed, and everything else! I can see why they bring everyone so much joy. Hosta 'Stained Glass' is beautiful with very bright colors and it has fragrant blooms that smell like Honeysuckles. This plant should brighten anyone's day!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Christin, your garden looks great!
Here are a couple pics of the Anemonopsis.

Back of flower

Here's the whole plant. Figures she's facing IN to the border! Good thing she's pretty from behind.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 6:55PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

"Good thing she's pretty from behind. "

LOL, that's what DH always says. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 12:17AM
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mary_littlerockar - love that milk weed! Its beautiful!

Also LOVE the chicago apache day lily! I saw my neighbor's blooming the other day and was wondering which one it was and I think its this one. They are very impressive. The only day lilies I have are the orange ditch lilies and a few stellas (one is an apricoty-salmony color though) so I'm definitely looking into getting some more... appealing ones

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:47AM
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Speaking of daylilies...One that I got by mistake a few years ago is a big favorite for it's height, long and heavy bloom and just plain good looks. It has been around a long time. That would be Kwanzaa.

I would like to add ornamental grasses to this list of plants that bring joy. This is Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'. Late to break dormancy, but quick to start sending up those rosey plumes. Adding new plums constantly till frost. Many types of grasses out there, I think that Karley Rose is one of the best to add inetrest to a mixed bed or as a stand alone.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:22AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

LOL, Karin!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:36AM
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