Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Signature Plants in a Garden




It has occurred to me that after all my blog visiting, plant lusting, list making and plant acquiring...that my gardens might be well on their way to hosting many of my friend's plants and even their Signature plants. (as always all photos enlarge with a click)

You'll remember that not too long ago Tina (In The Garden) started a fun meme when she asked us to identify our signature plants. Tina's is a Japanese Maple...and a few years ago, I had a beautiful little maple that was the pride of the patio. Workers pouring the concrete somehow damaged it and it was gone within a few months. It was heart breaking, but several others were planted in the
Porch Wildflower garden and they light up the garden all year long...

The Susans Garden and the Porch Wildflower Gardens have more then a few gifts from friends, gardenblogging and other wise~~

Pink Muhly from fairegarden.

Seedlings from Rose's hollyhocks, MMD's special purple columbine and Pam's Hinckley columbine will hopefully join the Pink Muhly from Frances and the Powis castle from Tina in the front gardens.

But, the Garden that is experiencing real transformation is the Garden of Benign Neglect.

Just the other day I planted three Knapp Hill Golden Flare Azaleas.

These deciduous azaleas are similar to Frances' beautiful signature plants. Rumors that a local nursery might be closing made me eager to visit and bargain. I was exploring the back corners when I saw them~~
all budded up and ready to be popped into the ground.... and so they have been!

Right here... This is before...the after will be shown later when it stops raining and I can take my new camera outside! Trust me, they have already added some much needed understory and will look stunning!

Also, planted were Hellebores that came from my friend Barbara's garden (and my own seedlings)...While they aren't native to Tennessee and certainly not to cedar glades...they are rugged and can survive the extremes that this garden gets winter and summer. Barbara isn't a blogger, but hellebores are her signature plant...for sure!

Echinacea of all colors and types were named by a few folks as their signature plants. They could very easily be one of my favorites...Tennessee Coneflowers certainly are! I love how their pert little faces with the recurved petals
follow the sun all day long....a Sun Salutation~~

It's a wonderful trait if you have them sited in full sun! It turns out that my neighbors very tall oak shades the Cedar Glade bed in the late afternoon~~this is the result~
Downward Facing Dog ~not Sun Salutation

Tennessee Coneflowers laying down on the job! They are going to a sunnier spot in the GOBN...where the wet soil all winter and the dry soil all summer will be heaven to them.

Echinacea purpurea seedlings and crosses (the bees can't help but pollinate) are everywhere.If you remember, purple coneflower

is Rose's signature plant...and very easily could have been Jodi's except she is totally a poppy lover!

You'll notice they are hanging out quite nicely with Dave's signature plant family...salvias.
Salvia azurea and friend

I think we have room for salvias in the GOBN, too.
All the flavors of salvia!

Several of you chose roses as your signature plant. Sweetbay, has chosen the Hansa rose a beautiful rugosa rose that is also fragrant.

She has another rose that she kindly shared with me...Carolina Rose (site). It's a perfect rose for my mostly native garden. Right now it's planted in a hospitable place, but it will be moving to the GOBN...soon.

As far as I can remember, no one chose the amsonias as a signature plant...

Someone please adopt them~~They are especially beautiful in the fall. I see a drift of them
along this side of the dry creek with Rusty. (ed. Tina reminded me that Sue has posted extensively about amsonias....)

Another orphan plant in need of adopting are the baptisias... That must happen! This is one fantastic plant. It has the best winter form with it's deep gray stems and dangling seed pods. My garden coach, Sarah called it Iron Plant because it looks like iron piping. (click to enlarge) What do you think? I think it's a great looking plant...spring and summer. It's going in the GOBN and is already flourishing in the Cedar Glade Bed and the Susans Garden. It's a very versatile plant! (ed. although, I think Benjamin might be the perfect adoptive candidate...he loves them, too)

There are so many beautiful plants to think about adding to the GOBN. But, native ferns, like the Christmas fern and the non-native Autumn Fern will be perfect intermingled with the wildflowers that are already happily flourishing~~
Iris cristata and iberis

columbines galour;

and of course, asters...

Native asters are all over the GOBN. I don't recall if anyone chose them, but I identify bees with Cheryl. I'm not sure anyone appreciates them as much she does.


There are still many admired plants on my list! Who knows what this spring and summer will bring. I am open to your suggestions...please let me know what you might like to see in The Garden of Benign Neglect....Now, no comments like 'I want to see it cleaned up!"

Warmest thoughts of you all on this wet and cold winter day!

Oh, in case you think I could forget PPPP...Here she is in all her pinkness~~


Gail

"I get by with a little help from my friends."
- John Lennon

73 comments:

  1. Good morning Gail, I loved strolling through the catalog of your plants and think all of them could be happy in the new design. Thanks for the link love, and I am especially excited about your new azaleas. That gold color will brighten the area making its own sun salutation. It is raining steadily here, no ice thank goodness and we need the rain, so yet another day inside rather than out. Hope you are able to find some more bargains like those azaleas. As for suggestions, I am thinking more evergreens, and some grasses!
    Frances

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  2. What a wonderful post this morning Gail. I just came in from shoveling snow so this is very warming to me.

    I don't think anyone has posted about my signature plant. I will have to work on that. Mine isn't native to here though.

    You have mentioned a few people that I don't think I read their blog. I will have to pop over to see what is going on there.

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  3. Dear Frances, Thank you and I totally agree..I have several grasses in mind...I want to go with a combination of shorter grasses and mid sized...I want to be able to see the plants along the dry creek and Rusty during his beautiful times. The evergreens still stump me! There aren't many natives that can live in those conditions...so I may have to add PJM rhodos...I actually like their legginess and ....that's when I get stumped, what other evergreens can make it back there! Maybe verbinum davidii? So many plants need moist but well drained soil! Oh yes, there is yaupon holly...I do believe that there are a few dwarf selections.

    It was snowing but that's passed and now it is looking like it is getting colder. Like any good southern resident...I went to the grocery store yesterday!


    Keep warm,

    Gail

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  4. You need Anemonella/Thalictrum thalictroides for the GOBN! Everyone in temperate climates with shade should have them. (Maybe they should be my signature plant?) I'm so jealous that you've been out in your garden planting gorgeous shrubs. If you are moving that Baptisia, keeps us updated. I've read that they are difficult to move & I wish I had planted mine in a different spot.

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  5. Excellent list, amsonia and baptisis. Why don't more folks have these? I'm eagerly awaiting my baptisias to mature and flower--and more amsonia is coming as I only have 4, and we all know you can't have even numbers of things....

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  6. Lisa,

    Thank you...I hoped it would be a fun read and I did need a spot of color today! You will like Cheryl and Sweetbays' blogs! I think you know the usual suspects quite well! I need to find the post with your signature plant...Gail

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  7. Hi Gail, yes to the dwarf yaupons, there are some different ones, Schillings is a good one and Bordeaux which turns redder in the winter. Stipa for a shorter evergreen grass, it goes with everything and can take some shade too.

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  8. Benjamin,

    Amsonias and baptisias are stellar plant families. Last fall I planted Moonlight a creamy white baptisia and the amsonia that is posted ( was labeled A hubrichtii, but it looks like a cross between hubrichtii and another amsonia.) in a few beds. Now I can't wait to see them in your garden this spring!

    gail

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  9. Oh Gail!
    I don't have a signature plant... I don't know how I would go about choosing one. How do you pick one out of so many? What to do, what to do?--Randy

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  10. MMD,

    You are right and as always wise about wildflowers! I am fortunate to have them in the wildflower gardens...so I can go shopping when they show up this spring!

    Perhaps we need to have signature plants...one is not enough!

    Gail

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  11. Those azaleas are spectacular. They will light up your garden. I would love to grow Japanese maples but they are favorites of Japanese beetles. I try to steer away from things they like.
    Marnie

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  12. Frances,

    Thanks for the Holly names...they hardly ever show up here...if you come across them in your travels (!) let me know...The stippas are perfect...I am also going to add The Blues...they are a beautiful Little Bluestems.

    So many fantastic plants and delightfully helpful friends.

    Gail

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  13. Randy,

    It is nearly impossible to choose...and the best thing about this whole thing...We don't have to! I am relieved! If we move, maybe or if the climate changes anymore...I will have to get really serious about Xeric gardening. I dabble now!

    How's the weather down there?

    Gail

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  14. Wonderfully put together post honoring both your plants and fellow bloggers. Your garden is so lovely-I can't wait to see it! And I remember your J. maple from prior postings. These and Rusty will be of keen interest, as will the bowman's root. Have a great day! I'm staying in, not sure on school yet for tonight.

    I did add you to my sidebar if that is okay. I did visit Sweet Bay's lovely blog. And she is taking irises too! If you find other signature plant posts, let me know. Sue at a Corner Garden may adopt the amsonia. She did a bunch of posts on them. Very interesting info. ttyl

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  15. Forgot to say-the GOBN will be a delight-can't wait to see the new azaleas in bloom-Frances will surely love them!

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  16. Marnie,

    I forget about the Japanese Beetles....The bug that really bugs me is the Phlox Bug. He is a big pest and destroys Phlox paniculatas in my garden.

    I tried to google a good substitute tree but google has pages and pages of japanese maples! I think I need to learn more search techniques!

    Maybe there is no substitute for their beauty. Sigh.

    gail

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  17. Tina,

    You dear sweetie...thank you for adding me to your sidebar! I hoped you would like Sweetbay. She is a really lovely person and I have enjoyed her blog. Thank you for the heads up about Sue...I will add her to the post!

    Keep warm and I hear that it will begin serious freezing late this afternoon..not a good time for traveling the roads.

    gail

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  18. What a lovely post and way to get to know fellow bloggers' "alter egos." Personally, I can never come up with my favorite anything--book, flower, tree, etc. There are too many things I like. The one glaring exception is a totem animal--which for me is the squirrel. As much as I love cats, if I were an animal, I know I'd be a squirrel! I don't know what plant would be my signature plant, however. How do you know?!?!?!?

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  19. What a great post...it makes me realize I don't have a signature plant, a signature camel just isn't the same.

    I'm going to have to work on this!!! Kim

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  20. Monica,

    That is the million dollar question! But the animal totem sounds very interesting ...I hope you have a meme about that...I am already thinking about what my totem would be!!

    Gail

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  21. Kim,

    let us know when you identify your signature plants! I am hoping Monica has a meme about animal totems
    then you can begin choosing among your many wonderful pets! Can you choose one...would it be Gizmo;-)

    Gail

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  22. Lovely post with many of my favorites, Gail. You will love your Golden Flare! Deciduous azaleas work well for me also. Do you have Trillium in your wildflower garden? If not, a must :) and a bit of Sweet Woodruff will delight you.

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  23. Gail,
    It's 57° and raining and supposed to be in the lower 30's tonight. We have had the most boriring weather this year. They say it will be 26° Friday night.-Randy

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  24. Joey,

    I can't wait to see your spring photos of the azaleas! Just the thought of that golden color tipped with orange. I do have trillium. Aren't they wonderful plants.. But I don't have Sweet Woodruff.. now that is a good plant. Thank you for your suggestions. On to the list SW goes!

    gail

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  25. Randi,

    It has been so cold and wet this year...the last time I checked our weather we were heading into the low twenties...sighing so loud everyone can surely hear me! Keep warm.
    gail

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  26. Hi Gail.....I have loved seeing all those beautiful summer blooms, especially the one with the bee accessory.....
    Don't you just love to see the choices people make and the reasons.

    Have you thought of hostas for the GOBN. In the right condititions they can grow fairly quickly. The leaves are stunning and the beautiful dainty blooms shine out in a little shade......I have them dotted all over my garden in the semi shady areas.....they love clay soil to.....

    I think my signature plant would be Verbena Bonariensis. They always look fragile but are as tough as old boots. Love to have their heads in the sun and dislike wet at their roots......Lightly fragranced, nothing to apparent....
    and finally love to attract bees and butterflies to its perfect lilac blooms.......

    I loved this post, it has given me a little taste of what is ahead....sometimes in the depths of winter it is hard to see beyond the cold weather.......

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  27. Gail, years ago, I was driving in S. Indiana when I saw a huge plant of orange yellow blooms in someone's front yard. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to know what they were so I turned around, parked in their driveway, wnet over to the plant. (I was very determined!) They were azaleas like you have just planted. I have searched high and low for those for years, but we never see them up here. :{ Now I can enjoy yours.

    Walking through your gardens will be like visiting with friends. And there will always be room for more friends-er plants!

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  28. Cheryl,

    Hi...I do love to see the hows, whys, wheres and whats! It's so much fun to hear people talk about their gardens and their plant choices, too. I do think V bonariensis is a wonderful tough old plant. I love that it looks airy and delicate but droughts don't touch it! I will be adding that to the GOBN...because the bees and butterflies love it and it hasn't been a problem as an invasive in or neck of the garden. There is a slight hilly section that has better drainage then the rest of the garden...they ought to flourish there! Hostas are fantastic but they really don't like this garden...It could be the wet feet in winter and the not to sharp drainage. But I will be watching to see how the soil looks during the summer and fall.

    I am glad you had a rest from winter and could see into spring and summer...I have to do that, too or the cold wet days really get me down.

    Take care,

    Gail

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  29. Beckie,

    What a good story and I have often wanted to stop and ask about shrubs and trees! You did! I hope you can find them...but if not the Knapp Hill selection...Frances grows the Northern Lights that are from Minnesota...Very cold hardy. Wayside Garden carries them and Bluestone Perennials carries one or two! The buds are hardy to minus 32 degrees.

    Keep warm,
    Gail

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  30. Thanks for the tour. My favorite are those little Irises. Someone suggested some sweet woodruff - I planted some in my Dad's yard a few years ago and he's not very happy at how it's spread all over the place. Maybe it will be more manageable in a non-irrigated (neglected!) area. VW

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  31. I just bought a blue salvia and potted it a week ago. Now we have icy weather and its stiff with ice. I am so hoping I don't lose it!
    Brenda

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  32. Gail - how lovely to be able to troll around the garden and think of everyone through their special plants. That yellow will be just fabulous. I don't know about you but I find there's always a challenge finding a good woodland plant that on the one hand is tough and beautiful and is not invasive. My favs would be the Athyrium 'Ghost', Symphyandra hoffmanii (really easy from seed & blooms all summer...although does self seed), Doronicum (again a self-seeder) and Aruncus dioicus. So looking forward to seeing GOBN progress this year.

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  33. Lovely post today Gail. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful links with us. I agree that Baptisias are a wonderful plant and I would adopt them but I already picked the Hydrangea as my signature plant. :)

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  34. Those azaleas look great. Have you changed your font? I really like it, it is so easy to read.

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  35. That's a bonanza of plants! They all look great, especially the salvias ;). The Japanese maples are nice too. We're up to two of them now. If you happen across any TN coneflower seeds save me some!

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  36. I'll be happy to adopt amsonias. They're actually on my catalog list to buy anyway. :-)

    I agree that evergreens would be a great choice. I'm not sure what kind grow there though. How about wax myrtles? The birds would love them.

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  37. Dave,

    I might have some...let me check my cache! If I do I will email you for your address..

    Gail

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  38. Gail,
    WOW! Wonderful post! I'm late to the party today (sometimes paid work gets in the way of playing). There are so many wonderful signature plants. Makes me want ALL of them!

    One of these days, I'll pick a signature plant... one that the deer don't pick. I turned on the light in the kitchen and saw 6 sets of eyes and alert ears staring back at me. I just waved at them. What else?

    Cameron

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  39. A great read Gail - and I am especially taken by your Golden Flare Azaleas - They will be stunning in their new home.
    K

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  40. I am thinking you are going to have to change the name of that garden! I love those buds. I remember the pictures of Frances' in bloom. Stunning.

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  41. I was waiting through the whole post, Gail, thinking, "I know! I know what her signature plant is!" Did I miss it, or did you actually claim the PPPP's as your signature plant? I always think of them as yours, even if you choose something else.

    A wonderful post; thanks for the links. It looks like many of us can visit your garden to see our signature plants there:) I can't wait to see how the GOBD develops over the season.

    I do hope you didn't get the ice and freezing rain that Tina did.

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  42. How wonderful that you found those plants for your new garden. I think it is special that you have plants that remind you of friends. That makes the GOBN tell a wonderful story!
    Best regards,
    Philip

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    KEEP BLOGGING!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Ah, what beauties to see on yet another drizzle rainy day for me! Arg, when will it end? Yard is so soggy I dont think we will be able to do much this weekend. You must have done a ton of research, have a memory like a steel trap or take notes because I have no idea how you got all that info on the Signature plants together like that. You are good girl. I will be careful when around you as you do take note... :-)

    Being down here in the Garden City that is full of Azalea's, I am happy for your bargain find! I love a good bargain and especially if a plant! She sur is purty...

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  45. Gail, I looovvvveee your description of your garden as being The Garden of Benign Neglect. You're so much fun to read, you share the love around, and you impart wisdom even while you're causing me to crack up. I'll never urge you to clean up the GOBN, so long as you don't scold me for my OWN chaos...

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  46. Jodi,

    I am honored...what a lovely compliment! It was benignly neglected. The beauty of wildflowers is that they thrive in natural conditions and there were natural conditions in the GOBN. I never scold! Never! If you tell me not to notice I won't notice it!

    All of you wonderful bloggers make blogging fun and worthwhile...

    Gail

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  47. Skeeter,

    I will never reveal my techniques...never!

    If you step on the ground water squirts out...well, maybe not now, it's starting to freeze! Have you looked at the forecast...we are getting lows in the teens. It's almost February! I am so ready for a little bit of warm weather to show up sometime.

    It was a good bargain and I am going back on Friday to see what else I can talk them into selling me.

    Take care.

    Gail

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  48. And I thank YOU for the Tennessee Coneflower seeds, amongst others, that I'll be setting out tomorrow in my newly created milk jug greenhouse! :-) Very nice post and great photos! I cannot believe I saw daffodil sprouts!

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  49. Hi Phillip,

    I do have lovely plants from my garden friends...and I am copying them:-) Don't tell them I am...they think I am creative! But, really, it is hard not to see a great plant or combination and think...I want to do that, too. What a joy to be able to create one's own version of it in a vastly different space. I know you know what I mean!

    Take care...

    Gail

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  50. Rose,

    Should you ever be in the area you can stop by for a visit and time on the porch, a cool drink~~and a peak at your signature plant!

    PPPP is my signature plant, but also The Susans are my summer signature plant...I change the rules, too!

    We didn't get that ice storm...but we might get something like it over the next few days. Tina is just that much further north that she get's the worst of the weather all the time.

    Gail

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  51. Shady,

    I do hope they are viable! I saw plenty of bees buzzing around them...If not we will continue to try!

    I love having a bit of Clay and Limestone in your garden!

    Gail

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  52. Layanee,

    The azaleas are stunning! I wanted to get the pink ones you recommended to me...I do think you have them in your garden...but I think they would be miserable here. Not sure about the name change...How about The Garden of Beautiful Natives Plants. I am kind of attached to GOBN!

    Take care in that cold snowy weather!

    gail

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  53. Karen,

    Hi... They are a great looking flower..I totally understand how Frances loves them!

    Gail

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  54. Cameron,

    Our campaign to ship the deer to their relatives elsewhere has failed!
    But I am glad to see that you aren't fretting over it too much. I do have to tell you that one of our neighbors told me she was so concerned about the deer crossing the street she walked them to the woods!

    gail

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  55. VW,

    Isn't the crested iris adorable...a little miniature bearded iris that's native to the eastern half of the the US. I don't think sweet woodruff will be a problem...we won't irrigate that part of the garden.

    Gail

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  56. Barbara,

    Alan Armitage was talking about a very nice goat's beard that may be perfect here..thanks for the good ideas...it is rather exciting to work on a project again.

    gail

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  57. Brenda,

    I think lots of gardeners have been shocked by thsi ice storm and the cold blast before it. What a difficult winter and more seems to be coming. The salvia azurea is stellar and I recommend it highly.

    gail

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  58. Jean,

    And so I will add you to the adoption list! I will look at the myrtles...I love plants that feed the birds, too. Gail

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  59. Phillip,

    Hi! I did change the font size...I was playing around with the template and it reverted to default settings and It looked really tiny...but I fixed it! Glad it's nice and readable!

    Gail

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  60. There was ice in the birdbaths here this morning but I haven't walked the property yet to see whether any plants took a hit. The sun is out and it looks like a beautiful day to be outside ... a little cool, but I can handle that!

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  61. Cindy,

    It sounds delightful...have fun in the garden...sighing, again, I am sure you can hear me in TX!

    gail

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  62. Gail,

    What a lovely post.

    As for the Garden of Benign Neglect -- do you have Mapleleaf Viburnum? It has lovely flowers in springtime and the most fantastic fall color -- pink, raspberry, purple (yes, purple). There's a bunch of it on my FIL's property. It grows well on lime or acid, and is very drought tolerant.

    I was able to get Smooth Sumac and Rusty Blackhaw from Mail Order Natives, for a very reasonable price. Yippee!

    I would NEVER request that you clean up the Garden of Begign Neglect. :) In fact I was thinking of writing a post called "Neatness is the Enemy of a Garden".

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  63. Sweetbay,

    Love the title...I say write it! Orderliness is not me or the garden!

    I love Mapleleaf Vib...I did have it but fear I lost it when I moved it..but i will add it again. Thanks for the reminder! Good news about the Rusty and Sumac! They will love your garden and you them!

    gail

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  64. As a fellow gardener I must say your site is delicious. Thank you. I also have a signature plant; Fennel is currently my big fave!
    But I must say those Knapp Hill Golden Flare Azaleas are mouthwatering, although my Michigan climate makes them untouchable, I'm sure.

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  65. Hi Gail. I was reading your comments, I think the switch to Garden of Beautiful Natives is perfect. Somehow I missed playing along with the "signature plant" meme. I need to get on board with that too but I can't think off hand which plant would be mine?!! Something else to ponder. The new azaleas are going to be gorgeous. It's really going to look amazing back there. You'll wonder why you waited so long to tackle this project. So enjoyable to read your post and see all your photos today.

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  66. Kathleen,

    Don't you love reading comments...I always learn so much from what people say, of course here and when I visit other blogs! People are so generous, kind and often really funny! I would love to hear your list of possibilities for signature plants! Do let us know!!
    I will think about the new GOBN!

    gail

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  67. Racquel W,

    Then you could try the Rosy Lights, White Lights deciduous azaleas...they are bred for Minnesota weather and into the minus 30 degree temps with out bud loss. Glad you stopped by and enjoyed the blog.

    Gail

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  68. It's been so interesting reading everyone's ideas about great plants - I have a lot of research to do now. And I love the idea of the Garden of Benign Neglect - possibly because that's pretty much how I do my whole garden...doesn't always look as nice as this, though. You get a lot of interesting surprises in that kind of garden, I find.

    I was interested to find out where the signature plant thing originated, I'd run into it on other blogs. I couldn't choose just one - but it's great to see everyone's choices and yes, swipe a few ideas.

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  69. This post took a ton of work. Great job! I remember them all in your garden. I will soon have many of them. This will be a big planting year for me. And I have sure gotten a lot of ideas by visiting Clay and Limestone. You have inspired me to plant more Phlox and I want many more!

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  70. I'd like to suggest planting thousands of bulbs in your GOBN, especially the botanical ones as you can neglect them, benigly or otherwise, to your heart's content once planting is finished.

    I enjoyed being introduced to so many wonderful plants in your garden. Looking forward to see the new Azaleas all aflame!

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  71. As always, a tour that goes above and beyond. Have you any ferns? I'm not sure if you have more sun or shade, but it's more shade than sun in my backyard and the ferns seem to do very well. No 'color' mind you, but fills in brown spaces well, and doesn't need a lot of water once it gets going, although the water may be an issue for you. I'm not as familiar with yours (or many others) gardens since I've only been here since NOV

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  72. Hey Gail,
    I doubt I need to tell you what my signature plants are, LOL. Great idea for a post, and I may have to steal it sometime soon to prevent me from posting incessant puppy pictures!

    Of course I knew you'd have PPPP!

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  73. Hi Gail,
    I have so many people whose blogs I like to read, that I have trouble keeping up. As I was first reading what you said about someone needing to adopt amsonias, I was thinking I really should. On my blotanical profile, where it asks you to name your favorite flower, I wrote something about not having one, but if I did, it may be amsonia.

    I didn't do a post about a signature plant, but somewhere on someone's blog, I think I said that if I did have one, it may be amsonia. LOL I wonder if it's too late for me to make a commitment. I didn't try to decide on 3 plants to take to an island, either but enjoyed reading others' posts about theirs.

    Thanks for putting a link to my blog.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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