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oops, duhs, huhs, ughs, good, bad and ugly

14 years ago

Lets discuss plants, gardening, anything related. Experienced and novice gardeners alike. I consider myself an advanced beginner in the gardening world. I always like reading others feedback on their gardening experiences, plant choices, combinations, likes, dislikes, plant temperament, etc. I LOVE working in my yard, and discussing anything garden related.

I had my morning coffee on my patio, enjoying my yard, thinking about what I'd like to change and the choices I'm happy with. I thought I'd share for those interested in listening.


Sweet William Dianthus 'Heart Attack' - the red blooms on this plant are the most stunning red I've seen. BEAUTIFUL.

Amsonia Hubrechti with Bergenia Bressingham Ruby. I LOVE the texture of my Amsonia, and the fall color combos are stunning.

Iris with lemonbalm planted at the base. I have to get my hands on the yellow variety of lemonbalm, 'All Gold'

Astilbes in groups of 3. Red Fanal. Great flower plumes, nice foliage as well.

Hydrangea Annabelle - beautiful

Coreopsis Zagreb (Stunner! I shear this one back after the first flush of blooms for more blooms later in the season) with short daylilies planted in front of it.

Euonymous Emerald N Gold - nice yellow shrub, easy to trim to shape.

Veronica Royal Candles - love it.

Brunnera Jack Frost with Japanese painted fern (though these are picky for me), with purple heuchera.

Clematis - beautiful climbers. Wouldn't give them up for the world.

Euphorbia Polychroma - I forgot to trim it back after the blooms in spring, but this one is a stunner. Beautiful.

Nepeta is the perfect underplanting for my favorite rose bush, William Baffin - which has TONS of blooms btw.

Lamium Silver Beacon - I know you have to watch this one or it will spread, but I have it planted in an area confined by driveway and concrete walk, underplanting a red japanese maple. I love it. It blooms all season for me, but it pops up occasionally in other areas of my yard, easy enough to yank.

Bleeding Hearts - these do best on a north facing wall. Picky for me though. It tends to yellow with the slightest watering, but it goes dormant in drought conditions. My neighbor gets to enjoy the blooms.

I knew coffee grounds are good for plants, but recently learns that slugs won't slither through the grounds. Good to know.

Artemisia Silver Brocade - I wasn't sure what to do with this at first, but it's growing intermingled with my darker ajuga, I like the combo. I also see bits of this popping up in other areas of my yard.

Cerastium Tormentos 'Snow in Summer' - didn't like it at first, but give it time, very pretty as a spreading groundcover loaded with white flowers in spring. I'm going to be interplanting this with Soapwort 'Saponaria Ocymoides, Rubra Compacta' This does very well in a dry spot for me.

Another shrub I like, this one grows into a tree form, is Grace Smokebush. BEAUTIFUL smoky plumes. Stunner. (yeah, I know this is the perennial forum, forgive me for being off topic).


My climber roses, supposedly hardy to my zone, in spite of my best efforts, died back to the ground this winter. Never should have listened to the nursery, the advice on this forum was dead on.

My rose shrub from Menards was supposed to be yellow and orange bloom. It's pastel pink, I dislike pastels in my garden.

Bachelor Buttons - stunner for a few months, then quite fugly. Interplant with something that will hide it later in the season, and cut it back. Nice chartreuse foliage and pretty contrasting cobalt blue? flowers earlier in the season though.

Other let downs:

Lady's Mantle, ('Alchemilla Alpina', not the common 'Mollis' variety). I planted last year, it's a smaller variety, but no larger than when I purchased it last year, I guess I expected more. They border a lannonstone walkway, small, cute but I wouldn't use this for effect as a border plant. They look best intermingled with other plants. The nice thing is they self sow(?)... I see little babies popping up.

Spirea Neon Flash (shrub), PROS: blooms well in shady areas, a pretty 'POP' of a bright dark pink, contrasts well against a lighter backdrop. CONS: Grows spindly in shade even when cut back in early spring, not a compact shrub like internet pics. Better with more sun perhaps.

I miss my Weigela Wine & Roses. Didn't do much the first two years, but the third year the blooms were floriferous. Due to a remodeled porch, it had to go.

Our new dog likes to tug at my plants, tear leaves and flowers off and run around the yard with them. My baby boxwood is down to one stem due to her tumbling, and her urine causes brown spots all over our lawn, though never a problem w/our male dogs. Still, I love her to pieces.


I underwatered my Japanese Maple, losing browning leaves. Darn it.

Poor drainage around my iris. One already gone due to root rot. Darn.


Cut back the leaves on my Bergenia this spring, along with some of the flower stalks. Won't do that next year, I lost some nice blooms.


Loraine Sunshine Heliopsis - usually a stunner, but slow to get moving this year. Lack of water?

Campanula Dicksons Gold - doesn't do well for me, maybe not enough sun?

Rhododendron still didn't bloom. 2nd year.

Dianthus don't transplant well for me. They survive but look spindly. Untouched, they have nice blooms. I think I overwater mine.

Asters not doing well. Not impressed. Not enough sun or water. Not sure.

Other Campanulas, read there's no other border plant that can compare, or was it Iberis Sempervirens? Not sure, but neither did well for me. Of the campanulas, one of three looks so-so.

Sedum Autumn Joy - I love these, I have a combo of three, but I am struggling with where to fit them in, in my small yard.

Artemisia Silver Mound - can't make up my mind if I like this one or not. For now, it stays. I sheared it back, started to get floppy as it grew.


Monarda fireball - mildew, poor growth, no blooms. Didn't survive.

Wood chip mulch. Going back to shredded or compost.

Ajuga Chocolate Chip did not survive the winter. I'm trying Gaiety and Black Scallop this year. Otherwise, I've heard Bronze Beauty does ok for others in my zone.

Peonies. Loaded with ants, blooms last one day and topple over, foliage is beautiful, but not worth the effort in my small yard.

Mazus Reptans Alba - I purchased a bunch of these last year, planted them all over my yard. Never again. Most didn't surive the winter, the one that did grew like a tall grass for me, not sure why. Do not recommend for zone 5. My Blue Star Creeper survived the winter well, this is another groundcover, though I really wouldn't consider it a groundcover per se, it's tiny, and hasn't grown much. Cute though.


Delosperma Cooperi - so far so good, not established yet

Angelina Sedum, I'm hoping this will be a nice contrast against my Pygmy barberries, lining my lannonstone walkway.

Too much caffeine perhaps? LOL

Comments (30)

  • phyl345
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    hey, kim, how about some pictures to go along with your great post?? i really enjoyed reading all your *observations*, many of which i definitely agree ~~

    thanks for taking the time to share with us, phyl

  • coolplantsguy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Peonies should do well for you, and every garden should have at least one! ;)

    When you say yours topple over -- are you taking about the weight of the flowers? If so, try selecting different varieties.

    If it's not the weight of the flowers, you might have Peony Blight.

    In either case, you might have to do some research, but I think it's worth it -- the Peony is often considered the King/Queen of the perennial garden. My favourite variety is 'Flame' (it does not need any staking).

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  • patlovesdirt
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your garden sounds lovely - so many varieties! Post some pictures, please, to inspire me!

    Every year around this time it's usually oops and bad for me, mostly because of our abnormally high temps here that cook my plants and my own bad judgement and ignoring certain rules. I should know better by now, lol! I spend each winter carefully planning and rearranging, certain that the new plan will finally result in the perfect garden, only to be unhappy with the result and discouraged by August, when it's way too hot and dry to do anything about fixing it. I'm already planning for next year, so I really do need some inspiration.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here are the winners and losers out of the new-to-me plants this year:

    DUDS (first four are annuals - great, cheap way to try new plants with no guilt - hey, don't like it, just don't grow it again):

    * Gerber daisies: The whitish one I had looked like dried up old Kleenex balls when the buds were opening, so ditched that. I had a nice hot pink one, but after a couple blooms opened, it's all foliage no blooms. The point of annuals is BLOOMS, so forget that noise.

    * Some sort of ornamental basil (greenish-purple foliage): Bloom spikes looked really pretty in the nursery, so I bought one. The blooms at my house ended up looking really faded, and the foliage got kind of bleached out. But hey, at least I can eat it - will taste great in my lasagna :0)

    * That African daisy annual (om - something): The blooming pooped out on me, and the foliage of this is ugly too IMO.

    * Persian Shield: Others seems to love it - I actually had a couple people compliment me on it at my 4th July BBQ, but it just doesn't do it for me for some reason. It's not really a dud per se, as it is growing well and is very lush, it's just not my thing.

    * "Touch of Class" Jacob's ladder: Looked lovely in the pot, got it home and ended up a mildewed mess. Planted it anyway in an inconspicous spot, it dried and shriveled up. Maybe it'll come back next year and be fine, who knows.

    * Artemesia "Nana" (silver mound type): Exactly what I was looking for in a particular spot. Is growing well and is fun to touch LOL!

    * Iris pallida (? sp): Another "exactly what I was looking for" plant, the variated foliage really brightens up the spot where I put it. No clue what the flowers are like and don't really care - I bought them for the beautiful foliage.

    * "Amethyst" astilbe: Bought these on clearance last year really late in the season, really lush plants at a great price, but no clue what the flowers were like when I bought them. The foliage impressed me from the moment it emerged in the spring, and I ended up loving the flowers - soft purpley-pink, blends in beautifully with the rest of my flowers.

    * Globeflower (trollius): Lovely bloom and great foliage. Unfortunately the poor thing got trampled when I had my siding done, but I'm sure it will be back in full force next spring.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Kim, I haven't been participating very much on the perennial forum this year. Some of my garden projects have been on hold for various reasons. The month of June it rained and was cloudy almost every day. We have now had 4 days straight of sunshine and it makes such a difference in how I feel in the garden after all the gloom. I have a small garden on 1/4 acre on a level lot with part sun and shade more than sun.

    I have a lot of favorites that I love but that don't always love me. [g]

    Astilbe is wonderful if we get enough rain, which we have this year. Mine is next to an Annabelle Hydrangea, nice combo.

    Hydrangea Annabelle - This is new to me two years ago. It has really grown fast! Last year it was gorgeous, this year half of it is on the ground from all the rain. Sad looking.

    Hydrangea 'All Summer's Beauty'
    Hydrangea Oakleaf

    'Ghost' Fern - a beauty and carefree.

    Hosta 'Guacamole' - FRAGRANT! Third year, it is the best I've seen it. No damage on the leaves for a change. Have no idea why. Nice shape and form. The colors are not that interesting, but the flowers can't be beat.


    Heuchera 'Midnight Rose' is my new favorite. Pink splotches on the leaves.

    Nepeta Walker's Low - I have moved it three times trying to find enough sun. It actually did ok in part sun but was floppy. Now it is in full sun with penstemon and grass, dianthus in front. So carefree and long blooming.

    Bleeding Heart - In their third year, they were bigger and better than ever. Love both the white and the pink spectabilis.

    Dianthus - I grew them a long time ago and didn't like them. Then I discovered winter sowing. They are SO easy to grow from seed. Very dependable germinators and you can collect your seed very easily every year. They make a nice edging plant in a full sun bed. I have Dianthus 'Siberian Blues' blooming now next to Vera Jameson Sedum that look nice together. You do have to dead head to keep them going. They need good drainage.

    Verbascum 'Southern Charm' very pretty spires. I've only had them this year and with all the rain, can't report long term how they will work out.

    Sedum Angelina - Just planted that last fall in an outdoor pot around the base of two Arborvitae shrubs and left it out all winter. I shouldn't have been surprised that they made it through the winter. I've done that with Autumn Joy lots of times. I LOVE this sedum. It is very vigorous, although fragile, the stems break easily if you handle it too much. It looks great with the dark arborvitae but gee, a combo with a red or dark shrub sounds great too.

    Creeping golden thyme - I have clay soil and the creepers don't usually do well for me. So I added this golden that I bought to the edge of a raised bed and it took off. It looked better than anything else back in April. I plan on dividing it up and increasing it along that edge.

    Hellebores - I started a bed under a Japanese Maple with these and Japanese Painted Ferns [another favorite] and Viola labradorica and heucheras. I love it. Easy care, long blooming.

    I was very happy with my penstemon this year.


    Roses - I love roses, who doesn't, but I grow organically and I have to work hard to keep them pest and disease free. I gave them up for years, not enough sun either. But make room for them in the front where I have full sun, two years ago. They did so awful last year, I was going to rip them out. Then I talked to someone who grows organically and they recommended Alfalfa meal and more fertilizer. So I added my best compost, some organic fertilizer and alfalfa meal around the base this spring and they have been much better this year. Even with all this rain. The rain made a mess of the blossoms, but the foliage and the shrub itself looks very good. I have hope.I

    Shasta Daisy - I grew them from seed, they bloomed same year, then I kept them one more season and ripped them all out. I didn't like anything about them. They didn't rebloom easily or quickly as I was expecting. The foliage was too thick and they spread too much. They browned along the edges when you trimmed them. They just didn't look good most of the time and they didn't flow with the other plants. I know lots of people like them and I thought I would, but.

    I'm enjoying this thread. :-)

  • conniemcghee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like this thread!

    2009 ANNUALS:

    Duds First:

    Supertunia. Super-sucky. Yanked it out and trashed it.

    Cleome. I had one good year with cleome many years ago, and have been chasing that same high ever since. The leaves started turning a rusty color and looked like absolute death. It met the same fate as the Supertunias.


    Angelonia. This is hands-down the best annual I've ever grown. Requires absolutely no attention, just sun and whatever water Mother Nature provides. Last year mine was still blooming strong when the trick-or-treaters came around.

    Wave Petunia. Better than Supertunia, but probably won't repeat on it because it hasn't spread much.

    Nemesia. This is a Proven Winner, and I think they got this one right. Bought one to try it (as I did with Angelonia last year). It will have a nice presence in my garden next year, to be sure! I got "Opal Innocence." Blooms well, needs no attention.


    I will do only heroes on this one:

    Coneflower. White Swan and Green Jewel. Green Jewel may be my favorite flower ever. Awesome color! Not as green as the tag, more of a light green, but it just glows in a little shade. It's tough to beat coneflower for length of bloom season, which is something I'm most interested in.

    Coreopsis. I bought Moonbeam and Creme Brulee early this spring, and they have bloomed non-stop and show no signs of slowing.

  • highalttransplant
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay, I will probably regret posting, since I am a bit exasperated this morning. In addition to continuous irrigation issues this summer, the grasshopper plague is worse than usual, and the extent of the damage, is just depressing.

    Still, when I stand out in the yard and look over the garden, I see tons of colorful blooms, and a garden that is finally looking filled in instead of bare dirt everywhere.

    The biggest pleasant surprises for me this year have been the daylilies. I received several in a plant swap in fall of '07, so this is the first year that some of them have bloomed.

    Daphne Dale - very pretty soft orange color, nice sized flowers

    Fooled Me - Huge blooms of a pumpkin orange with rust colord edges and throat

    Wynnson - a soft, butter yellow

    Pardon Me - Small blooms, but a rich burgundy color

    Still waiting for blooms on Principal Wife, Nuka, and Linday Guidry

    The perennials that have put on the biggest show for me so far have been

    Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes' - wow, huge blooms in a golden yellow that's impossible to ignore

    Geum 'Fireball' - if you don't like orange there are Geums in yellow or red, but the small rose-like bright orange blooms filled in the gap between the spring bulbs and the summer blooming perennials very nicely

    Gaillardia 'Burgundy' - yes, it lays all over its neighbors, but it's such a pretty color, and blooms to prolifically, that I forgive it.

    Echinacea 'Summer Sky' - I've have mixed success with Echinacea hybrids, but I have a couple of these that are very reliable bloomers

    Achillea 'Terra Cotta' - Another of the "leaners", but it's lacy blooms in burnt orange and gold with the bluish foliage are just so unique. I just with they weren't a hideaway for the grasshoppers!

    Coreopsis 'Creme Brulee' is always a non-stop bloomer for me, but I killed one of mine by moving it in the fall last year

    I'm going to skip the bad and the ugly, it's just to depressing to discuss...


  • drivebytrucker
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Awesome topic! I'm not a hardcore gardener or anything, and I really only like a limited number of plant varieties, but I'm obsessively into those varieties. Anyway, here's my attempt to add to this thread:

    Echinacea: despite some early-season herbivore attacks, almost all of them are looking great this year. I bought several of the new color varities last year. I'm lazy and don't keep track of what I bought, and I hate putting markers in the ground, so I don't remember what any of them are, but the best ones are one that's buttery yellow, another that is a paler yellow, and then one that's kind of a weird orangish-pink, although it fades to almost normal looking. I also bought a Echinacea from wal-mart last year that had no petals and was curious to see what it would do this year. It turns out it does have petals, but they are minute and only visible from close-up. I don't know if this is a new variety or one that's out there already, or if I just got some genetic freak of a plant, but it was labelled as 'magnus'. I like it alot! Will definitely try to get the seeds off that one before the birds do.

    My front-yard garden: We have two front-yard gardens, one we started last year and one we did this year. The older one looks amazing right now, with several different Echinacea in bloom, two huge Helenium 'mardi gras', which is just an amazing plant, as well as some lavender, which to my surprise survived the winter. Some Penstemon digitalis and Vernonia is getting ready to add to the show, and a N.E. aster cultivar should finish things off. The garden we started this year is starting to fill in, but will have to wait a year or two to really shine. We put in rattlesnake master, liatris aspera, silky aster, echinacea 'bravado', heliopsis, big & little bluestem, and panicum 'shenandoah'

    My "little garden" off the deck, not very big, maybe 3' x 5', but it's amazing what's crammed in there and looking very good, I might add. A giant Baptisia, which had about a dozen flower spikes this year, after only 2 last year. Queen-of-the-prairie is getting a little aggressive, actually had to pull some out this year, but it's just about in full bloom now. I noticed several buds now on the 3 Silene regia plants that are in there - that's one of my faves. And the Allium stellatum keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.

    Last in the good: All of my Sarracenia (my main hobby) survived the winter, for a change. The previous couple of winters took a toll on my collection. I put them in the garage later in the fall and took 'em out earlier this spring than I had in the past. Don't know if that's the reason or not, but all's good. Only had 4 flowers this year, which bummed me out, but my collection is not what it was. In 2004, I had over 100 blooms. All of the seedlings from my own crosses are in their second year and many are defying documented seedling growth rates. Some of those in the CP world don't believe they're only in their 2nd year.


    Artemisia ludoviciana: Man, i regret the day we planted this, and I regret not pulling most of it up this spring when it emerged. My main backyard garden is now approximately 1/2 of this stuff. It's about 4.5 feet tall, has inconspicuous flowers. Smells good, but spreads like wildfire. It has engulfed my apparently Wisc.-hardy Kniphofia, which ticks me off. I don't know why anyone would want these.

    Helianthus grosseratus: I guess I shouldn't really put it in the bad, but this plant seems to be tolerating our moderate drought here in NW Wisc. the least successfully. You'd think a well-established native plant would brush off any droughty conditions, but this guy's been wilty for a couple of weeks. Perhaps because it's now approaching 8 feet tall - that's a lot of pressure needed to move the water up to the top. Also, it's partly my own fault as the kids ruined the sprinkler and I haven't gotten a replacement yet, so the garden goes unwatered.

    Agastache - not really bad, but not good. Last year, I started a bunch from seed and had a nice "hedge" of them in the garden last year, full of blooms and hummers late in the summer. this year i didn't start any, just bought some from bluestone during their sale. the things are starting to bloom now, but i don't have the hedge i had last year, most are just 1-2 feet tall and half as wide. One of my favorite plants though - I'll just have to go back to seed-growing them next year.

  • conniemcghee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey, I'm happy to hear about the Terra Cotta Achillea Bonnie!! I just got it this year, because I loved the colors in the pictures I saw. I'm glad it's a good bloomer! I guess it will have to be corralled or staked or something, huh...

  • gabbygardner
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you all for sharing so much!! A beginner like me - well, let's just say I am awed at how knowledgable you all are. My problem is I plant, then forget what it is:O)

    I will have to start writing down what I have, so I can follow it along like you all do so well. So far all I do is sit on the computer trying to id the plants I have, so I can either get more, or ask questions about them. Since I don't know most of their names, that is difficult. I have a very tall Rudbekia (I think) that I have been trying to id for two years. I bought it at a clearance sale and it is amazing. Everyone asks what it is and I can't tell them. Silly, I know. It grows like 6-7 feet tall or more with tons of flowers from August on.

    Thanks again for sharing - I just love to see what you are doing and what the do's and don'ts are:)!!


  • hunt4carl
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Prairiemoon -

    You don't have to give up on roses - I have a similar sized garden (organic)
    with more shade than sun. My three climbers: ' Zephirine Drouhin' and
    'Altissimo' get barely three hours of sun, and 'Darlow's Enigma' flourishes in
    bright shade, but NO sun! Also, the original 'Knockout' shrub rose that I grow
    gets by on just three hours of sun. Check out Heirloom Roses (my favorite
    supplier) - they list quite a number of roses that are shade tolerant.

    If I can find a few spare minutes this weekend, Ill try to come back and add
    my oops-duh-good-bad-ugly list !


    Here is a link that might be useful: Heirloom Roses

  • daylilyluver
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago


    Care to share your thoughts, tricks, tips for the Sweet William? Bought my first 2 then found out the are biennels.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • mxk3 z5b_MI
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I remembered another DUD: "Inchmery" dianthus. Loved the pink flowers (they really do smell like cloves) but the foliage was butt-ugly, I just couldn't stand it - I literally cringed every time I caught a look at it. Needless to say, it's been shovel-pruned.....

  • ginkgonut
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I, too, added Achillea Terra Cotta this year and I think it may be my new favorite plant. It really brings a nice, unique color to the garden.

    A few new (to me) potential winners, though I reserve final judgement until after the first winter:

    Viola Etain
    Tradescantia Sweet Kate
    Heucherella Sweet Tea

    I bought an Echinacea Coconut Lime from HD. Well, it's not Coconut Lime.

    None of the Japanese Irises bloomed this year.

    Somehow, one of the Big Sky Echinaceas survived the winter. First time this has happened. Unfortunately, I don't remember which one it is.

    Koeleria Blue Sprite also survived the winter. Cute, little tufted blue grass with nice seed heads.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Kim.... I would also love to see photos if you have them. I have considered getting William Baffin rose. It is supposed to be very cold tolerant right? A Buck's rose? ..... I love 'Snow in Summer'. I saw a spread in a garden magazine that used it in great quantities and I still remember what a knock out it was. I've never had luck with it, with our clay soil. ..... I bought my first smoke bush from Bluestone this year, 'Young Lady'. It's tiny. How fast do they grow? ....Which climbers did you have and did you lose them completely? .....Spirea also reseed which creates more work for me. ....What kind of a dog do you have? .....I put my Iris in a raised bed because of our clay soil. It was fine until we had so much rain this year and now I see some foliage problems. Hoping to dig them out and separate and move them closer to the edge. .....I have a Bressingham Ruby Bergenia and it hasn't bloomed once yet, three years I've had it. I also don't like that some of the leaves get discolored too much of the time and it doesn't always look great. Your lucky it grows so well for you. The fall color is gorgeous! ....Our Dianthus have done fine with a LOT of rain this year so it might be that good drainage is more important. Although, they are very drought tolerant. ....Have your asters bloomed yet? I ignore mine, once I cut them back in early summer and the one I have is great. ..... You can also pot up Autumn Joy Sedum, mine overwintered in a pot by the front door four winters in a row, collecting standing water, ice and snow and still came back the next year. ....I have 'Silver Mound' Artemesia in full sun but so little sun this year, they are miniscule. ....I feel the same way about Peonies. I only added them two years ago, and I just feel so dissatisfied when the blooms last such a short time. I have a small yard and don't want to give them the space either. I lost one to some kind of wilt and I have one left.

    Pat....I have felt that way about my garden some years. I move things around in the fall every year and every spring. I finally have some areas that I am happy with. One that I planned well and one that was just serendipitous. And another area that I reworked four times before I liked it and it still needs some tweaking. We get cooler weather mid August sometimes into early September that is nice for rearranging.

    mxk3.....I also tried that African daisy last year and vowed never again. .... I remember seeing that 'Amethyst' in the store and wish I had bought it. ....I love my iris pallida too. I bought another one this year.


    connietn.....I planted plugs of coneflower three years ago and they are just blooming this year. I tried some of the exotic varieties that didn't overwinter for me, but I am very happy with 'magnus', 'ruby star' and 'primmadonna' which are looking great this year. Some are about 4ft tall. Finally. I bought an echinacea at a local garden club sale that was not labeled and it turned out to be white. Not sure what variety it is. I really want to get 'Fragrant Angel' if I can find it at a sale this fall. They really are fragrant and nice and tall.

    Bonnie....I have put the thumbs down to the Gallardia 'Burgundy' that just started blooming for me this year. It was planted as a plug last year and it is not true to color, has a thin yellow line around the bloom and is half the height I was expecting. Yes, flopping but not in an attractive way. I might have bought a dud.

    drivebytrucker....We had a groundhog last year that ate all the coneflowers down to the ground. That's why they are just blooming this year. I love the yellow. ....Very sorry about your Artemesia. I hope you can find a way to get rid of it. I had something that grew worse when I pulled it out and I resorted to covering the area with plastic for a whole season and that seems to have taken care of it. A real pain though.

    gabbygardener....I keep a spreadsheet on the computer of all the plants I purchase so I have a record. I don't try to tag most things and that seems to be enough that I have a way of looking it up when I forget. You can also post photos here for ID. Being a new gardener is such an exciting time! :-)

    Carl.....always nice to meet another organic gardener. :-) Thanks for those suggestions. I have a 'Zephrine Drouhin' planted two years ago on the shady side of an arbor and it hasn't done much at all. I admit I just dug it in and ignored it. [g] I plan on giving it some TLC if I can ever get to it. I also have that original Knockout Rose in part sun and I'm crazy about it. Good looking foliage, some fragrance, nonstop bloom. It was my first rose purchase and I found it to be a 'tease' and just made me want to go out and buy a 'real rose'. lol I love the KO as a shrub, but I was just yearning for heavy fragrance and huge many petaled blooms. I am happy to get your recommendation on Heirloom Roses. I do want to try some more, once I get those I have performing their best. Thanks for the names of the shade tolerant varieties, too!

    gingkonut....My Iris didn't perform well this year and once I did get a few blooms the rain turned them all into mush. Oh well. Next year.

    Hoping to hear of more success and Dud stories and would love to see lots of photos.

  • crunchpa
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Veronica is hardy,well behaved and long blooming for me...
    I have always liked Red Hot Poker...
    Ribbon Grass as a contrast is one of my faves although it is aggressive....


  • conniemcghee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Cari and prairie, I have Zephirine too! I just got it this year from Chamblee's. It appealed to me because I read it was thornless and low-maintenance.

    Mine is growing like gangbusters...seriously! I can't believe how big it's getting. But, I only had one bloom so far this year :( It's planted on the north side of the house, but our sun goes directly overhead so it is getting direct sun for at least a few hours. I was glad to hear that it does OK for you in partial sun. I have wondered if there hasn't been a lot of flowering because it's the first year. Anyway, it's been such a strong grower I definitely want to give it a chance.

  • conniemcghee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I thought of another hero I'd like to add:

    David Phlox.

    I had one garden phlox at our other idea which one. It was short and pinkish-purple. Anyway, it only bloomed a short time.

    David has gone ON and ON and ON! Mine are new this year, and have put on an incredible show! David is also supposed to be very mildew-resistant, and so far for me it is looking wonderful. :)

  • crunchpa
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Moss Sedum gets positive feedback on my property, it is nice it is nice around rocks or as a low border.


  • highalttransplant
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Prairiemoon, do your Gaillardia 'Burgundy' blooms look similar to this?


    Connietn, this picture of Achillea 'Terra Cotta' was taken last year. All of the plants around the Achilleas are much bigger this year, so it doesn't look so out of proportion now, but you can see how it is flopping out into the yard. This is the windy corner of the garden, which doesn't help. Anyway, this year I've staked it some to keep it out of the yard, for mowing purposes, but I don't mind plants leaning and mingling a bit, as long as one is not hurting the other.



  • conniemcghee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh Bonnie, thank you so much for posting that! I think it's GORGEOUS! Leaning or not...I'm with you, as long as they're not hurting each other I like the look...very casual and welcoming. That color is just SO PRETTY! Let me ask you, how long does yours bloom? Do you cut back for a second flush?

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Connie, I hope to move mine soon and give it a little boost with fertilizer. I have been using alfalfa pellets on two other roses in the front and that seems to be really making a difference. I also added 'David' Phlox last year and the foliage is looking great despite all the rain this year. It hasn't started blooming yet.

    Pretty Sedum, Crunchpa. I have that one around the edges of rocks and it really moves fast. I yank it out by the handfuls and just leave a tiny bit every year. I potted some up and it winters over outdoors.

    Bonnie, I will have to go out and look, but I think mine looks like yours. Can't remember if the center has that much yellow or not. My red is a little more saturated but it really isn't burgundy color and I have a little more yellow on the edge. I did notice the other day, that the initial blooms were short, but there are some taller ones now. I am on the fence now, about whether it works. I will give it some more time. I would have rathered a deeper burgundy color with no yellow, but.....

    I love your Terra Cotta! That is such a pretty color! I didn't realize it was so tall. I wonder if you would consider it invasive and is it in full sun?

  • cynandjon
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    WOW very informative.

    Prairiemoon I love the Hosta 'Guacamole' I wonder who sells it around here, Ill have to keep my eye out for it. I have a lot of shade areas and am always looking for interesting hostas.

    gabby, I started a photo log this year of my plants. When they bloom, I take a digi picture and put it in photobucket with the name,description,height, when it blooms, where its located in the garden and whether it needs to be moved. I wish I had done this from the beginning. Since these are new gardens at a new house and not all the gardens are in yet, Ive been sticking stuff in as a holding place. Its getting messy. LOL

    highalttransplant, beautiful what is the silver in front of the Yarrow? Its stunning. BTW I love how the yarrow kind of falls, it softens the edge.

    I have a lot of sedums and I never seen that one. beautiful!!! Another one for me to look for. I have a wall of sedums started.
    the garden pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  • highalttransplant
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    PM2, no I wouldn't consider it invasive, the clumps have grown a little since the first year, but it isn't sending out any runners, and it is a hybrid and doesn't self-seed. It is in full sun.

    Cyn, the silvery blue foliage is Blue Oat Grass. They are much bigger this year, almost hiding the 'Terra Cotta'. This picture was taken from behind the Achillea, and you can see the plumes of the BOG are creating kind of a screen in front of it. I'm debating whether I should cut the seedheads off, or leave them.



  • cynandjon
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Its really pretty, I'll have to check it out since I'm the same zone.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    cyn, I think I bought it as a plug at Green Mountain Transplants, although I don't recommend them if you have to mail order from them. Bluestone does have it, but I would wait for a sale, maybe? Link below. I am leery of buying hosta these days with all the hosta diseases, maybe someone else can recommend a supplier that is 'safe'?

    Not a great photo but here are the flowers on it, that are large and fragrant...


    I also depend on my photos to keep track of my plants.

    Cyn, my whole garden seems like a holding place sometimes. [g]

    Here is a link that might be useful: bluestone perennials --Hosta Guacamole

  • cynandjon
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    OMG It has a gorgeous flower. I'm not aware of the hosta dieases? I'll have to look that up. I haven't had a problem so far.
    The nursery I deal with doesnt carry this one. Thanks for the link.

  • kimcoco
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was on vacation, returned yesterday, happy to get so many responses to my post, and wonderful feedback.

    Coolplantsguy - yes, I do love peonies and heirloom plants for that matter, I just don't have the room though I admire them in my neighbors yard. The one we had toppled from the weight of the blooms, I don't know the variety, they were here when we purchased. Thanks for the suggestion, I will consider if I ever find the space lawn gets smaller with each passing year. LOL.

    Pat, you make me chuckle. I'm like you. I spend so much time planning and thinking things through over the winter, only to find later that I don't like the combos or placement, so I plan again for next year. Some of my plant combos happened by accident & some I've followed suggestions when researching companion plants. I'm still learning how textures compliment eachother, and other things I didn't know to think about a few years back, but it's fun to learn. Summer is too short though.

    Prairiemoon, I also have Astilbe planted next to my Annabelle, and I enjoy the contrast of the red plumes and darker foliage with the brighter green backdrop of Annabelle. I've learned it's best to NOT fertilize it once it's established, it makes the blooms too heavy and they'll topple. Still, the rain does make them flop, but mine usually bounce back, I have one staked with a support, but it was just planted this year. I also cut my dianthus blooms back before I left for vacation, and returned to a new flush of blooms, the foliage tends to yellow on me though, I need to stop watering, I didn't realize they're drought tolerant. I forget the variety, it's got blue spiky foliage and red flowers. I will have to do more research on hellebores...we added a raised planting bed/retaining wall with a row of purple leaf sandcherries on top, and I'm looking for an underplanting in full sun; the sandcherries will be trimmed into a tree form once established. For now, I planted yellowish hostas at the base for contrast, but I know they won't do well in full sun. I'm glad to hear about Sedum Angelina, mine will be delivered some time this week, now I'm really looking forward to growing them, I just worry about our new dog, she's so rambunctious - she's a chihuahua boston terrier mix, the cutest thing, she likes to grab my plants and tug on them..I'll have to get her some more toys. I was thinking of amending my soil for the iris, adding more grit for drainage, we'll see if that works. I had one aster that bloomed for me, but it was spindly, a combo of dry soil in this area and minimal sun, but my campanula that I moved not too long ago is doing much better, must be the sun. I have to move the asters, just trying to find a location. It's funny about the Autumn Joy Sedum, my husband keeps telling me to pot them up since I can't find the 'right' place for them, I'll have to try that. I do like the blooms, very pretty, and they grow amazingly large after transplanting a single stalk, very impressive. I will try to post a pic of William Baffin rose when I have a chance..the pic is not mine as mine is only a few months new and I'm still learning how to prune them to shape, but my friend has one along their property and it's a stunner, grows upright almost like a tree canopy, and does well in our zone without protection and is disease resistant, with prolific blooms, but I know they have to trim it back regularly, it's a monster. Give me a couple of days and I'll try to post here if I can figure out photobucket. Of the climbers, I have Don Juan and Sombreuil. They died back almost to the ground, but new growth emerged in the spring, so they're still puny and it's the end of July, though I also transplanted them in early spring. We'll see next year if they do better. I purchased Smokebush 'Grace' and 'Golden Spirit' - I've read there's some potential winter die back, mine is only a month new, but I've also heard that they grow like weeds once established, so even with winter die back they'll grow like crazy. 'Golden Spirit' has new growth in a pretty lime green color and grows more upright in form whereas 'Grace' fans out. 'Grace' grows at a house up the street from us and it's just beautiful, especially with the smokey plumes. I ask my husband to slow down every time we drive by. :)

    Phyl in Chicagoland, I'm embarrassed to post pics. I still consider my landscaping in the beginning stages, most plants aren't mature or established yet, I've moved a lot around, still a work in progress. I had problems with photobucket last time I tried, but I'll see what I can do. I'll tell you though, do an internet search on 'Nancy J. Ondra', I came across her website when researching plants (that's where I got my iris and lemonbalm combo inspiration from) - her garden is to die for, absolutely STUNNING!!! I peruse her garden pics whenever I get the winter blues.

    Mxk, I was also looking at the Iris pallida but wasn't sure if it would look odd to mix these with the non variegated type. If you like the look of Jacobs Ladder, it reminds me of a shrub, Carol Mackie Daphne. Same variegated foliage, with pretty spring flowers.

    Connie, this is also my first year with wave petunias and I love them, I have them in hanging baskets. I've read they are self-cleaning, unlike the regular petunias, but I still deadhead here and there. I'd do them again, definitely. The foliage is also very pretty.

    Gabby, I used to throw tags away, but as the gardening world became more intriguing to me, I've learned to write down the names of my plants on a 'map' of my yard...LOL. Mostly in an attempt to overcome winter blahs, I also compiled a list of plants that need deadheading, cutting back, dividing, etc. so I know what to do come spring.

    Daylilyluvr, ok, like I said I'm an 'advanced' beginner in the gardening world, still in my learning curve. LOL. I had no idea Sweet William was a biennial. I've had it for two years now, the blooms are stunning, but this year it got all brown and ratty after blooms were spent, I chalked that up to too much watering. I cut it back and it looks like a few blooms are starting to come in again, but I had to remove old dried stems. Web says if you don't let it self seed it will shoot up more stems and act as a perennial...looks like that's what's happening for me as I likely cut back the spent blooms last year too.

    Crunchpa, my favorite person from the container gardening forum. LOL. I have a TON of containers this year, maybe too many. It takes me over an hour just to water everything, and that's just the containers, but I think I got overzealous and overstuffed them this time around...still, I wouldn't go without my containers, I'm hooked. I love that moss sedum, I'll have to try it. You always have the best pics. I still have dirt to cover until everything is established, I'm waiting patiently though my transplanting doesn't help either. I was looking into that red hot poker at one point, if I remember correctly I think it goes dormant mid season and then comes back again later?? Or am I thinking of something else? Pretty.

    I'll have to research more of the suggestions here, though I'll probably be losing more lawn in the process. :)

  • shadara
    14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What a great thread and I really enjoyed reading all the posts so far! This is my first year gardening, so my collection is small, but I'm already learning some pros and cons to my plant selection for a couple different gardens AND myself... doh!

    Bought a lantana 'confetti' and spooned african daisy w/o doing research first. Found them in the perennial section at Kmart. Come to find out: they may be perennials, but NOT for MY zone!
    Thought a variegated grass (carex maybe) was droopy in my shade garden for lack of sun. Transplanted it to part-full sun and it seemed to shrivel up overnight.
    Ordered Christmas fern, got Tassel fern instead (at least the GH kept it in the same genus, lol).

    Had WAY too high of expectations for the first year! I wanted my plants to look exactly like they were in the pictures. Nearly screaming "Just GROW!" to all my precious baby plants. Wasn't until some peeps on these forums smacked some sense into me with a Nerf bat after I had whined enough.

    Started freaking out when I saw anything BUT medio variegated leaves sprouting from my Hosta undulata. But oh well... it's an anticipated surprise now with every flush. :P
    Mystery rose bush (nearly a tree by now) took forever to even get leaf buds and finally popped out 2 small blooms. Come to find out it's a wild or antique rose... but VERY late to start this year (maybe transplant shock or something?).
    Actually buying rocks from a store for my rock garden...

    My mom's horses (that she lets out to "free roam" now and again) has trampled/squished my successful sedum bed last night. Only started in spring with S. reflexum 'blue spruce' with hopes to added S. angelina to it this fall/spring. Thinking twice about it now. :(
    My mom's Coleus 'kiwi fern' looks awesome, but the one "I just HAD to pick out" and fretted over (C. 'Saturn') looks like crap ... And she reminds me of it almost daily.

    Hosta 'Bressingham blue', Tiarella 'sugar and spice', Japanese tassle fern, Euonymus 'Frosty Pearl', Sempervivum arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek), and Clematis 'Sweet autumn' doing GREAT for first year! I'm really happy with these.
    I rescued a couple hens and chicks my mom was trying to grow and they simply LOVE my rock garden.
    On same note, mom's very old lamium was literally shrinking and down to 2 small plants (she got them from her aunt many, many years ago). I plopped them into one of my patio shade gardens and they are now 3 times the size. YAY!
    The wooly thyme is ADORABLE and thriving in my rock garden.

    Heuchera 'Caramel' has now faded to mostly green in shade garden. I originally wanted H. 'marmalade' but it had rust so returned it to GH.
    Rockfoil (saxifraga x arendsii 'Touran white') doing piss poor on top of rock garden.
    Nothing wrong with either plants on their own. But man, they're really mad at me where I placed them.

    I always loved to see creeping phlox at the GH. Gave it a go, and dang it looks so ratty and scrubby this time of year (even sheared 1/3 down).
    Waiting for old tulip foliage to die back in bare bed before digging the bulbs up is painful! Took for-ev-ah in shade garden!

    And Looking Foward To:
    Next year's growth!!!
    Attempting to overwinter lantana, african daisy, and coleus.
    Getting a couple new shade houseplants (not sure what yet).
    Reading as much as I can, so I'm better prepared for next year.

  • alexiebalexie
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'll jump on board this... seems old & hoping to bump it. I'm a newbie gardener but I'll add what I can.

    FAVORITES: Nepeta Catmint "Walkers Low"- oh my how I just love this plant. Perfect for me - smells great, easy peasy to take care of, every 3-4 yrs gives me more.

    Nothern Bayberry- just LOVE. Smells incredible, easy plant. Loves it's scrubby organic look. Growns abundant where I live. Native.

    Salvias- Blue Hill & Maynight- reliable blooms! it's slug bait for my garden though.


    Rosa Rogusa- my husband just loves this shrub. I hated it. way too thorny to work with for my taste & it ending up taking over my front bed. real pain!!!

    Ribbon grass- Ugh. hated. husband put it in from a neighbor "generously giving it away". completely overtook a side bed. was able to get it all up but it took about 3 summers to get them all out.


    Little Bluestem- not sure why but just did not take at all in my garden - still unclear on this one it's a HUH? for sure.

    Spirea Anthony Waterer - I'll be honest you can't beat spireas for their low maintenance and reliability but this particular one has a pink color that was way too brash looking for my garden, I just never could get into it, even though the fall color was starting to look really promising. Gave away to friend.

    ServiceBerry (Shad) tree- I had 2 bareroot 2 footers. They struggled big time. When I saw the cedar rust devouring them, I sadly pulled them both out. This was very sad for me, I actually said a prayer while ripping them out of the earth. much guilt, because they are native & the birds love them. I just couldn't justify waiting years & years for these big beautiful trees that would struggle constantly. (replaced both w/ river birch trees)

    Nepeta Catmint- spacing on this name, it wasn't Walkers Low which I heart. It was another type maybe Blue Wonder? and it was weird, scraggly looking & never acheived the beauty that Walkers Low does for me. I was redoing the bed it was in, so it went!


    Not sure yet, maybe ribbon grass although I got it in time. I'm sure they are coming.

    Oh, now I recall a few...Beachplum - great plant just was in wrong spot, 3x were removed but I will have to replant again in another area.

    Sedum- don't know that kind I had, it was cute & started spreading like crazy but the colors didn't work for me. I don't do reds in my garden. Yanked it all out.


    Blue stem as mentioned before.

    Clematis- I have Dutchess of Edinburough and still not sure how to take care of this?!

    Miscanthus grass- Love and hate. Love in the summer, hate in the early spring with all the mess. and they get H.U.G.E. hard for me to divide on my own. I also really want to replace w/ more native grasses so probably will only keep 1x and an area where it can grow as big as it wants.

    Winterberries- Mr & Mrs Poppins. Cute but haven't grown much at all. Will stay patient on this couple.

    Boxwood- I transplanted 2x boxwood "Green Mountain" at a last minute rush before this last winter. I moved them from a front bed where they were wayyy too small & looked silly to a sheltered spot, by my deck. Kindof thinking they would die but they have thrived!! Strange but pleasantly surprised. Will keep & see how they get on in next few years.

    GAVE UP:

    Rosa Rogusa, Serviceberries, Little Bluestem.


    This is my biggest list because as I say, I'm new to gardening & have planted (& will be planting) a lot more in years to come.

    Hydrangea (Nikko Blue)- fingers x'd, high high hopes!!

    Rhodedendrum, Lavendar (planting this spring!)

    Ajuga chocolate chip

    River Birch Trees (have a "still young" one and planting another this spring)

    Eastern Red Cedar (planting this spring)

    Viburnums (Arrowoods & will be adding in highbush cranberry soon)

    Coneflowers (starting last year from seed. oh, fingers & toes x'd)

    Russian Sage

    Anise Hyssop

    Karl Forester Grass (will be adding this spring)

    Hameln Dwarf fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)- adorable fountain grass, I added 2x to my front bed. 1st year so fingers x'd.

    Inkberry - love these (deer got to one of mine) hoping they will fill in nicely.


    Fothergilla "Mt. Airy"


    Summersweet/ pepperbush - eyeing "sixteen candles".

    Highbush Cranberry V

    Winterberry Ilex


    Joe Pye Weed

    Ferns (Lady's Mantle)

    Butterfly bush (want something like Ms. Violet or another non-invasive kind)

    Red Twig Dogwood

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