Listing my top 5 landscape plants has this fun feeling of being in (one of my favorite movies) High Fidelity. Can you give me your Top 5 list of musical crimes perpetrated by Stevie Wonder in the 80’s? No, but I can give you my top 5 landscape plants.
Who’s going to be the horticultural Jack Black to my John Cusack? (yes, of course I get to be John Cusack, this is MY imaginary garden list post)….This is going to be fun, and just like the movie — if you denounce my choices you have to give very valid rational reasons…..;0)
So here’s my Top 5 list of Landscape Plants that should be considered for every (New England) garden……
Miscanthis sinensis (nearly every variety excluding ‘zebrinus’ — which I find plain tacky)
As I thought through this list, I realized that I don’t think that there is a single garden that I have planned which does not have some variety of miscanthus (probably ‘Graziella’ or ‘Karl Forester’ as these are my favorite and are also easiest to source). Grasses are great inexpensive fillers, they are easy to grow and maintain and the they readily provide splittable specimens to give away to friends and neighbors. As landscape plants they flexible and can provide a modern edge or soften a country garden.
Ajuga reptans (again, nearly every variety except for ‘Burgundy Lace’ which is cheesy like an 80’s chinz).
Every garden needs ground cover somewhere and ajuga is the slightly surprising but easy to grow solution. It generally tolerates sun and shade and spreads only in a slow and polite way. I have patches of it growing in the aisles of my veg garden. Its a volunteer there, but it is just so fresh and it has such a perfect puddle shape that I can’t bear to disturb it.
Both High and Lowbush Blueberry – Classics never go out of style.
I never tire of the amazed response that most people give me when I tell them that they can pick the berries and eat them. (you would be surprised how many people don’t know that) I really do think that people need to get slightly more in touch with where their food comes from and easy growing blueberries seems a perfect place to start. Plus, around New England they are a great substitute for the desired fall reds of the invasive burning bushes that (finally), only recently, were outlawed.
Lucanthemum superbum (Shasta Daisies)
They go with everything, and while they rarely take center stage, their presence makes everything around them shine brighter. Shasta’s are the chameleon of the garden. Put them with poppies and they are like a pretty summer dress, plant alongside clipped boxwood and they are more of a handsome brooch on a sexy business suit, pair with castor beans and scarlet penstemon and they become exotic and sophisticated. The options are endless.
Boxwood – (Duh, aren’t these on everyone’s list?)
I don’t know that a garden (except in the middle of the desert) would be a garden without them. They give the garden it’s distinctive earthy smell, they are handsome and strong, they have a strong jaw line and through summer and winter, they stand tall and proud. It’s enough to make a girl swoon.
What is on your Top 5 list?
Check out the posts of my fellow rountablers, It will be fun to see what they think. I imagine today’s post to be the online version of all of us in a cluttered old plant shop insulting each other and arguing over the cultural merits of our choices…..
Nan Ondra : Hayefield : Bucks County, PA
Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA
Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA
Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA
Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA
Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO
Laura Livengood Schaub : Interleafings : San Jose, CA
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA
Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA
Images: Miscanthus and ajuga reptans by Cheryl Pedemonti, ajuga reptans from thegrowspot.com, blueberries from ifood.tv and leucanthemum from everwilde.com