I wandered over to Hayefield today, and read Nan’s post on her garden and personal journey. It made me consider my own garden, and how it’s changed over the years. I bought an app today, Day One, so I could journal about which plants perform best along with their names. I’m lapse at keeping a print journal, and I’m constantly at the computer. It seemed a good fit.
My garden was once very different. I was a different gardener. I was a collector of roses and daylilies, and I sometimes still fall into that mode especially when they bloom. I wish I were stronger, but resistance is futile.
I had a lot of “hates” in the garden, and a bunch of rules, most of which I’ve now broken. I could be quite snobbish about certain plants. Ah, the luxury of being a garden snob. Some of the plants I wouldn’t grow were snooty themselves. Take hostas for example, I once was completely against them. I think it’s because they were planted so often in shade gardens, and in our heat, they usually looked like hell mid-summer. Later, I learned some hostas could withstand our summer furnace with a watering system.
Choose those with substance like ‘Guacamole’ or the standard blue that looks nice in shade. I now grow quite a few hostas, but I don’t go for the newest thing. My climate forbids it.
Honestly, though, if you live south and want that big look, I think elephant ears are much more manageable. Sure, they don’t return every year, but they are great summer plants. We have a very long summer, and colocasias fit the bill. As our summers get hotter, I think we need to look to great, tropical plants with interesting foliage. Blooms are hard to come by in this heat. The only drawback is they need water. They don’t mind a bit of drought, but they want a long drink afterward.
Another plant I hated? Cannas, and I felt bad because Oklahoma has one of the largest canna farms in the U.S., Horn Canna Farm. They are canna hybridizers, and we even have a canna festival, for Pete’s sake. Once again, I think it was their messiness. I always saw cannas planted in hell strips around town, and they looked like poop on a stick, their leaves all ratty-tatty, with sad blooms blown about by the wind.
Then, one fine day, I saw cannas with dark red leaves, and I was hooked by their scrumptious foliage. It’s difficult to find large leaves in a prairie garden, and cannas have such large, smooth leaves. Bear, who loves photography, will take photos of them in macro when it rains. She likes how the drops bead up on the leaves. I still don’t like canna blooms all that much, and as soon as they start to go coyote ugly, I cut them off. It’s okay to be brutal with plants. They seem to like a little S&M treatment now and then.
Now, you know some of my former garden prejudices. Next time, I’ll reflect upon those plants that inspire passion. I’m sure you can guess a few of them already. Till next time, hang in there. Fall can’t come too soon.