Six Plants I Can’t Live Without

'Golden Slippers'
'Golden Slippers'

Steve Bender from the Grumpy Gardener issued the challenge, and I accepted the gauntlet where it lay.

Which six plants in my garden could I not live without? That’s a very tough question.  I’ve pondered it for several days and thrown some of my original choices onto the mental compost pile.

Number one is obvious.  Come on, everyone knows it . . . yes, roses!  Not those silly Hybrid Teas which require a crash cart on continual standby, but instead, the beautiful, landscape shrubs, both old and new, which add such grace to a garden.  If that’s not enough incentive, what about the old rose scents which are complex and beautiful.

Number two is the daylily. I know there are some people out there in blogland who don’t like humble Hemerocallis, and that there are others who are self-professed Hemnuts, but I fall somewhere in between.  I dearly love my daylilies.  As HH says, June is the best month in my garden.  It is as though someone threw flower confetti up in the air, and it landed gracefully throughout the beds.

'Bricks Galore' is the orange daylily in front.  A very strong daylily hybridized by Niswonger
'Bricks Galore' is the orange daylily in front. A very strong daylily hybridized by Dave Niswonger

My third most favorite is the peony.  What a great flower.  Yes, rain does sometimes mar their appearance, but if you know a  storm is coming, cut them and bring them indoors.  I love the singles, the doubles, the Japanese anemone style.  There is not a peony that I don’t love, and this year, I’ve branched off with a tree peony.  We’ll see if it can live up to its herbaceous brothers.

Number four is Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple.  With nearly unlimited variety in tree size and shape, along with so many different types of foliage color, they won me over.  Japanese maples look great in containers and in the garden beds.  I love them.  I do.

0291Grasses and grass like sedges.  I know these are more than one plant, but as a category, I have to include both.  Again, there are so many different types to choose from.  In fact, I just bought ‘Prairie Fire’ at a garden festival last weekend.  It is orange and green.   Also, with the way the wind blows in our red dirt state, I might as well work with the wind.  Grasses and sedges give the landscape beautiful movement on even the calmest day.

A Japanese maple in Elizabeth Lawrence's garden
A Japanese maple in Elizabeth Lawrence's garden

That brings us to six.  I don’t think I could garden without Phlox.  Must I choose between paniculata, divaricata, subulata, or the new-to-my-garden pilosa?  I hope not.  I find that I also want to try the Proven Winners Intensia group, but haven’t found them sold in Oklahoma.

So, there you have it, my chosen beauties.  What are the six plants you can’t do without?


  1. Sweet Bay says:

    I love your rain chain. What a neat idea! And your garden looks lovely in the rain!

    Sweet Bay´s last blog post..Blooming Friday

    Thank you, Sweet Bay. The cloudcover and the rain deepen the colors which is why it all looks so good.~~Dee

  2. mlc says:

    Six favorite plants is very hard, but if I limit it to landscape plants and forget the veggies–then I agree with Japanese Maple, all those beautiful wavy grasses, and don’t forget those beautiful Aquilegia flowers, and I do love fuchsia, the mighty oak trees–I love those acorns, and who can forget the ever popular hosta.

    mlc´s last blog post..Bleeding Heart

  3. I like all your choices Dee. I just planted my first Peony and am anxiously awaiting it to bloom.

    I came over looking for any articles you had done on the Oso Easy roses. If you have some, I’ll post them to my article. Thanks.

    Anna/Flowergardengirl´s last blog post..Oso Easy Paprika Rose

  4. Gail says:

    Your choices are perfect Dee, You’ll have a garden of beauty, texture, movement, fragrance and color…and the critters will bring you lovely sounds to add to the winds that blow in OK!

    I have been thinking about this since reading Pam and Frances’ comments..both talked about moving around the country. While we aren’t planning to move; that might be a good way to narrow the field! Have a sweet day…gail

    Gail´s last blog post..A Practically Perfect Pink Phlox Wednesday

  5. carolyngail says:

    Great choices, Dee. Of course you had to select Roses for the namesake of your garden 🙂

    And Peonies are the subject of many ancient Chinese paintings for it is beloved there as well. Did you know that they can live a hundred years ?

    Daylilies are one of my faves as well. I’ve selected two new ones this year -‘Blackeyed Stella’, a dwarf yellow with a black eye and ‘Pardon me ‘, a red, both repeat bloomers.

    And who can have a long blooming garden without phlox?

    The Japanese maple is definitely the ‘aristocrat of trees’ as one book described it. I love my Autumn Moon maple.

    Picking 6 plants you can’t live without is no small chore.

    carolyngail´s last blog post..New Additions to Sweet Garden Chicago

  6. I love your description of your garden looking like someone threw flower confetti. It sounds so cheery & festive. I know how hard it is to choose only a few plants, as I did the 5 plant meme a while ago. I like all your choices, all of which (except the Japanese Maple) I also have in my garden.

    Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..The Relativity of Time

  7. I’ve been thinking about this challenge a lot and don’t know if I could limit myself to six. But your choices offer a lot of variety within each plant group. I have discovered species or woodland peonies and they are my new favorites. Single, early and luscious foliage and seedpods.

    Linda from Each Little World´s last blog post..April: Poetry Month

  8. Brenda Kula says:

    I really want the Japanese maple in my yard. Maybe in a large pot for the new deck that’s in the planning stages.

    Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Gazing Through The Daisies

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I think it would be most difficult to choose just 6 plants to not be able to live without. You did a fine job of whittling it down.

  10. Pam/Digging says:

    I love all those choices, Dee. Well, I don’t really know peonies (they don’t like central TX), but they are lovely.

    The phlox you gave me last summer is growing in the new-baby garden, and I can’t wait to see a little of the Red Dirt garden blooming here soon.

    Pam/Digging´s last blog post..Jenny’s flower-licious walled garden

    Oh, Pam, I’m so glad the Phlox paniculata made it. I’ve wondered about that you know. Your daylily is growing well here too. I think about our visit often, and I’m glad we blog, for if we didn’t, we’d never have become friends.~~Dee

  11. keewee says:

    Great choices. I love so many plants, I would have a very difficult time choosing.

    Keewee, it was very difficult, and as you can see, I listed whole groups of plants like the grasses and sedges.~~Dee

  12. Well done. That’s a nice list and with those six plants, you can have a lovely garden. but you left off tomatoes!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog post..There’s A Daylily In There Somewhere

    Well, you’re right. I could buy food from the farmer’s market, but I could not live without beauty. 🙂 ~~Dee

  13. gittan says:

    It’s not easy to chose only six! But we hav a lot in common =) Daylilies, Japanese maples and grass – I love them all.

    gittan´s last blog post..Viken underbar helg – What a great weekend

    Me too, Gittan. Nice to know we have similar favs.~~Dee

  14. CurtissAnn says:

    Thanks for the food for thought. I’ll be keeping these in mind for the new house. 🙂

    CurtissAnn´s last blog post..Outdoor Wednesday– plants moving on

    Rosebud, you should be able to grow most of them. I wish you’d quit talking about the new house though. You’re moving so far away.~~Dee

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