Plants come and go, but the love of gardening remains


I have been thinking lately about all of the different plants that have come and gone from our garden over the years. Bad fits have been discarded and old standbys have been added. I’m not sure if our garden is more or less attractive for their loss or addition, but it’s different and will probably keep changing as long as it’s ours.

When the front garden was installed, ‘White Clips’ and ‘Blue Clips’ Campanula were brand new and clumps of them lined the walk. Now there are three survivors I discovered this spring under an out-of-control forsythia. They moved to a vacant spot where I’d pulled out ground cover. All are blue, and they are the last campanulas in our garden since ‘Elizabeth’ has been exiled for flopping.

Flopping is a major sin to me, so our onions are also gone, although it’s a battle since the worst offenders self-sowed wildly.

Only the well-behaved, autumn-flowering ‘Ozawa’ and some giant ‘Gladiator’ are left.

‘Gladiator’ has been relocated to the back of the vegetable garden to be used as a flower since I’m tired of the bare spots their ephemeral foliage leave behind.

Globe thistles and sea holly are also gone.

It’s not because I dislike either plant, although like the onions they can be self-sowing pests.

They were both overtaken by shade, and one spring they were gone.

The Miscanthus varities are also gone, shaded out or replaced by switchgrass cultivars.

The native sunflower I made the mistake of planting may have finally been eradicated this spring.

I like the Eupatorium that replaced it far better.

I hope I also killed off the last grape hyacinths since they spread almost as fast as the scilla we battle.

I’m also done with reblooming daylilies ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Happy Returns.’

I’m a Philistine who prefers daylilies to soar above the foliage, and if they flower only once, so be it. I keep ‘Autumn Joy’ because the bees love the late blossoms, but the rest of the plants that used to be listed as upright Sedum are gone.

So are all of the rest of what used to be classified as Asters except ‘Purple Dome.”

It’s the only one that blooms after being mowed down by hungry rabbits in spring.

Our delphiniums are also gone. Although I love them, the blue ones I want refuse to be perennial for me.

What’s left? We kept the original roses, although I’d be lying if I didn’t admit our friends who judge roses must avert their eyes when they pass our poor specimens.

I have more kinds of Salvia than existed 25 years ago, as well as ferns and baptisia.

The phlox I scorned as an “old-lady plant” is all over the place now probably because I’m now an old lady and know its value.

And these days, lots of annuals like fuchsia live year-round in pots, so they move outdoors each spring, bigger and better than ever before.

I’m sure many gardens follow the pattern in ours.

Old favorites survive; new plants enthrall; sun, shade and the gardener’s willingness to divide perennials take their toll.

But it remains as vibrant and exciting as ever, enough to make us eager to keep it going. Plants may change, but the gardener’s love for the garden is what really matters.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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