Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Traits of the Most Obliging Plants

The nicest plants in the garden are first and foremost, of course, free.


Preferably they have been given to you by a lovely and generous friend, so that every time you see your plants you can be reminded of them.  Such is the case with my beautiful dahlias.


Amiable plants also pop up in the garden even though you never bought them.  Perhaps they came as a freebie with another plant you bought and you never really even noticed it until it surprised you with delicate yellow blooms one day, such as this Yellow Corydalis in the shade garden. 


Nice and polite plants also faithfully bloom all summer even with complete neglect from the gardener.  This Threadleaf Coreopsis that grows next to the driveway has slowly expanded every year and seems to always be in bloom.  I don't even remember ever cleaning up dead foliage after winter (though I'm sure I do?)


Of course the best plants come back every year after winter - even if they are not rated hardy for your zone.  My 'Priscilla' Gladiolas shocked me with their return after a harsh winter.  Looking online, it seems this variety is among the hardiest of the showy gladiolas.  I hope it keeps coming back. That would be quite nice and obliging of it.


The most polite plants also keep popping up in the garden even after a gardener is sure that she has killed it.  Good to see you again, Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'.


A really obliging plant produces both food and beautiful flowers.  Of course, if the plant was truly obliging, those flowers would be fragrant...  Check, check, and check for the Chinese Red Noodle Bean!

flowers of the Chinese Red Noodle Bean
Other amiable plants put on such a show every year that visitors are in awe of the fact that the gardener managed to grow such large flowers.  (Shhh, don't tell them that 'Cranberry Crush' Hibiscus naturally makes those giant flowers, no matter what I do to it...)


Not all plants have such showy flowers. A well-mannered plant works whatever blooms it has with gusto for the pollinators.  This Liatris ligulistylis might have blooms that are straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, but it is completely irresistible to Monarch Butterflies.


The best plants of all realize that their gardener planted them in the wrong spot and MOVE THEMSELVES over a couple feet to a better one (and one where the gardener was struggling to grow other things).  I swear I did not plant this Great Blue Lobelia there.


So many lovely and obliging plants in my garden!  Now if only one of my plants would be nice to enough catch and eat some of those pesky bugs outside...


Ah, thank you dear Pitcher Plant!  That's very considerate of you!

Do you have any particularly obliging plants in your garden?


18 comments:

  1. A fun post to read with lovely pictures of your beautiful, obliging plants :) I would love to be able to grow the noodle beans alone for their fun name. *waving to you from FL*

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    1. They have been so much fun to grow! I just harvested some, and I'm eager to taste them! The noodle beans actually like the heat, so I think you could grow them in Florida. I was worried they wouldn't do well with our short season, but they've thrived in the hotter summer we've had this year.

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    2. food, flowers, fragrance and a fourth star for the name!

      I'm hoping for a similar harvest from my Dipogon. (Which doesn't win the name prize - Cape sweet pea. Meh)

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  2. Great subject for a post, Indie. Perennials do give and give, don't they? I would say most are sweetly obliging, blooming and increasing every year. I'm always looking for others to whom I can gift my divisions. Nature's love!

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    1. I love the plants that (politely) increase. Another obliging trait!

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  3. Your pitcher plant looks a lot better than ours do right now. Between the Texas heat and wind they take a bit of a beating each summer.

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    1. Mine are somewhat sheltered on our deck, as well, and get a bit of shade in the afternoon. Hoping yours pop back up with new pitchers! So fun to grow, aren't they?

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  4. I love your Glads and your Dahlias! I'm new to Dahlias this year, so I didn't get mine in the ground until too late. They're just about to bloom now, but I think I'll start them in pots inside earlier next year. You are fortunate to have such generous friends. :)

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    1. I used to grow dahlias in North Carolina, where I could just cover them with a bit of mulch and leave them in the ground. This will be my first year digging up dahlias to overwinter, so I hope they survive! My friend was very generous and even started them in pots for me. I might not be so on top of things next year, ha!

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  5. Obligingly gorgeous and fabulous picture of the Monarch enjoying the Liatris.

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  6. I've been gone far too long, Indie! I played catch-up on the last posts I've missed and I see you've had much the same summer weather as we did, hot! Did you have much rain? We're still very, very dry. I must say if your garden looks that lovely after being away from it for some time, you have nothing to worry about. :-) You have such a flair for garden design. I was very intrigued by the purple loosestrife invasives, too. I just hope the bugs they introduce don't turn out to be a big problem down the road, it is encouraging that the weed is starting to decline, though, that's good news. I have not grown dahlias for a few years; I love them very much, but digging and storing them was getting to be a problem as my fruit cellar is so tiny. I do dig all my calla lilies and cannas every year and always wonder where I'm going to put them all. I love your photos, just stunning! So good to be back here again!

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    1. Welcome back! I know you've had your plate full. It's been such a hot summer, but thankfully we have had some rain. I don't really dig and store many bulbs, but I will try this year with the dahlias. I'm hoping I don't kill them!

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  7. Plants will definitely move to spots where they like the conditions better. There's a bunch of that L. ligulisylis at the Lurie Garden and they are mobbed by Monarch butterflies. I like the Hibiscus you have.

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    1. They pretty much ignore the other type of liatris I have. But there is constantly a monarch or two on the L. ligulistylis!

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  8. You have the most amazing, well-behaved, obliging plants! Plants will teach us a lot about themselves, if we will listen to them!

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    1. Now if only the weeds would be so obliging and well-behaved (and go away!)

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  9. While the plants are obliging, great, have multiple talents, etc. my hat's off to the gardener who selected them. Great job plants and planter! What a fun post.

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