Fads come and go and garden fads do the same thing. What I like today might be different in 10 years, 5 years, or even 1 year! But for this Friday Five post I thought I’d tell you a little about the plants I really like right now. While this list contains some specific plants it also contains a types of plants (some of which may only be loosely related.)
Heucheras are the “in” plant of today or at least I think so! They are an American native plant that thrives in dry shade areas. Heucheras are perennial plants that need occasional dividing every 3-4 years. They grow outward and eventually leave an open center section that can be covered back up with soil and encourages to grow back. I prefer dividing them in the spring time by digging the plant up and separating the rooted sections into individual plants with pruners. They don’t divide as easily as daylilies or hostas might but can be successfully propagated through division. There are many neat varieties to try and more are being made every year. I added ‘Paris’ and ‘ Georgia Peach’ to our corner shade garden this year. We also have ‘Mocha’, ‘Katelyn’, ‘Southern Comfort’, ‘Dale’s Strain’, ‘Palace Purple’, ‘Mystic Angel’ and a few others.
Switchgrasses are the awesome alternative to miscanthus which has become invasive in many states. Switchgrasses are native grasses that provide nesting locations for ground nesting birds and other wildlife but they also make a fantastic ornamental grass! ‘Northwind’ is a good upright bluish colored switchgrass as is ‘Heavy Metal’. I’m a big fan of ‘Shenandoah’ for its fall color.
- Hostas have been a garden favorite of many gardeners for many years and continue to be one of my favorites! I’ve been hosta challenged over the years with a garden that has little shade and hosta predators like deer and rabbits. The shade situation is better now but there’s no getting rid of the deer and rabbits. Creatively interplanting hostas with heucheras has helped as the deer and rabbits are not terribly fond of huecheras. Hellebores aren’t something deer or rabbits eat either and make good companion plants for hostas.
- Native Plants are becoming increasingly popular these days for good reason. Native plants do better in our climate since they have adapted to live here over the centuries. They are capable of growing in our challenging soils and take the heat and humidity better than many exotics. I’m trying to add more and more native plants to our garden as I go which I think makes my job as a gardener a whole lot easier! This year I added a red buckeye to the garden near the shed. It’s a small tree/shrub that gets beautiful red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds.
‘Shasta’ Doublefile Viburnum
Viburnums have always been a favorite shrub of mine. Flowers in the spring, followed by berries in the late summer, and some pretty neat fall colors make viburnums a great choice in any garden. Some can get quite large and once they get started are very strong performers. My newest viburnum is ‘Onondaga’ which I just planted a couple weeks ago. I can’t wait to see how it does in our garden. The lacecap type flowers are very similar to many hydrangeas.