Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Plants I wish I could love

Isn’t that better than my original title, plants I hate? The plants to which I refer are flourishing in my late spring garden as I write this. Flourishing, yes, but do I gaze upon them with joy? Not really. Sometimes I wish I had done a bit more research before purchasing certain plants, largely based on promises that they had long blooming seasons. Sometimes these promises were out-and-out lies; some of the promises were fulfilled. Regardless, despite the health and vigor of these cultivars, I’m this close to pulling them out by the roots, or “shovel-pruning” them, as the rosarians like to say.

Dicentra Formosa
Christopher Lloyd correctly describes the flowers of this as “grubby pinkish-mauve.” Unlike the normal bleeding heart, this will bloom all season, but…how does a flower come out looking like it’s about to die? I don’t get that. Yet, the thing gets twice as big each year, and the fernlike foliage is not bad at all. Tellingly, Bluestone does not provide an online picture for the plant.

My unknown hosta
My passion for this huge, deep-green, slug-proof cultivar and its tall, elegant violet flowers has waned considerably over the years. Every summer I watch in dismay as the leaves crisp and crumple in—August?! Sorry, that is not acceptable, particularly as the plants have a huge bed to themselves. I’m afraid of what it will take to pull all or some of it out. It looks really strong. God knows what kind of ironclad root system is going on under there. I inherited this.

Geranium macrorrhizum, Bevan's variety
I have a few geraniums, but one of them is getting huger and huger in both of its two locations and the pink flowers (nice, not as nice as some) end sometime in June. If a shearing does not produce a second crop of flowers this year, as it did with its more interesting neighbor, geranium phaeum sambor, out it goes, to be replaced by the imminent pond.

There is more, but it would get depressing. Here are the dicentra and geranium (from web pix, but this is pretty much how they actually look):

I think the hosta has been purged from all garden centers and online nurseries. I'll see if I can get a garden shot, but it's only fair to wait until it blooms.


Laurie said...

There are a few plants I always turn down, mostly because they're ugly. Echinacea tops the list for me. August is a homely time of year for the local gardens. Coneflowers look like diseased daisies, and for some reason everyone else seems to love them. They didn't go far enough with that plant when selecting for looks.

"Autumn Joy" sedum is another of the ugly plants. "Botanical Reptile" would be a better name.

I'll stop at two of the worst (for me, anyway) or I'll be typing for quite a while.

lispet said...

While I love Echinacea (razzamatazz...need I say more?), I have to agree with your opinion of Autumn Joy. And I love the nickname. One that I wish I could feel more neighbourly towards is the virginia blue bells. Very pretty tri-coloured flowers, but the whole plant flops over exhausted before it's done blooming. It takes up a huge amount of space while it does look good and then I have to cut the whole thing down to nothing leaving a huge gap.