This used to be lots of fun in the Gardenweb perennial forum; gardeners would shock each other by revealing the plants they really can’t stand, regardless of said plants' popularity and virtuous habits. In a comment to my last post, Laurie nominates Echinacea (coneflower) and Autumn Joy sedum. I couldn’t agree more. Coneflower does look like a diseased daisy and Autumn Joy is just plain hidjous. Yet, you see both of these everywhere—usually in large groups. The Autumn Joy is tolerated because it blooms at a difficult time, I guess. But I’m not even sure if I would call what it produces a flower. I would suggest that people are much better off loading up on long-blooming annuals and self-seeders like (my favorite) Verbena boniarensis. Japanese anemone is a gorgeous late summer/fall flower, a gazelle to AJ’s warthog, though it’s not all that easy to grow. (They do very well with it in England.)
I will tolerate an ugly habit for a beautiful flower. Lilies, for example, have lanky, mutant-asparagus-like stalks that pretty much look like crap. But they give a gorgeous bloom and scent the entire garden for weeks. Another area for extreme tolerance is the shady, root-ridden state of my front garden. I will take just about anything that creates groundcover—and that includes many weeds.
But where I have a choice, I refuse to grow these plants:
These are very nice, but I find them boring. I prefer the brighter, annual daisy-like plants.
They’re so depressing. By the time these come along, I’d just as soon give up on the garden for the year. I’m not that desperate.
Floppy, stinky—what’s acceptable about this plant? (The dainty variety with small white flowers is OK.)
This does not spread easily or quickly. All the promises are lies.
Sempervivum (hens and chicks)
Why do people like this? There’s something I’m not understanding here.
Ok, this is pure spite, because I failed miserably with it. Still, it is not all that.
That’s enough for a start; no need to wallow in it. And, having said all this, I always find myself maintaining and defending plants that, in my heart, I really don’t like. Because they’re mine and because they’re alive, even thriving, despite my ineptitude. So the admission that I’ve just planted two new, double-headed Echinacea in a sunny space should surprise no one.
It's still deformed—well, even more—but in an interesting way, I think.