Every January I post a list of all the new plants I added to the garden the previous fall during my annual transplant-a-thons followed by an embarrassingly honest account a year later of the outcome. While I inevitably add more plants to the garden in the spring that never make it on the list, my list this year should be complete. Unless a plant keels over dead in the middle of winter, my garden is full. At least for now.
*Because I added over 17 different types of perennials as well as a few shrubs, I'm breaking this down into two posts to keep it short.
Adding more shrubs to my garden is never simple. Lacking space for anything larger than 4 feet tall, love at first sight purchases are never an option. I analyze, research, and then head to the garden center to torture the horticulturalist with a million questions.
Logic - even if it doesn't make sense to anyone but me - over lust rules in my garden. Usually.
I wanted this shrub the first time I saw it. A cultivar of the native diervilla that thrives in dry shade, it requires more moisture and grows to about 3 feet tall. But despite how much I loved this shrub, the horticulturalist didn't seem to be as convinced as I was that we were a good match. Perhaps all my moaning about dry shade had made him a bit protective. He was quiet as we walked towards the small row of diervilla and eyed me suspiciously as I explained the intended site. He stroked his beard as I babbled about filtered shade and soaker hoses before stepping aside to help me grab the pot. If I kill this plant, I'll have an "I told you so" coming. This plant cannot die.
I hadn't expected to buy a plant the day I met the snowberry. My goal was to leave the garden center without purchasing anything, a rare and unusual feat. But when the horticulturalist described the charms of this little gem and then looked me directly in the eye, I was a goner. A super dwarf shrub with purple berries, white flowers, and bright green foliage that thrives in bone dry shade? Oh sweet Mother of God, be still my heart. I was in love. I wanted that shrub and I wanted it immediately. He could have let me off the hook easy, but the Shrubmaster wasn't done. He leaned back on his heels before softly bringing me to my knees. "This is the toughest shrub I have ever met." I grabbed the pot and ran.
They forgot the part about tough shrubs.I have a soft spot for abelia. Dwarf variegated 'Mardi Gras' abelia grow in my front garden and are one of my favorite plants. I should have never told the horticulturalist this. It is not always a good thing to wander the shrub section with someone who knows your weaknesses. Regardless of my attempts to ignore the clusters of dwarf abelias scattered around the garden center, our path had become circuitous and we kept coming back to them. "I love how fluffy abelia flowers are." I offered wistfully. "I wish I had room for them." But of course I had room, he countered. Couldn't I squeeze in a two foot tall shrub covered with fluffy flowers? No, I assured him. I cannot. I just don't have room. I should have said goodbye and walked away. But I didn't. I paused and he grinned. "These are some of the toughest shrubs I know".
Dwarf abelia 'Rose Creek'
Dwarf abelia 'Rose Creek'
* For more information about each shrub, I've linked their names to other websites with more technical information.