Every gardener has them, or should I say, doesn’t have them any more. Those plants purchased with great excitement and eager anticipation, the “must have” plants that once enticed and entranced the gardener at the garden center, that now no longer grow in their garden.
How does that happen? The gardener, seduced by some interesting variegated foliage or an intriguing bloom or a cleverly written description on the tag, loses all willpower, silences that little inner voice that tries to say, “I’m not sure there is a good place for that in your garden” and buys a plant that may not be quite suitable for his or her garden. That’s how it happens.
The other day, buried beneath some old seed packets, I found some plant tags for a few plants that don’t grow in my garden any longer. These were plants that I once could not resist, that I had to have, and now I barely remember them. They have disappeared from my garden
There’s a tag for Sagina subulata, Irish Moss. I love little tiny plants with tiny little leaves and thought this one would be perfect along the edge of a raised garden bed edged with stones. Guess what? Further research on a few websites indicates this one may not have been hardy in Zone 5. I ask, then, why a garden center in Zone 5 would have it for sale?
Then there was Arabis ferdinandi-coburgi ‘Variegata’, Rock-Cress. Another ground cover type plant. I love variegated leaves. Did I mention I love tiny leaves, too? Anyone could see why I would not be able to not buy this. But now I have just a tag, and if I didn’t have the tag, I probably wouldn’t even remember that I once planted it.
Leopard Plant, where art thou? At least I think I know where I planted Ligularia tussilaginea ‘Aureomaculata’. I had a “constantly moist spot”, I thought, that was “shaded from the hot afternoon sun”, I thought, so how to explain that this plant no longer grows in my garden? I think the tag misrepresented the hardiness of the plant, based on what information I am now finding online.
I also have a tag for Scutellaria alpina ‘Romana’. I don’t think I even saw this one bloom and I have no idea where I might have planted it. The common name is Skullcap, and the tag said it was a “quick-spreading and clump-forming plant”. Had I lost my mind? Why would I buy something that was “quick-spreading”? That’s just another way to say invasive, or “you will be sorry you planted this one when you are weeding it out all over the place”. It’s a member of the mint family! I’m kind of glad -- no make that very glad -- that this one didn’t make it. But what does that say about me as a gardener that it didn’t grow? That I was darn lucky on this one!
And the last plant I care to confess that I only own a tag for? Campanula cochlearifolia ‘Bavarian White’. I think I bought this one because the tag said “also know as "Fairies’ Thimbles". I’m all about growing plants to attract the garden fairies (or faeries from England). The tag said the best features were “splendid flower color, easily grown”. Well, how would I explain the disappearance of this plant? The only thing I can think of is that the fairies picked off all the blooms and the plant died as a result.
I know I’m not the only gardener with a few disappearing plants. What has disappeared from your garden?