Remove it from your garden

Many gardeners have it in their gardens.  They may speak often of it. They may speak emphatically of it.  They are passionate regarding it.

I had it in my garden, many different kinds of it. But I've slowly gotten rid of it.

"It" is "Never".

I will never have junipers in my garden.

I now have Juniperus chinensis 'Etgozam' Eternal Gold™ in my garden because I wanted something that would take full sun, be evergreen throughout the year and had a yellowish tint to it. Other evergreens fried in the full sun, but these junipers love it.

I will never have arborvitaes in my garden.

I now have Thuja occidentalis 'Holmstrup' waiting to be planted on a corner by the sunroom where I need a tall, narrow evergreen accent.

I will never have tall grasses in my garden.

I now have Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' forming a nice stand, blocking the view of the necessary utility boxes in my front yard.

Yep, I have removed "never" from my garden and replaced it with some beautiful plants, well-suited to their locations, and growing much better than "never" ever did.

I give credit to my garden designer and the hort-enabler for their bravery in making suggestions I would not normally consider, as we sat at my kitchen table and reviewed designs and plant lists.  When they suggested something to plant instead of  "never", they would pause, look at me, and wait for me to realize that their suggestion was better than "never".

Now, "never" doesn't grow in my garden. I weed it out whenever I see it.  I'm even contemplating buying some Cotinus coggygria 'Golden Spirit' even though I said I would never have a smokebush in my garden and emphatically told the garden designer so when she suggested a red-leaf variety.

Never grow "never" in your garden. You'll be surprised at the beautiful and interesting plants that can be grown in its place.


  1. That 'never' can really create problems! With never gone you'll probably have even more exciting plants moving into your garden! gail

  2. What truly good advice, Carol. Never say never. Not just about gardening, either.

  3. That old adage of "never say never" is most appropriate for the garden. There are just too many beautiful plants out there to put up some sort of prejudist against some plants. I am glad you are enjoying doing some of those nevers.

  4. I'm sorry, Carol, but several nevers are still in my garden despite this compelling post. All these nevers are invasive, invasive as defined by the DNR and not just garden thugs. Star-of-Bethlehem, of course, is one. I'm working hard at removing all the starts of burning bush that ended up in my woods. English ivy has been removed except some that escaped in the woods. Someone planted bush honeysuckle and autumn olive and I'm still fighting these in the meadow and wood's edge.

  5. Great post! I too need to remove "never" from my garden.

  6. Sorry, I am removing junipers this spring and I'm fairly certain I will never plant THiS variety in my garden anywhere. And I agree with the post about invasives. But I also have planted "nevers" myself recently, so it's a good thing that we can evolve and change our opinions since the garden is an ever changing place.

  7. Congratulations for stepping out of your horticultural comfort zone. Your garden will be the better for it. I'm guilty of having "never" in my garden too. I like to consider myself open-minded, but I have some deep-seated prejudices concerning some plants. Does Dr. Hortfreud have any openings?

  8. Like Mr. McGregor's Daughter, I have some nevers in my garden too. The biggest one I had was "yellow". I was "never" going to have yellow flowers in my garden. Fortunately, I outgrew that LOL.

    Congratulations for spreading your wings and trying new things, and for reminding us that there is nothing wrong with stepping back and re-evaluating your rules for your garden!

  9. Great article. As a wise old woman once said to me (and I "never" forgot): Never is a long time.

  10. I love it! I used to hate hostas and said they would never be in my garden.I now have loads of hostas. Good for you. Great post.~~Dee

  11. Great post and great reminder to always have an open heart about all plants- after all- everything is beautiful in it's own way (as I'm humming the tune!)

  12. I do have one "never" in my garden that I refuse to ever let go of:

    I will never try to get rid of every single ground elder in my garden!

    -Or, for that matter, dandelions, nettles and whatever weed you can think of.

    This, I think, is a healthy "never" to have. :-)

  13. Hmmm, I don't know if I ever had a "never" in my garden. Even my horsetails coexist with my plantings until I have a chance to get to them (there's a limit to how many can be pulled in a day)!

  14. This is generally so true, however I do have a number of "what was I thinking" in my garden, and several "not particularly happy" crammed in to the already too small space. So glad you discovered some of those "nevers" and hope they do well.

  15. Inspired.....and lovely.


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