January’s over, but the dust is still settling on 2012. Lots of new plants are braving their first winter outdoors here, and I’m getting ready to do a string of six speaking gigs in five weeks in support of my 2012 book. It’s around this time I start dreaming of new plants and post some Wishlist posts, but you know what? Too often, when I actually plant a Wishlist plant I’ve posted? It dies. I’m going to be superstitious and suggest that we look back at the year that was instead. In 2012…
I added over 50 new plants to the garden, some additions to existing stock, but most brand new. You can see them on Pinterest. I hate to play favorites, but:
- Favorite new tree: I’m still in love with my pink Chinese toon tree, but my new favorite is a blue Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’) I bought from a guy who seemed to have started a nursery out of… His house? A neighboring house that was sort of abandoned? Whatever, he was legit enough to be on a Groupon-type thing. Proof that you never know where you’re going to find cool plants, and you never know what you’re going to get with Groupon.
- Favorite new shrub: All the shrubs I planted were small, so the jury’s still out on this one. The one with the most promise is a scandent (fancy word for “viney”) shrub called Chinese wingnut (Tripterygium regelii).
- Favorite new perennial: It’s a tough call, but I’m excited about ‘Mekong Giant’ hardy banana, which I got last spring as a tiny plug from Plants Nouveau, planted out but dug and brought inside for its first winter JUST TO BE SAFE. It grew from a few inches to a few feet tall in this one season, and just this week I thought it was getting ready to keel over and die, but it spat out a new leaf instead. I can’t wait to plant this in my front garden for good next year and see if it really does get 15 feet tall.
- Favorite new grass: Elliott’s love grass (Eragrostis elliottii) was a big wow. My three ethereal blue clumps of excellence are getting moved to a more prominent spot next year. Runner-up: snowy wood rush (Luzula nivea) is a breath of fresh air in dry shade.
- Favorite succulent: Schott’s yucca (Yucca schottii), which I lugged two huge specimens of back from a trip to Arizona this fall. Potted those up for the winter too, not because I don’t think they’re hardy, but so I can plant them out with a whole a growing season to get settled.
Here’s to a year of new favorite plants in 2013!