it would be ridiculous. What gardener would grow just one plant ? And when we have one plant, we want three, and after three, we want nine, and ninety and ninety-nine.
We are obsessives who want LOTS of instant gratification even though it may take years. We want it NOW and are ill-prepared to wait for that tree, shrub, herbaceous plant or any other, to grow and bloom. This is why some of us end up in the padded room.
But, if I could grow one plant today, it would be Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’.
Planted twelve months ago, from a six-inch pot, it is now almost 4 feet across and 2 feet high. It grows in crap soil, doesn’t need much water, smells sweet, and blooms for months. At least, it does all this in my tiny garden in the Bay Area of California.
This plant was collected by Carol Bornstein, former Director of Horticulture at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, ( http://www.sbbg.org/ ) now Director of the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. http://www.nhm.org/nature/visit/nature-gardens .
It was discovered by her in the Canyon de la Mina on Cedros Island, an island off the west coast of Baja California. Praises to Carol for bringing us such a wonderful plant.
On the other hand, I am, today, very fond of Euphorbia characias ‘Dwarf Variety’ with huge chartreuse flowers on a plant that grows 2.5 feet high and 3 feet wide. It’s easy to grow, doesn’t need a lot of water and blooms for three months. Last year, I left the seed-heads on and now have about a dozen young plants growing out of the paving on my patio. The seedlings have wider leaves than the parent. I suspect the dwarf form does not come true from seed. O well.
This year I will remove the seed heads. It’s a small backyard and I don’t want a forest-ette of Euphorbia. ‘Dwarf Variety’ is, by any other name, probably the same as ‘Bruce’s Dwarf’ or ‘Humpty’. The English call it ‘Humpty’ but they would.
Growing next to it is another favorite, Echium gentianoides
Unlike the taller Echium candicans, this is not unruly in its proclivities and does not self-seed. It flowers for almost four months, the bees love it and so do I. It’s about 4 feet high in my garden now. When flowering is finished, I dead-head it and a smattering of flowers will appear later. The species is endemic to the island of La Palma, the Canary Islands. It is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
If I cared about garden design in my own garden, I would add something orange and sit back and drool.
These three plants were purchased at Annie’s Annuals and Perennials, a nursery not far from where I live. http://www.anniesannuals.com/
I have not met the famous Annie but she is high in the pantheon of garden goddesses. One day I will go to her in supplication.