Tuesday Garden Party- Favorite Plants

Today is all about favorites: perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees. This is good to talk about now because the beginning of spring (doesn’t that sound wonderful? Never mind the driving rain going on outside…concentrate, concentrate…) is a good time to analyze what is and isn’t working in your garden and to find some great plants to add.

Make your plans now before it gets too busy and also to take advantage of any sales that you may find. It’s a much better deal if you get something you’ve been wanting.

I hope you will list your favorites in the comments or do a post and link up below, because I’d love to find some new great-performing plants to add to the garden this year.

I’m listing mine by season and am not listing a tree because I don’t have a favorite tree. Well, not one I can point to, anyway. I love pink flowering trees in the spring (really any and all varieties), and large shade trees in the summer, and would I be an Oregonian if I didn’t like the Douglas Firs that provide our year around greenery?

See? Can’t pick just one.

But my hands-down favorite winter blooming perennial is hellebore (also known as “Lenten rose” or “Christmas rose”). This picture was taken yesterday in my garden and this has been blooming for a month, slowly unfurling it’s sweet petals.

And yes, those are tiny weeds sprouting under the plant…time for some newspaper and mulch.

I also have this cream and pink/mauve colored hellebore that has been blooming about the same as the white one. Neither of these minded the snow and 20 degree temperatures we had a week and a half ago- they looked as good as they do now.

Oh- and notice that there are no weeds here? That’s because this side of the entry border got newspaper and mulch last summer and the other didn’t. The goal is once a year, but I always seem to run out of year before all the beds are done…

These are both planted on either side of the walk to the front door so I can feast on their blooms when very few other things are looking good (other than the crocus blooming now as well). Their leaves are a great backdrop in the spring and summer and they stay evergreen (sort of, I cut the last year’s leaves off when the new blooms start coming on) making them an all-around great plant.

It was hard to choose just one spring bloomer, I must admit. I love all the variety of spring. In the end I’m choosing hardy geranium…mostly because I could find a picture of it (where did all my pictures go?). But I really do love it- it fills in the garden nicely and many varieties bloom through summer as well (this one was still putting out blooms when I took this in October- whew!). I know “Rozanne” is one of the best, but I haven’t really found one I dislike…yet.

My favorite annual blooms in the summer- sunflowers just make me so happy. I can stick a handful haphazardly in a white jug and think it’s the most beautiful “arrangement” I’ve seen. How many things can you say that about?

The perennial/shrub I love in the summer has to be roses. No matter what people say, they do involve a lot of maintenance- if it’s not pruning, then it’s blackspot (every rose has blackspot in Oregon- every one that’s not sprayed with chemicals, that is…) or bugs eating holes in the leaves. After growing more than 30 roses on our small city lot, I swore I wouldn’t have more than four or five here…

I’m up to ten, but that’s it I tell you…no more!

Hmmm, that’s not quite a ringing endorsement, is it? Well, some things in life are worth some extra work and I’ve found roses is one of them. The smell, the colors, the way they fill a vase…little compares.

Hydrangeas don’t come into their glory until later August here, so I’m calling them a fall flower (though I do love all their stages…except maybe the brown sticks of winter!).

Love, love, love hydrangeas. In fact, when we moved here I thought of naming our house “Hydrangea House” like they do back East. But since we don’t live back east, everyone I mentioned it to thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever heard.

Not quite the reaction I was hoping for.

Seriously, though, not only do you get the huge blooms in all the glorious colors (and color changes!), but apparently, you also get some great photo opportunities with small, beautiful nieces. Bonus!

And lastly, my favorite evergreen shrub is boxwood. I have them everywhere and I want more, more, more. They just fill areas to perfection, never get nasty big, and take sun or shade or anything else I throw their way. I can prune them if I want, or let them grow naturally- and they provide the best cuttings for vase fillers, wreaths and Christmas greenery.

I wouldn’t have a garden without at least one of each of these plants. What are some plants you wouldn’t garden without?





  1. says

    I love hellebores. We just visited Callaway Gardens and all of theirs are in blooms by the Sibley Horticulture Building. So pretty!

  2.  says

    All of the plants you mentioned are great ones and I can grow them all too even though we are much hotter than you…it just shows how deversified they are. Roses top my list. Thank you for hosting.(-:

  3.  says

    We are loving two plants in our garden:

    Pink Princess Escallonia-fast growing shrub, low water need, pink flowers in the spring/summer (also butterfly attractive).

    Concha Wild Lilac-another evergreen shrub, low water, blue flowers (not like normal lilac), and can tolerate sun and cold. It is just about ready to bloom in my yard.

    These we picked up on sale at Home Depot for a great price last end of summer and they are doing great. We are going to be adding three more of the wild lilac in our sunny spot because the bees LOVE them.

    Great post and I love the glimpse into your garden.

  4.  says

    I love Hellebores too, I have some plants that were here when we moved in 40 years ago! They have increased beautifully. Which brings me to the question, are you SURE that those are all weeds around the white Hellebore? Some of my plants are prolific reseeders, and when I looked at your photo with a magnifying glass some of the seedlings look like my seedlings. Just a thought, Lea

  5. Beth says

    What a glorious hellebore Jami – it has given you weeks and weeks of pleasure and is still going strong!

  6. says

    I agree with all of your choices as I have almost all of those growing my perennial beds!
    Hellebores are my absolute favorite and that white one you have is glorious! I want! I want!!

    I’m trying my hand at roses this year – just put in some bare root ones and hope that I can grow them successfully. Boo to black spot and here’s hoping I can keep it at bay!

  7. says

    Oh – I do have one more thing to say – I also love annuals. Yes, they can be expensive and yes, you do have to replace them, but nothing beats annuals for bold bright punches of color. I do use seed packets to put in zinnias and marigolds, but I usually wait for sales and just go ahead and buy the primroses, petunias, and impatiens. I just love the colors!!

  8. says

    ya know…sometimes hopping around from blog to blog that you haven’t been to before pays off!!! I am a new follower and am thrilled to be part of your Tuesday flower party…I host one on Fridays…and hope you will link in! I LOVE your blog!
    I am putting your logo in the sidebar for this week…will add it to the actual post next week if that’s ok…it is miserable to get them in on the program I use.

  9. Linda G says

    Don’t forget plants that feed the body AND the soul! I am looking out at my beautiful nectarine trees in full blossom. ( We are a month or so ahead of you in OR down here in San Jose.) I have plenty of flowers, but I wish I had more room for edibles, so I tuck lettuce and strawberries under the roses and line the sidewalk with rosemary and lavendar. I now make sure that if I plant a tree or shrub in our small yard, it will not only be beautiful, but also provide food.

  10. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Lea- You caught me, I was hoping no one would notice that most of the ‘weeds” growing under the white hellebore are seedlings…I’m awful at deadheading. *blush* The newspaper and mulch works on them as well. :-)

    Gee, Shannan- should I see if I can pot one up and get it to grow for you. :-) I do agree that there is a place for annuals, even though I only picked one for my list, I grow more for cutting and color, too.

    Tootsie- Welcome! I have visited your Friday linky too before. :-) And I’ll be back- you’ve got a great blog, too!

    Linda G.- Oh yes, I think I go on and on about edibles here, so I thought I’d give some equal opportunity. ;-) Except for fruit trees…one day I’m going to do a post on how awful our fruit trees are doing. ;-)

  11. says

    Jami, I too love hellebores… mine were seedlings from a neighbors plant, and they took a few years to bloom, but they are glorious now. I would transplant those babies all over the place:)

    I can hardly wait for my other early blooming favorite… the daphne odora, heaven scent for sure:)

    Right now though, aside from the hellebores, I am enjoying some crocus and our daffodils.

  12. says

    I found you thru Cottage & Bungalows. Love that magazine! Love your floors featured in the April volume. My husband and I live on the Texas Gulf Coast and we are starting a remodel, we are so going to do that with our bedroom floor :)Please enter me in your give-a-way.

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