Gardeners have to be persistent. Without this quality, we’d have gardens full of weeds and tangled, wild messes of disparate plants. Let’s face it, we’ve all had successes and failures. And often the successes came after months and years of trial and error.
I’m coming clean and admitting these are plants with which I’ve had mixed or limited success. But I’m convinced I can continue growing them if I can just find the right spots. In no particular order:
Delphinium (Delphinium L). These beauties graced my garden for many years. Several gardening friends have told me they can’t seem to grow Delphiniums, so I’m grateful for the years I've been able to enjoy them. Last year, they died off. I don’t know if it was the previous hot summer, just their time to go, or some other reason. But Delphiniums are regal beauties, and I will try to re-establish them this summer.
Foxglove (Digitalis). I’ve pictured Foxglove in my garden for many years—growing stately and tall among the Pachysandra and Ferns. I’ve tried to establish it twice—three years ago, when it never really got going, and last season, when it seemed to take hold. Hopefully this elegant biennial will re-emerge and bloom this year.
Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). I refuse to give up on this plant! Zantedeschia can overwinter in zones 7 to 10, so in zone 5 we have to either dig up the tubers, bring the plants inside, or discard them. In my shady garden, the plant didn’t bloom much. My friend, Rick, suggested planting Calla Lilies in a sunny, damp location like its natural habitat. I’m planning to plant Zantedeschia in pots on the west side of my house—the only sunny location I have. Calla Lilies are elegant focal points for floral arrangements.
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). There’s nothing like fresh Rhubarb crisp on a breezy evening in early summer. Rhubarb thrived in my previous sunny/part shade garden at another location. But I haven’t found a good spot for it here. The deep shade areas are all wrong for Rhubarb, and the hot afternoon sun on the west side of the house seemed to burn it out. I have a dappled sunlit spot in mind for it this year.
Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta). My friend, Lee, gave me a couple of Toad Lily plants several years ago. They survived and bloomed reliably for about three years and then didn’t come back. I’m thinking maybe they were crowded out by the Lamium and Ferns. I don’t have a spot in mind for them, but I’m determined to grow Toad Lilies successfully again. They bloom in late summer and early fall, when few other plants do.
Poppy (Eschscholzia californica Cham.). Poppies are so cheery. Let’s face it: My garden is the wrong place for these sun-lovers. But maybe I can find just a wee spot with bright sunlight where they’ll thrive—in a pot or along a sunny border.
Astilbe (Astilbe japonica). This is another plant that grew almost like a weed in my previous sunny garden. Several were growing in this garden when we moved here—in a dappled sunlit area. So maybe I’ll try growing Astilbe there again. The feathery spikes add a dynamic line element to summer bouquets.
Persistence often pays off in the garden. When I’ve found success with various plants after multiple attempts, the rewards have been well worth every bit of toil and frustration. But I’ll save the successes for a future post…