What Is Missing?

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) 5/27/2011

My neighbor gave me some Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) this spring, so just as I got those re-introduced into the perennial garden, I noticed the Foxglove do not look like they will bloom this year. And where are the Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)? There should be at least three of these native milkweed species plants providing larval food for Monarch butterflies. The one pictured above was flowering in late May last year.

Realizing several things are missing from the garden this year made me think back to some other plants that were once important to the garden, but are no longer around.

Colocasia (Elephant Ear) and Cornus C. Kousa Dogwood both succumbed to back-to-back drought years, but were great features in 2006. The Kousa never bloomed though.

Colocasia (Elephant Ear) 7/5/2006

Kousa Dogwood 7/5/2006

Eutrochium purpureum (Joe-Pye Weed) was actually called Eupatorium purpureum when this first grew in my garden. A native eastern North American plant, Joe-Pye can grow 5-8 feet. I planted this in a spot too close to the house and was not able to move it. Now I see places in the back of the borders where one might do well.

Eutrochium purpureum (Joe-Pye Weed) 7/18/2006

Both Rudbeckia hirta var. angustifolia (Black-eyed Susan) and Crocosmia should be easy to grow here. Both have repeatedly been added to the garden but they do not stay around.

Black-eyed Susan 9:6:2009

Crocosmia 7/25/2006

Hydrangeas are also finicky in this garden, probably not getting enough water in the years I have tried them. With all the rain this year perhaps one would have thrived. They grow all around this area, including next-door, so it is certainly possible. Asiatic Lily, Phlox Paniculata and Hosta were highlights in the garden’s early years. Deer have made these too frustrating to grow.

Hosta and Bishops’ Weed 5/25/2006

The garden is starting to slow and I am wondering what plants to add to give it more structure and carry it further into the summer. Trips to garden centers and public gardens are in order for inspiration.

7 thoughts on “What Is Missing?

  1. Cathy

    This is the same case for me… several plants have not appeared, and a few gaps require some thought. I need drought (and snail) resistant plants too! Only one cleome seedling survived the snails after being planted out! I love the look of the Joe-Pye-Weed. Can you grow dahlias?

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I have only one little dahlia of half-dozen someone gave me years ago. They do best here in early spring and early fall, but don’t bloom as well during our hot humid summers (I think the nights are too hot). Do you find they need much water? Hope that sole cleome makes it!

      1. Cathy

        Well I planted 9 and only 3 have survived the snails and slugs! It’s my first attempt at growing them, and they haven’t got to the stage where they need much water yet, as in our climate they usually flower in July-August, adding colour when everything else is flagging… if they get as far as flowering I will post about them!

  2. P&B

    Try Cosmos and Coreopsis. There are plenty of colors to choose from. Keep picking off the spent flowers and they will keep blooming until late fall. Some varieties self-sow very successfully too. Birds also love to pick off the seeds.

  3. Christina

    When the heat really hits many plants go into summer hibernation just when we want the garden to be full of colour. I think you may have encouraged a very useful exercise in thinking about what is missing and more important why they are missing. Christina


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