Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 90: Favorite Workhorses

Video by Danielle Sherry and Steve Aitken. Edited by Kara Demos.

Right about now you might be asking yourself, “What exactly is a workhorse plant?” In our minds it is a plant that asks little from us but delivers a whole lot to the garden. These are tough plants, capable of fitting into an array of spots and producing multiple seasons of interest. They aren’t the stars (aka focal points), and they aren’t the supporting cast (aka reliable performers). They are more like stage managers, ensuring that the garden always looks decent. We thought it was high time that these unsung garden heroes got some praise, since rarely are awards given to plants that are simply defined as “solid.” Saddle up for a long list of perennials—and a few shrubs—you’ll be happy to have ride into your garden.

Expert testimony: Joann Vieira, director of horticulture at The Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts

Danielle’s plants

‘Biokovo’ geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’, Zones 5–8)

Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata and cvs., Zones 3–9)

‘Daub’s Frosted’ juniper (Juniperus × pfitzeriana ‘Daub’s Frosted’, Zones 4–9)

Variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’, Zones 3–9)

‘Biokovo’ geranium
‘Biokovo’ geranium
Limelight Prime® panicle hydrangea (credit: Proven Winners® Color Choice®)
Limelight Prime® panicle hydrangea. Photo: Proven Winners Color Choice

‘Daubs Frosted’ juniper
‘Daub’s Frosted’ juniper

‘Daubs Frosted’ juniper
‘Daub’s Frosted’ juniper
Variegated Solomon’s seal
Variegated Solomon’s seal

Steve’s plants

‘Cat’s Pajamas’ catmint (Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’, Zones 3–8)

‘Solar Cascade’ Short’s goldenrod (Solidago shortii ‘Solar Cascade’, Zones 5–9)

‘Blackbeard’ penstemon (Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’, Zones 3–8)

Lesser calamint (Clinopodium nepeta syn. Calamintha nepeta and cvs., Zones 4–9)

‘Cat’s Pajamas’ catmint
‘Cat’s Pajamas’ catmint

‘Solar Cascade’ Short’s goldenrod
‘Solar Cascade’ Short’s goldenrod

‘Blackbeard’ penstemon
‘Blackbeard’ penstemon

Lesser calamint
Lesser calamint

Expert’s plants

Flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata, Zones 3–9)

‘Purrsian Blue’ catmint (Nepeta faassenii ‘Purrsian Blue’, Zones 3–9)

‘Millenium’ allium (Allium ‘Millenium’, Zones 5–8)

Yellow wax bells (Kirengeshoma palmata, Zones 5–8)

'Purrsian Blue' catmint
‘Purrsian Blue’ catmint. Photo: Joann Vieira

'Millenium' allium (Credit: Joann Vieira)
‘Millenium’ allium. Photo: Joann Vieira

Yellow wax bells
Yellow wax bells

Flowering spurge
Flowering spurge

 

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Comments

  1. RealMe 07/08/2021

    All I can say is "WOW". This is my goal to my backyard since my family is also a nature lover. I love the color especially the purple one since that is my favorite color. Thank you for sharing. --- https://www.kitchenremodeltacomawa.com/

  2. Mle214 10/13/2021

    Concrete Driveways

    Thanks for sharing ideas on this podcast. hope to hear more form you.

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