Hi, this is Joseph, your GPOD editor!
A recent GPOD contributor mentioned that they’d love to see some of my gardens, so I thought today I’d look back over the 2019 gardening season and share some of my favorite plants from my Williamsburg, Virginia, garden.
My favorite plant of the year may just be this moonflower (Ipomoea alba, annual). My husband and I bought a house back in April, so I’ve been very busy with a lot of new gardening projects. And this vine has been a very satisfyingly cheap and easy one to grow. It is an annual, and the packet of seeds cost a couple of dollars. I sowed them directly in the garden, and then they scrambled up and covered the pergola over our deck with these huge, fragrant white flowers that open up every evening and then fade in the morning. So easy, so inexpensive, and such a huge payoff.
Even better, every evening the flowers were visited by a pink-spotted hawkmoth. This moth flies like a hummingbird and was a beautiful perk to the lovely flowers.
Something I always love: cut flowers. I’m not much of a flower arranger, but I love cutting bunches of blooms from the garden. The secret I learned this year is to use lots of small vases. The short vases work great with my old-fashioned roses, which have very short stems, and then I can make an arrangement by grouping the little vases together. Here roses are joined by snapdragons (Antirrhinum hybrid, cool season annual) and sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus, annual) that I grew from seeds.
Another favorite plant this year is Phytolacca americana ‘Sunny Side Up’. This is a yellow-leaved version of our native—and often weedy—pokeweed. Pokeweed can indeed be a weed, but I’ve always loved its bright purple berries and how huge it gets. This version is just as huge, but with bright yellow foliage! Although the berries are poisonous to humans, they are beloved by birds.
Tradescantia zebrina, sometimes called inch plant or wandering Jew, is something I’ve grown as a houseplant since I was a little kid. But this year I stuck cuttings all over my shady beds, anywhere there was a blank space, and it has done wonderfully! It creeps around, covering the soil; smothers weeds; and generally looks terrific. When frost threatens, I’ll take a bunch of cuttings so I can reuse it next year.
This plant, Zauscheneria garrettii (hummingbird trumpet, Zones 5–9), surprised me. I’ve seen this plant in dry, Western gardens, but I thought it would hate my rainy, humid Virginia climate. I was wrong! It has done great, and at the end of summer it exploded into these bright scarlet blooms.
I love growing plants from seed, but I hesitated a little before trying to grow an agave. This is, I think, Agave gentryi (Zones 6–9). I say “I think” because the darn squirrels carried off the label. But this plant was a tiny seed about 18 months ago, and I’m thrilled with how fast it has grown. It should survive the winter here, but I might dig up a couple of the seedlings and bring them inside just to be sure.
Those are some of my favorite plants of the season. What did great for you in 2019?
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