Hi, GPOD readers! This is your GPOD editor Joseph, and on this Thanksgiving Day I thought I’d look back at some of the plants that I’ve been most thankful for this gardening year.
Camellia ‘Silver Waves’ (Zones 7–9). I moved from Michigan to Virginia a few years ago, and the best thing about being down here is camellias! They are beautiful evergreen shrubs with beautiful flowers, and they bloom in the winter! This is a picture I took in January. Absolutely amazing.
Moving on into spring, here’s my new favorite daffodil—Narcissus ‘Fellow’s Favorite’ (Zones 3–8)—which produces big, classic daffodil blooms in great abundance. I took this picture at someone else’s garden but just planted a couple hundred of the bulbs in my own garden to enjoy come spring.
Spring starflower (Ipheion uniflorum, Zones 5–9) is another favorite spring bulb. I love the delicate, pale blue flowers, and I especially love that squirrels and other pests don’t like eating the bulbs.
I love the colorful leaves of heucheras, but my experience is that most of them don’t last long in my Virginia garden, so I was thrilled to see huge patches of this variety, Heuchera ‘Caramel’ (Zones 4–9) positively thriving at Norfolk Botanical Gardens. I planted oodles of it in my home garden and am happy to say it is doing just as well there.
This was the year of the cucumber for me! I grow cucumbers most years but usually only get a small crop before various diseases kill off the plants. But this year I grew a variety called ‘DMR 401’—not the most exciting name, but it was incredibly disease resistant and produced a truly overwhelming quantity of cucumbers. Now the pantry is happily full of pickles.
Lycoris, or surprise lilies, have long been a favorite of mine, and I always adore this one. I bought it as Lycoris shaanxiensis, but smarter people than me tell me it is actually Lycoris × straminea. Whatever the name, it is hardy to Zone 6 and produced big masses of these spidery, pale-yellow flowers in September when I needed something fresh in the garden.
American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana, Zones 6–10) grows wild all over around here, and I love seeing the brilliant purple berries each fall.
Finally, blooming now is Osmanthus fragrans. Its flowers don’t look like much, but I can literally smell them from halfway down the street. Most people say it is only hardy to Zone 8, but it has survived in my Zone 7 garden so far. Here’s hoping it keeps on that way!
What were your favorite plants of the year? Send in photos! We’d love to feature your favs on the GPOD.
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