New Plants, Generously

If you've been reading my posts for a while (thanks!) you probably know that I like to try a few new plants every year, whether in the veggie garden or in the ornamental beds.


This year I'm trying many more new plants than usual. Partly this is due to wanting to have more success with the edibles, especially in the heat of the summer. In the case of ornamentals though, it's mainly due to the influence of just one person: Nancy J. Ondra.

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Nan is an author and serious plant person. Her beautiful and informative blog hayefield.com is a delight, and I eagerly look forward to each post she crafts. Her garden is a wonder too:


In mid-November Nan wrote a post she called "From My Garden to Yours" in which she showed her readers many wonderful plants and then let her readers request seeds from her. I pored over the post and somehow limited my wishlist to only eight, sent the email, and a couple of weeks later a fat envelope from Pennsylvania arrived in my mailbox. I love getting seeds (and plants) in the mail!

So let's take a look at the eight different seed packets that Nan sent me...

Today's post is a rarity, in that none of the photos were taken by me. With Nan's permission I've linked to her photos, as they're the ones that got me excited about growing these plants and requesting seeds.

In no particular order:


Attriplex hortensis 'Rubra' (red orach):


This is a plant whose young leaves can be used in salads, but Nan likes it for its ornamental value. I'll be using it as both, as coincidentally I bought another type of red orach seed to use specifically in the veggie garden. Looks like 2013 will be red orach year in my garden!


Sanguisorba tenuifolia 'Purpurea' (Japanese burnet):


I don't know much about this one yet, but those flowers are enough for me to give this one a try. It's a tall one too, possibly reaching 6' (1.8m) when in flower. Can't wait!


Rudbeckia maxima (giant coneflower):


Another tall one, this Missouri native might be the plant I'm most excited about out of all of these -- but that's really a difficult choice to make. Look at that foliage!


Phytolacca americana 'Silberstein'


I never thought I'd be planting pokeweed in my garden as I have plenty of it growing naturally thanks to birds. This variety is variegated though, which makes it worth trying -- even if that big, deep taproot means that it will be around for a long time wherever I plant it.


Vernonia lettermannii (narrow-leaved ironweed):


This photo did it for me, and its inclusion in my list falls into the "I'll research it later" category. I'm a sucker for liatris-like flowers, and love the texture of this foliage.


Polanisia dodecandra (redwhisker clammyweed):



Native through much of the US and getting only 2' tall, this cleome look-alike will be very welcome in my garden! I love cleome but it gets so tall -- it will be nice to have something similar that I can tuck into smaller spaces. Hopefully the bees love this as much as they do cleome.


Solanum quitoense (bed of nails):


I love big leaves (using them to contrast with all of the small-leaved bamboo I grow), and these can reach up to 2' (60 cm) long. Plus, they're spiky! I'll probably never get fruit from these plants, but I'll be growing it for the foliage anyway.


Solanum atropurpureum (purple devil):


Speaking of spikes, that's essentially all this plant is about. Glossy leaves but look at that stem color! I couldn't resist, but I'm not sure exactly where I'll plant this. With my luck deer probably adore this -- spines and thorns don't seem to bother them -- so more research is needed.

Of course I can say that about all of these plants, so I'll be spending time as winter winds down finding out what I can about the habits of these newcomers to my garden and what conditions they prefer.


Thanks Nan! Your generosity will help make 2013 a year of exciting new plants in my garden.

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danger garden  – (February 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM)  

Wow you've got some fun plants (seeds) there! Love that Solanum atropurpureum ... and seriously? The deer would go for such a spiky plant? That's crazy!

Lisa  – (February 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM)  

I love Nan! I have some books that she's co-authored. Her designs are beautiful and her photos are delightful!

Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (February 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM)  

Beautiful!! Except for Rudbeckia maxima I've never grown (or even heard of) these plants. I can't wait to see how they do in your garden.

scottweberpdx  – (February 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM)  

I was so excited that Nan did the seed giveaway again this year...I just planted a few of the ones I received this past weekend. Although my luck growing from seed is less than stellar, I always hold out hope :-) I also got some seed from that Vernonia (have been lusting after it for years), and the Sanguisorbia...I hope it's not as floppy as the one I already have.

Lancashire rose  – (February 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM)  

Some exciting choices. Hope they work well in your area.

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