Great Plant Picks

Parroita persica 'Vanessa'Earlier this week, I attended Plant Amnesty’s, “Meeting of Like Minds,” for all those who love plants & want to treat them well. The speaker was Alex LaVilla from Swanson’s Nursery, who discussed his favorite plants for the shade garden. As a committee member of Great Plant Picks, Alex only chose plants who have passed the criteria to be a Great Plant Pick!

What is Great Plant Picks? It’s an education outreach organization, from the Elizabeth C. Miller Garden, which chooses plants which are hardy for the Pacific Northwest. This covers the area from British Columbia south through Oregon – a large area to cover. It also sounded like its focus is west of the Cascade Mountains. One example Alex LaVilla mentioned is Carex, a fountain grass-like plant, which does exceedingly well in Seattle. I have several in my home garden. But Carex is considered a weed in Eugene, Oregon, spreading rapidly & taking over people’s gardens. So Carex is not on the Great Plant Picks list.

In the future to pick your own Great Plants, I suggest you go on the main page, then click on Plant Lists. Then either type in the plant you are looking for or the category. 2013’s category was focused on Small Space Gardening. Then click on the plant name for more information. One of my favorite trees, Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa,’ is on their list. My photo is one of its beautiful red flowers that bloom in late February – early March.

You may recall I included some Great Plant Picks in my Dragonfly Garden. What are some of your favorite plants for the small garden?

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2 Responses to Great Plant Picks

  1. Marcia says:

    What a great blog entry; thank you for sharing this info! I heard that Alex LaVilla also mentioned the fab plant Beesia. This evergreen groundcover is one of my all time favorite plants. It is a Gorgeous plant for some shade and will work well for a small garden or a container. Here is GPP’s entry on Beesia:

    • Thanks for reminding me, Marcia. Such a beautiful plant. I’m curious to see those purple stems. Do they spread a lot? Sounds like a good alternative to hostas.

      He also went on to talk about that even drought-tolerant plants need water, especially this summer! And he had an interesting perspective on why so many trees fail. He explained that because of how they are grown in nurseries, they may have interior girdling that you can’t see until you remove all the soil around the roots, before they are planted.

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