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Thursday, July 5, 2007


I'm going bargain plant shopping again this weekend and I need your suggestions!

Recommend 1 plant that I should make sure to try to pick up at the end-of-season sale. I need your wisdom! If you love it, it doesn't really matter to me if it's an annual, perennial or biennial as long as I can either enjoy it a little this year, or see it again next year. Know of a plant I should make sure not to buy? I'd love to know that too!

I have mostly full sun and lots of space in my new backyard flower beds.
Thank you!


  1. My tall phlox (Phlox paniculata) are getting ready to bloom and my favorite variety is a variegated leaf one with pink flowers called "Creme de Menthe". If you see one of those, get it! It's very striking.

  2. Got it, Carol! I will look for the Phlox paniculata "Creme de Menthe". Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I would look for Rudbeckia, because you can enjoy its blooms for the rest of the summer. 'Goldsturm' is a good variety.

  4. Thanks for the suggestion, vonlafin! I'll look for Rudbeckia Goldsturm!

  5. Gina: Love Lady's Mantle for its' all around good looks but if it's flowers you're after there is nothing sweeter than the biennial 'Sweet William' which is Dianthus barbatus and can be a bit difficult to find. Lovely scent also. I do love the tall garden phlox and Carol has given me another for my list!

  6. OK, so now I see you have already planted Sweet William...nice site. I love an evolving garden blog! That is the garden is evolving...oh dear! Haven't poured the coffee yet!

  7. layanne - thanks for the suggestions! I planted Sweet William seeds but no sign of them yet so I will be on the lookout for that AND the Lady's Mantle.

  8. I posted about my tall phlox, 'Creme de Menthe'... check it out, it's today's post.

  9. Russian sage or catmint - pretty purple blooms that last all summer long with very little care - very drought resistant. And they will fill up a big space. Would look great behind some roses, too.

    I don't know if anyone mentioned this to you, but the best time to plant anything purchased at this point in the summer is very late in the afternoon when it will not get any more sun, and of course, water it deeply. Overnight the roots should acclimate enough to begin taking in water. That way you won't get the drooping, which stresses the plant out and can make it susceptible to disease.

    If I am telling you something you already know, I apologize. Happy shopping!

  10. You might already have one (or 12) but if you don't - Geranium 'Rozanne' or 'Jolly Bee' is a must! Sun to shade, they don't know when to quit blooming - actually that's not true: they quit at a hard frost - for us (RI zone 6) that's November... and I second lady's mantle -- Happy shopping!

  11. There's a very unusual colored Phlox called 'Orange Perfection ' Another must have is the perennial of the year : Walker's low Catmint. It's blue and blooms all summer long. Oh, and coneflowers of every color and coreopsis. Is that too many ?

  12. Hi :) first visit via May Dreams Garden :)
    I'm not a Rose Lover, but the knock-out roses the previous owners installed are priceless in my hot summer garden...they bloom & bloom & bloom...without watering or fertilizing or deadheading...and they've gotten huge!

    But you're wayyyy up there in Chicago...I have no idea if the knock-outs will do in your zone :(

    trees & shrubs are usually marked down by now...are you looking for those for your garden?

    anyhoo...good luck with your bargaining hunting :) I love to fill the garden with plants I've rescued from the clearance cart :)

  13. I would suggest hollyhocks. They tower above the other plants and look fabulous. Mine are about 7' tall now.

    They come in colors from white to black to pastels and everything else.

    Happy shopping!

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

  14. I would buy a Rose Campion it comes in a few different colors, and grows best in zones 4-8 with full sun. The vibrant flowers are a striking contrast to the woolly, silvery-gray foliage. We have 2 colors white and magenta-pink. I have a picture on my blog.

  15. i too am a new visitor (thanks to Carol for bringing your blog to our attention.) I wholeheartedly agree with all the reccomendations you've been given, and would like to add Heuchera (coral bells) for their marvelous foliage colours, and for the graceful spires of tiny flowers, loved by hummingbirds and other creatures. If these are new to you, go for one of the darker-foliaged and less pricey cultivars, like Palace Purple, Crimson Curls, Frosted Violet (I'm assuming prices are similar in US as in Canada). There are quite literally a rainbow of cultivars, in colours from green (Give them good drainage, soil that's a little alkaline, and they should be fine--I think your zone is okay for them, but someone who knows US zones better could clarify. Carol? Layanee?
    What not to buy: Goutweed, naturally (Aegopodium podagraria) because this is the worst plant on the planet for spreading. Obedient plant is a bit disobedient but the variegated-foliaged one is very well behaved here., never attempting to take over the yard.
    Have fun plant shopping--but also, if you see great sales later in the season...keep right on planting! I plant right into late September depending on weather and finding great bargains.

  16. Thank you all so much for the suggestions! I have compiled a list and I'm hoping I can find all your favorite plants.

    qt - thanks for the planting tip. I did NOT know that planting in the evening was better. I have been doing this in the morning. I'll look for the Russian Sage or Cat Mint too.

    kris - thanks for the suggestion. I've added the Geranium Rozzane to the list.

    Carolyn - thanks for the suggestions! I've added the Catmint, Coreopsis and Orange Phlox to the list!

    Mrs. G - thanks for the suggestion. My coworker said she planted and loves the knock outs. I am not beyond buying that rose if its on sale and pretty, even though I just planted 26 hedge roses ;)

    Robin - thanks for the suggestion. Hollyhocks is on the list! I planted seeds but lord knows if they will even come up.

    Laurie and Chris - thanks for the suggestion! I'll look for that Rose Campion.

    Jodi - I'm so glad you suggested the Coral Bells! I have seen that for sale, loved it, but didnt buy it. I'll add it to the list!

    You guys are so awesome! Carol, thank you thank you thank you for suggesting people make suggestions on your blog today. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

  17. Some of my favorite cottage garden perennials: Hollyhocks, Foxglove, Columbine, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Scabiosa, Knautia, Daisies (not Shasta), Anthemis (Marguerite Daisy), Ladybells, Veronica, Phlox, Salvia, Centranthus Ruber, Lupines, Achillia (Yarrow), Monarda, Liatris, Catmint, Clematis & Honeysuckle vines.
    Seeds for self-sowing annuals: Shirley poppies, Larkspur, Bachelor Buttons, Nigella, Baby Blue Eyes, Bird's Eye Gillia, German Catchfly, California poppies, Verbena Bonariensis, Calendulas
    Many of these plants/seeds have quite a few varieties to choose from, but I always like the old fashioned classics the best and they seem to be the hardiest. Happy Shopping!

  18. You are quite welcome. Don't forget lots of sunscreen and drink plenty of water while out shopping in this heat, and keep the plants watered before and after you plant them.

    Good luck and we look forward to updates as you find new flowers and plant them in your garden!

  19. If it's not too late, I'd like to suggest one of my most favorites- Bee Balm (monarda didyma). It's available in many color choices - red, pink lavender, purple and white. A little 'spready', but easy enough to yank out. Plop it in the ground and it pretty much looks after itself, even in a drought. Hummingbirds and butterflies adore mine. They'll pick this over the feeders every time!

    Good luck with the shopping!

  20. Hi Tina! I'm so glad you mentioned Bee Balm! I remember seeing that on the garden walk and it REALLY caught my attention. I will add that to my list. Thanks for the suggestion.