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9 of the best of 2017

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Not sure why we are doing 9 specifically, but this is a response to DottyDaisy2’s latest blog, and the request was for the 9 best performing plants of 2017 in our gardens. Actually, it wasn’t easy because 2017 was an absolutely awful summer in Eastern Scotland. We had cold, grey and miserable from the start of June till the end of August. And though September is usually beautiful here, last year it continued cold and dreich. November and December by maddening contrast were bright and sunny almost all through! Still….some plants did perform well, so if anyone is looking for 9 plants that will perform well in cold gloomy summers, well….

This is my two year old Aeonium arboreum ‘Velours’ which won first prize in the succulent class at my local village flowers show. Its a real winner! How on earth it did so well? It must have been the love I gave it!

Who would have thought that another plant more associated with hot places would prove to be a star on my south-facing patio last summer? But here it is…Callistemon, or Bottle Brush. Now, in January it looks beautiful with bronzy young foliage looking fresh and glowing. An amazingly hardy evergreen shrub. Again, growing against a south facing wall.

On a rare sunny day in August the tall blooms of Centaurea macrocephala shone out. It took a couple of years to get established but is now a real star at the back of my golden border. Maybe next year I shall be able to split it.

Clematis Niobe is always a success here. Its a good one because it can be cut back hard each spring, and it doesn’t grow too tall. The colour invites you to dive in!

Earlier in the year…May-June saw the height of blooming of my Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’. It was later removed and replaced with a new one. These plants flower all summer long and every three years they need lifting and splitting or they quickly become very large and exhausted.

I have never been a huge fan of Lupins, but my daughter loves them and has persuaded me of their merits. This one is by far the choicest for me, and sometimes hard to get hold of as ot sells out fast. So when I saw it in local GC I snapped up 3 pots. Unfortunately they had been grown in tunnels so were knocked back hard when planted in my garden. But eventually they recovered and they are so beautiful! Lupin ‘Masterpiece’…

This standard of the Rose ‘Blue For You’ has been a star performer every year since planted. It repeats well and is one of the ‘bluer’ roses. One of my Husband’s favourites. It even flowered well the summer after I mistakenly washed it with moss killer! And the blooms stand up to rain better than most roses.

All of my Sedums were great this year. They add so much to a late summer garden and bees and butterflies adore them. This one is just spectacular from the moment the leaves emerge when they are a deep blue-green (later turning dark purple) to the end of autumn when the frosts take them. But frosted seed heads of sedum can be beautiful in winter too. This one is called ‘Xenox’.

Back we go again to June and this little star..a new plant last year (planted 2016). Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’. I was so captivated by this. Height only about 30cm so great at the front of a border where its stout little spires glow with this deep purply pink. A lovel partner to the taller alliums and Verbascums in the border, and no support required.

What will be the stars of the show in 2018? I’m looking forward to seeing the new lilies I bought and potted up in the autumn, and I’m hoping that my Open Garden Mondays in June and August will be successful. But the best thing every year is the plants getting better and bigger and the things you forgot you’d planted coming up again to surprise and bless you. Happy Gardening 2018 everyone…whatever the weather.

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Comments

 

I wish I could grow some of the things you have, especially the Lupins.

4 Jan, 2018

 

I would have thought your climate ideal for most things Wyllie...is it the salt?

4 Jan, 2018

 

I think the 'Bottle Brush' and the 'Blue for You' standard rose have to be my favourites from your selection, Karen. Here's hoping 2018 turns out to be a wonderful gardening year.

4 Jan, 2018

 

Yes Julia! Thanks for looking in, and yes indeed, lets have some sunshine this summer....pleeeeeeease!

4 Jan, 2018

 

Great Karen, I'm very fond of your Centaurea Mac plus the geum and everything else :-)

4 Jan, 2018

 

We live in hopes Karen.

4 Jan, 2018

 

I loved the bottlebrush too - such a showy one!

4 Jan, 2018

 

Thank you Dawn, Julia and Stera! Looking forward to seeing your best 9!

4 Jan, 2018

 

this is a wonderful selection. I too have C macrocephala and it is an amazing plant. it seeds freely and they come true too. they flower in their 3rd year for me anyway. some seeds even germinate in the seedhead before the yellow finches get their beaks on them.

4 Jan, 2018

 

The lupins need a cold period, like pines and fir trees. It is too warm for them here (it still hasn't gotten below 55°F at night).

5 Jan, 2018

 

I see Wylie. I wonder if tree lupins are the same? They are very pretty and come in yellow or (more rarely) blue. Endemic to Northern California, so it might do well for you...lupinus arboreus.

5 Jan, 2018

 

Thanks Karen, a wonderful selection, very diverse! love the Sedum, also the Stachys Hummelo! must look out for this!
I chose 9 only because the Instagram app was the best 9 put into a grid, any less would not have been enough, and any more might have put some people off all your chosen plants look so healthy and happy despite the weather! thanks for taking part!

5 Jan, 2018

 

Ah...that makes sense now A! Thank you...yes, hummelo was lovely!

5 Jan, 2018

 

Really lovely photos.
The third one is a stunner!
So much sunshine too - happy days!

5 Jan, 2018

 

Loving the Bottlebrush its so vibrant, my next must be your Hummelo, anything of that colour appeals to me and if its a spreader that is a bonus.
Lovely choices Karen, nearly missed you out , can't be doing that can w? Happy gardening in 2018 and fingers xx you do get more sunshine, have to say it never seems to affect your garden Karen...

9 Jan, 2018

 

Ha...well thanks very much LL and Chris xx

9 Jan, 2018

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