Two of my favorite plants

I will never stop seeking out new plants to experiment with in my gardens and I will continue to push the boundaries of what my landscape will allow me to grow successfully. It isn’t always the smartest approach, but it is reality. Then again, I think most gardeners think the same way.
After struggling with my poorly draining clay soil, little to no shade and hungry deer that roam my yard like violent gang members for so long, I may have finally come to grips with the fact that my plant palette doesn’t need to increase as much as I need to add more of what I know already works. Make those “proven performers” the backbone of the garden and then experiment a little while filling in the gaps. 
Recently, I was getting myself lost in all of the photos I took over the past year or so and noticed that there were two plants in particular that kept putting a big ol grin on my ugly bearded face. Two plants that define not only the term “low maintenance” but also the term “multi-seasonal”. What more could I ask for? And these two plants definitely fit into the aforementioned “proven performers” category.
I have written previously in great detail about both of these plants and I’ll include a hyperlink to each of those original posts down below. 
For today, I just wanted to bask in the awesomeness of both of these plants through photos taken of each from spring through fall.
I am going to do my best to add more of these workhorses through additional purchases and/or some form of propagation (post on this topic surely to follow) in the very near future.  
Without further ado:

Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’ (Sweetspire):

And wouldn’t you know it, they look damn good together in a fall combination:

Like the old saying, “Dance with the girl that brung ya”.
Until next time …

7 thoughts on “Two of my favorite plants

  1. Laurrie

    Two of my absolute favorites as well. I grow both and they are as you say, trouble free and rewarding. You’ve shown them nicely here — I hope it inspires more gardeners to put both of these beauties in their own gardens.

  2. Gatsbys Gardens

    John, I have both of these and a newer Amsonia called Blue Ice, smaller and wider leaf. It has all of the same characteristics for multi-season color. Great choices also for the heat!


  3. Anonymous

    John, I also have an area that can be covered by a pool of water in the winter. My plant palette is monarda, dayliliy, vernonia, rudbeckia subtomentosa, siberian iris, new england aster, phlox paniculata, and for drama persicaria polymorpha. I love and grow Itea and amsonia though not in such tough locations. good to know I have something else up my sleeve if some of these plants fail.

  4. Bonnie

    I’ve never seen the eastern bluestar up here in zone 4 – I’ll have to see if I can find it and if it tolerates our winters. I have the sweetspire and I have the ornamental grass behind it like you do. It seems to tolerate having wet feet, clay, and is deer proof – 3 great qualities.

  5. Nick Ternes

    The bluestar should make it through zone 4 just fine. Pretty much any of the readily available Amsonia varieties are really great plants. I highly recommend ‘Blue Ice’ and ‘Short Stack’ for compact varieties!

    John, those look like very narrow leaves for straight A. tabernaemontana to me. It looks more intermediate between that and hubrichtii. In any case, it should be very easy for you to propagate: division, cuttings, and seed are all relatively easy.

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