Top 13 for 2013 (part one)

Thirteen has always been one of my favorite numbers (a baker’s dozen might be why) so it’s a treat for me, and I hope for you, to bracket the New Year with an extra long list of my very favorite plants from this past year. Some new, some tried and true. To keep these posts from running on for days I’m going to try to make my blurbs brief and invite you to share further information and questions in the comments. Roughly in order of bloom time:

1. Digitalis purpurea ‘Alba’ – white foxglove. These towering biennials made such a statement in the Rose Garden this June that I think even the roses were upstaged.

2. Porteranthus trifoliatus – bowman’s root. This is a new-to-us native perennial that we planted in the pollinator and Rock Gardens. It wants some shade which happens to be exactly where we want its early-summer gaura-like flowers and wiry red stems. I’m hoping that once it really becomes established it will spread – it should – and treat us to a good blaze of fall color too.

3. Brodiaea. We planted a bunch of different brodiaea bulbs in the fall of 2012 (from Scheepers) and I had no real idea then just how luminously blue and sweet they’d be, blooming away for weeks of June, all tilting slightly in the same direction. ‘Rudy’ was my fave.

4. Asclepias tuberosa – butterfly weed. I think this makes my list – or it should – every year. I can’t live without its color in the garden and the Monarch butterfly caterpillars can’t live without it (or its milkweed cousins) period.

5. Pycnanthemum muticum – mountain mint. We have grown narrow-leaved mountain mint (P. verticillatum) in the Idea Garden for years and I’ve always described it as our least showy but most attractive plant. This species, with its bigger, silverier bracts, wins my vote for being very nearly almost showy and super attractive to pollinators.

6. Plectranthus spp. I’m a fan of just about the whole whopping genus but this year we used P. argentatus – silver spurflower and P. forsteri ‘Green on Green’ in the North Garden. I think their bold foliage was just what those borders needed.

What made it onto your top 10 (or 13) for 2013 – any of the same so far? I’ll see you and finish this list next year — Happy New Year!!