Are you a collector?

alicia7b(z7b/8aNC)March 18, 2008

Do you have a certain type of plant that you collect? Rose growers refer all of the time to their roses as their collection. I have 50+ roses but don't think of myself as a rose collector -- yet. However, I think deer will keep that from ever happening. I could definitely see collecting iris though. As much as I love natives I have to admit that I love iris the very best.

How about you? Is there a particular type of plant you collect?

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Tammy Kennedy

I'm not sure i'm a collector so far... i don't think i have enough of any one thing. I like too many different things! But i certainly am drawn again and again to certain plants- like aquilegias as one example. What i am a collector of is edible fruiting plants, the odder the better. If i had more room and light i'd have many, many more. Not sure if that counts for what you're asking, but there it is.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 10:22AM
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Tammy I'm kind of where you are. I love iris, but don't actually have all that many cultivars at the moment. I would like to collect many more as well as natives. I love natives although there is one niche they don't seem to fill -- that of a reasonably sized evergreen shrub with a light texture such as found in Buddleia and tea roses.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 10:58AM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Alicia, I don't know where the cross-over into 'collector' is either. There are certain things I just can't seem to walk past in a nursery: carexes, little sedums, species hellebores are some. I don't feel like a collector though, just curious and undisciplined. Maybe you become a collector when you start growing all the really obscure species in a genus ... and sometimes the reason those species are obscure is because they're not really all that attractive or gardenworthy. I do that with salvias on occasion.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:15AM
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That's true -- collectors probably have a lot of plants that are somewhat redundant, or not that wonderful as garden plants.

Although that still doesn't stop me from wanting every shade of purple there is in iris, lol, as long as it's not space age. Well, and a lot of other colors too.

There are still natives that I want that I haven't gotten yet. After reading about Alabama croton I've really wanted one, although the foliage of the ones in the JC Raulston Arboretum aren't that fragrant. And although I have an American smoketree it still hasn't exhibited all that much of the fall color they are so famous for. I think that the one I have isn't very drought resistant, so I started mulching it heavily. I think it has the capacity to color because the last couple of years it has shown some lovely old gold coloring. Besides, I have mapleleaf viburnum that I transplanted from my FIL's yard that has colored little for me so far and I know those have beautiful coloration. I had one plant this fall that resprouted leaves after all of the rest had fallen and then they turned the most beautiful bright red, so I know they can do it. I just need to condition the soil better.

There are several other native shrubs I'd like to get my hands on, such as Dirca palustris.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:51AM
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I find that the most interesting types of plants to me are trees. I was renting a place with just enough grass to warrant clipping with scissors, but I had well over twenty purchased trees in decorative pots. I moved most of them with me when I came to SC in Dec. I love all differet plants though, and want to see and watch all of them grow. Besides trees, I collect orchids, hosta, vines, and camellias.
Like Karen, "I don't feel like a collector though, just curious and undisciplined." I love that!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:55AM
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Tammy Kennedy

Curious and undisciplined!! ROTFLMAO!! That's me to T! I needed a giggle right now- thanks Karen! And, let me say, as a beneficiary of your great extras at the swaps, i'm glad you have a roving eye! :)

Natives are something I'm getting into more and more- but not to the point of a collector. I like the showier stuff- not necessarily growing something just because it's native. Of course, some of the things i love are subtley showy- if you know what i mean. I like iris a lot, too. I know you and and some of the others have lots more kinds/species than i do from your posts, though. Dianthus are another group i have a lot of different species of.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:57AM
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Shoot, what's the fun of gardening if you have to be disciplined? Save that for the housework. :)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:17PM
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I wouldn't grow a native just to grow a native either, lol. I've got plenty of native weeds as it is. :) But there are so many showy natives. I remember going to the NC Botanical Garden almost 20 years ago and really seeing that for the first time. And it was reinforced by seeing all of the wildflowers in PA, which is a lot like the spring wildflower displays in the mts here. And again by the wildflowers on my farm. The only difference being that the flowers on my farm seem mainly geared toward a late summer/ fall display.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 12:33PM
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Yep! I am a collector. But for different reasons than the ordinary plant collector. I have found that if something catches my eye and I buy only one of them or one type of them - I never learn anything when that one plant dies. I would see things I had purchased in the past thriving in other peoples yard and think back on my experience, wondering what I had done wrong. So now when I see something I like, I buy at least two of them, sometimes four. And then once I find something that puts up with my personal sense of torture, I tend to buy all the nearest relatives to see if any of them perform as well or better.

The biggest problem I have is interacting with other plant people - some people take this collecting thing WAY too seriously. Like I enjoy violets and I have plenty of them in my collection, but they are not my main plant fix. When I meet other viola collectors they get all atwitter over finding another viola admirer - when in truth, I have all the violas I want. My interests shift almost every year. I pick out a few weird plants each summer that I am going to try out and they remain my focus until I've killed a few of them and given up -- or succeeded.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 1:08PM
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I'm a plant collector first and my "yard" reflects that. I'm sure there are those who would say that I have a collection of plants rather than a garden. I have gathered a number of salvias but nowhere near a collection. I started collecting daylilies last year and if the critters allow me to I can see a rather large collection of those in my future.

OT but I'm positive that few people from around here would say that I have a garden since I don't grow vegetables. What I have is a yard that I like to plant flowers in:)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Once upon a time in a previous house/garden, I collected daylilies and hosta. I regularly went to Lily Well outside Hillsborough and never missed the hosta man's yearly hosta sales.

Now that I've got daily deer visitors and bright sun, I'm settling on the best survivors for my garden (new house in 2005, so all the garden is new).

For now, I'm testing/sorting out the best plants for my garden, my interests and favorite colors. I'm repeating varieties, but not really a collector at this point.

I've started with a few types (3) of lavender and want to expand into a collection of varieties for our zone. I'm starting to see new nepeta showing up and would like to try more (I have 3 varieties). I have several salvias that I love...Navajo Red, Ulignosa, B&B. And some of the shorter types, too. I can see getting caught up in salvia collection.

I have at least 6 different buddleias. My favorite blue is 'Adonis Blue'; favorite pink is 'Pink Delight'; favorite "big" buddleia is 'Royal Red'.

I love miscanthus and have 'Cosmopolitan' and 'Little Zebra' so far. When I expand the garden again, I want to bring in more miscanthus varieties.

I started trying the new patented (4 varieties) bright color coneflowers last year, then the drought hit. I'm watching for signs of life from those.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Yeah... laughing sadly and shaking head -- hostas and daylilies are candy for deer. Except for the orange ditch lilies -- I've never had a deer touch those yet on my place. Because hostas have a lot of problems (slugs, voles, deer), I have only one cultivar, probably "Royal Standard" that I dug from my grandmother's yard years ago. It's been in the family over 40 years.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:17AM
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Another thing I've noticed about collectors is not only trying the not-gardenworthy, but trying things that are just very difficult to grow. This is certainly true of roses, and even true in iris. There are Dykes Medal winners that people have a hard time even getting to live, much less bloom, or only do well in specific parts of the country, probably drier than that of the Southeast.

But the question isn't about fanatic collectors, just regular collectors. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:20AM
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karen__w(z7 Durham, NC)

Uh oh, now I'm either an undisciplined fanatic or fanatically undisciplined. When I think of all the plants I've hauled back on the airplane from Arizona nurseries ...

I replaced most of my big hostas with Ligularias last year. I'm still trying to grow the cute little ones, but now when the deer eat them it won't leave such a big visual hole.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:41AM
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Karen you may need your own thread. :) Any other fanatic collectors out there?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:48AM
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greygardener(7b NC)

Yes, collect hostas and daylilies...and yes, the deer are a major problem. After almost ten years of fighting with them, I've finally encaged everything I really love. Otherwise, I've started collecting deer resistant things. And that's not easy in this neck of the woods! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I think we're all collecting deer resistant things at this point. :(

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:20AM
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