Hooray for interesting options!

amunk01February 12, 2014

Since it's getting so close to planting time, and everyone is planning, writing lists, ordering seeds, laying out beds, and getting excited!.. Just for fun, I was hoping everyone would chime in and name a few (top 3?) of their favorite Interesting/weird/distinct/colorful plants they love to have in their garden/yard. I don't really have three since I'm still a newby, but I am growing two Silvery Fir toms on my patio just for the foliage. Anyone else? :)

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Hey there amunk01. Borage is one of my favs. Not too weird, but mom never grew that!! Also i have lots of Hollyhocks pop up in unusual places throughout the summer...really like thise!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Surely by now you know that I can't name just three of anything, but I'll try to only list my most favorite favorites.

For huge, white, fragrant flowers on very drought-tolerant plants: Angel's Trumpet (Datura metel. ) Grayish-green foliage and huge white, trumpet shaped flowers that usually are 6" long/tall or larger. Deliciously scented and blooms in late afternoon, staying open all day for the moths. A half-hardy perennial in our climate. Mine always reseed (this is one of the few plants that can be invasive in my red clay soil) and I generally grow them outside the fenced garden so that every bed in the garden doesn't become infested with millions of these plants. Voracious climber and can easily climb from 10-

To add a little sweet chocolate to your garden:

Chocolate Morning Glory (Ipomoea nil). This one has chocolate-colored flowers and green/white variegated foliage. The flowers are larger than your typical morning glory and are breathtakingly gorgeous.

Chocolate Cosmos--perennial and must be grown from cuttings or tissue culture, not from seed. Smells like chocolate!

Chocolate Flower-- This is a daisy that is chocolate scented. Can be grown from seed but needs stratification which can make it tricky to get the seed to germinate.

To add a pop of red/maroon:

Sunflower "Moulin Rouge". I grow sunflowers that flower in shades of yellow, gold, orange, green white and red, but it is "Moulin Rouge" with its very dark red flowers that gets the most attention every time.

Castor Bean "Carmencita Red" and "Impala". Both have reddish-maroonish leaves that are tropical in appearance. Because all plant parts are poisonous, and the seeds are dealdly poisonous, I only grow them within my fenced veggie garden (the fence is 8' tall) so my dogs cannot access the plants and chew on them. I wouldn't grow them at all if we had small children that lived here. I usually mix them with some of the castor bean varieties that have green foliage.

For green flowers:

Amaranthus caudatus "Emerald Tassels" commonly known as green love lies bleeding. (You can grow it with the red loves-lie-bleeding.)

Bells of Ireland: Technically the green part that looks like flowers is actually plant calyxes which have tiny white blooms inside of them.

Rudbeckia "Green Wizard". Easy from seed.

To make every evening special: Moonflower Vine (Ipomoea alba) This is a night-blooming vine that has huge white flowers that are very fragrant. They bloom fairly late in the year but are worth the wait. Once they start blooming, if you look at what time the flowers start to unfurl, you can run outside at about the same time every night and watch all the flowers unfurl their petals at about the same exact time. It is pretty spectacular.

For plants that cats will love:

Cat Grass
Veriegated Cat Grass
Lion's Tail (Leonotis leonurus) Very tall plants, easily reaching 6-8' in height, with bright orange flowers that open up and down the stem.

Grain Amaranth: All the grain amaranths produce gigantic seed heads that are beautiful for fall display. With some varieties the leaves are green or yellowish-green and with others, the leaves are red to maroon. The different varieties produce flowers in various colors...you can select from red to maroon flowers, or orange, yellow or green ones.

Elephant Head Amaranth produces big maroon flowers that do look like an elephant's head, including the trunk.

Cockscomb---I grow the old-fashioned crested one with huge maroon flowers that are true showstoppers.

I also grow vegetables of all kinds that are "the wrong color", including pink snap beans, pink sugar snap peas, yellow cucumbers, red cowpeas, blue potatoes, purple potatoes, black peppers, purple asparagus and tomatoes in a rainbow of colors.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:43PM
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I don't know if I can limit it to just three! If I don't like something, I usually dig it up or will plot to replace it one day (I'm looking at you, yaupon hollies), so almost all of what I have is something I want! My favorites (not at all unusual, though) are definitely hydrangeas and peonies. But since you asked for something a little different ...

One I just got last year after seeing it in an exhibition garden is Torch Lily (poker plant). I've had it for the one summer so it hasn't done much yet, but I have high hopes for the future. This is how it looked in the exhibition garden:

Another I have loved for years and years is artemesia. This is a transplant I took from my old house and it is doing wonderfully after settling in a few years, it's now much bigger and thriving.

Lastly, these are not really unusual but I love 'em for my patio containers: coleus, cannas and sweet potato vine. They are all common as dirt but have such staying power that I adore their low-maintenance high-impact qualities.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Great thread!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:54PM
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Hi Bethie! nice to finally see you on "THE" forum lol and I agree, I don't recall mom growing borage. I've looked at it multiple times, how large does it get?
Dawn- as usual you have provided me with enough info to misplace an entire afternoon (again!) browsing Google. A girl could definitely use some chocolate in the garden! :)
Mia, your pots are gorgeous! Coleus and sweet potato vines are staples at my moms so of course I'll always incorporate those anywhere I can! I love the lilys, you really must post some picts once yours get going!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Since I mentioned chocolate flowers, I'm going to link one of my favorite chocolate flower seed/plant sources and inspiration. Another couple of good sources for chocolate garden (which can include flowers in dark tones that sort of mimic chocolate but which do not necessarily have a chocolate scent) seeds are Swallow Tail Gardens and Summer Hill Seeds.

Some people who plant chocolate gardens include plants that are in dark tones (red, bronze, maroon, brown, black, deep purple, etc.), those that have a chocolate scent, and those that have the word chocolate in their name (like Chocolate Mint Coleus).

Some people focus not only on a chocolate garden but on a chocolate and vanilla garden with lots of white plants or vanilla scented plants or both thrown in for contrast with the chocolate garden plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: Chocolate Flower Farm

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 4:13PM
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The oddest thing in our flower gardens?

delosperma mesa verde. A variety of 'ice' plant. They are 'volunteers' that I transplanted from the driveway to the front flowerbed last spring. They survived the summer. Now, I'm waiting to see if they survived the winter. Pretty little flowers, though.

If the purslane comes up this year, I might transplant it to the flowerbeds, too.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 4:19PM
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got to be my naranjilla I got from my friend Chris in Tulsa. Last year, or no, I think it was the year before, I found one at the OSU greenhouse garden sale.

Other than that, I love my castor bean plants, and lambs ear.

The first one, for the spikey leaves, the second one, for the height and shade it creates, and the third, just because the leaves are so soft and velvety feeling.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 5:22PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

I had forgotten about chocolate flowers. I may have to try some. Just will want to eat them if they really smell like it!!! LOL
Great post. Gave me some good ideas.
Thanks folks.

This post was edited by sorie6 on Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 19:52

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 7:51PM
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And let the "ENABLING 2014 GROWING SEASON" begin.....

You guys are all an inspiration!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 10:41PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Earth Sister, I don't know if we are an inspiration, but I am 100% sure all of us are gardening enablers!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 1:16PM
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My favorites are Mountain Pinks, Ephedra viridis (Mormon Tea) and Damianita which is a tight dark green, small leaf subshrub that smells like nothing else (wonderfully medicinal) and is smothered in tiny yellow blooms on and off during the season.

I've got a large Spanish Broom plant that is only green stems until spring when it bursts into yellow sweet pea type blooms. I like it because it looks like a grass so its unexpected when it blooms. Its considered invasive in some regions but I don't ever see seedlings. I saw this on Classen Blvd. many years ago thinking it was some weird kind of large grass until it bloomed and got some seeds.

I also like the Pink Flamingo muhly grass which is a naturally occurring cross between M. lindheimerri and gulf muhly so it is uncommon in that it has the height of the big M. lindheimeri with the pink blooms of the gulf type muhly.

Dyssodia is another native favorite because you don't see it in gardens. They are teeny tiny compact subshrubs that are like little yellow bouquets all season.

Desert Spoon. It makes a great sculptural statement, has blue serrated leaves and requires no care.

Perennial Snakeweed is gorgeous in fall. A low growing, solid yellow perfectly rounded mound.

There are many interesting and unusual native plants to consider that you definitely will not see in most gardens. The choices are endless and I have lots of favorites.

Shown here is a Mountain pink and a small ephedra

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Flameflowers. Talinum. Its a perennial succulent related to rose moss. It puts up thin wiry stems with bright pink flowers that seem to float, blooms all season and naturalizes. It needs no watering and doesn't care how hot or dry it gets.

Flameflower with Desert Marigold. Both will bloom nonstop during drought.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 3:08PM
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