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One tough plant. April 17, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening.
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Silence Dogood here. We’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home our friend Ben and I share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA. When cold weather comes, we haul our endless container plants, which have spent the growing season on our deck, either into the greenhouse or into the house to keep us company over winter.

The only plants we leave outside are our water iris, which somehow survive beautifully in our two frozen half-barrel water gardens, and our agastache, a mint-family member with blooms that attract hummingbirds. Every winter, it looks dead as it sits forlornly in its container on the deck. But, like the dead parrot in the Monty Python sketch, it’s “just resting.” Come spring, it’s one of the first plants to show new growth, with lovely purple-green leaves covering the surface of the pot. That’s one tough plant.

But it’s not the plant I want to talk about today. Last spring, I made up two large containers to brighten the deck, filling them with lobelia, callibrachoas (“millionbells,” the flowers look like mini-petunias), and the like. And for contrast and to spill over the sides, I planted golden-chartreuse-leaved ‘Goldi’ creeping Jenny (a form of Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, also called golden moneywort) around the perimeter of each pot.

I knew the annuals would be done at season’s end, but the creeping Jenny is perennial, so our friend Ben and I planned to plant it out in the fall. Then I got hit with a terribly tight deadline and Ben got busy as well. The closest we came was hauling the pots to the place we’d planned to plant them.

All winter, I looked at the poor pots and thought what a shame it was to have killed those plants, which are some of my favorites. Then, last week, I noticed that they hadn’t died. The creeping Jenny was making a comeback!

I cleaned up the pots today and brought them back to the deck. OFB and I bought cold-season veggie transplants on Sunday and I got some violas to brighten the front of our house and the deck. (Violas are pansy-Johnny-jump-up hybrids that look like mini-pansies: I love violas and Johnny-jump-ups, but not their larger cousins.) I’ll plant some of the violas in the containers with the creeping Jenny to add some splashes of color to our deck while the nights are still plunging into the 40s and more showy annuals wouldn’t do well.

Any plant that can survive our Zone 6 winters outdoors in a container is one tough plant. That goes for our sedums and sempervivums in the trough garden out front, too. What plants do you leave out over winter?

‘Til next time,




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