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Most loved plants


by Kate Bradbury

Why is it that we have no trouble expressing our dislikes, but when it comes to things we love, we're more reticent?


Male red-tailed bumblebee on cranesbill geraniumWhy is it that we have no trouble expressing our dislikes, but when it comes to things we love, we're more reticent? Last year I conducted a poll in the office to see which plants were 'most hated' and blogged about the results. The response was incredible, with 95 comments to date.

But, as I tentatively start sowing seeds for my new garden, it strikes me that it would be nice to balance all that hatred with something that inspires us for the coming growing season. It's nearly Valentine's Day, after all.

I've never been fond of pink, blowsy daffs and gaudy geraniums. But I do love Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii. It's so beautiful I almost look forward to winter so I can see its berries, while large swathes of English bluebells make me feel that actually, everything's alright with the world. I also love watching bumblebees foraging in cranesbill geraniums, viper's bugloss and the mountain cornflower, Centaurea montana.

And in the office? The response wasn't as great - or as heated - as when I asked which plants my colleagues hated. Perhaps we prefer whipping ourselves into a frenzy over things we dislike, using plosive descriptions and plenty of exclamation marks. Being gentle and loving is never as exciting, is it?

Of those who did reply to my love poll, Kevin said he "wouldn't garden without" Verbena bonariensis, Anne and Vic declared a soft spot for peonies, Daniel can't decide between Parrotia persica and Crambe maritima, David currently loves Hedychium 'Stephen', Ross currently loves the parachute plant, Ceropegia sandersonii, and Guy loves trees. Just trees.

And what about you? Is your passion for plants you love as strong as for those you hate? Tell us about your most cherished plants. We might just inspire each other to try something different, if it ever stops snowing. Ooh I hate the snow...



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Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2010 at 18:53

I love all the plants you mention and find it hard to have a favourite but I do love the good old michaelmas daisy.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2010 at 19:21

My chaenomeles with its dark red rose like flowers well before the leaves never ceases to disappoint me. It is late this year because of the bad weather but the buds are about to burst. I also love snowdrops in their infinite variety and scrutinise my promiscuous spread every year for a good new one. We usually love whoever or whatever needs us so I expect many peoples' favourites will be the ones that needed them most.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2010 at 19:36

I garden in South Eastern US in Georgia. Solid red clay on Granite. You know I am a garden junkie as I get Gardeners World programs sent to me and I subscribe (at vast expense) to the magazine. My most loved plants are those that survive the ghastly soil and weird weather which alternates between drought and flood and 100 degF and 15 degF. My current, absolute #1 is Elaeagnus pungens 'Clemson Variegated' Variegated Silverberry, Silverthorn. Overwhelmingly sweet perfume in October/November. Great food and shelter for birds and small mammals. Evergreen/grey/yellow and 15ft x 15ft. (I left UK before metrication!) Best "plant it and leave it" shrub ever invented.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2010 at 21:55

our snowdrops then daffs bluebells cowslips lovely all under trees take some beating in spring.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/02/2010 at 03:56

our snowdrops then daffs bluebells cowslips lovely all under trees take some beating in spring. Btw, awesome post. Waiting for the next post!

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