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Hello, James, I'm a longtime visitor, first time commenter.

Were I forced to leave my corner of Katy and taken somewhere as unfamiliar as Fulton (what in the blue blazes is a Surface to Air Recovery System?) to start a new garden, I would plant the following (once I had recovered from my hospitalization for depression at the thought of life in a place where there were no nurseries or garden centers):

1. Gulf Coast Penstemon (P. tenuis), my favorite spring perennial, and one that reseeds nicely. 2. Red Bauhinia (B. galpinii) for its ability to stop traffic with its nasturtium-like red/orange blooms and its prettily rounded leaves. 3. Vitex 'Montrose Purple', a variety with much fatter and bluer spikes of flowers than the species. Passersby frequently stop to ask me what it is and where they can get one. I could trade seedlings for more plants. 4. Batface Cuphea (C. llavea), because it's hardly ever out of bloom and makes a nice ground cover. 5. I'd have to bring one of the old garden roses ... I'd probably choose Souvenir de la Malmaison for her beauty and fragrance. 6. I'm stuck. Do I choose Echinacea because they're so reliable, or do I gamble on being able to barter Vitex or Penstemon seedlings for coneflower seeds. Mexican Bauhinia? Rangoon Creeper? Coral woody penta? Mexican Buckeye? Wait, there will be no spring garden if there is no Toadflax, my favorite annual ever. I'll put the seeds in my pockets. That's my 6th!

Oh, how difficult! I think most of my choices would be seen as 'bog-standard' but much loved. I would have to take fuchsia Beacon, which lives up to its name, and the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis. Which rose? Either Gertrude Jekyll or Albertine. Two trees: My lovely deep purple double syringa vugaris (variety unknown), and my gigantic Bramley apple. Must have some rosemary, the prostrate kind, and - oh heck, that's it! Impossible!
Not an easy thing to do. I have changed my mind so many times... Interesting to see your list, Katy, as I haven't ever grown most of those plants: I am particularly smitten by Bat Faced Cuphea. I think that pockets full of toadflax seed is perhaps stretching the rules a little bit.

Grannyanne: nothing is ever bog standard if it makes you grin (except perhaps certain colours of Bizzy Lizzy that are best in other people's gardens!)

Emma: You are definitely pushing the tolerance of the judges! Cut your list down by two.

I have just purchased ,from Gardeners World some bare root plants, (Cottage garden selection)which will arrive shortly i hope.Can you please tell me when i need to plant them out, in the garden,or do i need to put them in pots first for the winter months, and then plant out in the spring,
ISN'T THE POLMORPHA PERSICARIA SOMETHING ELSE. HERE IN CORNWALL, ONT. CANADA IT GROWS SO GREAT. I HAVE ONE FOR A FEW YEARS AND SO DOES MY BROTHER. THEY SEEM TO HANDLE PART SHADE REALLY WELL TOO. I GROW GOATS BEARDS, AND HAVE DIVIDED IT FOR AN EXTRA PLANT OH THREE YEARS AGO. AS AWESOME AS THAT IS, POLYMORPHA BLOOMS LOVELY FOR MUCH LONGER, ALTHOUGH MUCH COURSER. THERE IS A MINIATURE GOATSBEARD TOO, WHICH I AM NOW TRYING. I HESITATED TO BUY THAT AS I LOVE TALL PLANTS (but i'm trying to get into shorter ones too). Of course astilbes dazzle in the shade with other colours and love shade even more, but the colour show is only two weeks. Another companion I just started last year is the Rodgersia. Others that compliment are spring plants and tulips, daffodils, giant alliums, hostas and false and real Solomon's Seals. I loved an English bluebell a couple years ago it lasted a year and a half. So lovely. RAVEN


I would have, Jamesia americana Monkey Puzzle Emmenopterys henryi Clematis "Arabella" Crocosmia "Loosifer" and a veg plot all done peat free of course. I might not be able to do without Fuchsia "Wilson's Sugar Pink" and maybe if I'm allowed one more, Brilliantaisia subulugurica

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