Sunday, October 10, 2010

Got a little garden bling?

I love bling.

I loved bling when bling wasn't even cool.

Don't know what I'm going to do when clothing styles change, because I'm taken with the swirls and the sequins and the glitter that are so popular right now.

Then I got to thinking, I like a little bling in my garden, too.

And I don't mean gazing balls (I'm not so fond of them, actually).

Like this ginger I recently planted -- it's kind of like bling in my garden.

What's garden bling, you ask?

You know -- it's those one-of-a-kind specimens, the exotic plants or the plants that perform amazingly. The plants you and your gardening friends ooh and ahhh over time after time.

So here is an overview of the plants I think of as bling in my garden. For starters, there's this Carara Ginger -- a tropical perennial with reddish bracts with pale purple to greenish tips. It blooms for several months and like part shade. It's new to me, and I don't know if it will do well here, but it called my name at the nursery.

This "Phoebe" hellebore is another delicate favorite that is a shining star in my garden. It never ceases to amaze me that she almost disappears in warm months, but comes back in the cold of winter like a pale princess.
Even though the foliage is less than attractive at times, when it blooms, this Night-blooming Cereus is stunning. Sadly, you have to catch it late at night or first thing in the morning to enjoy its one-night bloom.
The cassia, with their tall, exotic structure and candle-like blooms is always a thriller in the garden. Especially the year before last when they didn't die back in the winter and grew to be about 12 feet tall in its second season.
Then of course there is the Moy Grande hibiscus -- phenomenal blooms as big as plates. On a mid-summer day, there were as many as 12 giant blooms open at once. It's a real show-stopper.
These irises are really exotic, but I'm so enamored with the color that I eagerly await their bloom every spring. It's a Louisiana iris, "Professor Neil" and one of my favorites.
The Bletilla Striata, or ground orchids are defnitely bling. Just the thought that I have "orchids" growing in the ground amazes me!

The plumerias definitely are exotics, but they love it here. It's been a particularly good year for them this year. They've liked the extra moisture in the air.
But on the same note, I've had to pull this Desert Rose out of the rain many times this summer because I wants to be dry, dry, dry. And it rewarded me with these great blooms.
These? No exotic at all, but the giant patch of wine cup that completely covers my rock path each spring is another jaw dropper. I walk around the path for months, because I can't bear to cut it back one little bit!
And this ia a perfectly ordinary Wisconsin ditch lily, brought to me in a bucket by car by Lori, the Gardener of Good and Evil . Hemerocalis experts frown at these common ditch lilies, but this amazing plant bloomed for me ALL summer long and at times had a dozen hot tangerine blooms at once.

I had a hard time limiting my choices because there are so many plants in my garden that I think are special. So, these are just a few of my favorite things.

Which plants are the bling in your garden?