In my little garden a flourish of flowers, a scrawl of herbs, a line of hollyhocks and sunflowers and a calligraphy of blooming heirloom borders exist chockablock with old-fashioned favorites.
These plants are inscribed in my heart and in every landscape I plant and tend. They're my personal signature, my nonnegotiable choices. I couldn't imagine my life or my garden without them. I think you'll like them too!
The plants I love aren't finicky; they're stalwarts - hardworking, bee-pleasing, butterfly-attracting, bird-friendly and kid-charming. Hollyhocks, poppies, old-fashioned calendulas, rosemary, thyme, chives, jasmine and lavender attract pollinators and are easy enough for a child to grow.
The evocative names of these favorites conjure memories of brilliant spring colors; warm, perfume-laden summer nights; and autumn's cargo of seedpods, hips, haws and glowing leaves.
Nasturtium, with its paint-box colors and edible flowers, attracts hummingbirds. Lunaria flaunts pink or white flowers in spring, flat green disc pods in summer, and beautiful opalescent bangles in the fall. Old-fashioned pansies, with kitten-face flowers, enliven a salad.
A favorite of mine is love-in-a-mist. (See photo, top.) It self-sows easily, filling empty sunny spots with its tall, feather-leaved foliage and brilliant-blue starry flowers. The fat, papery pods are great in bouquets and dried arrangements, and the seeds are used as a spice.
The prolific 'Cecile Brunner' rose quickly climbs walls, fences and trellises. The tiny, fragrant roses are perfect for potpourri and bouquets or can be harvested as toppings for desserts.
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