Only the most perfect plants will do.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

What are the most perfect plants you have? Here are the guidelines: These are plants that one just puts in the right place, lets get established, then enjoys.
They must be perfect in form and shape naturally. They do not require much attention to look good. They must look good, adding something to the garden both in flower and out of flower. They must be well-behaved - not run rampant over their friends. They must be easy to care for - not persnickity about their care in your garden. For instance, these plants do not need special fertilizers and are not too difficult to protect from pests or diseases.
Perhaps they would not be perfect in everyone's garden, but they are perfect in yours. Post your photos of your perfect plants, along with what praises you sing of their perfection.

I will begin this appreciation of the perfection of certain plants by posting this photo of Hosta 'Sagae'. This is the most beautiful hosta I've seen. It's currently 4 feet tall, with leaves like leather. I protect it from slugs when it's first budding out, and that's it. It just stays beautiful until it freezes.

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Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Corokia cotoneaster. This is a shrub that adds interest all year round with it's cool twisty branches, small, open form, brownish leaves, and petite yellow flowers. I've had this one for at least 5 years. It has survived even last year's winter and apparently is never bothered by pests, even the dreaded vole. I've never even pruned it.

And while I'm at it, these New Zealand sedges are just about perfect, too. I have a couple of varieties that seed , but they are easy to control and I generally have places for the seedlings.

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Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Dwarf yellow barberry. A fabulous small shrub. Likewise with dwarf red barberries.

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Any and all foxgloves

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Any and all lupines---wrong photo

This message was edited Jun 8, 2011 4:30 PM

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

This is the correct photo. any and all lupines

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Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Wrong photo twice. This one should be correct.

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Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Yes to foxgloves. All of them are stately and beautiful. Lupines, too, except in my garden they get decimated by aphids. Do you not have trouble with them?

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

No trouble with aphids on the lupines. I think bc they are usually done blooming by the time the aphids come around to my house in July/aug. But I could have trouble this year, since everything is blooming so late. (I never had probs with slugs before either, bc my vegetable garden is in such an open sunny area, but now had slugs this year bc it has been so wet I suppose).

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I'm dreaming about that hosta 'Sagae'. I think I have to have one. I agree---it is so perfect. It makes me think of being out in a woodland fairy land or something. It also makes me think of the giant skunk cabbages (which I love, despite their name/smell) out in the woods. The corokia is also awesome. And the dwarf yellow barberry---I just put one in my friend's front yard bed yesterday. We worked on it all day yesterday, and these are the results. I'm a pink/purple/white/yellow flower girl, but my friend wanted warm colors with a tropical flair---and I'm a new fan. I'm so proud of what we came up with---you can see in this pic how that yellow barberry really shines in this bed. We used cocoa shells for mulch to add to that tropical feeling. Lots of interesting plants, and it will fill out beautifully by August b/c we filled in with lots of annuals. (pineapple sage, coleus, impatiens, monkey flowers). It's a partial sun garden. My purpose in posting it here is to highlight the gorgeous golden barberry (along with that red orange one, too)--you may end up seeing this pic in another thread at some point. Do you have any experience with putting in ornamental ginger in your garden? (sorry--off topic there) We put one in---it will flower orange in August. Supposed to grow 6 feet tall, so it was kind of a risk, but she wanted it. Our favorite part are the stepping stones. The kids love them---and in a house with kids, they protect the plants!

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Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Euonymus alatus (burning bush). I know these are often over-used (and over-pruned), but I find them perfect in a mixed shrub border. No pests, no pruning, good shape, fresh spring green foliage, flowers and berries, and the glorious red color in the fall. It is also dense enough to crowd out weeds at its feet. I do think they look tortured when pruned back hard - if you just leave them to grow on their own, they are a very handsome shrub.

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Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

I just weeded my lupine, which are bedraggled and sad looking. Slugs I'm guessing. Heavenly fragrance. Definitely a keeper, but not on my perfect list.

Real geraniums, on the other hand, are pretty close. I have several varieties growing under my grapes. They are pest-free, spread out nicely without being thugs, bloom over a long period of time, can be cut back and come again, and some even have nice fall color.

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Lake Stevens, WA

I love heuchera!
Nice color most of the year,flowers that the hummers love, slugs don't eat them. Only down side is the weevil on the other thread bad luck plants. Oh and in the spring you can cut the tops of and root then share with your friends.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Kosk, that bed is going to be great! Love the colors. I have no luck with ginger in my yard. I've tried several times to no avail as i don't have enough sun or heat to do it justice. My aphids are already here, too.
Bonehead, ditto on the burning bush, and the pruning as well. I love that shrub. Definitely on the 'perfect plant' list.
Springcolor, I agree about most heuchera, but not all. I have to say that some of them just seem to straggle along in my yard, but the ones who do well are real show stoppers. Same with the heucherellas. This large brown heuchera definitely made my list. I don't know where it came from, I think it seeded itself, but I just love it and it's almost a 4 season plant.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Bonehead, forgot to say there are some geraniums I agree are just perfect. Johnson's blue is one. I have a pink one that runs like crazy, so it's not very perfect. I also have 'splish splash', but it isn't on my list because it gets so large and floppy, and really only provides interest when it's blooming. Maybe I have it in the wrong place. It's already about 30" tall. Geranium phaem 'samobor' (maybe it's spelled right, maybe it isn't) would be perfect since the leaves are awesome foliage, but it gets tall and scraggly and I have to cut it back more than once each season. It's already waiting to be cut back this year. 'Cut back' = work.

Most of the dwarf conifers are on my list of perfect plants. I love their shapes and colors, and the way they stay small so they don't take over a bed.

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Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I feel like digitalis bloom so briefly that they're not worth the bother (at least in the Midwest -- maybe not here?)

One of my "perfects": Heuchera 'Southern Comfort'

So vigorous & carefree.

Whatever that hosta is on the right, it's also fantastic. Could be 'Sagae.'

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Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

And hellebore 'Ivory Prince.' Maybe 'Silver Lace,' can't remember.

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Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Of course, whatever this pieris is. 'Forest Flame'?

All my Japanese andromeda are going nuts this year, along with about 50 towering rhododendrons. Won't bore you with all the pictures.

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Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Plant photos are never a bore. Grandkid photos...yeah, maybe.

(Linda)Gig Harbor, WA(Zone 8a)

Gotta put this out there, nothing, as far as I am concerned beats the splendid regalness of the Trachyocarpis fortuni or Chinese windmill palm. The last couple of winters has been tough around here and some are showing the stress and thank god are recovering. But this is my oldest, about 10 years old and wasn't fazed by the tough winters. Love the gnarly bloom stalks.

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Lake Stevens, WA

That is a grand palm! Very nice.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Oh wow, zone 8a. I could have palm trees?

(Linda)Gig Harbor, WA(Zone 8a)

Yes Summerkid you could have palm trees too! LOL

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

Gotta agree about that palm. If only they survived in my yard. I've tried twice and lost them to winters, even with protection, and I'm at sea level! It's likely I don't get enough sun for them to do very well. I'm envious of that palm!

Springfield, OR

I'd have to say, my little Rock daphne, she's so cute and compact and her blooms (sadly past right now) are SO fragrant, you can smell them from several feet away. I never water, fertilize or do ANYthing to her and she just stays in her own little spot and each year is getting a little bigger. I would plant many more of her if she were less expensive. I would definitely swear by her though. If she can grow here, maybe she could grow anywhere? ( I should say, if I can grow her, probably anyone can!)

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Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

That IS very cute, and perfect! I agree about daphnes, if they like one's yard. I have three large ones that do very well. I also have one from Mt. Tahoma nursery that I keep in a pot by the back door. It has the most incredible fragrance. I'm afraid to plant it out, since it's doing well in the pot.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

To be forthright, I admit to being a bit perplexed pondering the idea of anything perfect in my garden, though I would like to come up with some plants to share in this arena. Sometimes things I thought were perfect, the following season or year reveal some difficulty. So I make no promise that anything I mention might become imperfect at some future point. That said, wandering my yard, I notice a few really easy and still beautiful ones that have required very little care.

Helianthemem: low growing, gray-green leaf, pretty little flowers sort of like a miniature rose, bloom over a long time period starting in spring and continuing on and off through the summer. I have them in pink, orange, red, and yellow in various locations. They don't need much water, keep the weeds at bay, and are cheerful looking without needing shearing. the tags say they do, but I have never done it and they still look good a year or two later.

Trumpet lily: These have not needed staking for me. The flowers are dramatic and provide a nice contrast to my other, smaller flowers on various shrubs and perennials. I have yellow and orange, but they come in white and pink also. There isn't much work to cutting down the stalk, when it has died back in the winter. Planting initially required getting gravel into the planting hole so the voles wouldn't get them, but this appears to have worked and wasn't difficult. A single clump creates a focal point.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

I love my gigantic snowball viburnum. I think it's perfect. The number of bouquets I give away every year from it is amazing. Green blossoms for a month. Then white blossoms for a month. Then SNOW! On my fairy garden, which is situated underneath it. No maintenance required. Except you need a huge space for it. Ours is about 12 feet tall x 12 feet wide.

In defense of foxgloves: In my yard they bloom gradually for a month. Deer stay away from them. They self sow. They often put up a second, small spire in August. They are happy in full sun, partial sun, or full shade. Take your pick! They are perfect in my eyes......

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Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

I am adding ferns to my list, although they don't add anything in the winter. IN the spring they have those dainty little fronds emerging, and then they continue to add texture and form to the garden, and sometimes color, until the freezing weather hits. The native sword ferns add something all year, even in the winter. The only thing I ever do for them is cut the dead fronds off once a year. After that, nothing. And bugs never bother them, either.

I almost put trumpet lilies on my list, but then I realize that I do have to stake them in my yard plus protect them from slugs. but they are so glorious I am not unwilling to do some extra work for them.

I love the snowball viburnums. The size of yours has me a little worried, though. I can tell that both of mine are going to be too close to their neighbors and will either have to be moved or pruned a lot, taking away their edge of perfection in my yard. Just goes to show that a perfect plant for one person is not one for another, especially when the other plants thing too close together.

Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

I love my Lupines. Sidewalk garden Cherry Lupines started from seed last year.

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Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

Lupines in front yard started rom seed 2 years ago

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Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

One of my most favorites. Black Lace Sambucus lining the front by the street. They smell heavenly.

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Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

Close up of my Sambucus

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Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

Another favorite - Coppertina (I think) Physocarpus planted 2 years ago

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Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

Physocarpus Diablo

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Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Coppertina & Diablo are on my "must-have" list too.

Diablo is the perfect backdrop for a white-and-black garden.

Unfortunately, lupines are slug magnets here in the Coast Range.

You know, when I was complaining about short-lived digitalis, that may be because I only grew D. ambigua, a delicate woodland variety. I notice that the wild foxglove here are tall, sturdy, long-lived & lovely.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Grab their seeds in the fall if you can.

Lakewood, WA(Zone 8a)

I love both physocarpus and all of the sambucus i know, except for the variegated sambucus. I had one established when we moved into this house. After several years of whacking it back many times per season, I finally removed it and didn't look back. I can't count lupines or foxglove as 'perfect' in my garden. The lupines get attacked by aphids all the time and their foliage, which could be really nice, just looks ratty.

Port Angeles, WA

Rodgersia, tho I am too far from the garden right now to go for a photo.
Large heavily textured leaves make a visual statement. Come fall, they disappear without cutting back. In spring they return, only slightly wider than the year before.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Primula florindae - mine has gone crazy this year, with five blossoms - the clove fragrance is heavenly!

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