Ten plants that make me smile…….and why

Loretta’s list Friday was made for the Diva of Dirt, Greenwoman Designs, Idahogardener.com: List Ten Flowers or plants that make you smile. Ten? Just Ten? Maybe 10×10. Ten? from a girl who skimmed Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs last night from cover to cover just to refresh her little pea brain re: what are my finest choices are for landscaping. Ten?

  1. Bellis perennis or little English daisy, the ones that grow throughout the lawn in shades of pink and white and raspberry and make terrific decorations for mud pies.
  2. Balsamorhiza sagittata. Well, now, that’s a mouthful. More commonly known as arrowleaf balsamroot, the big yellow clumps of daisy like plants dotting the hillsides of Idaho right now. Father in law said the sheepherders and cattlemen used it as an indicator for grazing and it meant “the range is ready.” I jokingly refer to it as “the-cows-are-coming-to-dinner” plant. It is also the first botanical latin term I learned. Like I said, it is a mouthful.
  3. Syringa vulgaris or all the garden lilacs that are so sentimental to me. At grandmother’s house near Spokane, on Memorial Day, we would cover 3 gallon coffee cans with foil, put some water in, and then go through the garden cutting fragrant lilacs, peonies (pea-oh-knees), spirea, and iris. And then we drove throughout the countryside decorating our family’s graves. Later, a family gathering at the ranch in Genessee for ham, potato salad, homemade rolls, you know……..
  4. Which of course brings me to spirea. Particularly the Van houteii. Huge white arching branches that we used for making crowns. I grow one in my garden purely because it is so sentimental.
  5. Iris. From the Goddess of the Rainbow. My favorites are the tall German bearded varieties with the frilly falls and the scent of grape bubblegum. Same grandmother as referenced in item 3 collected iris and had a huge bed of all the ones she had gathered. I could kick myself for not retrieving some starts from that bed when she died.
  6. Philadelphus lewisii or Lewis’s Mockorange or for some odd-ball reason, Syringa, with a capital S, as in the Idaho state flower.  It’s an Idaho plant.  I love it.
  7. Old fashioned daylilies surrounding old homesteads…….I have stolen a few clumps in my time and then named them after the area (un-O-fish-alee, of course).
  8. Dicentra spectabilis………ok,ok, old fashioned bleeding heart. Did you know you can make a lady in the bathtub with the flower? I can.
  9. The crocosmia gone wild at the beach in Oregon: acres of it.
  10. Lily of the valley. Hate the over the top fragrance but gotta love those little bells.