My First Signature Plant for Diana’s Dozen

Oh I do like a challenge!

Diana from Elephant’s Eye  (a fabulous blog based on her garden in South Africa) has set us a challenge to write about a signature plant each month.    Her guidelines are to imagine a new empty small garden, an enclosed courtyard, a view from window or a new garden bed.   Then choose 12 plants that grow happily in our climate and soil and write once a month about our chosen plant and link it back to her.

For once I really was stumped, do I have a signature plant?  I am not sure I do.  To me  a “signature” is something that you are recognisable by, such as my Grandma who always wore the same perfume, even birthday and christmas cards used to smell of it.

I didn’t think I had any one plant in my garden that could be referred to as a ‘signature’.    It had me thinking though and this is where almost a year of blogging about my garden has come to the fore; such a great diary to refer back to.

I try to cultivate a Country Garden theme with plants that tumble into each other and not much space for the earth to peep through.  A friend of mine is not too keen on my idea of a gardening, his garden is set out neatly and is very tidy, everything in its place and room around each plant to be able to see each one set off in its glory.  I fear he sees my garden as being “untidy”.  I see it as exciting and fun.

A glorious summer border

Plant sales are a really bad place for me to be, I will buy anything that catches my eye, whether I have room for it or not.  There are a lot of single plants in the garden, normally because I can’t afford to buy 3 of the same.  Gardening programs, when replanting or making new flowers beds, tend to plant in 3’s so I have this dilemma of “do I buy 3 of the same or do I buy a selection of plants?” .   I  try to stick to a budget so I tend to go for the second option, and shoehorn my new purchases into any space I can find.   There is no really planning going on and some of you reading this may throw your hands up in horror but that is what makes it fun.

Although not done with forethought,  I will usually select at plant that will self-seed or just spread, such as Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill).

Hardy Geraniums - Cranesbill

Now, I am really thinking about this, I do have one plant that is all over my garden.   It spreads its seed around the garden and in all sorts of nooks and crannies, I have even found it growing behind the dustbins!   Although it doesn’t flower throughout the whole of the Summer, it is one plant that I wouldn’t do without.  Even if I lived in a tiny flat with only a balcony for a garden, I would find someway of growing this great flower.

My first signature  for my Dozen for Diana is  AQUILEGIA or the Columbine.

Lovely pale blue aquilegia

I wrote a post about these in May 2011 and called it  “Granny’s Bonnet is Growing in my Country Garden” .  To  my surprise, it is one post that has had a lot of hits over the last year.   That could, of course, not be anything to do with Aquilegia, but just because people have Googled “Granny’s Bonnet” and my page came up in the search.  Nevertheless it introduced the unsuspecting Google searcher to a plant they may never have known about.

The brilliant idea of having a meme is that it introduces you to new blogs from all over the world that you would not have otherwise found.   Thank you Diana for coming up with such a great theme for us to write about and one that we can do each month in 2012.

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14 thoughts on “My First Signature Plant for Diana’s Dozen

  1. Aquilegia would be one of mine too. I have purples and pinks and last year grew some new yellow ones from seed. I quite fancy doing this but will have to think of somewhere else to start!


  2. I think that aquilegias might well feature in my top dozen too Ronnie. Easy, pretty and obliging – ok they seed around but we can live with that 🙂 I have just sent off a seed order and guess what ~ I am trying out a new to me aquilegia. I much prefer the cottage garden style of planting too ~ mind you I am generally untidy.


  3. I love aquilegea too. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be my signature plant though because this is the first garden I have grown it in so my association with it doesn’t go back long enough. Not that I know how long is long. I have earth showing at the moment because I’ve not been sure what to plant on top of bulbs. I put violas there and thought they would expand a bit but they seem to be suffering from something instead so my garden is (regretfully) rather too close to the kind you wouldn’t like at present.


    1. I must learn to clarify what I write. My garden at the moment is all soil and not many plants. It is in the summer I like it to look “full”. Like you I don’t like to put anything in the garden at the moment because I can never remember what is beneath the soil. Having bare beds in the winter are useful because it means I can get at the dreaded ivy.


  4. Ronnie thx for the link…The Violet Fern is actually a couple hrs N of me in New York State as well. I will check out a few more posts I have missed…you have picked one of my all time fav flowers….no wonder it was a popular post…the pics are stunning…


  5. A great choice Ronnie for this months bouquet for Diana..Adore aquilegias though object to the familiar name since I never wear such headgear. Normally favour the singles (single colour/shape) but your light blues have me melting. Glad you joined and thanks for the linkback 🙂


    1. No I don’t like the soldiers in a row style of planting either. Our neighbours are desperately keen on weeding, leaving baked bare dusty swathes between poor frantic plants!

      I’ll go and update the link. Will you link your old post forward to this one?


  6. Hi,

    It sounds like your friend gardens like my dad, and you garden as my mum and I do.
    Nothing worse imo than seeing soil between the plants 😀

    Aquilegias are also a favourite of mine, last year one of mine flowered from summer and all the way through to the end of Summer – very strange! But of course I wasn’t compaining because they’re so beautiful 🙂
    I’ve now got a few small plants from some of my hybrids and look forward to seeing them mature.
    Definitely a worthy plant for any garden.


    1. Sorry that was meant to read that the Aquilegias bloomed from Spring all the way through to late summer… I was getting a little too excited! heehee


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