It’s been a great year in the garden…as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the beds have been filled with the usual mix of naughty (mugwort, bindweed and crabgrass) and nice. Especially good this year was the Anthriscus that has self-seeded in the shade garden, and the lilacs which were over-the-top in flowers. And I’m sure you noticed the ‘Summer Snowflake’ Viburnum if you passed this way toward the end of May.
But I could single out plants for your bad and good list until the New Year has come and gone, so let me get down to business here. As you well know people don’t write to Saint Nick to just pass the time of day…letters to Santa are usually filled with requests, and this one is no exception. Here are the things this gardener would be thrilled to find under the tree.
Note: it’s OK to drop them under any tree on the property…you don’t have to bother with that old business of squeezing down the chimney, stumbling in the dark looking for a Christmas tree, and laying a soot-filled finger on the side of your nose in order to leave. You can just swing over Poison Ivy Acres and drop these things off under any random oak, maple or American holly, OK?
First of all, I could use some more plants with red, purple, or golden foliage that grow well in deep shade. There aren’t that many colorful foliage plants for shade and we all need a few new ones! Make these with growth habits between two and four feet tall, and hardy to zone 3, and you’ll be every shade-gardener’s hero. And if you could throw in a long bloom period, we’d nominate you for sainthood…but I guess you’ve already got that, right?
And Santa…I could also use some natural insect control. Now that the winter moth has been partying in my gardens for more than two weeks, I’m wondering if you could deliver an appetite for their larvae to my morning doves, blue jays and crows. I figure this would be a gift to the birds as well, right? More food for them, and some relief for my trees. So you’d be getting two-for-one here and save space in the sleigh.
Of course some new lime green-flowering plants would be enjoyable, and we’d all love some recently-introduced varieties of perennials that are attractive, weed smothering, and non-invasive, especially if they’re variegated.
Finally, we’d all appreciate getting some monarch butterflies this year. I promise that we’ll try to take better care of them than we did in the past.
Thanks for considering this, Santa, and if you’re tired of milk and cookies by the time you get to Cape Cod be sure to help yourself to some organically grown lettuce and Tuscan kale from the garden.
Merry Christmas, and all the best to the reindeer,