Let us lighten your load



My use for a garden cart like this is to wheel around bags of mulch, heavy ceramic pots, multiple flats of plants, and so on. Even though I have a small, urban garden—as I’ve often pointed out—it doesn’t make dragging around gardening supplies any easier. What I’d really like is a faithful assistant to follow me around from nursery to other nursery to other nursery to home and then back and forth among the beds. But I do like this cart—it reminds me of the red wagon I used when I delivered papers as a kid (my first job in journalism). Papers were heavier then.

So here’s one of our coolest give-aways ever. The good people at Troy-Bilt responded immediately to Amy’s advice about how to get on the right side of garden bloggers. They have some of these cute red garden carts to give away. Here are the specs:

• 7 cubic feet
• 300 lb weight capacity
• 20″ spoked wheels with rubber pneumatic
• Easy-grip, large diameter tubular handles
• Sturdy, painted wood bed
• Inside dimensions: 42L x 12H x 23W (inches)
• Outside dimensions, including handle and wheels: 58L x 23H x 34W (inches)
• Removable front panel for easy dumping

Here’s the contest. I have five (5) to give away so your chances are good. I had a few ideas for possible comment tasks, including writing a classic sonnet and describing and solving the most important issue facing home gardeners today. But, in the end, I came up with this: list your five favorite plants (presumably that you could put in this cart) and briefly explain why they’d be the ones you’d rescue from your garden if it was threatened by catastrophe. Or just say why you like them. Troy-Bilt will send a cart each to the five best comments, as determined by me (representing Garden Rant).

We’ll let this run until Monday (7/7) at 5 p.m. EST. And one more thing. You must be a garden blogger to win one of these; simply supply a link to your blog in the comment form (as most do already).

ADDENDUM: I’m sorry! I ought to have set the example by naming my favorites. As follows: 1. The martagon lily I posted on about 4 posts down. When you see the picture and know that it thrives in shade, you won’t need any further explanation. 2. My climbing hydrangea. It is going great guns now, and the flowers have a lovely scent. 3. My hellebore, the commonest one I have (hybridus, I think?) but a beautiful spectacle in crappy shade all summer long. 4. A Blush Noisette rose. See my post on it on my blog 5. Yeah, this is tough. But I’ll go with another rose, Charlotte, one of the first plants I bought. It is also described in detail on Gardening While Intoxicated. So those are mine.

OK! Contest OVER. PEG is the last commenter (not winner), as far as I can tell. I do not have winners yet. Give me until tomorrow (Tuesday) AM to read and evaluate them. Thanks for playing!

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. Well I could most definitely use such a handy sporty cart for toting garden supplies, plants, rubbish and any number of other things up and down, up and down this hill. My five favorite plants is a challenge. Just five? I haven’t lived in this zone long enough to pick fvorites. Them’s the rules, so I’ll think on it and post another comment.

  2. Oh, I definitely need a new garden cart!

    As for 5 plants I would save in my yard:

    1.)A three year old curly willow – I started this tree from a branch that was in a flower arrangement from my baby sister’s funeral. It has GREAT sentimental value to me.

    2.) Oakleaf hydrangea – it is so pretty and is hanging full of blooms this summer, so I couldn’t possibly part with it.

    3.) Button bush – this shrub was bought from a local fish and wildlife nursery and is native to my area, although it is very rare.

    4.) 2 small oak tree seedlings (about 5 years old). These were started from acorns of a tree in the yard of the home we lived in when my youngest daughter was born.

    5.) St. John’s Wort – I have been study the healing properties of this plant, plus it is currently hanging full with bright yellow blossoms.

    Of course, there are other plants in my gardens that I love, but these would be my top 5.

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this contest!

  3. My list today:

    1). The Night-blooming cereus that lives in my sunroom (or should I just call that the night-bloomer’s room?). It’s been in the family for 40 years, at least, I got it from my Dad and I’ve had it for 20 years. It’s in a 20 inch pot, so I would load it first on the cart.

    2) Varigated phlox, ‘Crème de Menthe’ is too pretty to leave behind. It’s not doing so well this year, so I’ve been trying to nurse it back to health.

    3) All my rain lilies. They are in pots and I know they are just “common” to many but I’ll need at least one plant that will lure the garden fairies to wherever I go to in this catastrophe.

    4) An heirloom peony that blooms with big soft pink, nearly white blooms. Again, it’s a passalong from my Dad, and no matter what other peonies I get or see, none compare to this one with its beauty and scent. I need to save it for the world!

    5) A combo planter into which I would plant a tomato, some beans, and any other plant I could crowd in there because it is just not possible for me to pick only five plants.

    Looking forward to seeing what others would take…

  4. What an awesome cart! I don’t own a proper piece of equipment for toting heavy stuff so this is just what I need.

    I don’t know what kind of catastrophe you had in mind but my catastrophe is a bad ass one that is earth-altering. All the trees have been destroyed leaving full sun for my fab 5 to grow in.

    Here they are:

    1. Echinacea purpera “Purple Coneflower”. I’m madly in love with coneflowers of all kinds. But, the purple gets saved because it drought tolerant, beautiful, and I might even be able to meet a medicine man who will show me how to use it medicinally.

    2. Heirloom Brandywine Tomato gets saved because there is no way I could go on in a tomato-less world. I rescue the heirloom one because I can save seeds for future tomato seasons.

    3. Daffodil because they remind me of my grandma (I’ll probably be sad and need that family memory, yes?) and because they naturalize so easily.

    4. Magnolia Ann is a vanity save I spent too much damn time agonizing over which Magnolia to pick (and returning a few) to just let it die.

    5. Rudbeckia Goldstrum is saved because it’s the one plant in my garden that, when in bloom, takes my breath away every time I see it. Plus, bees love it. Wait, I sure hope somebody saves a couple of bees!

  5. Only five? Yikes! That is a beautiful cart, though, so I’ll give it a shot 😉

    1. Raspberries. Oh, I love them. they’re delicious and prolific, and their dark red color makes a nice backdrop for all kinds of other plants. The spread like crazy, too, so I know if I rescued one little bit they’d fill up the new garden pretty quick.

    2. Paw Paw Tree. They are actually the only tropical fruit to have survived the ice age in North America (well, not our specific trees). We have a nice little paw paw grove that was started on the property ages ago, and they give us LOTS of fruit in the fall. I like them because they’re unusual (how many people have actually eaten a paw paw?), they taste good, and they look pretty cool. I’d definitely grab some of the littler trees.

    3. Howard German Tomato. At least we think that’s what it is. Kelly’s grandfather got seeds from a neighbor 40 years ago and has been growing it and saving the seeds ever since. The year we had our first garden together he gave us some seeds and we’ve been growing them for a few years now, too. For us, it really is an heirloom tomato. Aside from the history of it, we like it because it’s just a great-tasting tomato.

    4. Thyme. I have no idea what variety it is; it’s been in the yard forever. It’s the first perennial herb to perk up in the spring, so it reminds me of spring veggies, blooming stuff, warmer weather, and all that nice stuff.

    5. Crocuses. I know everything else on my list has been edible, but damn, I just love these cute little flowers.

  6. 1. The first plant I’d save is my red poppy. It has a story, and it is much loved by my family, especially Garden Man. If I didn’t save it, I might as well throw myself into the catastrophe. 😉 See part of its story here: http://toomuchstuff.typepad.com/instrument_of_grace/2008/07/turkenlouis.html

    2. Itea virginica – my Virginia Sweetspire ‘Henry’s Garnet.’ I can’t imagine a more wonderful shrub, and we’ve carted ours from one home to another, or at least babies of the originals. No matter where we are, we will have these in the landscape.

    3. Cedrus atlantica ‘Argentia Fastigiata’ – our columnar Atlas Cedar. We didn’t know it was columnar, we just knew it was pretty. It replaced another Atlas Cedar which died in the same spot. This one is beautiful and growing and thriving, reason enough to save it.

    4. Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ because it’s Garden Man’s favorite, because he loves it and tends to it and because I love him.

    5. The common lilac in our yard. For several years after we moved to this house, it was an unidentified shrub. We were about 5 minutes from digging it out when I noticed one panicle of flowers. Although it’s in a shady location, it bloomed. We rewarded it with compost and mulch, and it flowers more each year. I love the way it smells, and I love the underdog. It gets rewarded for its tenacity by being saved.

  7. I don’t need a cart, since we already have a radio flyer red cart, however, I thought I would share my 5 favorite plants to rescue. But, since they’re my favorites, they’ve all been “named.”

    1. Bob – Bob is a little finicky and demands lot’s of bloom food to produce bright red flowers, but only organic fish bone meal. Liquid chemicals make Bob wilt.

    2. Samuella has lot’s of spines surrounding a thick succulent green body. She is a cactus, of course, but getting fatter over time, not taller.

    3. Lucy is a slow growing manzanita , but after a little bit of turmoil, some branches having been severely pruned back, has finally turned the corner and is a steady producer of berries for the birds.

    4. Matthew is very annoying, practically dead, but I can’t seem to toss him, so what the heck, he gets on this list for perseverance.

    5. Ian’s pot keeps sprouting oak trees (rotten squirrels) but doesn’t seem fazed by the competition. He’s a young echeveria hybrid that appears to be growing some caruncles, but it may be too early to tell.

  8. A free cart?? So I don’t have to carry stuff by hand?? Is it Christmas already?

    Ok, my list:

    1. Shasta Daisy- this isn’t as much for me as it is for my wife. If we didn’t have these around, my wife wouldn’t smile. She used them for her bouquet for our wedding.
    2. Black Iris- I just started working with a landscaper and one of the first clients that I worked with had these beautiful black Iris’ that created such gorgeous contrast. I commented on them, and she offered me a few bulbs.
    3. Black Krim Tomato- This was the first tomato I started from seed, and like Gina said, I couldn’t do without tomatoes.
    4. Monarch Rhubarb- Growing up in Wisconsin, this plant is a must. It freezes really well.
    5. Rosemary- I cook with this herb more than any other.

  9. Wow. I so wish I could win a garden cart, but it would be useless in my garden. My garden fence is 35″ wide and it wouldn’t fit. I’ll join in, but unless that cart goes on a diet, don’t pick me to win.

    1. My Kousa Dogwood. It was the first major plant I put into my yard when I moved in 17 years ago. Of course I couldn’t take it with me now, since it has grown too big. But it blooms its socks off (yes I said it – socks, beat me with a goldfish if you like) for three weeks after which it sets fruit that turn a beautiful red in the fall. The tree is also serves two useful purposes. The birds eat the fruit and it screens me from my neighbor’s porch. I love this tree. Nothing bothers it, not an insect or disease that I’ve found.

    2. If I had to actually rescue something from my garden, I would pick my raspberries. I could take one cane and have a field of them in no time. If it got beat up in the back of the car, it wouldn’t matter. Yummy weeds.

    3. Would I be a vegetable gardener without picking a tomato? I think the Sungold would have to be the one. I’m growing it after a taste test of about 30 some odd tomatoes last year at a local farm’s tomato festival. It was my favorite. Plus I love cherry tomatoes since they feed me out in the garden. I don’t need to bring them inside to eat. They are instant gratification.

    4. My pumpkin plant is number four. Not really for me since I wasn’t going to plant any, but my daughter asked for it. So I moved a few plants in the garden to accommodate it. It might not fit in a car, but really, my daughter wants homegrown pumpkins, so it is going to happen.

    5. The last one is harder. I want so many of them, but none stand out. Can I bring my carrot bed that I seeded on July 4th? Technically there are no plants yet, but I put it in because I was overcome by carrot envy from seeing photos on all the other blogs. I really, really want some carrots.

  10. Oh, what a cute little cart. And perfect for people who don’t have a storage shed (that would be me!) because it’s pretty enough to be left out!

    My five favorites right now are:

    1)Cosmos “Diablo”. I’m still working on really learning to grow things from seed, so when I planted some of these this year I put in lots of extras just in case. I’m so glad I did–I’ve got about a hundred little orange blooms all over the place and they’re so pretty!

    2) Sunflowers. Tiny seed, twelve foot flowers. All with a minimum amount of water, time, etc. They’re my favorite summer miracles.

    3) Milkweed. Because I love watching for Monarch catepillars!

    4) Walking onions. Some of these are planted in the community garden I have a plot in, and–although I’ve admired them for a few years–I just found out what they are called. When they’re in bloom they look like something that should be growing on another planet. http://blackbird13.smugmug.com/photos/159286754_jM2KS-M.jpg

    5) My potted Meyer lemon tree. I’ve had it for four years now, and it’s just making it’s first real lemons. I’ve waited so long for them that I couldn’t leave them behind!

  11. I’m currently using my kid’s old wagon and the wheels are getting rusty. So this would be much better!

    Five favorite plants are:

    1) sugar snap peas – never make it to the kitchen because I eat them as fast as I pick them. My dog likes them too.

    2) Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. I planted these in an Earth Box container on my deck with a trellis this year and they’re out of control!

    3) Peonies – gone but not forgotten

    4) Scarlett Runner Beans – a first for me this year. What a gorgeous color! Can you tell I like the climbers?

    5) Lily of the Valley – because their scent brings me back to my childhood. And no effort required to grow.


  12. Oh, that’s a handy cart! So much nicer than a wheelbarrow for hauling my worldly possessions down the highway with all the other refugees.

    They might pile theirs full of TVs, Baracaloungers and cases of beer. Mine would be filled with:

    1. A huge eryngium (sea holly) in all its prickly blue glory. Would-be looters will be foiled but charmed.

    2. A bucket full of white and purple iris rhizomes. They can survive any catastrophe.

    3. A clump of chives, whose tender and tasty green spikes always delight me early in the spring. (Will there be a kitchen garden in the refugee camp?)

    4. A bucketful of seeds from my annual wildflowers: rudbeckia, bachelor buttons, poppies, columbines. The plants would not survive, but the seeds could be scattered to pretty things up, post-apocalypse.

    5. A generous clump of raspberry canes. Again, foiling would-be looters while helping feed poor hungry me.

    Oh yes, I need this cart!

  13. My husband is often hauling mulch with the wheel barrel when it would be handy for me to be carting stuff around. Sometimes a flat surface would also be so much nicer than the curved shape of a wheel barrel so I would love a new garden cart.

    My favorite plants are:

    1) Patriot Hosta – I’m new to gardening and new to a climate and location with seasons (Athens, GA) and so it has been such an amazing delight to me to see nothing become something when hostas poke through the dirt in the spring. They divide so well and the Patriot adds nicely to my white garden.

    2) Autumn Fern – There’s something really special about watching a golden colored fern leaf turn brilliant green.

    3) Curry – This plant is in my “Scratch and Sniff” garden, but there’s no scratching needed to sniff this plant. At first it shocked me because the scent was so strong, wafting its way to me in the breeze several feet away.

    4) Canna – It was the first plant I ever transplanted and gave away. It’s survived drought and it just is so resilient and beautiful. It’s the first plant of which I’ve wanted lots of varieties.

    And the plant I would rescue:

    5) Our Oakleaf Hydrangea – Planted two years ago we’ve learned how to protect it from deer, covering it with larger and larger pieces of netting. Every time it comes back, and this year it rewarded us with some beautiful blooms. We have such a history that this is the plant I would rescue.

  14. I love such a cart at the historic garden where I work, but I desperately need one for the several acres I garden at home. Here are my five common but well-loved plants that I would rescue.

    1. Butterfly Weed – I discovered these growing wild in my orchard when I first moved here and still mow around each one. Not only are the blooms beautiful but they feed the monarchs.
    2. Siberian Iris – Such a delicate bloom and the foliage adds interest when it’s not blooming.
    3. Crocus – After a long winter, I need these to cheer me up and give me hope for spring.
    4. Peony – What’s a Midwest garden without peonies? I’d probably take the large single white peony with the bright yellow center.
    5. The last one would have to be fragrant, usually a criteria for selecting any plant. A lily? Dianthus? Lilac? Old rose? I would take my Vibernum carlessi for its fragrant spring bloom, brilliant red fall color and winter berries.

  15. What a wonderful give-away! My daughter, 13, and I planted a vegetable garden this year as a way to save money because of the prices. I’ve gardened before but she hasn’t and it’s been a great experience for us. Lots of hard work but some very hysterical moments also as we hauled heavy bags of compost, dirt and mulch into our backyard.

    I just asked her what we would save and here are her answers:

    1. Tomatoes
    2. Lettuce
    3. Peppers
    4. Beans
    5. Strawberries (her favorite)

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to win such a cool cart!

  16. Five Plants I Would Save In My Garden

    Four O’Clocks were my first introduction to growing plants from seed. Uncle Teddy took me by the hand at his home in Schenectady and introduced me, the kid from Brooklyn, to gardening. I can still smell the soil as we dropped the seeds of Four O’Clocks into the ground he taught me to prepare. Four O’Clocks weren’t the only things growing in his garden, so was I.

    The Kansas Peonies I grown in my garden was a Mother’s Day present from my son Chris. I have so many gifts he’s given to me over our many years together but I still cherish the bright pink of these robust plants each year as they bloom for me right in season. They return each Mother’s Day, expanding and adding to their beauty, as does he.

    One year for my September birthday, my son, Michael came swooping in proudly bestowing upon me a stripling of a Japanese Maple. Still dangling was the $9.99 tag placed on it from Home Depot. Now this mature specimen holds court as a central focal point in my front garden.

    A bouquet of Zinnias comes into my hands each year when my husband Dave buys them from the gardener with a stand up the street from us. The grin on his boyish face as he hands them to me with love is matched only by the riotous colors of the single and double flowers grouped tightly in his hands.

    On Mother’s Day this year my grandson C.J. bounced up to greet me with a pot full of poppies. He shares my garden with me and helps to bring my attention to all the wonderful colors and shapes he finds there for fear I might miss them. These poppies are pink he told me and reminded me that we need to photograph everything so we’ll remember how they looked.

    I’ll remember.

  17. I would take perennials. I can replace annuals pretty easily.

    1. Lemon thyme. Grows profusely, attracts bees when it flowers, and perfumes my chicken stock wonderfully.

    2. Yarrow. Huge and sunny for weeks on end, looks great dried, and has lots of medicinal uses.

    3. Sedum sieboldii “October Daphne”. It’s just fun! Springy little branches with pink-edged leaves, almost as if it were embarrassed. Deep pink blooms for Halloween. And it roots like crazy to make more.

    4. Sweet Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa). Originally a prairie native, this variety is tall and busy, with hundreds of small flowers that last a long time. If you cut it off at the end of the season, the plants get larger. If you pull them up by the roots at fall clean-up instead, it still re-seeds, but the new plants are smaller. Because it takes all summer to reach August bloom, it is good behind early summer blooms, for a wave of later color. Good cut flower.

    5. Siberian Iris. They’d be hard to dig up for emergency evacuation, but worth the effort. I don’t know which one I have, but it blooms prolifically in solid purple-blue I leave some seed pods for texture the rest of the summer. The leaves stay green and provide vertical interest, waving in the breeze. Pests seem to ignore it. Great background for lower-growing annuals like Profusion Zinnias at its feet.

  18. I love that cart! I have a cheaper two-wheeled cart that was my grandmother’s and I’ve used it to death. They’re so much easier to use than a big wheelbarrow, though a one-wheeled wheelbarrow does get into tighter places.

    Let’s see — so much in my yard that I like, but then again, so much of it is replaceable…

    1) Raspberries. They’re Willamette, a variety from the 40’s that one of my grandmothers planted in her backyard. As family heirlooms, they must be preserved!

    2) Red hot pokers. Yes, I know they’re common, and tough enough to survive a nuclear attack, but they came from my parent’s house, so they’ve got sentimental value. I think they originally came from grandma’s house, too. I’m taking them.

    3) Oriental poppies: Huge, gaudy, crepe-paper red-orange blossoms, as subtle as brickbat. Grandma grew them for years, and the seeds came from her garden. I have no idea what the variety is, but if I don’t have seeds for them handy, I’d best dig up and take the plants. I’m not going anywhere without grandma’s poppies.

    4) My herb collection: Okay, so I’m cheating by counting a collection as “one,” but they’re all potted up in planters that my aunt made when she made a living as a potter, so I can’t leave them behind. Besides, looking at the cart, I’m sure they’ll fit.

    5) A rose: But which one? The gigantic climbing Lincoln Constance can look after itself. I have a feeling it would come running after me anyway. Betty Boop puts on a good show, but she could be easily replaced. de Meaux? It’s a pretty little thing that I’ve had forever and rather like, even if it is an aphid magnet. But if I must choose, probably the unnamed pink variety made from a cutting from the rose garden in front of one of the historical houses in town, sold in one of their fund-raising plant sales. That would be the hardest to replace.

  19. I would love to win a garden cart! My wheel barrow is a very sad thing. Here are my five. Pictures and more reasons: http://appledoesntfallfar3.blogspot.com/2008/07/cart-full-of-favorites.html

    #5 – Crocuses. They are the first plants I see here in the spring and give me hope that the snow won’t last into June.
    #4 – Monarda / Beebalm / Oswego Tea. I love everything about this plant; the bright red color, the way it spreads without taking over, it’s tall, lasts all summer and the mint scent is wonderful. It also blooms right around the 4th of July here and the flower heads look like miniature fireworks.
    #3 – Daylilies. My goal is to have enough varieties to bloom all season long. The season is so short here that shouldn’t be hard. I love the grace of the flowers and variety of colors. If I could save just one it would be the one that I have no name for, both because it was a gift from my sister and because I love the colors.
    #2- Peonies. We had very few flowers when I was growing up but we always had peonies. The flowers are huge and just scream “Happy Spring” to me. Even after the flowers are done they stay attractive for the entire summer and they are virtually carefree. My mother’s last peony now resides in my garden and if I could rescue only one, that would be it.
    #1- Hosta. Even before I started gardening I had hostas at most of my prior residences and there have been many. They grow in the shade but don’t mind a bit of sun, weeds don’t grow under them, they come in so many sizes that there is one for almost any spot. I love the mounded shape and even though I’m not a big fan of the flowers they attract hummingbirds. If I could only pick one it would be the one I was told is called “Twisty” because not knowing it’s true name it would be hard to replace.

  20. These carts look much more suited to the task of sharing plants than my red wheelbarrow.

    Were I to win one, I would use it to haul stuff to the weekly market the neighborhood is trying to establish. The idea is that people would bring excess produce and other garden stuff to swap. I’ll be taking several potted perennials this afternoon, along with some cut flowers. Too bad my strawberries have wound down to just a few.

    And if I had to rescue just 5 plants from my garden?

    1. Blackberry lily. A star performer for me, this plant seeds itself, but one must be patient, as the seeds sprout on their own timeline. I have some that sprouted a full year and a half since I sowed the seeds.

    2. Poppies. These put on a great show every May. Got them from a neighbor, and I’ve been passing them along to other neighbors. True also of plants 3 and 4 on my list.

    3. Bigroot geranium. A great shade plant, it will crowd out weeds.

    4. Strawberries.

    5. Baptisia leucantha. Bought from The Vagary some years ago, it took 3 years to bloom. It’s a large, graceful perennial, I would grow it even if it never bloomed.

  21. How cool! I am working hard on my little garden, it used to be pretty much desert so I need low-maintenance plants that can also survive snow in the winter.

    My five favorite plants in my yard are tough to pick, but here goes:
    1. my smoke bush, it’s so sculptural in winter and then so fluffy and pretty all summer long with its deep maroon leaves.
    2. My red-twig dogwood, also gets points for year-round interest and also for growing about a foot this year since I got all the aphids off of it. I love love LOVE it.
    3. All of my cooking sage. I planted one from a three-inch pot and it is now about two feet wide so I put in about five more and they are the easiest thing to grow up here! I especially like the ones with the purple-tinged leaves.
    4. Viburnum. It didn’t do well its first summer here and I was worried for it but this spring it has come back and just about doubled in size! I love the shiny leaves and I hope it gets taller than my fence like the ones I have seen around my neighborhood.
    5. We have one existing tree in our yard, and I wish I knew what it was. It is a giant gorgeous, vaguely maple-like tree with dark bronzy leaves and we are so lucky to have it, it is our only shade tree and it is incredibly nice in the summer particularly (also it makes the view out the bathroom window extra nice).

    Also, that cart looks awesome and I could totally use one when I start ripping out my front lawn in the fall (nobody needs as much lawn as we’ve got in a desert).

  22. I’m not a blogger (heck, I’m only a gardener if you use the loosest possible definition of the word), so disregard this comment for the contest.

    1. The plant I’d rescue first is an astilbe-amethyst. The foliage is lovely, and the fuzzy purple flowers provide dramatic color without overpowering my tiny yard. But what makes this particular plant my favorite is that it was one of the first things I planted when I started gardening just over a year ago. The fact that it has survived and is indeed growing vigorously is just the kind of positive reinforcement a beginner like me, so unsure of myself, needs in order to keep going. The astilbe sprouted almost immediately after I removed the winter mulch, and it was like an old friend saying “Hey, stop worrying. You’re going to be ok at this.”

    2. I’m not sure I’d be able to rescue my second choice because it’s a tree and I can barely dig up a weed. A few years ago some people planted trees on the hellstrips (note use of gardening lingo) around my neighborhood. So the tree, in addition to being beautiful, is a constant reminder that there are people in my neighborhood working to make things better. The tree survived Buffalo’s famous October storm, and is doing very well. In addition, since the people who planted it dug a nice big hole and filled it with compost, things grow very well on my hellstrip.

    3. What exactly is the nature of this catastrophe? If it’s something slow like global climate change, I’d keep digging but if it’s something more urgent like a tornado maybe I should just get the hell out.

  23. Elizabeth I do not envy you the task of picking the recipients of a fine garden cart from Troy-Bilt. Maybe it would be best to put all the eligible names in a gardening hat.

    I have already fled, so if there is going to be a catastrophe, it is going to happen to all you people out there. The cart would still be good for hauling plants from my borrowed garden to my new garden next door on this steep mountain terrain. I might drive the truck less between the two if I had something so nice to haul stuff in.

    Five favorite plants in no particular order.

    1. Daffodils. Nothing can beat the ten thousand Daffodils that cover this mountain in the late winter, early spring when not much else is green or even present. It was a good sign to me that some progress was being made in a return to an ambient temperature.

    2. Trilliums. The wild things deserve to be on the list. They had the largest blooms of the spring ephemerals on the forest floor and changed from white to pink over a long bloom period.

    3. Maple trees. They have the best fall color range and turn this place magnificent before winter gets a grip on things.

    4. Rodgersia. It is a new lust because of its big bold foliage for the shade garden. I have plenty shade.

    5. The Asteraceae Family. That is cheating big time, tough, but this family covers blooms from early spring to the last of fall.

    I reserve the right to change my mind about any plant, at any time, for any reason. Since so many of you will be fleeing with produce, I should be well fed and did not choose any fruits or vegetables.

  24. 1. Aesculus parviflora. The absolute summit of the list. Unbelievably beautiful shrub. Why do so few folks plant this? The spires of flowers are elegant at all stages and the whole shrub hums with pollinators when in bloom. Clear yellow fall color. Lush buckeye foliage. Plus, it was a 40th birthday present from my best plant friends. Nobody else at the party understood why I was so excited by a pot of dormant sticks.

    2. Spigelia marilandica. Again, why do so few folks plant this? Beautiful and tolerant of just about any cultural conditions. Being much loved by hummingbirds also does not suck. The best plant friends want to steal some from my borders.

    3. Senna marilandica. Replace your invasive buddleia with this you mid-atlantic gardeners. Herbaceous perennial that will do 6+’ in a season easily. Tropical-esque foliage topped by clusters of long-lasting yellow flowers loved by all pollinators.

    4. Rosa virginiana. Foliage diseases? Gravel roads? Trucks driven by drunken neighbors? Other possible impediments to thriving? Rosa virginia scoffs at you! The scent of the hedge in bloom is among the best produced in nature. And the hip set is fantastic. They’re beautiful and devoured by over-wintering birds. Oh yeah, the posies are pretty too.

    5. Magnolia virginiana. The most graceful magnolia, and “sweetbay” indeed. Others can take the overblown odor of m. grandiflora. The light lemony scent of m. virginia drifting across the yard may be better than any mood lifter found in a pharmacy.

  25. Playing the David Letterman Top Pick of 5 favorite plants – drum roll please – , here they are along with a link to their photographs on my blog :


    # 1- Washingtonia robusta – mexican fan palm,
    It adds tropical flava and also acts as an armature to grow my bromeliad collection on.

    #2 – The Bromeliad collection –
    I go to the San Francisco Bromeliad Society meeting every month and almost my entire collection has come from other Brom members garden. It nice to look at a plant and see someone’s face with it.

    # 3 – The Cussonia paniculata tree –
    This is Dr. Suess reincarnated as a tree. WILD looking !

    #4 – hot pink Bougainvillea vine –
    It can stop neighborhood traffic during its 9 months of bloom.

    #5 – Aeoniums –
    My ‘roses’. Savory, Sexy, Saucy and oh so very succulent. Love the colors, the forms, the ease of propagation .

  26. My husband has accused me of being a plantaholic. And I must admit that, except for Daylilies (see below), I have rarely seen a plant that I did not like, so choosing only 5 is hard, but here goes.

    Gold flame honeysuckle–Four years ago I had to move from a garden I had been cultivating for 10 years.
    After the boxes were unpacked I found myself visiting all the local nurseries looking for my favorites that were left behind. I could not feel at home until I surrounded myself with a few essential plants, this was one of them. The pink and yellow flowers look great over an arbor intertwined with a pink rose, they smell amazing, and the hummingbirds love them.

    Red Velvet Okra–I love to grow food, and when the plant is as pretty as this one, it is an added bonus, because then I can plant it my front garden without upsetting the neighbors. Okra is in the mallow family so the flowers look like yellow hibiscus. The large green leaves grow on red stalks and have red veins. The red pods are tender and spineless, turning green when fried, which is the best way to cook this vegetable. Last year one of my okra plants grew 13 feet tall. I saved the seeds and planted them this year. So I might have to put the seeds in the cart rather than what might be a 20 foot beauty this fall.

    Daylilies–I inherited a ton of double orange Daylilies with this garden. At first I was not crazy about them, and kept throwing them on the compos. but you just can’t kill these things, they would sprout up in the compost pile. Recently I discovered that you can eat the darn things. The unopened pods are great chopped with onion and dill and scrambled into eggs. Or you can really impress guests by stuffing the opened flowers with soft cheese. Now I cannot imagine a garden without Daylilies.

    Butterfly Weed–The color and movement of butterflies adds so much beauty to a garden. I think they are as essential as flowers and water to a garden. Butterfly Weed, with its pretty orange flowers, which looks great paired with purple coneflower or purple hyssop, attracts tons of butterflies. So, since I don’t think I can get butterflies to stay in that cart I will put in this plant and maybe the butterflies will follow.

    Southern Magnolia–No self respecting southern gardener would be without a Magnolia grandiflora. Every May this evergreen tree is covered with white blossoms the size of dinner plates. One flowers can fill a whole house with the most amazing aroma. Since the magnolia growing in my garden is 20 feet tall and wide, I am afraid I would not be able to squeeze it into the cart, even if I tried really, really hard. However, I hope this tiny detail will not keep me from winning.

  27. Oh, my! What a beautiful and useful cart! I would love to have one to replace the 30-year-old one that just lost its wheels!

    Plant #1 in my cart in The Cataclysm would be my fringe tree (chionanthus virginianus), for its delicate silvery panicles with their heavenly scent — subtle and delicate, but my tree fills the air for a block around with the fragrance the angels wear in heaven. And also for its butter-coloured leaves in fall.

    #2 would definitely be helleborus niger, for the joy of its pure white blossoms showing up through the leaves in January and because the flowers are so delightful in a vase.

    #3 would have to be Daphne odorata despite its predilection for sudden death. My mother always had a huge daphne in a pot, and I like to keep one in memory of her.

    #4 — no question but it would be my nameless gardenia–a grocery store rescue 15 years ago and now a plant 3 feet high and 4 feet in diameter, with more than 150 flowers this year. It lives inside in the winter and it and I have an annual dialogue about its demands for a larger pot. No can do because I can’t move it very easily now (although a new red cart with nice sturdy wheels would help a lot), and a bigger pot would make it impossible. Root pruning is on the schedule this week.

    Last, but not least — #5 would be my little acacia baileyana — the Cootamundra wattle of my native land. I raised this baby by hand from a seed (there were two but a miscreant squirrel dug one up) and now I am awaiting the day when it bursts into its bloom of golden fuzzballs, with a fragrance of peppery honey.

    Looking over this list, I see that 4 out of my 5 are chosen for fragrance! I guess that says something about me. (I collect French perfume bottles, also).

  28. Thanks Peter, for the Williams reference. I first read the poem in 9th grade and have loved it and WCW ever since.

  29. I started working on a “love list” on my own site, but it doesn’t yet have five items since I’m new to gardening, but here’s what I would take with me in that handy cart (along with my toddler and two dogs) if a tsunami came (in no order):

    1) California Poppy – grew this delicate yellow flower from seed sprinkled on clay soil that gets dumped with salt during the winter — blooms repeatedly, has lovely fern-like foliage too and oh, yes, I don’t need to water it!

    2) Russian Sage – quadrupled in size in one season, doesn’t need water, bloomed July through November, Winter interest, needs little water, and just a really airy, pretty shrub.

    3) Hydrangea (any) – I have three or four different cultivars of Hydrangea and they just make me want more! The flowers are humungous (and goooorgeous), the seed heads look great even in Winter, they can take quite a bit of shade, and don’t need to be pruned. Love them!

    4) Hosta — had to include these — not so much because they are so beautiful, but because they do so well that I’m always splitting them and giving them away to family and neighbors. They’re just dependable and generous.

    5) Lavender — one of the first plants I bought, so it’s near and dear to my heart — there is just something romantic about this plant, plus it smells like summer in Provence (or at least how I imagined it would smell).

  30. 1. Hanging begonia. On my honeymoon we went to Butchart Gardens in B.C. and I was floored by the hanging begonia gardens. Fast forward 9 years and I’m finally growing my own begonia (why did I wait so long) and it reminds me of that fabulous garden, young love, and possibilities.

    2. Chocolate flower. Berlandiera lyrata. Its such an unassuming plant. Smallish yellow flowers, foliage you wouldn’t write home about, but that sent. I love the look on peoples faces when they smell it for the first time, the eyes widen and they can’t put the little blossom down.

    3. Hens & Chicks. The reason this common little succulent is on my list is because its about to bloom! I’ve never seen them in bloom before. I’ve been watching closely one particular plant push out an alien like stem which revealed a tight formation of flower buds and those flower buds have spread out and will bloom at any time and I’m dying to see what they are going to look like.

    3. Lemon Verbena. One of my favorites since we were introduced. I love that lemon pledge scent. I have to touch it every time I walk past. (Its next to the front door) I use it for tea, baking, in fact I’m going to go and experiment with lemon verbena in my gin and tonic. Mmmm.

    4. Lavender. more tea, more baking, lavender lemonade is an old favorite. But the reason I’d save this one is that it really saved its self. I planted it last year and it just sat there looking pathetic. It survived the winter but it was still pretty ugly. I was going to dig it out and replace it with something else but as I focused on another part of the yard it managed to get its act together because the next thing I know its lush, growing, and blooming beautifully. So I think after all its hard work it deserves to be saved.

    5. Ok this one my get some hate mail from other gardeners but….I’d probably save one of my dandelions. I know most consider them a weed but they have cheery little flowers in the spring and then gorgeous puff balls that make me feel like a child again as I make a wish a blow. Besides if its an emergency I’ve heard you can make a coffee substitute from the root.

    Those are my five. Thanks for the chance to think about my plants in this way. Some I thought I would save didn’t make the cut.

  31. Oh, dear! Just realized that in order to enter this lovely contest I should be a garden blogger, which I am not. Sorry to be here under false pretences, but it did make me think about my own garden loves, and I have really enjoyed reading everyone else’s lists — such good ideas here, and such lovely blogs to go back and read soon.

  32. I don’t need the cart, but I love the contest. Geez, this is so tough. Here goes:
    1. Dark purple Aquilegia vulgaris seedling with gold foliage. I selected this out of crosses of Woodside variegated and Leprechaun Gold. Irreplaceable.

    2. Cornus kousa ‘Beni Fuji.’ Even as a baby plant it is loaded with large, long lasting bracts. Disease & trouble free, it has good red fall color & an attractive winter shape (when not buried under the snow as in my Winter Games post).

    3. Thalictrum thalictroides var. rosea . The dark pink flowered form of Anemonella. I love the flower color and the way the foliage emerges red and stays reddish for a long time. It also blooms for about 2 months.

    4. Lobelia ‘Monet Moment.’ This is a showy workhorse of the partially shaded midsummer border. When the shade garden really needs the color, this provides large pink shots of it.

    5. Phlox pilosa ‘Eco Happy Traveler.’ This carries my front garden all by itself. As I titled a post, it’s so bright it can be seen from space.

  33. The five plants I couldn’t live without include:

    1. My tempermental Violet Star Gazer Clematis. After three years of unsuccessful attempts each spring to get it to bloom, I threatened to yank it out. It heeded my warning and, by chance or perhaps fate, bloomed for the first time on my birthday in May. It has now proudly intertwined itself with a Sweet Autumn Clematis and resides next to my Art Institute of Chicago banner of Georgia O’Keefe’s Red Flower. The whole composition makes me smile, but it was the Violet Star Gazer Clematis that taught me the importance of patience when gardening.

    2. My Bressingham Beauty Astilbe would certainly make the list, too. The feathery pink flowers attracted me to it. I didn’t know much about gardening more than a decade ago, but it helped to teach me the importance of the right location. Placed by chance under the eaves of a neighbor’s garage and along a water runoff area, this plant thrives year after year after year.

    3. It would have to be the daffodils in my yard, some found, some brought by squirrels and some planted with intent, like the Tete-a-Tete miniature bulbs I got a few years back. These bulbs endure and multilply. They fill the barren beds after a cold winter. As a result, I’ve long said that the daffodil is the happiest flowers and the Tete-a-Tete is perhaps the happiest of them all.

    4. My adolescent, sickly pin oak would be the next on the list. I found this waist-high tree more than a decade ago when pulling out 12-foot weeds in the yard. Over the years, I nursed it, prayed that it survived the felling of one tree to a lighting bolt and escaped the path of another tree taken down by a hurricane. It now has a cottony gall, but it’s still wonderful at about 20 feet tall. This tree is truly a focal point of the garden, and I nurture each year — through droughts and diseases — to make sure that others will enjoy the shade of a 100-year oak tree in the future, long after I am gone. I take great pleasure each spring when this tree finally lets go of its dried dead leaves that it clung to all winter. Moreover, this tree taught me the importance of designing a garden around existing elements.

    5. The last plant on my list would have to be my Giant Blue hosta that I first purchased at the neighborhood hospice plant sale and which has now been divided many times over and sent home with countless friends. This hearty plant is a true winner in my garden and its unusual color isn’t one that you often see in nature. This plant taught me the importance of sharing.

  34. okay. . . . 5.

    Five plants – to save in a ‘catastrophe’. . . .

    1. Parsley
    2. Sage
    3. Rosemary
    4. Thyme

    Just because of the song – and because of the remaining Herbes de Provence ingredients –
    5. Lavender.

    And if I could substitute, I’d put in Summer Savory for the Parsley. . . . I love the flavor, but it doesn’t have the same punch as:

    Are you going to Scarboro Fair? Summer savory, sage, rosemary and thyme. [and lavendar. . . .]

    ANYway – in the event of a “catastrophe” – it seems to me that a VERY important thing would be to preserve high standards of herbed cooking.

    A cart would be VERY handy in doing so. And I would dedicate it to that end. In fact, I DO so dedicate it!

  35. Let’s see,

    1. Tomatoes, which ever plant was producing best..
    2. the tubers from the Gloriosa Lilies. They’ve not and may not bloom this year, but I still have great hopes.
    3. Water Lily, the pink one that’s actually blooming!
    4. the rootbeer plant. It doesn’t make rootbeer, but how could one resist a plant with that name?
    5. my miniature Cavendish banana plant. I just got it and I want to see if it will do well.

  36. 1. My heather plant because I’ve already killed one and clearly Heather’s Garden cannot exist without a heather plant.

    2. The huge ceramic container that has a heuchera, a hosta, and creeping jenny in it because they’re all shade perennials and with my luck all the maple trees shading my house would survive whatever impending disaster threatened my garden.

    3. My Branford fern because it’s freaking beautiful, named after the town I live in, and again a shade perennial and those damn maple trees will triumph over anything you can throw at them.

    4. A Brandywine pink tomato plant so at least we can have something good to eat while we survey the damage.

    5. The ceramic container full of herbs that everyone who enters my garden compliments so I still have something pretty to look at and some basil, oregano and thyme to make the post-apocalyptic food taste better.

  37. Hmmm… I would load that cart with:

    1. Acer shiraswanum ‘Aureum’, Golden full moon maple since they are not too common.
    2.Grandpa’s pink rose, because it was Grandpa’s pink rose.
    3. Hosta tokudama flavo circulinis, because they take so long to get to size.
    4. Kirengeshoma, it’s a beauty!
    5. Clematis ‘Roguchi’ as it is still in the pot and easy to move!

    Couldn’t resist!

  38. These answers are fascinating! SO many peony-lovers, for instance. Now can I play, too?
    1. dwarf Hinoki cypress,
    2. dwarf white pine ‘Blue Shag’,
    3. Viburnum nudem ‘Winterthur’,
    4. Cryptomeria, and
    5. Full moon Japanese maple ‘Green Cascade’.

  39. The Troy-Bilt garden cart would be the perfect solution for the queen of moving plants around in the garden.
    Let’s see. I would have to save my threadleaf Japanese maple. It survived being moved from my last garden in Mississippi to Tennessee. I’m sure I could do it again.
    A blue, a variegated, and a green hosta to go under it is imperative.
    Some aspidistra that can fill in a new area with big bold vertical leaves will be nice.
    Southern shield ferns. I must save some of them for a cool, grass green, lacy effect.
    Lirope. Several clumps will give me a quick border.
    With the Troy-Bilt cart, moving the required soil amendments, mulch, pavers, etc. will be no problem.
    At the present, I have a huge container with a trellised vine that needs to be moved right away. The heavy wrought iron base for the garden umbrella can be brought up to the pool before the season is completely over. That banana plant in the big container by the pool is getting too much sun. It should be moved to the other end where there is some afternoon shade.
    Hey, I could really use a Troy-Bilt garden cart!

  40. Wow, this one made me think. I love all of my plants.(have taken out any I didn’t)

    1. Amethyst Beautyberry – bright, cheerful purple berries after everything else has faded for the fall.
    2. Old-fashioned rose – came with the house, no matter what we do to it, it keeps coming back!
    3. Toad Lily – my mom gave me 3, now I have many more. Love the purple speckles.
    4. Lavender – started it 4 years ago when I moved here, after pruning it a few months ago, it’s still about 2’x3′.
    5. Rosemary – same as for the Lavender, but try 3’x4′.

    Are we really limited to 5? I didn’t mention the tall or creeping Phlox, my entire chimney garden(including Freesias, Lilies and Broom as well as other, shorter plants), the cheerful rainbow sunflowers, the veggie garden or the fruit bushes and trees…and to my shame, I’ve only updated my blog once in a year! Much more to be posted though.

  41. Sorry, I forgot to put in my blog address. I guess I was too busy thinking about squishing the cucumber beetles in my garden to fill everything out 🙂

  42. A catastrophe threatening my yard and gardens, and me with a Troy-Bilt cart as my only means of salvage —- here’s what goes in:

    1. My sassafras albidum whips (for medicinal purposes. Wherever I am fleeing to, I’ll need their curative properties and the beauty of a fiery orange sassafras in Fall)

    2. My blueberries, vaccinium corymbosum Northblue (I’ll need food. Good, antioxidant tasty food to sustain me in my exile)

    3. My Chokeberry bush, Aronia arbutifolia Brilliantissima (for the rabbits. They selectively eat mine to the ground, and we will need to restore wildlife in the post-apocalyptic garden)

    4. My Sourwood sapling, Oxydendrum arboreum (for the bees, who buzz around this lovely tree’s flowers. We’ll need pollinators in the new garden after the catastrophe)

    5. My garden gnome (well, for company. Although he doesn’t talk much)

    That’s what I would rescue in my Troy-Bilt cart, but I would leave with a heavy heart, as many other (wait, all) of my trees and shrubs and flowers are my favorites. Except the stupid rhododendrons the builder put in, they’re riding in the Troy-Bilt wagon on their way to the compost pile. Not every beautiful plant should be saved.

  43. No matter how lovely they are, Elizabeth, rescuing easily obtained varieties of garden plants wouldn’t be logical… so I’d bid farewell to my beloved Loquat tree and the ‘Little Gem’ magnolia, and even to the ‘Mutabilis’ roses as I escaped the undefined disaster, but how could I leave the passalong heirlooms?

    The choices are based on sentiment – plants that may not be important to the garden landscape, but loom large in the landscape of my soul.

    1)A small, reblooming, recrossed daylily called ‘Vi’s Apricot’, named after Vi who shared her plant with me.

    2)Hemerocallis citrina – might be able to find this old heirloom somewhere, but the new plant wouldn’t have come from a friend who died long ago.

    3) The woody upright rosemary by the disappearing fountain, since I’ve had the plant since 1989 and my husband made the big container it lives in.

    4)A small mockorange started from my dad’s shrub that was started from my grandmother’s shrub that may have come from _her_ mother’s farm in Michigan.

    5)The wacky looking jade plant in the breakfast-room window – not an heirloom, but I was in my late twenties when I bought that plant, so its age alone deserves some respect.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  44. I could only come up with four. Incidentally, these are the plants I’d want with me if I were trapped on a desert island…

    amycia stewartalis
    Red-blooming, slow-growing late summer perennial. Tall and leggy. Needs a  sheltered site to succeed. Harmful or fatal if swallowed in whole.

    Sus. harrislia
    A stunning ornamental, heart-shaped blooms show well into maturity. Has a naturally open habit of growth and doesn’t make a strong impact on its surroundings. Invasive if not kept under control. 

    Elsholtzia licata grandiflora
    One of those hazy plants that forms clouds of flowers and is quite showy. Hardy to zone 6a. Gives off a lemon vodka smell when crushed. Requires staking. Well suited to dry shade under trees. Dies back for the winter. Can be harmful to humans.

    Michelata owensii
    Vigorous climber. Has lovely, elegant blooms only on new wood. Stems twine in a clockwise direction. Found only in the wild. If a male plant is nearby, it reseeds easily. Prone to blight.

  45. Hmm. 5 favourites:
    1. Barberry Rose Glow – I fell in love with it at a garden centre a month or so ago, and even though I didn’t really NEED it, I bought it anyway and found a place for it and I’m still going out a few times a day to admire it.
    2. My white martagon lilies – I got them years ago (when I was a newish gardener) from a neighbour who didn’t know what they were and we had a lovely time pouring over books to find them. They have been fantastic this year, despite being moved last fall.
    3. My heirloom peonies – I have two – a light pink and a very dark pink and they came with the house (built 1947), and probably date back to the commercial peony nursery that was in our neighbourhood from 1923-49. The dark one is a bit of a flopper, but lovely anyway. The light one is sturdier. I might rescue one of next-door’s stunning white ones too.
    4. Yellow lady’s slipper orchid – bought it when the house was newly ours (mid 1980s) and moved it about 4 times before I found a spot that it likes. Now I understand what it needs and I’ve finally got it blooming every year I’d hate to lose it.
    5. Golden spice pear tree. I got it as a whip and it still hasn’t actually bloomed, much less produced pears, but it has lovely leaves and I hope in another year or two I’ll have fruit.

    Well, that’s 5 (although technically 7 if one counts all the colours of peonies separately). I’d also probably have to take whatever’s planted in the big Chinese dragon pot that I got for $1.00 at the church garage sale across the street, but it is the pot that matters there, not what’s in it.

  46. The garden cart looks like it would be great for hauling supplies especially up and down hills. We have a short hike up a hill from the vegetable garden so the cart would definitely be handy.

    To pick my five I would choose plants as a tribute to the gardeners in my life. These plants remind me of the people who taught me the love of gardening.

    1) Tulips to remind me of my mom. They are the earliest flower that I remember from my childhood. Mom and I would pick a huge bouquet every spring to bring into the house.

    2) Raspberries for my grandma who had a huge patch out in the country side. We always managed to eat more than we picked and ended up with red fingers by the time we were finished.

    3) Any plant from the vegetable garden (peas, I guess) as that was my dad’s domain. As kids he showed us how to put seeds int he ground, water, and most importantly wait patiently.

    4) Cone flowers for my husband. Last year he fell in love with them and decided to start over 100 plants from seed to plant a prairie.

    5) Yellow Iris for the little old master gardener at the State Fair who gave them to us after a presentation. Whenever I divide plants, I think how enthusiastic he was to be dividing iris.

  47. I’m not playing, simply because if I had to relocate, I’d grow what works in my (hopefully deer free!) new space. However, I’m getting a lot of great ideas from everyone else’s lists.

  48. Ooh, shiny, I want one! It was hard to come up with 5 definitive, saving in the event of disaster, favorites. I’ve only been gardening for a couple years, so I feel very fickle about what I must have. There are lots of things I like for a little while, but then I’m not sad to see them go. Here’s what I managed to come up with for my must-have list:

    1. Lemon verbena – probably my favorite scent. Although they should be annual in my climate (zone 7-ish), I successfully overwintered one in a barrel planter next to the house. I brush my hands through it as I walk past and, when I really luck out, the dogs brush up against it and smell delicious. Last summer I went on a mad google search for recipes and enjoyed lemon verbena blueberry muffins, lemon verbena infused vodka, and lemon verbena creme fraiche with sliced strawberries. Yum!

    2. Basil – in case of impending doom, I’d grab whichever variety happens to be closest. This year I’m trying a “lime” variety, though it isn’t big enough yet to harvest. I do have a fondness for a purple-leaved basil I had a couple years ago. Not only was the flavor fantastic, but it made a great contrasting foliage plant for flowers. Of course I didn’t take note of the name, and ever since then purple basils don’t look like my memory of that one perfect purple basil, so I may never find purple basil satisfaction again.

    3. Blueberries – Again, in event of catastrophe, I’d take the first bush I could dig up, of the 10 or so I have in my yard. Okay, so perhaps that is a ridiculous number of blueberry bushes for one urban lot. But, yum, fresh blueberries! Absolutely one of my favorite fruits, and so much better straight off the bush. As for its place in the garden, it may not be the most attractive bush, but it isn’t unattractive. I’ll always need to have at least one of these in the yard.

    4. Lantana, specifically the trailing variety with dark foliage and lavendar flowers. Another plant that isn’t perennial in my climate (curse my lack of a greenhouse), so I have to scour the nurseries to find this each year – it isn’t nearly as easy to locate as the orange and yellow varieties. Besides having pretty flowers and interesting foliage, again with this one is the scent. It reminds me of my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa. Unfortunately that was prior to my becoming a gardener, so I didn’t take note of what the nice-smelling flowers actually were. However, lantana has such a strong association for me that it must have been something I smelled there.

    5. Daffodils, probably specifically “Pueblo”, from my yard. Daffs in general remind me of living in London and buying bunches of flowers from Chapel Street market near my flat. My flatmates were nuts, my long-distance boyfriend was cheating on me, I wanted to be back in Uganda where’d I’d been previously, and London in the spring was gray and dreary, even for a Seattle girl. Walking out to the market every few days for new flowers gave me something to look forward to, and something to brighten up my flat.

  49. My favorite plants come from the places I’ve lived. Even though Minnesota is too cold for some of these I can still love them eh?

    1) Wild blueberry – They grow everywhere on the mountain tops of Northern Vermont. They were small but very sweet.
    2) Crape Myrtle – Our first home in Maryland had three of these large shrubs. The flowers are nice but the multi-colored peeling bark was beautiful year round.
    3) Rhododendron – Rhoddies are the best, their dark green leaves contrast with their pink flowers. These existed in Vermont, Maryland, and now after some heavy duty soil amendment, at our home in Minnesota.
    4) Honeysuckle – My childhood home in Michigan had these growing up the side of the house. I still love the sweet scent of a honeysuckle in full bloom.
    5) Coneflower – They are spectacular, drought tolerant, and the birds love their seeds. What else could you ask for? Perfect for a dry Minnesota summer.

  50. Ooh, I’ve wanted one of those carts for a long time- so much so that (I guess I should ‘fess up, I actually started a blog Yesterday so that I could enter! Hey, it was already on my to-do list…)

    Anyway, out of the many plants vying to make the disaster list I have chosen five:

    1. My fringe tree, Chionanthus virginicus; I just love the long frothy white panicles in the spring, followed by the blue- black berries in the fall. It was also one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites- good enough for me.

    2. Daphne odora ‘Aureo Marginata’. She’s a bit of a fussy thing, but I brought her from my old house and I am a sucker for that fragrance in winter.

    3. Amelanchier grandiflora ‘Princess Diana’ Serviceberry. Gotta love a three season performing native (blooms, berries, fall color) that provides food for birds to boot.

    4. Hosta ‘Halcyon’. A really pretty blue hosta with mid-sized pointed leaves that I have divided into a ground cover beneath my fringe tree.

    5. And lastly, Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum odoratum. I love this woodland plant; it has spread into large drifts, has a delicate appearance yet is completely self-sufficient.

    Well, there are many other plant clamoring to make the list, but 5 was the limit, so I’ll sign off now.

    Have fun reading,

  51. Here’s my five:

    1. Purple coneflower – (no-name species ones, Echinacea purpurea, and their descendents) Loaves and fishes, this plant. A few summers ago I dug out a bunch of them rather than worry about the heavy feet of the builders who were replacing the windows above the bed where the coneflowers grew. Transplanted a few elsewhere in the garden, sent a box-full to a garden club conservation project, shared plants with friends and neighbors. Next summer, the bed was full again, of volunteers (even though you’d think the goldfinches had stripped the seedheads bare) and plants come back from the bits of roots I’d left behind.

    2. Dahlia Thomas Edison – the plant that made me believe in dahlias. So sturdy and dramatic, so emphatically purple, in spite of being impossible to photograph properly. One of Scott Kunst’s gems from Old House Gardens.

    3. Crepe myrtle Natchez – Why? For the bark, for the buds, for the white froth of flowers; for the fall reds and oranges, for the way the branches hold December’s sparkly lights just right…. I haven’t seen my Natchez in a year – it probably wouldn’t fit in the cart anymore.

    4. Naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera) – who catch me off guard every single year. Firmly in my mental inventory as late summer plants, I’m always surprised to see them – already? It’s way too soon, I think, and go to check last year’s calendar, and of course it’s not early at all. They’re right on time. It’s just that it’s always too soon to be that late.

    Number 5? Thought about this this morning, while I was working out in the garden after seeing the contest post – and the only answer I can settle on for the last of the list is … the plant that’s closest to hand: the one I’m weeding around; the one I’m staring at; the one I’m holding in my hand walking around in search of the (next) right place to put it.

    Can’t tell you how welcome that cart would be here, as I’m finally (a year and half after moving from Virginia) getting to work on making a garden here in New Hampshire. Do think it’ll haul rock?

  52. I would save the lily I grew from seeds that my grandmother gave me. It’s not just that she’s the one who gave me the seeds, it’s because she was confident that I could grow it from seed, when I was not:

    I would save the daffodil that I rescued from dying out here, which I have dubbed ‘Kathy’s Sweetheart.’ Delicate looking but hardy of constitution, and fragrant. It’s a flower that manages to look poignant. http://www.coldclimategardening.com/2006/05/24/heirloom-narcissus/

    The peony ‘Bev,’ which I pined for for years before finally tracking her down: http://www.coldclimategardening.com/2007/06/19/peonies-garden-bloggers-bloom-day/

    The daylily ‘Hyperion,’ which has such a wonderful lemony fragrance and asks nothing of the gardener except a bit of earth.

    And I’d bring along a bag of colchicums, just in case I get gout. Seriously, colchicums are the source of colchicine, which is used to treat gout, but I’d bring them along because I like surprises. When they bloom in the fall, their leaves have been gone for months and the flowers are unexpected. http://www.coldclimategardening.com/category/plant-info/colchicums/

  53. Only 5? Not fair to make them all daylilies I suppose…
    1. The first is a daylily though – “Bountiful Valley”, an ode to which is on my blog today.
    2. Ninebark “Summer Wine” – it is all I can do to discipline myself from going out and buying 10 more of these. I fall more in love with it every day.
    3. Crabapple “Prairie Fire” – what’s not to love?
    4. Zebra grass – not sure of the exact variety and the friend who gave it to me has since died, but he gets bigger and better every year.
    5. Hosta “Whirlwind” – I have lots of hostas but this one has been my favorite forever – love the form and the color. Looking particularly gorgeous this year, with all the rain.
    The fact is though, if something happened and I lost all of them plus their neighbors, I would just start over and plant it all again, with my old loves and lots of new ones. It would be super to have a nice cart to lug it all around in though 😉 Is it too much to hope for that this catastrophe would get rid of all the weeds too?

  54. My five favorite plants and why I’d rescue them in a catastrophe:

    Where I live on the Colorado Plains, rescueing plants is an annual event because of the weather we get. Summertime brings lots of rain, hail, & wind. We can take precautions against most of these, but if a real catastrophe were hovering on the horizon, I’d quickly dig up some plants to save. 1. A tomatoe plant,(it doesn’t really matter which one), because a good tasting tomato is hard to come by especially during a disaster. If you are hunkered down in a basement for cover from a tornado, you’ll have something to eat, even if your whole world gets destroyed.
    2. A native flower, the Indian Blanket. They have very catchy coloring, will grow anywhere and are so hardy. They also produce a lot of seeds and the dogs won’t eat them.
    3. A small poplar tree (it will grow). A tree more than anything else represents longevity, purposefulness and continuity in life. After a catastrophe a sense of those things will be sorely needed. It will shade you from the glaring sun, you can sit under it and dream of a better tomorrow.
    4. One of my Country Mix Hollyhocks. Hollyhocks are for remembering things, like: life at a slower pace, grandmas’ garden, dogs barking, and bicycle riding in the middle of the street. It seems none of these things exist anymore. I will want to remember them.
    5. A rose,any rose as long as it’s fragrant. A rose feeds the soul and heart and speaks it’s own language. A rose is lovely to look at. It offers hope.

  55. Wow, what an amazing giveaway! I’m almost late, but I could hardly pass the offer up without giving it a try. As they say, “you can’t win if you don’t play!” And, man, I could use a cart like that.

    1. A hardy hibiscus which I saved from my neighbor’s yard when they moved. Ok, I kind of stole it, but I told the old neighbor that I took it and then the new neighbors had me dig out all the flowers in their yard anyway. It is gorgeous, with huge pink flowers that seem very out of place in my zone 4 cottage garden.

    2. Lavender, one or maybe more because I have it all over in every bed. I love the scent, I love the look, I just love it to death.

    3. The Jackmanii Clematis. It was the first thing I planted here, and aside from trying to grow a few choice herbs in a closet in college, it was the beginning of what has become a gardening obsession. I’ve since planted many more clematis throughout the gardens but that Jackmanii (christened ‘Climby’) means a great deal to me.

    4. A lilac shrub. Because no garden is complete without a lilac.

    5. The red hybrid tea rose whose name I do not know. My husband bought it for me at some discount hardware store he visited. I kind of scoffed at it, doubted it would survive one winter but planted it anyway. I don’t really even like hybrid teas, going more for the old garden roses. Probably to prove me wrong it has thrived, puts out lots of lovely huge blooms, and it must eat the Japanese Beetles and all the other pests that try to consume my Austin roses because I’ve never seen one on it.

  56. 1. The rose bush with cream-colored blooms and burgundy leaves I first rescued from my parents’ yard when they moved to a new house in the late 1990s, which later grew over my cat Ziggy (who I buried in my Victory Garden plot in Boston, laying him to rest with a friend who suggested we sing “Ziggy Stardust” and air-guitar him to cat-Valhalla), and now resides in my back yard in Albany. It’s still going gangbusters; it’s not fragrant but it’s dependable and lovely.
    2. The scarlet bee balm; one small pot from a gardening friend (given as a housewarming gift last spring) has grown to monstrous proportions, split now into four mounds. Gorgeous color and scent, I love the scarlet tinge of the leaves. But mainly, the bees love it, and we had best be nice to the bees wherever and whenever we can these days.
    3. The Chinese forget-me-nots. They grow easily from seed, and re-seed, and are the most lush shade of blue, the color of cobalt glass, or the eyes of a Romantic poet, or the summer sky on a day when you have nothing better to do than lie on the grass looking at clouds moved by the breeze. They’re more intense than their spring kin, deeper and more decadent.
    4. The scarlet flowering quince bush, also taken from my parents’ old place, I only grabbed one small rooted twig, splashed with slate-blue paint, from an enormous shrub. It has since grown into two bushes that burst forth with pinkish red blossoms every spring.
    5. The Jewel Baby dwarf bearded iris I got from Ebay. The colors of this flower are so dramatic, yet subtle: deepest indigo, violet, royal purple. Small but sumptuous, it sparkles next to some taller pale pink iris in my garden, a Byzantine bauble amidst pastel flamingoes.

    Lemon balm (yummy scent, great bug repellent when lightly slapped against skin)
    Apple trees we are planning to plant next spring (antique varieties, in honor of my Dad)
    Cum Laude tulips (purple! that is all)
    Pink snapdragons (I can’t remember a time in my life when I did not love the sight of these)

    My gardening blog: http://justaddmanure.blogspot.com
    and another blog where I often talk about gardening: http://orchardsforever.blogspot.com.

  57. Banana’s top five:

    1. Dragonlady Begnonia – she’s climbing all over the back patio, is evergreen and has beautiful tangerine colored flowers. Plus, she has a really cool name.
    2. Contorted Filbert – he looks interesting all year round (especially in winter) from my husband’s study window. No matter how many times I tell my husband, he can’t remember the name of the tree I planted for him so he affectionately calls it his “twisted f***”.
    3. Black Krim tomato plant – heirloom…black and red and makes the best tomato sandwiches that taste just like summer should!
    4. Thornless blackberry vines that grow over the arbor that leads to the pond. Delicate pink flowers in the spring and tons of sweet-tart fruit all through July and no thorns!
    5. Wind Dancer Love Grass – she dances in the wind when we get a southern breeze off the pond. It’s my favorite plant to sit and watch from the patio with a frosty beer.

  58. Sarah (who mentioned lantana) — I have been successfully overwintering my lantana indoors for several years. Before the first fall frost, I dig it up, put it in a pot, and set it by a sunny window. It looks like hell, losing all it’s leaves in a hurry, but eventually it puts forth new leaves and survives until spring.

    After all danger of frost, I set it outside to get hardier, and then transplant into the garden. Again, it looks like crap until it adjusts, but then it comes in full.

    Last fall, my big one was too big to pot up. I took a number of cuttings. About half the cuttings rooted. If I recall correctly, the ones on which I used rooting hormone actually fared poorer than the ones I just stuck in damp potting soil.

  59. Peter – thanks for the info about overwintering lantana. I did try it last year and had no luck whatsoever. My ability to garden outside is directly inverse to my abilities inside, so I wasn’t surprised that it up and died. Even after it lost all its leaves, I kept watering it and hoping it would return. Finally gave up in mid-April, when I was hosting a big party and couldn’t have a dead plant in the living room.

    I’ll give it another try this winter, though!

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