Please! Enough! No more!



Here’s my number one reason not to dread winter quite as much. I won’t have to look at either one of these plants (used in massive quantities by at least half the gardening population of Western New York) for at least eight months.

You can have too much of any plant, no matter how useful or attractive. What plants will you be glad to see the last of this season?

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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 regular 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


  1. To each her own, I suppose. Those are two of my cottage-garden favorites. Along with most of NY, right?

    I’ll be glad to see the end of red begonias, impatiens, and webworms.

  2. I certainly felt that way about Bougainvillea in Hawaii, but there was no winter reprieve.

    I hear you about the Echinacea and Rudbeckia. I have too much land not to use such durable plants and easy free access to it. I also have a need to be different so you could expect to see them in a new type of situation.

  3. I quess I am in error. Living in Minnesota it feeds my bees, deer do not eat, and drought resistent.

    However, it does need to be in a mixed border to design for its real impact.

  4. I also live in MN and today I planted these plants. Bees and finches love them! The drought has been very hard on all my plants this year and even these 2 stressed a little but at least the deer didn’t eat them.

  5. Those two flowers aren’t as over-used here in Indy as where you are, but Stella D’Oro daylilies are everywhere. I’ll be happy to not see those for awhile.

  6. I’m in Minnesota too, and I rely on both of these for hardy and reliable color and for the bees and finches. I mix them in with joe pye weed, blanket flowers, and even some phlox. I think they look nice.

  7. I’m another Minnesotan who likes these – just planted more this year. I was grateful to have the blooms during this summer of drought and flood.

    Now, Sedum Autumn Joy, that’s quite another story . . . .

  8. My Rudbeckia up and died this year and I’ve yet to see Echinacea bloom here. But I’ll try them both again. I like em.

    I realllly despise marigolds. They’re my most hated flower. I’m also sick of annual geraniums, red begonias (I don’t get the attraction to these – so ugly) and impatiens. These flowers are all banned from my garden.

  9. Each to their own. I would rather see a happy yard full of flowers,shrubs, etc–ANY flower, shrub or tree–than a sterile green wasteland monoculture known as lawn. Or a whacked off ruination of a garden like that of Deborah Dale (the native gardener in Toronto whose garden was ravaged because some self-righteous yuppy neighbours complained. My job is to encourage people to get out and garden (as organically as they are able) and I don’t care if they grow seventeen pots of red geraniums or a polkadot parade of annuals.
    And I’ll plant as many bird/pollinator friendly rudbeckias and echinaceas as I want. If they offend your sensibilities–then just don’t look at them. We still have that much freedom in our countries…I hope.

  10. There aren’t many plants I don’t like, since thankfully they’ll grow year round. There are plenty that I personally wouldn’t plant, impatiens being at the top of that list, but I don’t mind them in other people’s yards. More than wanting current stuff to go away I’m ready for snapdragons to become available in a few months.

  11. I agree. These ARE nice plants. (Though the echinaceas don’t hold up all that well.)

    They are just so ubiquitous around here. And there are more interesting cultivars.

  12. Not enough people plant the echinaceas around here, IMHO, but I’ll see you the rudbeckias and raise you some daylilies on top of that.

  13. I agree these are used maybe a bit too much, but they are workhorses in the garden, useful wildlife plants, and quite attractive. I’d rather look at these than winter bleakness any day.

    I realize this blog is called Garden *Rant*, but instead of complaining about plants you’re sick of, how about writing about ones you’d like to see more of?

  14. I have them both and am tired of looking at them in my own garden. They are great workhorses and were the first plants I put in when I started gardening 4 years ago. This leads to my major pet peeve: local nurseries.

    Since the original echinacea did so well I thought, hey, why not get a different variety to liven it up a little. Every nursery within a 20 mile radius sells at most 2 different kinds, usually the same 2. Ditto on the rudbeckia. A specialty nursery 35 miles away sells a few newer ones at $27 per plant. That’s when I started online ordering of seeds and plants.

    I ripped up 1/3 of my front yard (small urban lot) and am now growing hibiscus (very hardy and disease free here), hollyhocks, roses, butterfly weed and lots of other nature friendly plants that look good. Lots of people stop to look and ask where I get them.

    The sad part of this is that none of these are rare or exotic and I so wish at least one nursery around here would stock some of these along with the usual 2 varieties of echinacea. Based on my own limited experience people who stop in for a rudbeckia might also pick up that butterfly weed or hibiscus.

  15. STOP WHINING!!! They are pretty, and still alive. I actually plan on panting tons of native plants such as these next spring. Why? Well, we can’t plant anything at the moment – our town, and others who get their water from the Ipswich River watershed are about to get a total ban on watering. We’ve had no sprinklers all summer, hand watering only ( no car washing or pool filling), and any day now , if those who know are correct, even hand watering is a no-no. So all those fancy gardens are gonna feel the pinch with no rain in the forecast for the next 7 days, and definatly no fall planting, except bulbs. Me – I’m going native – so bring on the echinacea and black eye susans and all their friends!!
    Sadly this also means my plans for a traditional hedged rose garden may have to change, and my late season veggies may kick the bucket! I’ll also have to alter my golf game – our local club has complied with the no sprinklers which adds an interesting component – who can hit the groundskeeper watering the green!!The guys are desparatley trying to keep the greens alive, and pop out from behind bushes with hand held hoses usually as I approach! The Tee boxes are also watered, but the rest of the course is slowly oing to a mix of crabgrass and dust.
    So, embrace the Echinacea and butterfly weed, you could be in New England!!

  16. Jodi’s comments hit it on the nail for me. Also, Black-eyed susan (rudbeckia) is our state flower here in MD. Personally, I don’t think either plant is used enough in our parts in private gardens.
    Like Karrki, I too detest marigolds, but even I plant a few around my veggies for “protection” – every plant has its place.

  17. for me it’s street after street lined with Bradford pears, and the worst- stella’d’oro daylilies. so many pretty colors, especially in a mix and all they plant are those brassy things. Michigan

  18. I think the landscapers in my area (Seattle/eastside) are telepathic or something. It seems the flowers change every couple weeks, and always to the same things. There will be a million of the same color of pink tulips one week, then the pinks are all gone and there are a billion yellow daffodils everywhere.

    The gas stations, the banks, the homes, everyone seems to have the same sets of the most popular flower of the moment, and I love looking at them. The last couple weeks have been the bright yellow rudbeckias, mostly mixed with something bright red that I don’t recognize. I am new to this area, and they brighten things up so nicely I can’t say I am tired of them at all.

    Maybe when I have been here a few years the progression of the same flowers will bore me. For now though I am marveling at how many places coordinate with each other so well. It’s probably the landscape supply companies or something equally mundane that makes people want to plant all the same plants in this area, but to me it is just fascinating how they all seem to work together.

  19. Oh, WoW! Time is way too short in my Zone 4 Ontario garden to wish away echinaceas, daylilies or whatever other plants you feel are ubiquitous in your area. I say hooray for any and all perennials that weathered this year’s drought!

  20. Elizabeth, judging by the number of comments you garnered I believe you were acting as agent provocateur. Like Mathi, I welcome the succession of similar blooms across the region. I am a painter, and when I began to think of my garden as a sort of painting over time, I left many of my prejudices behind and started using plants for colour and texture regardless of their ubiquity or commonplace associations. I confess that my garden is full of Echinacea and Rudbeckia right now, but in tandem with the dark pink Phlox, Japanese Anemones both mauve and white, starry white Alliums, and the colour-changing panicles of a Peegee Hydrangea, the overall picture is one I love and anticipate from my late-season stalwarts. And, with so many tiny seeds to pluck, the sweet song of goldfinches is never far away.

  21. It’s this: I’m sick of these cultivars. I’ve found more intereesting and attractive varieties, at least with the rucdbeckias (hirta Herbstonne).

    I just refuse to be limited to what the local nurseries will give me.

  22. While the black eyed susans are bright, they are that dreaded ‘school bus yellow’ heralding the return to school. That said, they have their place as they are ’50 mile per hour plants’ meaning that they are very visible when you are driving at that speed. You really cannot miss them and right about now, I’d like to!

  23. Me again; I’m with you on ‘Herbstonne’, Elizabeth, it’s a spectacular plant (around 8 feet now in our garden). Also there’s one called R. maxima which I saw a couple of weeks ago which is like a Ratibida on steroids–astonishing and a must-have.
    I grow twelve different species and cultivars of echinacea, from the standard E. purpurea and E. aungustifolia to E. paradoxa (the yellow coneflower) and then all the colours, including the delicious new Green Envy. Are these not available to you? You mentioned that your local nurseries have limited options, and that’s a painful reality for many folks, I’m sure. This is one reason I encourage people in our province to support local nurseries that do bring in interesting things, because if they don’t, we’ll all be overrun with whatever the bigbox bullies put in their ‘garden centres’. I don’t/can’t/won’t buy mailorder so I’m grateful to have a lot of locally owned nurseries to visit. Not everyone has that, though.

  24. Hi Jodi,
    I love the unusual rudbeckia hydrids–I am trying to grow maxima now (not tall yet!) as well as herbstonne and an unusually colored triloba.

    I do have the pale yellow echinacea, but I just don’t find echinacea to be as vibrant a plant. Plus, I need height.

    Our nurseries are quite good, actually–my mentee Ron just bought the crazy looking razmatazz echnicaea locally and loves it. They seemed to have tons of others too–not quite right for me though.

  25. I am sick of Patty’s Purple Hebes and the effing Red Barberries.

    Can I also whine about the lousy cultivars of Rhodies used so often here? We have a dedicated Rhodie nursery here! Don’t buy your dang Rhodies at Kmart, I beg you!

    Marigolds also push my buttons.

  26. Ragweed, definitely. I’ll confess that I actually love boring red geraniums in a big pot on the front porch, and marigolds (this year in red and gold).

  27. HA! I was recently in Chicago every available public garden space was full of Russian sage and yellow day lilies. Must have been some mob deal with Mayor Daily.

  28. Wow, I know it’s easy to get tired of the stuff that you see everywhere, but sometimes they just work.

    I love the buttery-cream white marigolds. They’re large, African, and not boring or usual.

    I also love the little common French orange marigold when a little dash of summer color is just what a sunny spot needs.

    I’m also taken aback by the angst directed at impatiens and red begonias. I mean, I know they are very common, but a little combination with Fothergilla and Ms Gehring azalea goes a long way for my pink impatiens, and my red begonias look lovely next to my Trachycarpus fortuneii (windmill palm) and my Musa (banana).

    Basically, it depends on the setting.

  29. Amy, cool, we get to use the F-bomb in comments. I’m headed over to my too-tame blog right now to raunch it up a notch.
    By the way, I’ve been yanking out the illegitimate – er, bastard – offspring of geraniums every time I’ve weeded this winter.

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