Underutilized plants seem to live and die according to what the gardening magazines say.  I’ve been a landscape designer for almost 20 years and I have seen plants rise and fall in popularity solely based on the spring garden magazines’ feature article.  Many of the plants that are being highlighted are often not even that good because not everybody is a master gardener and can keep up with the maintenance required by certain fussy plants.  I was looking around last week at some past projects that I have installed and I noticed that there were many plants that I have stopped using.  Why?  I think it is because today’s clients often demand this or that because of what they are seeing.  Of course, it is my job as a designer to break them out of that mold, but then again us designers get sucked into the newer plants just as everybody else does.  I wanted to write a short blog on some plants I would like to return to.  If you want to try a couple of really nice plants that are super easy then give something in this list a shot:

  • Dwarf Goatsbeard.  Regular Goatsbeard can get large.  I like this little fellow because it is astilbe-like but seems to be tougher.  It also has a really long flowering stage which compliments it texturized leaves.


  • Coreopsis.  Why did I stop using this?  I always thought it was too common.  I like unusual plants and I like to be ahead of the trends so I backed off since every garden had one.  Now….I rarely see it.  Let’s get it back.  My old favs are Zagreb and Moonbeam.


  • Purple Coneflower.  It’s beautiful, a pollinator and an herbalist’s friend (actually there are a lot of unique plants much more medicinal that this…..if you are looking for a medicinal garden email us and Sara ((our herbalist)) will have some great ideas that can bring healing qualities to you from your garden plants).


  • Milkweed.  I was at a meeting this morning and heard my client say she stopped fighting certain plants…one of those being milkweed (She had a lot of them).  She showed me how it has found a home in her garden and now she sees many more butterflies, insects and birds.  There are many milkweed varieties.  I’d love to go over them with you at a consultation if you are interested.


  • Witchhazel.  A massive bush that is never on a landscape plan.  I don’t get it.  The flowers are amazing, its native and the leaves are fantastic.  Put this in your garden and it will instantly be a shelter for birds and insects.


There are many more plants in this list.  I will continue it next week!