Garden Fundamentals - Learn about plants and gardening

Favorite Plants

What are ‘Favorite Plants’?

The plants in this section have to meet a number of criteria before I will feature them on this site. These features include:

– I have personally grown them at Aspen Grove Gardens. I will not promote a plant just because others think it is special.

– If the plant is a perennial, tree or grass, it has survived at least 3 years in the garden. I hate being sold a perennial that is short-lived!

– The plant is not invasive nor does it take over its neighbors. That does not mean it won’t spread. If it spreads, the spread is reasonable and does not need yearly control.

– I would give the plant to my best gardening friends.

The following is a list of favorite plants in Click on any plant name to see the full descriptions.

  • Aconitum alboviolaceum April 11, 2016 Robert PavlisAconitum alboviolaceumThe fall blue monkshood is fairly common in gardens, but very few people have ever seen a climbing monkshood. Aconitum alboviolaceum is such a plant – and a stunning plant at that. This is a rare species that I obtained ...
  • Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’ October 1, 2015 Robert PavlisAconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’ is a special summer blooming monkshood. In zone 5, it blooms mid to late August at a time when other plants are slowing down. It can grow in full sun or heavy shade making it ideal ...
  • Allium moly January 13, 2016 Robert PavlisAllium molyAllium moly is an plant that most people do not recognize as being an onion or garlic. It is short with fairly wide leaves unlike most onions. It also has very vibrant yellow flowers. This great garden plant should be ...
  • Campanula betulifolia August 4, 2016 Robert PavlisCampanula betulifoliaA lovely campanula for the rock garden, Campanula betulifolia has large flowers in white or light pink. The white form is more readily available. The flowers tend to point down so it is a good idea to locate the plant ...
  • Clematis mandshurica September 3, 2015 Robert PavlisClematis mandshuricaAn unusual clematis that forms a low bush of very fragrant flowers. Clematis mandshurica makes a great addition to your garden. It is similar to C. recta, but flowers about 2 weeks later, on a slightly taller plant which starts to ...
  • Draba korabensis May 9, 2016 Robert PavlisDraba korabensisThe plant pictured in this post is known in the trade as Draba korabensis – a nice yellow flowering Draba. But is this the right plant? There is very little information available about this plant on the internet, but I did ...
  • Elsholtzia stauntonii November 8, 2015 Robert PavlisElsholtzia stauntoniiAre you looking for an unusual subshrub for the fall garden? Elsholtzia stauntonii is a good choice. The Chinese mint shrub is rare in northern gardens, where its late flowering is very much appreciated. It is hardy down to zone 4, ...
  • Erinus alpinus June 18, 2016 Robert PavlisErinus alpinusErinus alpinus has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for being an outstanding plant to add to your rock garden or alpine trough, or let it naturalize in the tiny cracks of a brick wall. This alpine ...
  • Glaucium flavum December 11, 2015 Robert PavlisGlaucium flavumI don’t normally include biennials as a favorite plant since they are just too much trouble to keep going in a garden, but Glaucium flavum is going to be an exception. Besides large yellow or orange flowers, the horned poppy ...
  • Goniolimon tataricum February 12, 2016 Robert PavlisGoniolimon tataricumGoniolimon tataricum is a special plant that is not grown for its flowers, but it is grown for its dried flower head. It makes very small flowers which are hardly noticeable. When the flowers fade and the petals drop, you ...
  • Hylomecon japonicum January 13, 2016 Robert PavlisHylomecon japonicumHylomecon japonica is a special, collectors plant for the shady garden. It is rarely offered for sale, and seed from most seed exchanges will provide the wrong seed. This is a plant that is certainly worth hunting down. The plant forms ...
  • Itea virginica Little Henry August 18, 2016 Robert PavlisItea virginica Little HenryItea virginica ‘Sprich’, aka Little Henry, is a small shrub that offers several seasons of interest. Adding it to a rock garden containing larger plants would be a perfect place for it. Alternatively it can make a nice addition to ...
  • Lamium orvala November 20, 2016 Robert PavlisLamium orvalaMention lamium to most gardeners and they run for the hills. Some lamium spread so fast they are thugs in the garden. Others, like L. maculatum, spread but can be controlled. A few are excellent, well behaved, garden plants and ...
  • Pachysandra procumbens March 23, 2017 Robert PavlisPachysandra procumbensIt is difficult to find plants for dry shade but Pachysandra procumbens will be quite happy in such conditions, at least in cooler climates. In warm areas you might need to provide more moisture. If you are thinking to yourself that ...
  • Paeonia rockii December 11, 2016 Robert PavlisPaeonia rockiiPaeonia rockii is a lovely tree peony that should be grown more. It can be difficult to find in a nursery, but those specializing in peonies will have it. The ones pictured here were grown from seed obtained from the ...
  • Phyteuma scheuchzeri December 31, 2015 Robert PavlisPhyteuma scheuchzeriPhyteuma scheuchzeri  is an unusual, easy to grow rock garden plant, with a bizarre flower. It is a close relative of the bellflower but does not look anything like it. I think the flowers look more like an Allium. The ...
  • Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea) January 13, 2016 Robert PavlisPseudofumaria lutea (formerly Corydalis lutea)Imagine a perennial that has no pest problems, and blooms from spring until frost, with fabulous yellow flowers. Pseudofumaria lutea (formerly called Corydalis lutea) is that plant. Because of its long bloom time it is one of my top perennials. The ...
  • Pulsatilla styriaca February 27, 2017 Robert PavlisPulsatilla styriacaPulsatilla are great rock garden plants and any species or cultivar will make a good addition to your garden. They all flower early, and then produce lovely hairy seed heads. Pulsatilla styriaca is one of the earliest pulsatilla to bloom. The ...
  • Ruellia humilis September 13, 2016 Robert PavlisRuellia humilisPetunias are very popular in the garden but in colder climates they are annuals. The wild petunia, Ruellia humilis, is a hardy perennial that can take the place of other petunias. Ruellia humilis has a number of common names including prairie ...
  • Sanguisorba tenuifolia v. alba March 4, 2016 Robert PavlisSanguisorba tenuifolia v. albaSanguisorba tenuifolia v. alba is a delicate looking plant with unusual nodding, bottlebrush-like spikes of white fluffy flowers. The shape and quantity of the flowers make it stand out in the border at a time when few other plants are ...
  • Yucca glauca January 27, 2017 Robert PavlisYucca glaucaYucca glauca, an agave, is the hardiest yucca growing from Alberta, Canada all the way to Texas. You will either love or hate this plant depending on your appetite for desert-like plants. I love them for their spiky leaves and ...

This is list of favorite plants that I have been posted on other web sites. Click on any plant name to see the full descriptions.

Acanthus hungaricus

Corydalis nobilis

Helleborus foetidus

Hornungia alpina ‘Icecube’

Viola ‘Dancing Geisha’

Aconitum napellus

Allium fistulosum

Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’

Amorphophallus titanum

Anemone hupehensis v. japonica ‘Pamina’

Anemone ranunculoides

Asplenium trichomanes

Berkheya purpurea

Camassia leichtlinii

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Clematis columbiana v. tenuiloba

Colchicum autumnale

Cymbalaria muralis

Diervilla lonicera

Eremurus stenophyllus

Erythronium americanum

Filipendula ulmaria

Gentiana dahurica

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Hyacinthoides hispanica

Hypericum athoum

Iris cristata ‘Alba’

Iris dichotoma

Kitaibelia vitifolia

Morina longifolia

Penstemon hirsutus

Penstemon procerus

Petasites japonicus

Phlox stolonifera

Primula denticulata

Prunus ‘Marion Jarvie’

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’

Sedum rupestre f. cristata

Tetraneuris herbacea

Trifolium rubens ‘Red Feather’

Veronica gentianoides