From a plant guy, a title like that probably sounds a bit like blasphemy. Don’t get me wrong, I love plants simply for the sake of trying something new and different, but our neighbors (and many of you) may not want to spend your money quite so casually.  
What we all looking for are solutions that plants will take care – not necessarily the plants themselves. Using perennials as an example, here are some solutions that need taking care of.
Many of the plants mentioned here and some of the solutions are available on the Armitage App

Balcony/small spaces: So many plants fit into this niche. Nearly every major annual program has balcony-ready combinations. And now we are seeing mixed plant container-ready offerings – or we can make our own. This is one area where perennials, annuals and shrubs should be wed. 

Birds: Not just hummingbirds (although that very mention brings dreamy smiles to many faces, but plants that attract wrens, bluebirds, chickadees, vireos and many others. Sunflowers, grasses, agastache, salvia, hibiscus … 

Butterflies: For the habitat gardener and landscaper, this package has been around for years. Discussions of Monarch habitat are only becoming more prevalent, but butterflies of all likes are desirable.  Eupatorium, Asclepias, Echinacea …

Deer, rabbit resistant: One of the most sought after solutions, regardless of locale. No longer any reason why such plants are not front and foremost on anyone’s discussion list.  Hellebores, herbs, salvias, amsonias …

Drought tolerant: Waterwise is a better marketing term – but these plants are becoming more and more in demand.  Herbs (lavender, thyme), grasses, sedums, coreopsis …

Foodscaping: Offering ornamentals that double as food items is becoming all the craze. Many cultivars of herbs and vegetables provide beauty and taste. 

Fragrance: Packaging a half dozen fragrant plants together like herbs (everyone loves lavender), agastache, phlox, violas …

Groundcover: No discussion needed here. Groundcovers and low maintenance are synonymous to most gardeners. There are many programs around the garden centers (Treadwell, Stepables …), lots of choices. 


Christmas was fast approaching, although cold weather was not yet a companion. My daughter Heather wanted to take the opportunity to have her car washed before she went out for Christmas shopping.  Her mischievous twin boys, Ben and Will, were with her and off they went to the Kirkstone Car Wash. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon. 

In the meantime, Susan and I were also in Augusta doing some routine errands of our own.  About 2:15, Susan decided to check in with her daughter to see how things were going.  Just a routine mother/daughter chat.

As she was talking, Heather suddenly screamed, and screamed once more. And then the phone went dead. 

I would like to say a chaotic lifestyle was not the norm for Heather and her 4 young children, but I would be lying. So while we a little concerned, we were not yet in a panic mode. However, Susan called once, then twice and by the third time we were getting worried.  We decided it was time to go to Heather’s, and make sure everyone was okay. 

When we arrived, the SUV was there, and we found Heather outside the car. Old towels were everywhere; my daughter was totally soaking wet and oh boy, was she fuming. The kids were nowhere to be seen. “What happened?” “Why are you so wet?” “Why didn’t you call us?”

Heather wiped some water from her eyes, pushed back her sopping hair, and said, “We were going through the car wash, and Ben pushed the sun roof button!” “The car must have a foot of water in it.” And it did. The names she called her boys were creative and non repeatable, suffice it to say that took off as quickly as they could.  

We nodded sympathetically, and agreed with her about her boys, and then drove away.  We didn’t even get 100 yards away before we had to stop the car; our eyes were watering with laughter. started laughing. That had to be one of the best Christmas stories we ever experienced.

I am sure all of you have similar stories with your families - after all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about. 


Merry Christmas




AuthorAllan Armitage