These three plants, along with 97 more, are on Dan Pearson's list of "must-have plants" in the February 2014 issue of Gardens Illustrated. It's quite a list, as you'd expect from such a talented designer as Pearson. And despite his high end commissions around the world, Pearson is a gardener who gets his hands dirty, made clear in his book about his London garden "Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City," (Octopus Publishing).
Pearson has lectured in Seattle several times, most memorably about quite astounding rooftop gardens he was designing in Japan. He visited my Whidbey Island garden on a bleak and rainy February day a few years ago - you can imagine how angst-ridden that visit was for me! I wasn't expecting him - he dropped in with a friend - and I didn't even have milk for his tea! And he couldn't have been more gracious all around, pretending that he could see how my garden would look come summer - no small miracle in its tattered, winter mess.
So I admit I'm taken with the guy, and even more so after reading through this practical yet aspirational list. Pearson includes old-fashioned, easy-to-grow plants among his must-haves, like the Japanese anemone 'Honore Jobert', below:
Also variations on familiar plants, like a rusty-toned foxglove Digitalis Ferruginea. I plan to track down his recommendation Epimedium wushanense 'Caramel', which he describes as having leaves that are mottled in chocolate and burgundy when they emerge in springtime, topped by caramel-colored little flowers. His favorite witch hazel? Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'. Mine too.
Photos of all 100 plants are included, with concise descriptions that make clear what Pearson feels is special about each. Just another reason to subscribe to Gardens Illustrated. The list works as a planning tool for your own garden, or just as great fun to read and ponder, especially this time of year when there's an entire, fresh gardening season ahead of us.
I just learned this morning, from a post on Gardenista, that Dan has been selected to design the plantings for a new garden bridge spanning the River Thames in London. You can see more of Dan's work here on Gardenista....