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My Favorite Flowers List

Portland Tribune @Home

Anne Jaeger


The earth laughs in flowers isn’t that how the Emerson poem goes? And I smile too without fail every time a new bud opens. Gardening is like breathing to me. And without flowers, my breathing would be very shallow indeed. Nothing is as rewarding as seeing flowers bloom at your biding. That said, trying to evoke the emotion flowers and plants bring to life is nearly impossible and better left for writers the like of Emerson.

Sharing the plants I love is like sharing a piece of my soul; a very personal communication. Perhaps that’s why it requires painstaking work just to winnow down my Top 10 “I Can’t Live Without” perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees. Here, you will no doubt find some of your own favorites; mine are an eclectic blend of emotion, beauty and performance. Thousands of plants grow on my one acre lot and yes, I like them all. But based on my inexplicable internal criteria, some flowers bloom bigger in my memory than the rest. So, if you are looking for some suggestions for your backyard, try a couple of plants on my ‘all time hit list.’ These plants have been test driven in our climate and aim to please.

Top 10 Perennials Flowers: (Plants come back every year)

Coneflower (Echinacea)

“Harvest Moon”

“Fancy Frills”

“Pixie Meadowbrite”

Big Sky Series:

“Sunrise” “Sunset”

Coreopsis “Autumn Blush”

“Limerock Ruby”

Daylily “Pomp and Circumstance”

“Frankly Scarlet”

“Rainbow Candy”

“Buttered Popcorn”

“Miss Mary Mary”

Geum  “Mrs. Bradshaw”

Hardy Hibiscus

“Luna Red”

Hellebores (All)

Orientalis     “Metallic Blue Lady”

Argutifolius “Corsican Rose”

Japanese Anemone (All)

Phlox “David” white

“David’s Lavender” lavender pink.

Penstemon (All) “Stapleford Gem”

Roses  “Jude the Obscure”

“Sally Holmes”





Top 10 Annuals & Biennials: (Plants last until frost)

Angelonia “Alba”

“Deep Plum”

Cosmos “Bright Lights“Cosmic Orange”


Flowering Tobacco

(Nicotiana sylvestris)

“Only the Lonely”

Moss Rose (Portulaca)


Nigella  (Nigella hispanica) “African Bride”

(Nigella damascene) “Love-In-A-Mist” Persian Jewels Mixed.

Oriental poppy (Papaver Orientale)

Spider Flower (Cleome)

Zinnia “Zowie!Yellow Flame”

“New Burpee Hybrids”

“State Fair”



Top 10 Shrubs:

Flowering Maple (Abutilon) ‘Kentish Belle’ or (Any)

Beautyberry (Calicarpa)

Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) “Sundance”

Hardy Gardenia “Kleim’s”

Hardy Fuchsia “Aunt Pricilla”


Magellanica “Grandma’s”

Hydrangea (Any) “Endless Summer”

Mt. Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) ‘Little Linda’

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina)

“Harbor Dwarf’”

Red Flowering Currant: (Ribes sanguineum)

Viburnum bodnantense “Dawn”


Top 10 Trees:

Camperdown Elm

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

Glorybower (Clerodendrom)

Japanese Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Kousa)

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) “Glory” Magenta

“Edward J. Gardner” Double pink

Madrone (Arbutus)

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Maples: Japanese Maple (shirasawanum) “Autumn Moon”

               Coral Bark Maple “Sangu kaku”

               Paperbark Maple

Redbud “Forest Pansy”

Elderberry (Sambucus) “Black Beauty”


You can pluck any name out of this list and count on its flower or form. Pop the names into your computer and you’ll get up close and personal with every single suggestion. Then at the end of the summer, let me know if one my favorites brought a smile to your face too. I can’t help but think; if the earth laughs in flowers, I just hope she’s laughing with me, not at me.