My desert island plants

Shirl over at Shirl’s Gardenwatch has challenged fellow bloggers to decide on 3 plants that they would want with them on a desert island.  The plants can be ornamental or edible though Shirl has reassured us that there is plenty of food on the island so we dont need to worry about feeding ourselves.  She has also told us that we are going to a very special island where anything will grow so we dont have to worry about growing conditions or climate  – wouldnt that be wonderful!!!

So I have been thinking about what I would want to grow.  I have discounted edibles as I’m not that great at growing them and I reall dont think I could choose between them.  So ornamentals – well firstly I would have to have some Rudbeckias; those who read my blog will know I have a real weakness for these and consider them my signature plant.


My next plant is one that will be more of a foilage plant which will have al year round interest – Stipa gigantea.  I love the way the light filters through the flower heads especially in the autumn when the sun is lower in the sky.  I leave the flower heads on through the winter until the rain or snow had knocked them down to the ground. I also like the way the plant moves in the wind creating movement.

For my final plant I have struggled to make a decision but I have finall decided on a tree – in this case a Silver Birch. I like the ones with very white bark such as Betula utilis jacquemontii Snow Queen.  I think this is the tree I have in the front garden.  M sons bought it for me about 5 years ago as a birthday present and it is postively thriving.  It is attractive all year round but at this time of year it comes into its own with its gorgeous white bark shining through.  I am thinking of planting some Cornus by it so the red stems contrast with it in the winter.


So those are my three choices – to see other bloggers desert island plants pop over to Shirl’s gardenwatch



22 Comments Add yours

  1. fairegarden says:

    Hi Helen, what excellent choices you have made. Those colorful rudbeckias will brighten your day, the birch will provide ample shade and is just a magical tree and that grass is wonderful. We grow the Stipa tenuissima, but would love to find the S. gigantea. I grew the smaller one from seed, so maybe I can locate seed for mister giant, thanks for showing it!

    Frances at Fairegarden

  2. Helen, silver birch is an inspired choice – they are quite lovely, and yours in your garden looks wonderful.
    Nice plants Helen, your dessert island in the top picture also looks very inviting 🙂

  3. jodi says:

    Such wonderful choices. I can’t imagine not loving rudbeckias, and am so glad you chose them as a signature plant as well as one of your desert island plants. I can’t grow the stipa except as an annual but you’re the second person to include it, so if we’re all on the same island there should be quite a show of it!

  4. Joy says:

    Helen .. I love Birch trees too .. along with that grass and I always will have Rudbeckia in my garden as well !
    You really made varied choices and this challenge is such fun to read about from all the bloggers .. I’ll have to join in too : )

  5. VP says:

    Great choices Helen – my choices will be up tomorrow as I’d already scheduled today’s tagging post.

    I’d definitely recommend a red Cornus to go with your birch – I have that combination in my front side garden with snowdrops and winter aconite round the Cornus. It’s most cheerful at this time of the year.

  6. Tyra says:

    Hello Helen I like all your choices and actually I like all the participants choices and I think this Island (if we all are stranded on the same island that is) will be stunning. It is so very interesting to see all the different choices. Great fun.

    xoxo Tyra

  7. tina says:

    Absolutely beautiful choices. Such variety! I too chose the rudbeckias-others as well-must be a pretty good plant huh? Love the tree-you’ll have a great time on the beautiful deserted island somewhere in the Carribbean.

  8. Gail says:

    Helen, You have chosen three really beautiful plants…I do love The Susans, too. They are charming and always attract bees and butterflies to the garden. Boy am I glad this is only a fantasy choice! gail

  9. easygardener says:

    Good choices Helen. Your blog has opened my eyes to Rudbeckias. I am quite taken with them. Love the Stipa too, all that swaying movement. I completely forgot about trees so I’m glad you’ve chosen one

  10. hayefield says:

    Oooh, these are all wonderful. Rudbeckias are definitely a must-have, and I’d love to be able to see that Stipa in person. I’m not familiar with the birch, but I can see from yours why you selected it. Thanks for sharing your picks, Helen!
    -Nan Ondra

  11. Shirl says:

    Hi there Helen, sorry to be so long to get here 🙂

    Lovely island pic, I can see us all arriving very easily now! Great choices – I see rudbeckia again excellent colours too. I love to see these flowers. Ah… the stipa another fav in my garden and for all the same reasons. Ah… but your jacquemontii that was my first choice over my weeping cherry to take with me but just one wouldn’t do – I’d love to plant a big group. Such a beautiful tree and I agree the cornus would look good too. This really has been fun. Enjoy your evening 😀

  12. patientgardener says:

    Hi All – I would love to claim that I took the island photo but I pinched it from google images. It does though remind me abit of Green Island in Queensland Australia that I visited in my teens – absolutely idyllic.

    Thanks all for your positive comments on my choices I am enjoying reading yours

  13. Beautiful choices! I love the rudbeckia too!

  14. layanee says:

    Your island will look great with those choices.

  15. Anna says:

    Oh I do want to visit your island Helen – I wish I could just step into it through this screen. It’s been fascinating reading about everyone’s choices. Yours are all ones that illuminate the garden like beacons. Your island will be sunny all year round. I especially like your little silver birch.

  16. Camellia says:

    Birch and dogwood, smashing! I move around on all blogs having made the three desert plant selection, and I get new ideas for every one! Hmmm…this needs some serious musing.

  17. Dawn says:

    Love a birch! My choice is paper white birch.

  18. Jan says:

    Great choices, Helen. I particularly like the birch and grass you chose.

    Always Growing

  19. Robin says:

    Those are good choices. I love birch trees. The river birch is very popular here.

  20. Rose says:

    Great choices–I love the rudbeckias, too. They would certainly put a smile on your face every morning!

  21. The wispy Stipa gigantea is a very pretty choice, as is the Rudbeckia…such beautiful shades of oranges, those are. The birch would be a lovely addition on the island…there will be an amazing array of plants and bushes and flowers and trees…who could want more?!

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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