two holesI had two holes in my garden that resulted from an old viburnum passing away and my miscanthus getting so big it kept flopping over. I’d planned dividing the miscanthus, and replanting one clump, but after it took me and a very strong man an hour to dig it up, I decided I wasn’t going to do that again so I gave it away.

flowering currant bloomsWith every loss there is a gain; plant shopping. I started by considering my criteria. The space in the English garden, where the Viburnum lived, needed something upright and oval. It could be deciduous, but it had to flower in some wonderful shade of pink, in keeping with my “cool colors only” rule for my English garden. A flowering currant was my first choice, as it has early pink blooms that attract hummingbirds. However I like to keep my options open when shopping. You never know…

The miscanthus was in a sunny spot in my front garden. Again I wanted something upright and oval, with good winter interest.  It needed to flower, be broadleaf evergreen, and have killer interest.

quince flowerI called a friend and said those magic words, “Do you want to go plant shopping?” We were in the car in a half an hour. We wandered the nursery’s display garden to gain inspiration, but it wasn’t until we went among the rows of plants that I spied a Cameo Dwarf Flowering Quince. It was love at first sight. The flowers took my breath away. They were a stunning shade of peach. The flowering quince starts blooming in late February, so I decided it qualified for winter interest even though it’s deciduous. (Justification is everything when you’re on a buying spree.) It doesn’t have the height I thought I wanted, but it demands attention, which is what being a focal plant is all about.

afterIn the English garden I stuck with my first choice of a flowering currant. I wanted to buy a four foot tall plant so it would have instant gratification. That didn’t happen. I had to settle on a two foot plant with great flowers and lots of potential.

quince and andromedaWhile looking up and down the aisles for the currant, a  Prelude Dwarf Andromeda pulled at my heartstrings. It was a compact, broadleaf evergreen with dark green leaves and dangling clusters of white bells. I couldn’t live without it, so I bought it to replace another plant I was thinking about removing.

Criteria are important when adding plants to the garden, but so is inspiration. Don’t leave home without either.