Proven Winners — First Plants for the New House

Goodbye, Cecile Brunner Rose…

In the middle of June, as we packed our entire home and yards for the big move to Hawk Hill, it dawned on us that most of the gardens would have to stay. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the vegetable gardens that I worked on every year that got to me. It was Phil.

“Phil”, our beloved philodendron that we placed into a HUGE pot out back had sunk his roots well beyond his pot. To attempt to take him with us would more than likely end up in disaster for Phil. So he was to stay behind at the mercy of the next family who moved into our home. He’d been with us for about fifteen years and five homes.

The ‘Weeping China Doll’ standard rose tree that husband-extraordinaire had given to me as an anniversary gift many, many years previously had been planted into the ground at this house, so she would stay behind, too. It was the same for the eight Japanese maples that husband-extraordinaire had coddled as little saplings and then found the perfect spot for them to live out their lives. They had grown large and were happy exactly where they were.

Actually, he wanted to hire some big digging something or other to come lift them out like with a crane or something — he’d really lost it by that time.

In fact, no matter how often I told him he was going to kill them digging them up while they were actively growing, it took a total stranger (okay, he was a Japanese maple nurseryman) at the SF Flower and Garden show to convince him not to do it and that dude managed it with a simple firm shake of the head.


So, there’s the sadness of letting many things go when you up-root your entire life. Yet on the very same day that we were coming to terms, a big box was delivered to our door. Proven Winners had sent us some brand-new baby plants to coo over and coddle. These plants were the first of our new beginning and I immediately potted every one of them into containers so that they could make the move with us. Granted, some of them would never see years in those pots — but they represented the exciting new things that were coming our way in our new home and I was thrilled at their timely arrival.

I placed the Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’ in a fat, glazed pot with Moneywort (Lysimachia) and Baby’s tears (Soleirolia) surrounding it.

In a rectangle terra cotta container I placed Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’, with two Superbells ‘Grape Punch’ (Calibrachoa) on either side of it.

Echinacea ‘Little Annie’ is living in a gorgeous little glazed container surrounded bu some ‘Elfin’ thyme.

And Spirea ‘Double Play Artist’ was flanked by a few Superbells ‘Cherry Star’ plants.

All of the beautiful Proven Winner plants have filled in and blossomed beautifully despite heatwave after heatwave.

There was more. And it almost made me forget for a moment what I was leaving behind. Almost. I did end up planting a darling, creamy-green philodendron in a half-barrel in the potager that we’ve dubbed “Little Phil”. He has a lot to live up to.