This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT

You know you're a gardener when...
Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Jan 23, 2009

Ahhh! To Be Stuck on a Desert Island!


While I’ve been busy out in the greenhouse, checking what has germinated and moving plants on to the next size soil block (boy! some of them grew fast!), there seems to be a challenge going around amongst the garden bloggers. I was catching up on my nightly reading with Feedly (a new reader I’m investigating and really like so far, by the way) and blog after blog I kept reading about a challenge presented to garden bloggers by Shirls Gardenwatch- I must say, after reading so many blogs about this challenge, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

The challenge is simply, If I were stuck on a desert island and could have 3 plants with me, what would they be? Not simple!! Luckily Shirl added a couple things that help narrow it down...a little :)

1. There are no limits to growing conditions, whatsoever.
2. We will assume that food is not a problem :) (it probably wouldn’t be, yum fish!)

Well, needless to say, this took me a long time. I struggled greatly between taking plants that I love, and wondering, would that favorite plant become a not so favorite? Or, take ones that I’ve always wanted to grow but either can’t because it wouldn’t do well in my climate, or just ones I’ve never gotten around to trying. Can you tell I’m overly analytical?

I love tomatoes- home grown anyway. Certainly not the anemic, cardboard tasting ones you find in the store, of course- but food is not an issue and all the new tastes on that island alone would be an adventure! Okay, food’s out. Come on, a girls got to have her priorities straight!

So this is what I did to make my decision. I closed my eyes and thought for a minute ‘when you open your eyes, what plants would you want to see, smell, touch?’

Here is my answer. (I know, finally!)

Pussy Willow


Why Pussy Willow? I remember we had this in our yard growing up. As a very young child, I remember picking the little, soft, bunny tails  (catkins) and feeling them on my face- a great memory.  Actually, I’m really not sure if it was our yard it was in or the neighbors, but I loved them with all my heart. I don’t have one in my yard, but I’ve always wanted one- I borrowed this image from Wikipedia.


I grow this annual every year, both for my mom and dad (dad loves it) and myself. It smells wonderful- but be careful, I have found that the white one says it has a scent, but doesn’t. I only grow the mixed ‘Sensation’ although there are probably others that have that sweet smell. The white and lilac colored, starfish shaped flowers are the Nicotiana (Gooseneck Loosestrife is the other). Grow them by a window or door and smell their scent around 7pm or so every evening. I love these- easy to grow as well. Very delicate appearance and bugs don’t like them!

Although the food would be taken care of on this island, what about illness? I know, there would probably be a lot of things growing already on that island that could be used for medicinal purposes, but I wouldn’t know what they were, probably- so here is my last choice...See, I can be practical!



Here is, what was, a happy, young, purple cone flower- Now it’s being choked out guessed it Gooseneck Loosestrife!

Well, I’m almost ready to go, um, be stuck on a desert island...but wait!

Some of you may be asking yourselves, how did she ever NOT choose her beloved, feminine, classic, sultry if not slightly erotic, Calla Lily?

The Calla
(picture turned painting)


I’ve made plans for a friend to ship them to me!


Happy Gardening!



  • Catherine

    Great choices. I would definitely be taking that coneflower too! Are you able to start your Nicotiana from seed? I've never tried, always bought the starts at the nursery.

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Yes, I start mine from seed- they are easy. I start them later then the seed packet says, because in years past I've found that I had to hold them over in the greenhouse or indoors (before I had the greenhouse) waiting for the weather! They grow fast. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jan

    How clever of you to think about having a friend ship your calla lilies. I think you are the first to pick pussy willow. My parents also had one when I was a teenager. It was started from some floral arrangement pussy willow that developed roots. The shrub lasted for many years.

    Always Growing

  • Anna

    Hello Tessa - I do like your choices especially pussy willow. I try to buy some from the florist each year just to have a stroke. Have you tried nicotiana mutablis ? They are nicely scented and the flowers change colour as they age from white to pale pink and then a dusky pink. I am leaving here with a smile on my face after seeing the little snail cartoon )

    January 24, 2009 12:17 PM

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Jan, I may just have to start one now that you've given me the idea of one rooted in water from a bouquet! Someone I know has got to have one!!

    Anna, I haven't heard of that one- and I know I haven't seen it in the stores, so is it from a catalog? I would love to get a seed packet that is only one color- I don't like starting things that are a mix usually. Where can I get them?

  • shirl

    Hi there Tessa , my island ship keeps stopping as I pass the islands and it has taken me a while to get here ;-)

    Gosh… the butterflies will be happy on the islands with so many cone flowers being planted :-D

    Now… I really am certain that this is the first pussy willow I have seen on an island which is great. I have childhood memories of this plant too. However this plant will be great for diversity :-D

    Ah… the nicotiana, I have grown this once and really would like to see it on an island! Great choices and an excellent way to get around the forth plant prob… what are friends for ;-)

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks for stopping by! I know your list must be a mile long with so many blogs joining in on the fun. I wasn't going to join in myself, didn't have time when I first started reading about it- I just couldn't let it go! My mind kept drifting off to what I would take with me, even though I hadn't planned on writing about it. I'm sure glad I managed to squeeze it in!

  • Kylee

    Oh now that's thinking! I'll bet someone brings Callas though. If my daughter were coming, that would be first on her list! I'm glad you're bringing Echinaceas, because those are one of my favorites!

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks for popping in. I just love your choice of the Willow Tree- It was on my list!

  • Daphne

    So I see you cheated just like me and Gail did by mentioning four plants. ;> Three is just to few isn't it. I love your choice of pussy willows. They have always been one of my favorites, also because of childhood memories.

  • Denise

    Great post Tessa. Its so cold here right now so to see these photos warms me. And what a question! I don't know if I could choose, but your selections are great! Denise

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)

    Daphne, Yeah...I just had to! I don't know about you- but that was hard!


    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos- it's cold here too, so I love it that I can look at them any time I like, on my computer anyway!- or go to some nice tropical blog and take a peek at what they have growing.

  • Kathleen

    Good choices Tessa! I have childhood memories of Pussy Willows too. My Mom always brought them indoors to force so we enjoyed them for a long time. My favorite nicotianas are sylvestris & langsdorfii but they are all great, I have to agree. What a fun challenge, wasn't it? I especially enjoyed looking thru all my flower photos. It was fun reading your post.

  • VP

    Hi Tessa - great choices! That Pussy willow's so tactile isn't it?

  • DirtDigger (Tessa)


    Thanks for visiting- yes, Pussy Willow is very tactile! As a child I couldn't help but touch it! Of course, I've been known to touch a lot of plants, say in botanical gardens...where they frown on that :)

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