Gardening Composiions – Plants That Grow Hope

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garden compositions—
plants that grow hope

This June will mark the seventh year that Southern Land Company has built the home to be raffled off as a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I love having a small part in this project.

Whether it’s helping to choose the plants that Monrovia donates for the home, rounding up volunteers from Master Gardener groups to help with the planting, or installing plants with my colleagues, the process is a worthy and rewarding venture. Some of the fun in this process is choosing unique and often “new to the market” plant material to showcase at the home.

I have to give credit to my Monrovia rep, Steve Morrill, who never even flinches when I ask for some of the more interesting (translate that to read “expensive”) plants to use around the St. Jude home. It wouldn’t surprise me that some die-hard plant people might buy a raffle ticket to win the home just so they could get the plants! The generosity of all the vendors is indeed praiseworthy.

While I strongly encourage you to purchase a raffle ticket to win the Dream Home (winner will be announced in June), I want you to know that there are plants that you can buy all year round that give money from every purchase to help find a cure for cancer. Every time you walk in your garden you will know that those plants in your landscape are not only bringing you beauty and joy, but they are helping to find a way to keep beauty and joy in the lives of cancer patients. Next time you’re making some plant purchases, look for a few plants that do a little more than just sit there looking pretty.

Cosmos—Celebration in Pink (Botanical Interests Seeds): Here is where a little does a whole lot. Other than sharing plants with friends, there is no less expensive way to garden than starting from seed. Cosmos are easy to grow, give you lots of flowers all summer long, and this combination of rose, pink, and white just shouts cheeriness. Find a sunny spot for annual color and let these daisy-like flowers spring up. Great for attracting butterflies and to use as cut flowers, these flowers thrive in dry conditions and don’t mind our Tennessee hot summers. For every package of Celebration in Pink cosmos seeds purchased, Botanical Interest will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Hydrangea—Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea: “Invincibelle Spirit” is the first pink arborescens or “Annabelle” hydrangea to be made available to the public.  This heat tolerant hydrangea will produce loads of pink flowers from early summer until frost. This plant has proved to be quite hardy and reliable with low maintenance. It grows to a height of 36-in. to 48-in., is mounding, and blooms on new wood. Bloom color is not affected by soil PH. A donation of $1 for every plant sold will be given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  \

Tibouchina—Glory Bush (new from Monrovia): I’ve used Tibouchina for years in my annual bed plantings and especially in summer containers. This new variety has the same deep purple color that I love but has a more delicate cluster of flowers. Glory Bush likes to stay away from afternoon sun and needs the soil to stay evenly moist. This tropical shrub will grab your attention all summer long with the non-stop purple blossoms. Purchasing this plant helps to support Lana’s Love Foundation which helps kids with cancer and their families have fun. This foundation is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Hosta—Remember Me: A shade loving plant that will brighten up an area.  This medium-size hosta tolerates a range of soil conditions and works great in containers also. It’s a low-maintenance plant that emerges yellow then lightens to a creamy white by summer. A portion of proceeds of the sale of Hosta Remember Me go directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to support the fight against breast cancer.

Rose—Pink Promise: In 2009, the All-American Rose Selections made history by creating an award-winning rose that would support breast cancer awareness. Julia Young of the National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a description that says it all, “Pink Promise is a hybrid tea rose whose beauty is enhanced by the contrast of its large brilliantly formed pink blossoms set against lush dark green foliage. Along with its stunning appearance, Pink Promise has excellent disease resistance, flourishing in many climates. Pink Promise is a highly fragrant rose which fills any room with a deliciously fruity scent. Pink Promise will officially represent a continual blooming promise of compassion and awareness.”

Few of us have been left untouched by the effects of cancer on someone we love.  To my sister Susan, to Gigi, Elise, Natalie, Mary, Tina, Edee, and so many others— I’m planting a garden for you.  
See the St. Jude Dream Home when you come for the Westhaven Courtyard Garden Tour May 13-15 in Franklin. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon-3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 in advance, ordered online, or $13 at the door. For information visit n

Editor’s Note: Barbara Wise, floriculture director with Southern Land Company, LLC, brings her gardening expertise and experience to readers of House & Home & Garden™.  You can now read more of Barbara’s plant musings at or follow on twitter@bwisegardens. E-mail your questions to her at

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