Sometimes it's easy as a gardener to slip into the mindset that plants are fussy and need to be coddled to survive. We augment soil and water to cater to plant whims. And then we get reminders that some plants are true survivors likely to outlast us.

Last spring after our last plant swap, I came home and dutifully planted all my goodies, except for one. I'd traded for a cactus more or less on a whim, and wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it. And it turns out I never really did anything. I'd dropped it into a nearly empty plastic hanging basket leftover from a previous season with a scant handful of dirt and thought I'd figure it out later.

It turned out to be much, much later. The basket had accidentally gotten shoved under some bleeding hearts out of the way and it was out of sight, out of mind. But apparently not out of luck: We recently ran across it still tucked under the bleeding hearts on the north side of the garage where we rarely go, still in the basket with almost no dirt, now with new growth, having survived winter and zero attention.

I'm still not quite sure what I'll do with the cactus, but I have to do something to reward that persistence. And I give thanks to plants like the daylilies, basic hosta and other reliable performers that I take for granted.

What are your garden workhorses? And what are your plant "survivor" tales?