Growing in the 20s

Monday, March 9, 2020

Growing 20s The perennials

It’s a new year!  Everybody is excited about the roaring 20s!  I am excited about what we are going to be growing for the next 10 years during the 20s!  When you are growing nursery crops, especially trees and grafted conifers, it is wise to look at things from a 7-10 year, if not even a 15 year view.  Shorter term crops would be perennial flowers.  These beauties have always been a passion of ours.  A few of these plants really stand out after all these years as my personal favorites.

Ceratostigma plumbagnoides is exceptional for its fall red color while at the same time having a long bloom time, generating masses of electric blue flowers from July 15 through October.  This plant can also grow in a wide range of light conditions from full sun to copious amounts of shade.

     Biokovo Geranium is another tried and true cultivar I have become more fond of over the years. This Geranium produces a multitude of pinkish white flowers with a scented foliage.  This moundy perennial‘s foliage turns  brick red in the Fall through the Winter until the following Spring.

Amsonia ‘Blue Star’ has been in our inventory for years.  Its flowers are sky to medium blue, and the foliage on these 12” tall mounds turns a lovely gold in the fall and makes a great companion plant for the other two I just mentioned.

One of my personal favorite perennials is Agastache. I love this plant because it’s fragrant, colorful, and great for pollinators.  We will have 6 different varieties of Agastache:   ‘Blue Boa,’ ‘Kudos Ambrosia,’ ’Kudos Coral,’ ‘Kudos Mandarin,’ ‘Kudos Yellow,’ ‘Little Adder,’ and ‘Morello.’

Back in 2012  we did a landscape job where I used a plant named Adenaphora mertensiana.  This plant had 24”-30” stems with beautiful blue flowers.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to get this plant since then.  A couple of years ago I became aware of a cultivar called ‘Gaudi Violet.’   Last year we added this plant to our inventory. The cultivar is just as good of a grower as the species.  I encourage you all to add this one to your gardens!

There are multitudes of great new Coreopsis such as ‘Red Satin’ and four different varieties of perennial Mums that actually are perennials!  When we select perennials to grow and supply our customers with, cold hardiness and garden worthiness are always at the forefront of our criteria.

Succulents are in! I have oftentimes used the golden Sedum ‘Angeline’ and the icy blue Sedum ‘Iceberg’ in the front of the border on projects.  They seem to surround small boulders before I start tapering up into the taller plants.  Sedum ‘Dazzelberry’ is another Sedum that has performed well over the past 5 plus years in quite a few gardens we have established.  Every year when I’ve returned the ‘Dazzleberry’ is back.  Unlike ‘Angeline’ and ‘Iceberg,’ Dazzleberry’ is purplish in color and is a small mounding plant which does not trail and creep. ‘Dazzleberry’ blooms profusely with purplish pink flowers in mid to late summer.

We always grow a large variety of Garden Phlox also known as Phlox paniculata.  This group of plants has come a long way in the past twenty years.  There are quite a few series of these plants, and we’ve grown quite a few of them.  We seem to have settled on the Flame series again.  Most of these plants are 1-2’ tall and have good powdery mildew resistance.  A new addition to our inventory last year was Phlox ‘White Flame with Eye.’ This one is taller than ‘White Flame’ and has a pink eye in the center of the flower.  This small feature doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it looked stunning last year!  Phlox ‘Violet Flame’ is my personal favorite.  However, they are all great plants.

Phlox paniculata ‘Cleopatra’ is an unusual pink variety I would encourage you all to consider for your landscape.  It has vibrant cherry red pink flowers that are shaped a little differently than the Flame series.  The petals are slightly more narrow and open while the flower cluster is very dense.  Phlox is fairly adaptable to different light conditions from full sun to partial shade.  The bloom time of these plants can be up to 3 months. A good tip to increase the amount of blooms is to tip prune the stems before they start to bloom, and they will bloom twice as much!

We will be opening the nursery very soon to the public. We will announce hours very soon! If you need an appointment let us know and we can meet you at the nursery.

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