Spring is arriving, and we’re excited about the many new perennials that will be arriving along with it. Our collection of new plants can be viewed on our online catalog, but we will highlight some of our favorites for you here. Lots of big and bold color for the sunny garden in the summertime comes in the form of Coneflowers. Echinacea ‘One in a Melon’ offers unique melon-colored blooms that reach about 5 inches across and grows to a height of 24-26 inches. E. ‘The Fuchsia is Bright’ also boasts large blooms, which are solid pink with a dark cone, and grows 20-22 inches tall. Both of these Echinacea are part of the Color Coded® series, which includes varieties selected for their excellent branching, flower performance, large flower size, and horizontally held petals. Iris e. ‘Gold Bound’ (Japanese Iris) has large, lightly ruffled white blooms with flashes of lemon yellow in the center of the petals. Tall Garden Phlox are a staple of the sunny garden, and a new addition to the Phlox Luminary™ collection is Phlox p. ‘Sunset Coral’. This variety offers lovely coral pink flowers that stand 30-32 inches tall atop an attractive clump of dark green, mildew resistant foliage.
If you are looking for a pollinator magnet try one of our new Monarda (Bee Balm). ‘Lavender Taffeta’, ‘Pink Chenille’, and ‘Red Velvet’ are variations from the same breeding program, which are taller than most other new introductions on the market. They range from 2-2 ½ feet in height and the flowers cover the top half of the plant. If deadheaded, a second flush of flowers will extend the length of their bloom season. For a nice focal point in your garden, try a hardy Hibiscus (Rose Mallow), like ‘Valentine’s Crush’. This variety has replaced the very popular ‘Cranberry Crush’, and has brighter red flowers that open fully flat at 7-8 inches wide. A nice, slightly columnar habit of green foliage grows 5 feet tall and 3 ½ feet wide. Hibiscus are one of the last perennials to emerge in the spring, so be patient as you wait for the new growth to show.
If you need some nice height in a hot and dry location, look no further than Perovskia a. ‘Prime Time’. This Russian Sage is an upgrade from the species, with denser blooms and a more upright habit, and stands tall at 30-36 inches. Pair Russian Sage with the perennial of the year, Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’, and an ornamental grass like Panicum ‘Gunsmoke’ for a beautiful mid to late summer color combination. And no sunny garden would be complete without some Sedum (Stonecrop). Sedum ‘Bright Idea’ has a nice rounded, mounding habit of deep green foliage, and is covered in bright yellow, star-shaped flowers in the summer. It grows 10-12 inches tall with a spread of 16-20 inches.
In the shade garden, add some contrasting foliage color to the golds, greens and blues of your hostas with Astilbe ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. This variety has deep chocolate burgundy foliage that forms an attractive mound that is 20-22 inches tall and 24-28 inches wide. Dark stems hold rosy purple flowers in midsummer that rise above the foliage, reaching over 30 inches tall. You can also achieve some color in the shade garden with Coral Bells. Heuchera ‘Pistachio Ambrosia’ has large, chartreuse leaves with upright scapes of light pink flowers. This variety is less prone to burning or leaf discoloration that older yellow cultivars. H. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ has pewter gray foliage with dark purple veining, and forms a mound reaching 8-10 inches tall and 14-16 inches wide. Attractive, light rose flowers are held above the foliage on tall, dark stems at about 30 inches.