A perennial problem that we face seems to be which of the many new perennials are to be included in the newsletter. As usual, there are many more than space allows. This year also features marketing departments gone crazy. It seems plant producers are more concerned with catching your attention with plant names than with the plants themselves. Fortunately for gardeners, the plants’ performances have lived up to their names. In no particular order, here are a few of our favorites.
Blue Ribbons Bush Clematis -Large indigo blue flowers are only one feature of this unusual clematis. The bush form is non vining, requiring just a light staking to support the foliage. Fuzzy silver seed heads adorn the foliage after bloom. June flowering attracts summer pollinators and the wandering gardener’s eye. Try this delightfully uncommon clematis for everyone’s sake.
Storm Cloud Blue Star-Dark shoots emerge in the spring like a pondering storm on this selection of a native favorite. Silver veined leaves fold out to form a robust mound. Amsonia, or Arkansas Blue Star, is a weather-proven perennial growing to over two feet tall. Hundreds of light blue stars cover the dense foliage in late spring. Yellow fall color finishes the show on an extremely well adapted native plant.
Cats Pajamas Catmint-So let’s put down the smart phones for a minute and stop watching videos of cats. Focus your attention for a minute on a member of the Catmint family. This diminutive kitten of a plant will catch your eye and not let you rest. Long flowering and playful, Catmints are in bloom for most of the summer and fall. A compact mound of aromatic foliage deter deer browse. We hope you may find this cat to be more fun than the ones on your phone.
Charlotte’s Web Spiderwort-The Tradescantia family includes some of our favorite native wildflowers as well as the popular houseplant, the wandering jew. Charlotte’s Web is a golden perennial form that holds up well in the sun or shade. Growing to about 20 inches tall, she forms a dense mound of arching foliage. Clusters of blue flower buds are borne at the tips of the leaves, opening one per day.
Mint on Fire Monardella-This small dark-leaved herb is a terrific rock garden plant. Brightly aromatic foliage will catch your attention before a single flower emerges. Known as Hummingbird Trumpet Mint, the real show is when it flowers in a mass of tubular red blooms. A xeric plant that likes good drainage, the Scarlet Monardella is both drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Premium Daylilies-If you have not seen the latest in dazzling daylilies, you are missing an eye-popping addition to the landscape. Daring Deception Daylily is striking for the strong contrast between its purple throat and cream-pink petals. A purple pie crust edge and reblooming habit will make it the queen of the summer garden. Marque Moon Daylily features cream petals, yellow picotee edges and, in case that is not enough, deliciously fragrant flowers. Lastly, a giant among daylilies, Ruby Spider grows to 36 inches tall with dazzling ruby red flowers a full eight inches across.
Grape Gumball Bee Balm-Another family of plants the breeders have been tinkering with is Monarda, commonly know as Bee Balm or Bergamot. Let’s just say they are making some progress. Grape Gumball is the deepest colored Bee Balm, with dark magenta flowers sitting atop two foot stems. The mid to late summer blooms will please the pollinators who will be looking for prized pollen as the garden heats up.
Tres Amigos Coneflower-Three colors are the tres amigos of this new Coneflower. A color progression from coral to rose to burgundy is a very friendly combination. Compact and sturdy, the stems are covered with these strong hued flowers. Echinacea is one of our favorite native plants; Tres Amigos is a three-way addition to a great family.
Little Moonshine Yarrow-An excellent cut flower, Yarrow is a classic native plant. Tough, drought resistant and evergreen, these fern-like plants hug the ground to form a dense mat. Achillea will throw out dense umbels of small, bright-colored flowers when you are least expecting them. Little Moonshine is a perfect example with its dazzling yellow tops. A short variety, this Yarrow grows to 14 inches tall and combines well with almost any other plant.
Blue Jean Baby Russian Sage-The ultimate rugged, deer resistant perennial, Russian Sage comes in many sizes. Blue Jean Baby is a shorter, less floppy form, growing under three feet tall. A strong essence to the leaves will deter even the hungriest deer. A long blooming period, starting in mid-summer, makes a show well after other perennials have faded. As the blooms
wane in the cold, the color of the dried flowers persists through the fall.
Fashionably Early Flamingo Phlox-Someone stayed up late drinking strong coffee to think of a name for this new garden Phlox. They came up with a mouthful. This densely leaved garden Phlox blooms earlier than traditional varieties. Give this Flamingo plenty of space. At three feet tall and mildly spreading, this well dressed perennial will stand out alone or in the back of a mixed border.
Perfect Profusion Summer Sage-This brand new introduction is a perfect addition to the Salvia family. Perfect Perfection is a prolific rebloomer when the spent flowers are cut. Soft blue flowers cover a 20 inch mound of dark, dense foliage. One of our favorite deer resistant plant families, the Salvias
Bear Creek Nursery
“ Along with a selection of new annuals, perennials, herbs and grasses, the Bear offers many native trees and shrubs as well as a number of aquatic plants to enhance the pond. Landscape materials and a comprehensive selection of glazed & terra cotta pots round out the products available at your friendly neighborhood garden center. Sound advice is always available from the well informed staff, who will be happy to help you find just the right plant to compliment your garden. Landscape services are available year round.”