New Sun Perennials

New plants are in the spotlight this issue. We will describe as many new plants as space allows. There’s no time for small talk, so let’s get busy.

Yellow Hardy Ice Plant
Delosperma congestum

For those of you who were concerned that ice plants are a little too pink, these compact plants are the answer. The fleshy green leaves are evergreen, taking on purple tones in the winter. Bright yellow flowers seemingly pop out of nowhere throughout the summer. This perennial succulent is happy in a sunny spot and works well in rock gardens and containers.

Hardy Geranium
Geranium "Midnight Reiter"

This perennial geranium forms a 8- 10” mound of dense foliage in the spring. Hardy to Zone 5, “Midnight Reiter” is happy in a sunny to part shady site. In full sun, the lacy leaves are a dark purple. Best of all, true blue flowers cover the handsome foliage in early summer

First Choice Blue Mist Spirea

When every other living being is struggling through late summer, the heat loving Caryopteris puts on sunglasses and starts to flower. Earlier in the summer, this 3” tall, drought tolerant shrub is covered in deep green, deer resistant foliage. Dark blue flowers clothe the branches in late summer and provide a landing zone for butterflies and honeybees. Hot sun and poor soil have been known to encourage “First Choice”.

Anise Hyssop
Agastache "Black Adder"

This plant is guaranteed to get along with the Ozarks. It is sun loving, heat and drought tolerant, deer resistant, fragrant, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. “Black Adder” also features bi-color flowers. Whew, if that is not enough to get your plant loving juices flowering, you need to change hobbies

Plum Crazy Rose Mallow
Hibiscus "Plum Crazy"

Here is a specimen plant for all you lavender lovers. Ten inch flowers feature purple veining on a lavender field with a dark eye. Plum colored leaves have a maple shape and love full sun. This robust plant will grow to 4” tall and 4” across in 2 years. Did you know that the original marshmallow was derived from the Hibiscus

Sundown Coneflower

The traditional colors of Echinacea (pink, white, yellow) now seem kind of boring. New hybrids have produced a sunset’s worth of tones and variations. ‘Sundown’ is a good example. The few flowers that have come up this winter were stunning blends of peach and orange. This new coneflower will grow to 3’ tall when in flower and loves a sunny spot.


Anise Hyssop (Agastache hybrids) We’re not certain whether to call the Agastache (Ag-a-stack’-ee) a perennial or an herb, so we will feature them in both columns. These hardy, drought tolerant gems are ideal plants for the Midwest. There are several new hybrids this year, all boasting fragrant, deer-resistant foliage. The descriptive names give away the flower colors: ‘Lavender Haze’, ‘Purple Pygmy’, ‘Apricot Sprite’, ‘Sunset Hyssop’. One of our favorites, ‘Golden Jubilee’, has blue flowers atop stunning golden foliage. Absolutely yummy.

Basil There are lots of types of basil at the Bear. The Italian types are best for pesto; ‘Spicy Globe’ is cute in containers and it’s hard to beat the color of ‘Purple Ruffles’. But there were 2 Basils that we couldn’t resist trying this year. ‘Red Rubin’ is a handsome large leaf basil. Copper-tinged purple leaves will stand out in the garden or in the salad bowl. The combination of flavors in ‘Lime Basil’ just doesn’t sound possible. One squeeze of a leaf will convince you: they did a pretty good job of combining the fruity taste of lime with the sweetness of basil.

© Bear Creek Nursery

2798 Highway 23 North, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72631

(479) 253-7466 »˜«

New Annuals

Silky Mix Butterfly Weed

Attracting Monarch Butterflies is as simple as growing this annual member of the Butterfly Weed family. A single plant grows to about 3’ tall and wide, providing plenty of leaves for food. Twenty of these plants were defoliated in a Monarch orgy 2 years ago at the Bear. We were so proud. Clusters of red or yellow flowers and large seed pods top the foliage. A must-have for the butterfly garden

Orange Symphony

With eye-popping colors (the other one is named ‘Soprano Purple’) and an endless display, these daisy relatives are a hot addition to a container planting. If the idea of a long bloom season appeals to you, we saw these flowering in Kansas City on Thanksgiving after a mild fall. Let them spill, fall, edge, drape or otherwise spice up the garden.


There has been an endless procession of new Coleus over the last few years. Their varied names suggest diversity in shape and color: ‘Ruffles’, ‘Kingswood Torch’, Amora’, ‘Skyfire’, ‘Swinging Linda’. There has never been a better choice of these garden gems. In the garden or on the porch, in the sun or tucked away in the shade, there is a Coleus that is waiting to surprise you.

Lantana Red Spread

All of the members of the Lantana family have proven themselves to be garden worthy. Like a good scout, they are trustworthy and honest, they love the heat and deter deer with their fuzzy leaves. We were impressed with the short, yellow ‘New Gold’ variety last year. With a healthy spread and a hearty red, this one may become the next famous Lantana

Fire Profusion Zinnia

The Profusion Zinnias fall into the category of landscape Zinnias, which merely means they last a whole lot longer than any other Zinnia you have ever seen. One plant will form a dense mound of foliage about 12” tall and 18” wide and will flower continuously all summer long. ‘Fire’ is the newest color offered. Oh, yes, did we mention the deer didn’t touch them?

New Shade Perennials

Obsidian Coral Bells

Coral Bells will make you think you woke up in the late 60s. A glossy polish on the purple adds to the groovy experience. Violet buds and cream flowers explode over the foliage in early summer. “Obsidian” will grow to 12” tall and 24” wide. Morning sun will help bring out color. Truly psychedelic.

Samurai Lungwort

Lungwort is the unsung hero of the shade garden. In the early spring, new leaves barely have a chance to grow before flower clusters pop out. Lavender flowers age to blue, showing off a two-tone glow. Silvery leaves form a 12” tall mound and are covered with tiny hairs that

help keep deer at bay. “Samurai” is a great addition to the Lungwort family.

Stoplight Foamy Bells

Yellow leaves with red centers places this plant in the late 60s psychedelic group. Fortunately, it stays under 12”, so we can stay focused on it. Clusters of white flowers stand endlessly in the early spring. Stoplight is an easy way to brighten up a corner of the shade garden.

Running Tapestry Foamflower

The lovely Foamflowers defy the cold — their leaves last almost all winter. The early spring flowering season sneers at the frost by lasting over 8 weeks long. “Running Tapestry” is a rare form of Foamflower

that spreads by runners forming a slowly spreading, dense groundcover. This shade lover will grow between 8-12” tall (20” when in flower) and slowly ramble its way into your heart.

Pirates Patch Foamflower

Our favorite shade perennial is the Foamflower. Flamboyant foliage and fragrant flowers that impress even our jaded judges are just a couple of reasons. “Pirates Patch” is a new introduction by the folks at Terra Nova (they practically invented Foamflowers). Large, crisp maple shape leaves carry a dark maroon center and turn bronze red in the fall. Did we mention it’s our favorite shade perennial?

Call 479-253-7466 for more information on any of the new introductions reviewed in this article.

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.”