Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Plants for 2010, Part 3

Here's another set of new perennials we're growing for spring 2010...

From AB Cultivars in Holland comes this new Astilbe 'Delft Lace' with thick, blue-green foliage covered with a silver overlay, and red stems carrying dark pink buds that open to soft pink flowers. From "unknown parentage", it is often presented as a much-improved version of the older variety 'Peach Blossom'.

Remember that Astilbes, relatively speaking, require more water, especially early in the season when the flowers are forming and opening. Even after flowering, the foliage can quickly turn brown and crispy without some attention. They are not particularly drought-tolerant. Depending on the genetics, that is for example, whether 'Delft Lace' contains any A. chinensis (a somewhat more drought tolerant species) in its parentage, this concern will be more or less the case.

Dicentra 'Burning Hearts' is a fascinating continuation of the breeding work of Akira Shiozaki from Japan (crossing various forms of D. peregrina and D. eximea). This newest Bleedingheart has deep, hot-red flowers over top of silvery-blue, fern-like foliage. Other introductions from Mr. Shizoki are the popular 'Candy Hearts' and 'Ivory Hearts'. All of these varieties are vigorous and long-blooming. Graham Rice presents more information here.

Finally for this post is the new Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum 'Banana Cream', with lemon-yellow flowers that retain their colour longer than other yellow-flowered varieties, e.g. 'Sonnenschein' (Sunshine). The flowers of 'Banana Cream' open a bright lemon-yellow, turning to a buttery yellow, and then to a creamy-white as they mature. It is a relatively compact variety, growing to 45cm (18") in height, and also makes an excellent cutflower.

One more set to come...

MPD, the coolplantsguy

Thanks to Planthaven, Skagit Gardens, Terra Nova Nurseries and Walters Gardens for use of their photography.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Plants for 2010, Part 2

Here's another set of three new varieties of perennials that we are growing for 2010.

First is Geum Totally Tangerine™ ('Tim's Tangerine') from the UK. It is completely sterile, and so is particularly long-blooming compared to other varieties. While I've generally not been a big fan of this genus in the past, I've warmed up to it in recent years, and expect this plant to be a real winner in the garden. It is hardy to USDA zone 4 and easy to grow in the front or middle of a bed, forming a low mound of foliage but with flowers on stems nearing 75cm (30") in height.

Second is Echinacea 'Firebird' from Terra Nova's breeding program. This variety has brilliant red-orange, shuttlecock-shaped flower petals surrounding a dark cone for a beautiful contrast. It has a well-branched habit and flowers at just under 1m (38") in height.

While there has been much discussion regarding the hardiness and vigour of these new hybrid Coneflowers, my recommendation based on experience is to plant relatively mature plants in the late spring or early summer. Graham Rice covered some of the likely issues in his December 2007 article.

Finally for this post, is Hemerocallis 'Just Plum Happy' from renowned Daylily breeder Darrel Apps. It is a re-blooming variety producing large (11cm, 4.5" wide) flowers with mauve-pink petals and a darker plum-purple eye with matching picotee edge.

Thanks to Planthaven, Skagit Gardens, Terra Nova Nurseries and Walters Gardens for use of their photography.

More to come...

MPD, the coolplantsguy

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Plants for 2010, Part 1

Helping to decide which new varieties of perennials to grow each year at my nursery, is one of the most favourite parts of my job. Certainly, there are many to choose from, as each propagator typically has an assortment of new varieties to promote and sell. With a little research, and in some cases, an evaluation of our in-house trials, we come to a decision. Here is a peak of some of the new plants that we will be growing for spring 2010.

There have been many new varieties of Brunnera macrophylla introduced in recent years, typically variations of silvered and/or variegated foliage. New in the last year or two have been a few gold-leaved forms, one of which is 'Diane's Gold', which is purported to maintain its chartreuse foliage into the summer, whereas other similar forms fade to green after the spring. In any case, it will be beautiful with its purple-blue flowers.

Following on the heels of the popular Bellflowers, Campanula 'Kent Belle' and 'Sarastro' comes this beautiful form called 'Summertime Blues'. It is vigorous and long-blooming, possibly even longer than the others. I'm also expecting the reddish stems to provide some additional, subtle colour and contrast.

The above was derived from crossing C. punctata and C. trachelium, and will likely have some moderate spreading tendencies, despite claims to the contrary. The picture below shows a 14cm (5") pot after several weeks of growing from a 72 plug -- I'm fairly certain those are some creeping stolons! ;) In any case, I've still planted it into my garden, and expect that it will be a great plant in the right spot.
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Finally, for this post, is the new Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Ruby Glow', which has beautiful red-bronze foliage on the new growth. I have always admired the old form called 'Purpurea', but propagation by seed has resulted in variable plants, some with poorly-coloured foliage. This new variety is propagated only by cuttings.

Thanks to Planthaven, Skagit Gardens, Terra Nova Nurseries and Walters Gardens for use of their photography.

More to come...

MPD, the coolplantsguy