Every spring and fall I add new plants to the garden. Beds are enlarged, container plantings, which feature many perennials, are rearranged, and empty spots filled. This spring I'm expanding my rain garden and adding a few more containers. Here's a list of the Newbies for 2013.
** I've linked the photos to the online nurseries I purchased them from. Just click on the name of the plant to visit the nursery. All pictures are from Google images, except the euphorbia, which never went dormant.
Aster 'Dream of Beauty'
I'm a sucker for asters and spend large amounts of time trying to figure out how to add more of them to my garden. They're easy to grow, bloom in the fall, and attract loads of butterflies. I'm adding this little beauty to an area near my rain garden.
Campanula 'Pink Octopus'
I love how weird these flowers are. They remind me of ribbons. I've finally found a spot for them near a patch of euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'.
Dayliliy (Hemerocalis) 'Star Dream'
I've lost track of all the multiple cultivars of yellow day lilies I have. But I've decided to add more anyway simply because they make me happy. 'Star Dream' are fragrant and are headed for a pot near my back door so I can enjoy the fragrance. These were purchased from the ultra-fabulous Lazy S's Farm Nursery. All of their day lilies are currently 50% off. These were only $5.
Wallflowers 'Wenlock Beauty'
These are another fragrant plant headed for a pot near my back door. I've heard these need absolutely perfect drainage to stay alive so I'm going to mix some growers grit or tiny pea gravel into the potting soil. I'm not sure if they'll overwinter, but it's not really a big deal. If I love them, I'll buy them again. If they turn out to be duds, then I have a new vacancy to fill! It's all good.
Shrubs (all purchased locally)
Blueberry 'Peach Sorbet' and 'Jelly Bean'
I saw this at a trade show and fell in love! It was all I could do not to grab the entire pot and run out the door. Ok, I couldn't even lift the pot, but so what. I stood there and drooled like a baby, anyway. This dwarf blueberry was bred to spend its life in a container within snacking distance of my kitchen. It has gorgeous fall color and is self-pollinating, meaning it doesn't have to get funky with another blueberry to make baby berries.
But just to make sure my plants are loaded with berries, I'm going to add this tiny round cultivar named 'Jelly Bean' to the patio party. Both 'Peach Sorbet' and 'Jelly Bean' are carried by Monrovia and should be easily available if your local garden center carries Monrovia plants. They might be able to order it for you.
CityLine Hydrangea 'Venice'
I had to pull up my hydrangeas last year because they were growing in a heat island full of leaf scorching reflected heat. They are currently thriving in the shade at a friends house while I remain hydrangea-less. Discovering these dwarf cultivars finally brought an end to all my moaning and groaning. 'Venice' is the shortest cultivar, topping out at about 2 ft. It's also headed to a pot in partial shade.
Added in fall 2012
Garlic chives (Allium tomentosum) (seeds)
I tossed some garlic chive seeds into a spot that also has daffodils and day lilies in an attempt to add more fall flowers to my front garden. If nothing pops up this spring, I'll just throw out some more. I saw huge clumps of garlic chives at Dunbarton Oaks in DC that were covered in pollinators and thought I'd give them a try.
Coreopsis 'Star Cluster'
Last fall I added a butterfly garden along my walkway to the front garden. Five chunks of 'Star Cluster' coreopsis were used to form the main spine of the bed. Coreopsis is a tough plant that takes full sun and hot weather without whining or wilting as long as you give them good drainage. A soggy coreopsis is a dead coreopsis.
Coreopsis 'Full Moon' (purchased locally)
Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (purchased locally)
I added these last fall after spotting them at my local garden center. Known for their ability to withstand hot, dry partial shade, it's really hard to kill a euphorbia. I love their pinkish variegated leaves. My clump has yet to go dormant and has been a bright spot in an otherwise brown, sleepy garden. The unfabulous picture above is from November. My euphorbia have developed redder leaves as it's gotten colder and are really pretty. For the guys - they're NOT pretty! They are interesting and distinctive.
Lily 'Red Hot'
I added these lilies to a difficult spot on the side of my house known as the Yuck side. I redesigned the entire area last fall and planted these around a massive bleeding heart that goes dormant every summer, leaving me with a huge bare spot. These are tall and highly fragrant. The company I ordered them from said to plant them sideways to avoid rotting during excessively wet weather, so I gave it a try. Of course, now I want several feet of snow so I can test that theory.
Monarda 'Dark Ponticum'
I have no will power when it comes to monarda. I don't even try to resist them. I just don't see the point. 'Dark Ponticum' thrives in dryish soil, is mildew resistant, and has incredible purple flowers. The clumps I planted took off and are already poking up leaves through the soggy mulch. Monarda are amazing at attracting hummingbirds. The more monarda you have, the better your chances of filling your garden with these neurotic, territorial little birds. If possible, plant monarda in patches around the garden so you can watch the hummers chase each other from patch to patch.
Oenathera fremontii 'Shimmer' Evening primrose
High Country Gardens is an amazing nursery that recently closed its retail greenhouses but is keeping its online business alive. I love how thin this foliage is and thought the contrast against the round flowers was striking. These bloom in late spring, attract butterflies, and are great for hot, dry spots. I really hope I don't think these are grass when they come up in the spring and then pull them out...
'Caradonna' is planted in the same bed as the coreopsis and 'Rose Queen'. Salvia thrive in hot, dry conditions that would cripple many other plants. My front butterfly garden is also my Hell Strip and was packed with colorful perennials that would look great, attract pollinators, and need a minimum amount of water. If you pinch back your salvia, you have a fuller and more flower packed plant. All types of salvia attract butterflies.
'Rose Queen' salvia ('Rose Queen' purchased locally)
I purchased 10 pots of 'Rose Queen' salvia last August when I saw them for $5 a pot at a local big box store. Where they immediately tucked into the soil, mulched, and watered until they settled in? Nope. I plopped them onto a steaming hot corner of my patio and watered them every couple of days for two months so they didn't fry in the heat. Did they curl up and die or cuss at me as I passed? Nope. They grew and held on just fine. Salvia are the biker babes of the plant world - tough, colorful, and able to thrive in difficult spots.
Plants that died but I want to grow again
Columbine 'Denver's Gold
My 'Denvers Gold' wouldn't have died if I hadn't hacked its root ball into tiny pieces. I don't recall specifically planting a 'Denver's Gold' cultivar but a giant yellow columbine starting growing several years ago at the very front of a garden bed. This columbine bloomed from spring until our first frost. Tired of not being able to see the plants behind it, I decided to dig it up and move it. Unbeknownst to me, its root ball was snuggly growing underneath the patio and short of removing part of my patio, it wasn't coming out without a fight. While cruising the endless offerings at Lazy S, I discovered a columbine exactly like the one I dug up. This time it's going into the middle of the bed, instead of the very front. I miss having columbine blooms in October.
'Tikki Torch' coneflowers
This picture was taken in June 2011 when my 'Tikki Torch' coneflowers were still quite alive. What I didn't know then was they need perfect drainage to avoid rotting. Hasta la vista, Tikki! Last fall I added several to a large pot, which is my favorite solution for any plant with drainage issues. I've successfully overwintered cone flowers in pots before so I'm hoping they pull through. Maybe I"ll stick little paper umbrellas in the soil and chat them up while wearing a hideous Hawaiian shirt if I think they need encouragement.