Posts Tagged ‘Posts by Mary’
It’s hard for me to find anything tougher in my not-too-good soil than Sedum Autumn Joy.
This drought and deer proof sun perennial has become a mainstay in my yard. It endures in areas where others struggle and needs little water to thrive and is hardy from Zone 3-9
We consider Autumn Joy to be one of the BEST in low maintenance plants. Just give them well drained soil, a sunny location and good drainage for best results .
The flower color transitions like the season from a light pink to a coppery hue in the fall. I like nothing more than cutting a few stems of Sedum and a few ornamental grasses for a simple indoor fall bouquet. The flower heads provide beautiful winter interest poking thru snow while capturing leaves that provide added protection for the plant during the winter.
For more on Sedum CLICK HERE
Butterfly Kisses Coneflower is packed with beautiful double pink pompom blooms on short stems. The fact that it has smaller flowers than other coneflowers doesn’t faze me a bit since there are so many handsome long flowering blooms on short upright stems that are just the right height for small children to enjoy the lingering butterflies.
Coneflowers or Echinacea are easy to grow in sun to part shade providing mid-late summer color in the perennial garden. Like most double flowering forms, they open single. This one has a nice lime green center to it early on before becoming fully double pink. Butterfly Kisses is from Arie Blom – a long time Coneflower breeder who has introduced some of the most garden worthy & colorful Echinacea over the years. (See Double Coneflowers – Meet the Breeder)
Here are a few garden design ideas with this enchanting new FRAGRANT coneflower.
Foundation Planting. If you have a few large shrubs around your foundation and this area is getting about 4 hours of sun, Butterfly Kisses would be a colorful foreground planting in front of a couple of Hydrangea Endless Summer.
Front of the border. At only 12-15” tall it is ideal for the front of the border or use in very narrow border or where you might have limited space.
Containers. There short, compact habit lends well to container planting.
There are lots of perennial combinations you could use. Personally, I like pairing blues and pinks together. Here are a few combination ideas:
Hardy from Zones 4-9, this Butterfly Kisses Echinacea deserves a place in any perennial garden.
Sedums are long lived, require no maintenance, are easy to grow, have excellent drought tolerance and come in a wide variety of foliage and flower colors.
I love this picture sent in from my friend Bill from Saint Louis. This planting located near a post office consists of a variety of colorful low growing sedums. Brick always reflects heat back up towards plant which just seems to make these tough as nails drought proof groundcover even prettier!
Sedums are probably one of the BEST problem solving plants for tough spots where other plants fail to grow – even on hillsides and banks. The only thing they need is good drainage.
Here are the varieties I would combine to achieve a similar foliage effect:
For even a quicker solution – try SedumSod – an easy mat that installs in seconds!
A real dependable “tough it out” ground cover is Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). Yes it is a mouthful – but oh what an underutilized ground cover for sun to partly shaded areas (or those transitional areas) that is worth growing in your garden.
If you are looking for a moderate spreader that gives you light glossy foliage that looks nice and tidy throughout the growing season (and helps suppress the weeds) Plumbago is definitely a groundcover to consider looking charming beneath shrubs or as an edging plant.
I really like blue flowers which appear in mid summer just when you need a pop of color for the garden. You’ll get some nice fall color too when the foliage turns to a red coppery bronze color. Give it good drainage, and let it do its thing as it thrives on neglect.
Be patient in spring. Plumbago breaks dormancy later that most plants.
- Botanical: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
- Common: Plumbago
- USDA – Zone 5-8
- Light: Full sun to part shade. Shade in hot afternoon.
- Size: 6-12 inches tall
- Spread: Moderate spread by rhizomes 1-2 feet wide
- Features: Tolerate clay, sand, drought, part shade, sun, deer,
- Uses: Undemanding groundcover
Remember the first perennial garden you personally designed? Mine was a rich riot of color with Daylilies and Rudbeckia. But it was boring – I had achieved a solder like lineup of plants with similar heights.
Add Highs to your Lows with Vertical Elements
So what now? I realized I needed some height along with different sizes and shape to gain balance and flow -so I added a few vertical plants namely Miscanthus and was really happy with the results.
Rhamnus Fine Line®
In the past few years, I discovered a wonderful vertical plant called Rhamnus Fine Line®
that combines the texture of an ornamental grass with Zone 3 hardiness. Rhamnus grows around 6 feet and the fact that it only gets around 24” wide – you have a perfect complement to any border in a sun to partly shaded site.
Unlike a Miscanthus, Fine Line® does not need to be pruned down to the ground every spring – it just flushes out with fresh new ferny like foliage which can be trimmed to any shape.
The soft ferny foliage is so lovely when planted in groups of 3 or more. It makes a terrific background plant and a medium sized Hedge Plant. Try it with Knock Out Roses, Buddleia Blue Chip, or other moderate size shrubs. It also makes a terrific container plant with season long interest Rhamnus is 98% sterile so it is noninvasive. Fall brings on a brilliant gold color.
This deer & drought proof deciduous shrub is a delightful medium sized vertical plant in almost any size garden.