I was making quite the wish list of new garden plants while attending our recent "Plants We Love" workshop, sponsored by our friends at Liquid Fence (we do need to protect our new plants from hungry deer!). By the end of the workshop my list was rather long and I knew picking and choosing which new gems or tried-and-true favorites to fit into my small gardens at Ault Park, Cincinnati, would be a challenge.
It was exciting to see a few of my favorites on the list, including 'Brilliance’ autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance') from Greenwood Nursery. I was also excited to see from Greenwood Nursery pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), a plant I first learned about while studying horticulture at the University of Cincinnati. This is an easy-to-grow plant that always seems to turn heads.
With time come rewards, as with the 'Coral Terrace' Chinese tree peony presented by Cricket Hill Garden, with its luminous pink-coral color. Each petal of this luscious flower is scalloped and ruffled, forming a dense, eight-inch head. As you know, peonies may take a few years to bloom, but when they do their blooms can be breathtaking.
The yellow petals of 'Bartzella’ Itoh peony (Paeonia ‘Bartzella’) from Adelman Peony Gardens lend a light, delicate, soothing atmosphere to the garden. Not requiring staking makes these beauties even more attractive to the busy gardener.
When skies turn cloudy, the blue and crisp white of this bearded iris is clean and elegant. 'Freedom Song' from Schreiner’s Iris Gardens is on the top of my must-have list, neck-in-neck with their ‘Red Masterpiece’ bearded iris and its bold, saturated color.
Its red-hot palette reminds me of the lovely crape myrtle Red Rooster (Lagerstroemia Red Rooster (‘PIILAG III’)) from the Gardeners’ Confidence Collection. Crape myrtles always remind me of the gardens in Savannah and Charleston and I love how the vivid color of Red Rooster would pop even on the brightest day.
And finally, seeing a plant in a new light is always a treat. Anthony Tesselaar's Tropicanna canna (Canna indica Tropicanna (‘Phasion’)) was brought out from the back-of-the-border position I had always pictured it in and placed front and center as the focal of this stunning container design.
This is just a sampling of the plants highlighted in the "Plants We Love" workshop. The download is free and is sure to make your plant-buying lists a wee bit longer!
Jenny Koester, AKA The Landless Gardener, is the Garden Blog Editor for Horticulture magazine.