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Explosive Color

Explosive Color

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Well campers, it is July. Plant names are a funny lot. Some make you scratch your head and others totally fit the plant. Terra Nova has five pyrotechnic introductions from a flashy, sparkling Ajuga to Sedum that is “Dynomite!”

Each of the plants fills a niche; Ajuga ‘Sparkler’ is a groundcover with sparkling leaves and blue flowers. You will find it has a different growth habit, spreading but more clumping and not a crazy runner like most Ajuga reptans types. Begonia ‘Fireworks’ is a houseplant or an unusual and stunning plant in a shade (only) container. Paisley splashes of silver-white on a dark purple background stun all who see it. Euphorbia ‘Golden Glory’ is another firework with brilliant gold flowers emerging from dark red-purple leaves. Full sun for darkest foliage. It is quite deer resistant. Kniphofia 'Rocket Jr.' is a regular missile battery with orange and red rockets lifting off from a nice clump of dwarf, fine foliage.

We finish with a bang: Sedum ‘Dynomite’. Jimmy Walker was right, it is a low and explosively red flower. Let us have a peek at a few of the absolute best.

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Ajuga 'Sparkler'

As a sparkly new variegated Ajuga, 'Sparkler' has thick, dark green, shiny foliage covered in creamy-white splashes that light up the floor of a garden like nothing else. Come winter, the variegated foliage takes on amazing pink tones. Warm weather with new growth brings out even more variegation. A good accent in containers, as a groundcover or as an edging for the border. Small blue flowers. Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 to 9 with flowers from June to July. Height is 3” tall, spread is 14”.

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Begonia ‘Fireworks

Deep metallic, paisley purple bands encircle an iridescent silver-white center that is undeniably striking. Great pink flowers add to the appeal. This plant did especially well in our display gardens in amended garden soil. Not as fussy as a rex and shows great vigor. Upright habit. This is a TERRA NOVA® virus-free tetraploid clone. When compared to other strains of ‘Fireworks’, Terra Nova’s breeders saw more color intensity. Bred by the great, late Mike Kartuz. Winner of an AGM (Award of Garden Merit) by the Royal Horticultural Society. Can become 18” wide and has pink blooms in winter at 16” in height. Will bleach if given too much sun.

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Euphorbia 'Golden Glory'

Incredibly dark red foliage in winter and early spring, staying dark all summer. The bright chartreuse flowers in spring are a wonderful contrast to the dark leaves. This is one of the best clones around for overall performance. Deer-resistant. The new growth in spring is impressive! This gem is hardy in zones 6 to 10. The foliage height is 20” high by 14” wide. Flowers reach 28” tall. It prefers a full sun exposure and is happy in lean to compost-enriched soil. The plants will bloom from April through June. A spring spectacle.

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Kniphofia 'Rocket Jr.'

The color intensity on this dwarf red hot poker is out of this world! Each conical flower is a fiery, deep red-orange shifting to a golden afterburn. Blooms are held tight within and above upright grass-like foliage. Blooms summer through frost with fresh flowers pushing up through the foliage non-stop. Incredible impact in the front of a bed, border or as the ‘thriller’ element in mixes. While the 12” mound is upright, it will rise to 16” in height as it blooms. Charming and useful in containers, edges and in mass. Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from zones 6 to 9 with flowers emerging from June to October when few other plants are in bloom.

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Sedum 'Dynomite'

Noticeably short and dense, its best comparison is Sedum 'Hot Stuff'. 'Dynomite' is more dramatic with deeper rose red flowers and dark, dusky foliage. Exceptionally large flower heads and stout habit all add up to the best little Sedum TERRA NOVA® has ever introduced. Good things come in small packages. Plant with Heuchera CRISP™ Series for a great match. It truly is Dy-no-mite! Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from zones 4 to 9 with flowers from August through September that are also a hit with the pollinators. The foliage height is 11” wide by 7” high.

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by the American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected]


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Dan Heims, president of Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

Terra Nova Nurseries has been busy. Their Begonia Holiday series stands up to the rigors of plant survival and color compatibility for indoor use during the winter months. To learn more click here for a timely, interesting article.

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