By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
There are many plants we have seen in landscapes for so long that, despite their ability to get the job done, they simply fail to excite; that is why Terra Nova Nurseries is in the business of breeding exciting plants that work. But how does a plant “work,” you ask?
A plant is deemed as a “working” plant when it stakes a claim in your garden; it attracts someone’s eye from across the yard; or it grows strongly for the home gardener. Terra Nova Nurseries has many plants that meet the aforesaid specifications, but there are five Terra Nova cultivars in particular that make an impression and can rock your garden!
Let us start with Agastache ‘Blue Boa’, which is a hard island of blue that flowers all season long. Another Terra Nova plant that creates excellent color, Coreopsis ‘Citrine’, bears brilliant yellow blooms all season and provides a radiant “shelf” that other flowers can rest upon. In the echinacea world, the Echinacea ‘Glowing Dream’ gives a strong, consistent show of long-lasting, bright watermelon-pink flowers with orange-brown cones on plants that bloom in their first year. Specified by many garden designers, the Heuchera Marmalade series has been a colorful workhorse in the garden, and Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ is no exception with its large, ruffled lime-green leaves. Lastly, Kniphofia ‘Papaya Popsicle’ has been one of Terra Nova’s best-selling, everblooming poker-plant varieties, with its great spikes of brilliant orange.
Agastache 'Blue Boa'
Agastache are known for their drought resistance and heavy blooming properties. Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ exemplifies those traits and more, with its ultra-green foliage and luxurious, deep violet-blue flower spikes that can reach 3’ tall. The flower spikes are long, wide and extremely showy, making Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ a great color spot for summer bloom. This plant is drought tolerant once established and it attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ is an award-winning plant, having received the “Too Good to Wait Performer” accolade from the 2013 Colorado State University (CSU) Perennial Trials, and it has been tested in U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones 5-10. This plant prefers full-sun in borders as a mid-tall background plant, and it provides an excellent screen for echinacea. Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ is very long blooming as well.
Coreopsis ‘Citrine’ is what can be referred to as an OMG plant; it is so bright, so low, so compact, and so showy. This plant impressed many with how floriferous and clean it looked all summer long. Its brilliant yellow flowers appear purposively on top of the old flowers, which disappear as a result of breeding; this creates very little maintenance for the gardener.
Coreopsis ‘Citrine’ works well in mass plantings, as an edging plant or as the shortest plant in mixed beds or containers. Its parents are from an arid and hot area, which helps with drought-resistance. Coreopsis ‘Citrine’ provides many months of exciting color. It is low maintenance and easy to grow, making it one of Terra Nova’s most popular introductions for U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones 7-10.
As one purveys the field of echinacea bred for new color, a miracle pops up every now and then. Echinacea ‘Glowing Dream’ stands out from the panoply of pink offerings because of its breeding, which imparts great habit and a high number of crowns. The flowers are an intense, glowing, watermelon-coral, making for a superlative landscape plant with vibrant flower color and habit. Echinacea ‘Glowing Dream’ also has a long bloom time for a U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zone 4-9 plant, and its 2-foot-tall plants produce a rare flower color from July to October. Echinacea ‘Glowing Dream’ is excellent for the mid-border, and it can even perform well in a larger container with mixed annuals and perennials.
Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ is a tasty lime-foliage sport from Terra Nova Nurseries’ finest amber-foliaged workhorse, Heuchera ‘Marmalade’. It is very vigorous, full of frills, and, like Heuchera ‘Marmalade’, performs equally well in the South as it does in the Northwest. Compared to Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’, Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ features a larger, “landscape sized” form with a width of 24 inches.
With ruffled, lime-colored leaves and a large mounding habit, Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ is showy in containers as well as in mixed beds and masses. The color can be a strong chartreuse in deeper shade and prefers a less-intense morning sun for best success. It is easy to grow with good drainage and thrives in U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones 4-9.
A poker with a twist, Kniphofia 'Papaya Popsicle' is an all-summer bloomer with a very short, compact habit. Its charming, grass-like foliage looks neat all summer long! Terra Nova Nurseries has taken great strides to continually produce a kniphofia that challenges the old complaints of, “it doesn’t rebloom; it has too short a color period; it doesn’t bloom in a container; and it has folded and tattered leaves.” Through intense breeding efforts, Terra Nova Nurseries has addressed all of these undesirable traits and produced this 20-inch-tall, grassy plant that reblooms with exotic, two-toned, orange and yellow flower spikes from July to October. It is great for small gardens or containers in U.S.D.A. Hardiness Zones 6-9.
Dan Heims is a published author of two books and lectures around the world. In 2003 he won the Reginald Cory Memorial Cup from the Royal Horticultural Society. He was awarded the Award of Merit by the Perennial Plant Association in 2019, and the Luther Burbank Award by the American Horticultural Society in 2020.
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