By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
OMG, campers. It has been a baking summer! Many plants look as bad as we do; crisped leaves, pale color, and wilting... My assignment was, “Grab three of our plants that really take the torrid.” Drought-resistance must be part of the formula. Fortunately, these three sun-tolerant gems have the genetic lineage that ensures success in the landscape. As with most perennials, natives, and shrubs, the first year does require supplemental watering. Thereafter, needs for water are reduced and the plant develops a crown which stores food and resprouts with the first rains to a bigger and better plant.
Our Agastache is a native to New Mexico and Arizona and you’d have to live under a rock to not hear of heat exposures over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit for over a month in these areas. Our breeding it to a mountain species from Washington state gives the plants hybrid vigor and more resilience. Our Echinacea contain multi-specific strains from Texan and Tennessee heritage, which are no strangers to the heat.
The Heuchera is strongly influenced by Heuchera villosa, which Fred Spicer, the director of the Alabama Botanical Garden, showed me in the wild. In the heat and humidity of summer, in a crack of a rock with a little soil, this plant wasn’t just surviving, it was thriving! Flowers were late-emerging, but were there! Terra Nova’s breeders know the score and have combined these genetics for optimum results.
Agastache ‘Pink Pearl’
Mid-sized, full and compact mound of large flower spikes. Incredibly unique, glowing light pink color brightens any garden. Different from other Agastache with large, dense blooms that cover the entire plant and appear a dynamic two-tone, with deeper-colored flower buds contrasting nicely. In full sun it can grow to 16 inches tall and 16 inches wide while in flower. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6-10, and can bloom from June to September. The scented leaves are quite unpleasant for deer, and they will move on. It’s eye-catching in the mid to front garden border, also looks stunning in a container. Long blooming, spring through frost. It’s a TERRA NOVA® staff and visitor favorite!
Novel Anemone-type flowers highlighted by semi-quilled ray petals. Emerald green eyes give way to a primrose yellow cone, supported by cream-colored ray petals on older flowers. Plant habits are short, with huge branching from the base. This ensures more bloom season after season. This is a medium-sized plant that's great in containers and garden beds. This, too, is a favorite of the staff and visitors of TERRA NOVA®. Hardy in zones 4-9 and can bloom from June till October! In full sun it can grow to 18 inches tall and 16 inches wide while in flower. Like all Echinacea, it prefers good drainage and even moisture in its first year. Give it a spin!
Large, round leaves with red centers in the spring and fall. In summer its red veins are prominent. The gorgeous gold to lime leaf color highlights the venation. Very showy year-round. A strong, vigorous habit. Best in filtered light or part sun. A third fave of the staff and visitors of TERRA NOVA®. When PP and L nursery did Heuchera trials in Watsonville, California, it competed against 60 other Heuchera and won “Best Heuchera”. Yup, number one. This plant’s papa was smiling! Hardy in zones 4-9, it can bloom from June to August. Holds up well while combining with other perennials and grasses. In full sun it can grow to 14 inches wide and a strong 12 inches tall. Pollinators love the ivory flowers, including hummingbirds.
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 also honored in receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.