By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Hey, campers. The powers that be asked Dan to pick three. “Three of the best!” they cried. And Dan complied. Colorado State University has one of the best perennial trial gardens in the country. Orderly, well labeled, and expansive, so all can find a space for their plants. Every year they select a plant or two that is “Too good to hold back.” In other words, they choose to skip the three year trial to laud a spectacular (there’s that word again) plant. Terra Nova is proud to have won this laurel several times. Today’s selections are Dan’s.
We start with Echinacea FRESCO™ Apricot. These coneflowers yet again show the power of the breeding team of Terra Nova in creating not just another dwarf double Echinacea, but a stunning mixed apricot creation. A color never seen before, with a pollinator-friendly cone! Also featured was the Heuchera ‘Black Forest Cake’ with perfect, shiny black foliage and dark cherry-red blooms. I’d finally like to introduce you to England and Europe’s favorite Pulmonaria, ‘Trevi Fountain’. There’s a good reason: It thrives. The vigor is undeniable, the shimmering blue flowers draw your eye as well as the hummingbirds and early pollinators. Let’s have a boo.
Echinacea FRESCO™ ‘Apricot’
Every now and then, a flower pops up in Terra Nova’s breeding trials that blows us away. This is one of those refreshing changes in Echinaceas. The tall, narrow habit of this plant sets it apart from all others. Quite large, double, zinnia-like flowers top this new plant in spectacular fashion. Long lived in the garden. Hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, and can bloom from June to October! Holds up well while combining with other perennials and grasses. In full sun it can grow to 23 inches wide and a strong 29 inches tall. Notice, too, that the double flowers have stamens and nectar for pollinators – another breakthrough. Super in the landscape, high crown count, and bright, unique, semi-double flowers make this selection a standout!
Smooth, dark chocolatey foliage topped with bright, cherry-red flowers. What's not to like? Excellent habit and showy flowers are a terrific addition to any perennial foliage lineup. Medium-sized plant that's great in containers and garden beds. 'Black Forest Cake' is a favorite of the staff and visitors of Terra Nova. No matter how you slice it, it's delish! Hardy in zones 4 to 9 and can bloom from May to June. In full sun it can grow to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide while in flower. Like all Heuchera, it prefers good drainage and even moisture. Use in containers or front of the border. Give it a taste!
These superb, brightly silver-spotted, emerald leaves will give rise to profuse clusters of large cobalt-blue flowers in April through May. A stunner! We feel it is our best true dark-blue, and grows into a magnificent landscape specimen. The roots of this plant are in P. longifolia, the best form for the south, according to John Elsley. In full sun it can grow to 14 inches tall and 25 inches wide while in flower. Hardy in zones 4 to 9 and can bloom from June to August. The scratchy leaves (typical for Pulmonaria) are quite unpleasant for deer, and they will move on. Got Hosta? Lives in part to full sun, disliking hot afternoon sun.
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.
By Heirloom Roses
Photographs courtesy of Heirloom Roses
In many areas of the country this is an excellent time to prune roses. Although rose pruning may seems daunting, it’s not hard to learn and the results are well worth the effort. For an informative article on rose pruning, click here .
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