Sunday, September 8, 2013

What Really Worked -- My Favorite New Plant This Year

This is part of a series of posts by garden writers highlighting one plant that did exceptionally well in their gardens this year.  For other posts in the series, see the links at the end of this blog post. 

Sometimes you buy a plant and with your purchase comes previewed hype, raising your expectations for its performance.  Sometimes it lives up to that, and sometimes it doesn't.  But other times, you get a plant just because you like how it looks at the time you saw it in the garden center, and you hope it continues to look at least that good in your garden for more than a few weeks out of the year.

Last year, I planted a new (to me) Coreopsis called 'Center Stage'.  It has verticillata in its parentage (Coreopsis verticillata × Coreopsis ‘Limerock Ruby’), making it a hardy variety for my Zone 5b garden.  (USDA puts me in Zone 6a now, but I don't believe that and don't garden for it.)

In spite of my planting it too close to both a rose and a Baptisia, 'Center Stage' has been a real trouper - as in stealing the show from the rose (bless its heart, it managed to push a few blooms up through the Coreopsis).  Not only that - and this is HUGE in the world of threadleaf Coreopsis - it doesn't require deadheading!

I made a confession on my Our Little Acre Facebook page a week or so ago, in which I admitted to deadheading - not shearing - my threadleaf Coreopsis plants.  Most gardeners will just wait until the first flush of blooms is over and then take the pruners to the entire plant and shear them all off, maybe removing a fourth of the plant's upper growth.

The problem with that for me is that I hate cutting off unopened buds and with these types of Coreopsis, that simply can't be avoided.  So I patiently cut the spent blooms off individually and by the time I'm done, my back and neck are usually done, too.  But I can't help it.  For what it's worth, it pains me to thin things like beets and carrots, too.  I've been known to transplant beet thinnings in between the rows.

So the fact that 'Center Stage' doesn't even need deadheading is like music from heaven to my ears.  I will say, when I read that, I didn't believe it, but I'm here to tell you it's true.  I didn't deadhead that plant even once all summer and it has bloomed continually, even on the north side of that large Baptisia.

I'll be moving 'Center Stage' next spring, to a place where it can truly live up to its full potential.  That means full sun (it can be grown in part shade too), good drainage, and a space of at least 2½-3 feet around. Terra Nova, who introduced the plant in 2011, lists it as hardy for Zone 5-10.

See what other garden writers loved in their gardens this year:

Steve Bender ~ Alabama

Carolyn Binder ~ Florida

Helen Yoest ~ North Carolina

Shawna Coronado ~ Illinois

Steve Asbell ~ Florida

Jenny Peterson ~ Texas

Christopher Tidrick ~ Illinois

Christina Salwitz ~ Washington

What worked well for you this summer?


Steve Asbell said...

I might have to try that alongside caladiums in the apartment garden next year! I definitely do not have time to deadhead.

Rose said...

Anything that doesn't need deadheading is a winner in my book! I've saved this coreopsis to my Pinterest board so I wouldn't forget it next spring--thanks, Kylee.

Helen Yoest @ Gardening with Confidence said...

It's a beauty, Kylee. I think I'll give it a try in my garden next year. H.

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

After a horrible experience with coreopsis early in my gardening career, I planted some Moonbeam this year and I've been happy with it. This one looks particularly charming peeking out through your fence. Might have to try it next year.

Carolyn from Cowlick Cottage Farm said...

This coreopsis is a beauty. I love the gorgeous shade of pink and the fact that it will grow here in Florida as well!

Jenny Peterson said...

Coreopsis is one of my favorite flowers, but I've never seen this one! That color is to die for, and looks pretty easy care. Great choice!

Grumpy Gardener said...

Will this plant grow without a fence?

Shawna Lee Coronado said...

Loving the downright AMAZING hot pink color. Woweeewwowowow!! It's like a feather boa for pete's sake. I want to get 30 of these and line the garden with them. Gorgeous!


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