Saturday, November 24, 2007

Some of My Best Flower Children

Jodi, who gardens in Nova Scotia, put out a request to fellow bloggers to post pictures of their favorite perennials in the garden, and why they liked them so well. Here are the best my garden has to offer, with some favorite bulbs thrown in for good measure:

I love coneflowers and I've got many cultivars, but hands down the best performers are the Chicago Botanic Gardens hybrids, 'Mango Meadowbrite' and 'Orange Meadowbrite'. They don't have the fullness of petals that some do, but the foliage remains healthier and they bloom non-stop until just before frost.

'White Swan' does well for me, too.

I don't think I can complain about any of my irises - German bearded, Dutch, Siberian, Reticulated, or otherwise, but my favorite has to be 'Red at Night'. Its large blooms don't fade in the sun and it's got multiple blooms per stalk, so it hangs around for a long time.

' Princesse Caroline de Monaco' runs a close second.

While these are called hardy glads, they're only hardy to zone 7. This cultivar is 'Atom' and it's considered an heirloom bulb, gracing gardens since 1946. I just discovered them in 2005 and I find their species look to be preferable to the regular garden gladiolus and well worth the trouble of digging them up in the fall and storing them in the basement till spring. They multiply like crazy, which is all the better for me, because I absolutely adore their fire engine red color with the white picotee edging. You can stagger their planting so that bloom time is extended. They keep well as a cut flower, too.

I like my 'Starfighter', 'Robert Swanson', and 'Italia', but the real star of all the lilies has got to be the Oriental 'Muscadet'. While they mysteriously disappeared this summer, I enjoyed their perfect blooms and heady fragrance that permeated the entire patio area last summer, so they warrant a second try. I've put them in an area that gets full sun, so they will probably do better than they did in the mostly shady spot where I had them before.

The best of the daffodils I have is 'Avalon'. It's a large one, and while I like the tiny ones too (like 'Pipit'), this one is robust and stays in flower a very long time. I even have it in shade and it does very well. The arborvitae that partially shaded it in the last couple of years has declined and part of it has even died, so 'Avalon' will get more sun this spring. That can only improve its performance, if that's even possible.

My favorite peony is 'Charles Burgess.' I planted it in 2006 and it just took right off. I love the rich magenta with the contrasting center and its foliage stays green and healthy right up until frost. I can't say that about all my peonies.

Hardy geranium 'Rozanne' is a strong performer. It starts out slow in the spring, but quickly makes up for lost time. By midsummer, I have to prune it back pretty hard so it doesn't consume everything around it. It's not that it's invasive, it's just that the plant itself grows that much, and well ... it has to go somewhere.

It works well as a groundcover, but that's not how I'm using it, so I have to keep it cut back. That doesn't hurt it a bit and it flowers late into fall.

Most people think roses can be difficult and perhaps for some they are, whether it be due to climate, soil, or other factors, but I've never found them to be that way. I don't fuss over them a whole lot and maybe there's a bit of luck involved, but I've only ever had problems with one ('Diana, Princess of Wales') and even that one eventually came around this summer after looking miserable for the first part of the season. But the one that has been the most outstanding of all is 'Disneyland'. I had seen it on a garden tour and knew I had to have it.

I can't imagine spring without the Chionodoxa. When everything's wet and brown from the melting snow and not much else has even started growing, this nearly glows in the garden. I go out and get down close and just stare at it; it's so pretty it almost doesn't look real.

Now how could I forget the Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)? I extolled its virtues a few weeks ago, but I have to mention it here because it belongs on my list of great perennials in the garden. It looks good even when it's not in bloom.

I'll wrap it up with a new one to the garden this year, Astrantia major 'Oma'. I can't say how it winters through yet, so maybe it doesn't belong here in my list of strong performers, but I hope it does just fine, because I love it. I acquired another cultivar in Cleveland in October, so if both of them make it through the winter I'll be thrilled.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kylee you have given me some ideas of Plants to adopt next spring. I can't seem to grow candy tuft even though everyone that I know has it says it is easy to grow. I blame the soil here. I can't be me????
I am not familiar with hardy glads either. Hmmmm...

Unknown said...

Oh, most brilliantly done, Kylee! Funny about the Chicago Meadowbrite series--they haven't been good performers for me, perhaps they prefer a winter that gets cold and stays that way, rather than fluctuates like ours. The Avalon daffodil is remarkable, and I will have to add it to my list of plants I can't live without. I'm sure your Astrantia will do well--I have three or maybe four different cultivars/species here and they are remarkable. In fact, one of them, the one with variegated foliage had a rather tattered flower on it last week! All in all a marvelous list of plants.

verobirdie said...

So many eyecandies! And many of them would fit into my garden. I'll keep notes.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! It brings virtually summer back to the grey and wet days we actually have. Some of the mentioned perennials I also have and I agree with you. All echinaceas are easy to care and lovely plants, as well as iberis sempervirens. My astrantias mostly dissapear after two/three seasons and I do not know the reason for this phenomen. Your glad is gorgeous! And for your lilies I feel, I confess, some envy...Mine never come to bloom, though I planted them in a sunny place. My last go will be next Spring when I'll buy a new bulb.Isn't it interesting how the same plant performs in different ways though the climate/zone/soil are the same? I see this sometimes here in my village, where the neighbours have the same soil but the same plants often don't grow in the same way!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

As has Jodi, I have had good luck with Astrantias (maybe too good). I have 3 different varieties, & all have returned well. In fact, 'Alba' is starting to be a bit of a seeding pest. I love that 'Princess Caroline' Iris. That might just tempt me back to the tall beardeds. I have admired Narcissus 'Avalon' for quite a while. Maybe next Fall I'll feel like digging holes. I didn't plant any bulbs this year because I didn't feel like having sore wrists!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

You have so many perennials I don't have. I see now that I'm going to have to start a wish list.

Oh how miss those glorious days in the garden.

Sylvana said...

Nice choices.

Lilies don't really care for shady or moist, so the move should do them good.

I have had terrible luck with all roses except my Tiffany tea rose. That one LOVES me!

Daffodils don't like me much either - except an un-named mini I got a while back that is quickly taking over my garden. And I couldn't be happier ;)

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