An interesting native perennial we picked up from the plant pathology group at the Chadwick Arboretum sale in 2007 is our Giant Daisy. To me, that seems like quite a misnomer—I’d have called it Giant Field Aster or something to that effect. Oh well.. . it is in the asteracaea family. The proper name for the Giant Daisy is Leucanthemella serotina and it’s pretty crazy. It gets tall (5-6 feet) and wants to spread…kind of a lot. We probably need to find a better place for it to allow it to spread out more, but I do still want it. Easy, tough, and the source of some nice white color in late summer/fall, we often see song birds hanging out among the blooms.
Because they are tough, drought-tolerant, long-lasting, bird-attracting natives, I am a fan of echinacea in my garden. Although the Meadow Brite varieties I tried didn’t come back, the white and the common pink varieties have done very well. I tried the ‘Green Jewel’ variety in 2009, and quite liked it. Interesting blooms and mildly scented, too. Here’s hoping it comes back in 2010…especially since the picture I got is really washed out and doesn’t really show off how green the blooms on it were!
Non-tropical or hardy varieties of the hibiscus are a fun perennial in our yard. Other than the ‘fireball’ variety, we’ve got a few others. They were from my mom’s garden and I don’t know the varieties. They add such a tropical, showy touch and once they start blooming they last and last. I do think mine could use a smidge more water than I sometimes give them, though. Although not as thirsty as the native wild hardy hibiscus plants that these were originally hybridized from, they aren’t completely drought tolerant, either. I still think they’re worth the effort.
Paeonia ‘Paree Fru Fru’ January 10, 2010
Here is the Paree Fru Fru peony that we have. It did better this summer (’09) so I think maybe the trouble was not that I planted it too deep back in 2006 like I initially worried but rather that it has just taken some time to get established. Not mad blooms like the Pink Spritzer, but coming along and totally worth the wait, look:
Browsing through some of my 2009 garden photos, I was happy to see that I had actually remembered to get some pics of the peonies we got at the Dawes sale a few years ago (see earlier post). So, here is what the Pink Spritzer peony in our yard looks like:
Industrious Perennial Planters, We April 10, 2009
Okay, so we did manage to back out to Dills to get a few more cheapo perennials, and then after lunch, we also popped over to Oakland in Clintonville to see what they had going. I was actually planning to get this one groovy shrub, a whippy-something-or-another evergreen bush thing that I considered last time I was there and which I had finally decided to bite the bullet and shell out the $49 they were asking for it but get this: at some point in the last 3 weeks, the price went up to $79. Gack! The wait continues. Also? Their cheapo perennials were $2.99 a pot instead of $.99 (same size pot). Too bad their stuff is always so good looking, or I’d stop torturing myself by going there altogether.
Anywho, after all the popping, we came home and although the weather was gray and grizzlie looking, it wasn’t actually too bad so we started planting. I think I’m just going to list the names of what we put in and that way I’ll at least have a reference if I need to look up care info. The tags don’t give gobs of info at any rate. We planted:
1 Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ 1 Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’
1 Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ 2 Armeria pseudarmeria ‘Joystick Red’ (Thrift)
2 Sedum spurium ‘Voodoo’ 2 Cerastium tomentosum (Snow-in-Summer)
2 Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Grenadin Innocence’ (Carnation)
2 Lobelia hybrid ‘Queen Victoria’ (Cardinal Flower)
4 Dianthus deltoides ‘Brilliant’ (Pinks) 2 Sagina subulata (Irish Moss)
1 Iberis sepervierens ‘Snowflake’ (Candytuft)
5 garden mums: ‘Rosy Victoria’, ‘Brandi’, ‘Sparkling Cheryl’, ‘Regal Cheryl’, and ‘Brigitte’
Additionally, Khan transplanted the robust looking sneezeweed plant which was getting a bit crowded from over by the giant daisies to back by the rue and he transplanted the shasta daisies we’d accidentally grown from seed too close to the weeping cherry over to back by the barn gate. Aren’t we good?!? (And by “Aren’t we” I mean “Isn’t he”!) :)
Dill’s is having their annual early bird perennial sale: 4″ pots that they decided they had more of than they wanted to transplant into bigger pots sell for $.99. The selection is always pretty random, but if there’s something good, you can’t beat that price. A little later in the season, the 4″ pots go for like $4.99, and the bigger pots go for $7.99-9.99, so it’s totally worth picking through what they have.
Yesterday we went after work, and I’m particularly excited about the Rudbeckia “cherry brandy” plant I found. There was only one, and the name intrigued me so I snapped it up…turns out it’s a new cultivar of rudbeckia with deep red/burgundy blooms and a dark brown center. The pictures I was able to find online look gorgeous…but it might not be truly perennial…accounts seem to vary (and it’s such a new cultivar they might not really know yet) but for $.99 I’ll risk it! We also got some mums and carnations. I forgot to get a few of the cardinal flower plants they had, so I may need to pop back over there this afternoon.
Peony & Echinacea Varieties January 7, 2009
How’s this for a walk down memory lane? Back in the spring of ’06 we got some neat peonies at the Dawes sale, and here they are, freshly planted (and not much else!). I love peonies —they are so old fashioned and long-lived, plus I remember them from my mom’s and my grandmothers’ gardens. The two varieties we got in ’06 were Paeonia ‘Paree Frufru’ and Paeonia ‘Pink Spritzer’. The Pink Spritzer bloom has a semi-double form —the petals are pink and white, with prominent yellow stamens. Paree FruFru is a magenta and white Japanese variety which, judging by the number of flowers on it each year, I probably planted a smidge too deep. I’m going to watch it again this year, and if there isn’t an improvement, I’ll probably dig it up (hate to since they don’t like being disturbed) and replant it. Also: check out this same area of the garden being added to in 2007:
Sadly, the ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ echinacea variety that we planted that spring was not perennial for us. A shame, because the flowers were striking (and the plant was a bit of a splurge!). We also tried the ‘Big Sky Sunset’ variety (right edge of pic) that year with no luck, but the regular Echinacea purpurea (closest to fence post) we planted at the same time thrived. Maybe it was a fluke. I’ll probably try at least one of the hybrids again, but it really was disapointing that neither came back. Especially since they were both kind of pricey and I was just expecting them to be as hardy as regular echinacea. Perhaps perfection is just hard to improve upon?
One of the very few things growing in our yard when we bought the place was the sweet autumn clematis. The first year (pictured left) this decidous perennial flowering vine climbed up and draped over the arbor —it has since spread and rambles along the picket fence. I’m torn about this one. Fairly plain most of the season, it kicks into gear in early autumn and puts on this amazing show. Stunning, fragrant, and the bees love it. You wouldn’t have known hive collapse was a concern looking at our sweet autumn clematis this autumn as there were literally hundreds of bees on it.
Sounds good, right? The reason I’m torn is that there is concern about it being an invasive plant. I can see why, as it does want to spread a lot and I always yank out a bunch of shoots –plus given the blanket of little flowers, deadheading this plant before seed formation is a Sisyphean task. So should I take it out? But they are in so many gardens in our area that they’re already practically ubiquitous anyway – would it make any difference? And boy howdy do the bees really seem to enjoy it. While I don’t think the song birds eat the seeds, they do like to use it for cover. So I’m torn.