|WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019
Hostas: Several of our new hostas for this year have been potted up and growing in our hoop houses since mid summer last year, so we expect to see some nice size on these plants this spring. One new variety that will surely put on some size in your garden is ‘Wu-La-La’, an extra large variety that is a variegated sport of ‘Empress Wu’. With its blue-green leaves and striking apple-green margin, ‘Wu-La-La’ is bound to rival the popularity of its solid green parent. Make sure to save space in your shade garden for this giant. Our next new hosta, ‘Etched Glass’, is a sport of the popular ‘Stained Glass’, and has wider margins and thicker leaves than its parent. Dark green margins contrast with bright yellow centers, and in between is a layer with an intricate light green pattern. Setting off this beautiful and refined medium sized hosta are large, fragrant, near-white flowers. ‘Diamond Lake’ boasts thick, blue, heart-shaped leaves that are heavily corrugated, evoking the image of rippled waters. For a medium sized hosta, its leaves are quite large, measuring up to 9 inches long by 11 inches wide. If you want a bright specimen amongst the blues and greens in your hosta garden, ‘Age of Gold’ would do the job. This large variety has smooth, golden yellow leaves that show off their best color in morning sun or filtered shade. Its bold color, large leaves and upright spreading habit are perfect for making a statement in the shade garden.
Perennials: With over 70 new varieties of perennials this year, it’ll be a worthwhile trip to see them all for yourself. But we’ll give you some highlights to entice you while you wait for warmer weather to arrive. Baptisia ‘Pink Lemonade’ has interesting bicolor blooms as soft yellow flowers age to a dusty raspberry purple, and both colors appear on the stem at the same time. It grows 3½’-4’ tall with a vase-shaped habit. A new series of Buddleias (Butterfly Bush) have enormous flower panicles that cascade downward, similar to the look of bridal wreath spirea. ‘Grand Cascade’ grows 6’ tall and wide with 12-14” lavender flowers. ‘Pink Cascade’ is slightly smaller with apple blossom pink blooms. Start your spring with a profusion of color with Salvia ‘Violet Profusion’ and ‘Pink Profusion’. If you cut back spent flowers they will rebloom multiple times throughout the summer. They grow 14-16” tall and are hardy to Zone 3. Two new varieties of Echinaceas (Coneflowers) caught our eye for their bold color and large blooms. ‘Coral Craze’ has 5” bright coral pink flowers and grows 26-28” tall. ‘Canary’ has 5” blooms that are vibrant golden yellow with golden yellow cones and grows 18-20” tall. Both are hardy to Zone 4. Hibiscus ‘Holy Grail’ offers an interesting color contrast between its near-black foliage, deep red flowers and bright green calyxes that are left on the stem after the flowers are finished. It grows 4-4 ½’ tall and is hardy to Zone 4. Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’ is a great improvement over the old standard, ‘Goldsturm’, and is resistant to leaf spot even in wet, humid conditions. A dome of golden yellow flowers blooms from July to September at a height of 22-26”. You will “ooh” and “aah” over the new Veronica ‘Wizard of Ahhs’ for its early blooming performance, outstanding flower color and impeccable habit. Thick spikes of violet blue flowers cover the top half of the plant and reach a height of 14-16”. For the shade garden there are some new Heucheras (Coral Bells). Heuchera Dolce® ‘Cherry Truffles’ has heavily ruffled foliage that is bright red in spring and matures to a rich mahogany red. Dolce® ‘Wildberry’ has purple leaves that hold their intense color for much of the season. Charcoal veins make the foliage color really pop. ‘Lemon Love’ is a chartreuse-leaf Heuchera that resists burning, a problem that plagues other yellow varieties. Its best color is in part or filtered shade, as the color will be more lime green in deeper shade.
Trees: Japanese Maples are some of the most wonderful, small ornamental trees. Here in northern Illinois, we are in the northernmost area of where some of these Zone 5 trees are hardy. And occasionally, we lose them to harsh winters. Fortunately, hybridizers have been at work, crossing Korean Maples (Acer pseudosiebodlianum) with Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) to produce hybrid trees that are hardy to Zone 4 like the Korean Maples, but with the smaller size and better color of the Japanese Maples. We have three of these exciting new hybrids in stock this year. The foliage of First Flame® and North Wind® emerges hot orange-red in spring, turns green with red hints in summer, and then bright red in the fall. They grow 20’ tall and 15’ wide. Northern Glow® is similar, but with a little more spread, up to 24’ wide. These new hybrids also handle the sun better than most of the Japanese Maples. We are also excited about a weeping cherry called Pink Cascade®, which is a prolific bloomer with bright pink flowers in the spring. And it stays dwarf, growing only 12’ tall and wide, unlike ‘Pink Fountains’, a variety that we have carried before, which grows to 25’.
Shrubs: New hydrangeas continue to amaze us. Several pink versions of the old fashioned ‘Annabelle’ (arborescens) hydrangea have been introduced over the last few years, but the best of the bunch is now Invincibelle Mini Mauvette®. Not only does it have deep pink flowers on strong stems, but it reblooms all season. The flowers seem to be a little smaller than those of ‘Annabelle’, and the stems are very strong, so there is less flopping when it rains. If you have been discouraged trying to get Bigleaf (macrophylla) Hydrangeas to bloom, you might want to try the new Mountain (serrata) Hydrangeas. They grow in a similar fashion to the Bigleaf types (the most well-known of which is Endless Summer®), but they are significantly hardier. The newest variety to come out is Tuff Stuff® Ah-Ha®, which has blue or pink flowers, depending on soil acidity, and stands 3’ tall. Two new shrubs are notable because of their very dark foliage. Cotinus Winecraft Black® is a dwarf Smokebush, growing only 4-6’ tall and wide, with foliage that is nearly black in summer, turning an array of reds and oranges in the fall. Diervilla Firefly® Nightglow® is a dwarf Bush Honeysuckle, growing a compact 2-3’ tall and wide, with intensely yellow flowers glowing brightly against dark red foliage. Both of these dark foliaged shrubs are hardy to Zone 4.
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