Wavy, rippled, dare we say “squiggly” foliage is highlighted in at least four of our new hostas this season. The blue, rippled leaves of ‘Waterslide’ look like water splashing in the shade garden. This medium sized hosta exhibits foliage with heavy substance and holds its blue color well into the summer season. ‘Wiggles and Squiggles’ is a great name for this second new hosta. The long, slender, bright yellow leaves of this smaller hosta are so “squiggled” that they just can’t seem to stay still. Plant it in morning sun for best yellow color.
A pair of new sports from the ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ family also have wavy foliage, not as rippled as the first two, but still wavy enough to add texture to these dwarf to small hostas. Both ‘Church Mouse’ and ‘School Mouse’ form cute clumps with coarsely wavy blue-green leaves of heavy substance. ‘Church Mouse’ has subtle lighter margins, and ‘School Mouse’ has more pronounced creamy yellow margins.
A couple of big boys are worth mentioning. ‘Jurassic Park’ forms a giant mound with enormous, cascading green leaves that have heavy substance and wonderful puckering. It’s a vigorous grower that can reach 4’ tall and 5’ wide. ‘Blue Perfection’ is also an extra-large hosta that is a fast grower. Its waxy, light blue leaves are enhanced with a fair amount of morning sun. This sun tolerant hosta also has very fragrant, lavender flowers.
We have several new daylilies this year. The real show stopper is probably ‘Storm Shelter’. This stunning, high quality, tetraploid produces 5 inch wide, mauve colored blossoms with an enormous deep eggplant purple eye that extends to nearly the edge of the petals. Piecrust edges have a wide picotee margin that matches the eggplant color of the eye zone.
Earlybird Oriole™ joins its sister, Earlybird Cardinal™, with a new color providing early and extended bloom. Ruffled pumpkin orange blossoms have a deeper orange eyezone that highlights the yellow throat. The petals have attractive ruffling that show off its rounded petals and unique coloration.
Three low growing groundcover Sedums are worthy of consideration for sunny areas. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ forms a compact, tidy clump of dark green, glossy foliage 6-8” tall and is covered with bright yellow flowers from early to midsummer. Two new stars with blue foliage are touted as being improvements on Sedum cauticola, which has long been one of our favorites. The blue-green foliage of ‘Popstar’ forms a dense, full habit, 10-12” tall, with cheery, salmon colored flowers in late summer. ‘Superstar’ is similar, but with a smoky gray overlay on the foliage and rosy pink flowers. All three of these Sedums are extremely drought tolerant and are hardy to Zone 3.
We look forward to seeing the new Coreopsis ‘SunKiss’, not only because of its large, 3-inch, golden yellow flowers with burgundy red centers, but also because it is listed as hardy to Zone 4, which should make it very hardy for our area.
Hybridizers are working to make Echinaceas (Coneflowers) more compact. Two new varieties top out at 16 inches. ‘Prairie Splendor Rose Compact’ has large, rose-pink flowers on a compact plant. It blooms early and extends into fall. ‘Santa Fe’ has large flowers in shades of reddish-orange to pinkish red and blooms all summer long.
For shade, check out the new Pulmonaria ‘Twinkle Toes’. Its dainty, light periwinkle blue flowers cover a low, mounded habit in spring, followed by silver splashed leaves. Let ‘Twinkle Toes’ dance among your hostas while they are just starting to stir.
Trees and Shrubs
Customers have fallen in love, as we have, with the dwarf Japanese Maple, ‘Rhode Island Red’. This year we are pleased to offer a couple of new dwarfs. ‘Sharp’s Pygmy’ is a compact dwarf with green leaves which turn a dramatic red in the fall, then giving way to a great branch structure in winter. I will grow to 4’ tall and wide in 10 years. The other new dwarf is ‘Mikawa yatsubusa’, a small, nearly spherical, densely foliaged tree. The leaves emerge light green with red tips and margins, turning green, then fiery red in the fall. I will grow to 6’ tall and 4’ wide in 10 years.
If you are concerned with the hardiness of Japanese maples at your location, you might try Acer x pseudosieboldianum North Wind®. This hybrid Korean Maple is a great substitute for a Japanese Maple, being hardy to Zone 4. Its foliage emerges red in spring, turns green in summer, and orange and red in fall. Garden size is listed as 20’ tall and 15’ wide.
New flowering trees include a Red Horsechestnut, Aesculus x carnea ‘Fort McNair’. This rounded, very symmetrical tree puts on a striking show with bright reddish pink flowers in spring. It grows to 35’ tall and 25’ wide. A Weeping Redbud, Cercis canadensis ‘Pink Heartbreaker’, displays lavender-pink flowers on weeping branches in spring. It is drought and heat tolerant and grows to 12’ tall with an 8’ spread.
Now to conifers. If you are looking for a substitute for a Blue Spruce, try the new Serbian Spruce, Picea omorika ‘Silberblue’, a pyramidal tree with beautiful dark green needles with silvery-blue undersides. The upright growth habit shows off the silver blue color. It grows 25’ tall with a 15’ spread and is hardy to Zone 4.
Many customers have not seen the stunning show of variegated needles put on by our Dragon’s Eye Pine, even though it grows close to our lane after you pass The Barn, because it variegates in mid to late summer. Lovers of conifers would do well to try Pinus densiflora ‘Golden Ghost’, or the new Pinus densiflora ‘Burke’s Red Variegated’, with its striking display of bright green and yellow needles.
Speaking of variegation, check out two new variegated Japanese White Pines. Pinus parviflora ‘Ogon jamome’ is a stunning, rare, variegated form with yellow banded needles. Garden size is listed as 10’ tall and 8’ wide. A dwarf form, ‘Tanima no yuki’, has a garden size of 3’ tall and 2’ wide, and forms an irregular mound with striking variegated green and white needles with pink new growth tips.
New flowering shrubs include Weigela Czechmark Trilogy™, which is covered in spring with a profusion of red, pink and white blooms on a bush 3.5’ tall and wide. A new Rose receiving a lot of hype is At Last®, featuring sweetly perfumed, sunset orange, fully petaled blossoms all season long on a disease resistant shrub.
Flower arrangers will want to grow two new Symphoricarpos varieties because of the berries they put on in the fall. This shrub, generally known as Coralberry, grows around 30” tall and wide, and the variety called Candy™ has candy pink berries. The new Galaxy™ is better called Snowberry because of its bridal white berries.
Vitex Blue Puffball™ is a new shrub well worth growing. It grows 3-4’ tall and wide in a perfect ball, and is covered with deep blue, fragrant flowers from June through September. Not too many people are aware of Vitex because it is listed as a Zone 6 plant and because older varieties grew so large that they didn’t fit into most gardens very well. However, the roots are hardy, so the plant can be cut back in spring, just like a Butterfly Bush, and the shrub will grow to full size each season and bloom on the new growth. We have had an older variety growing 8’ tall and putting on a great show in our gardens for the last 10 years. It got destroyed during our redo of the gardens along the parking lot, so we look forward to planting this new, more compact Blue Puffball™ somewhere in our gardens this year.
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