Penstemon heterophyllus 'Catherine de la Mare'

on Monday, 28 June 2010. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Catherine de la Mare Foothill Penstemon

penstemon-overall

One of the best and easy to grow Penstemons.  The iridescent blue flowers contain a range of colors as they bloom- shades of purples and pinks and blues beckon you to look closer, where you may run into a hummingbird or a happy bee.  The colors on this penstemon just fascinate me, I could stare at it for hours; reminding me of underwater plants or multi-colored fish.  It's more compact height of 18" or so make it stand up well on its own; no staking required.  The spread can range from 18"-36" and has a nice full habit when sheared once a year.  It is one of the few Penstemons to keep nice looking foliage through the winter, even this past extra cold winter- ours kept evergreen narrow leaves in a neat mound.   The flower show starts in May and continues to frost (better than an annual!).  Deadheading always helps but you don't have to- although they make nice cut flowers.  This Penstemon is not choosy about soil, just give it a deep soak every so often but it can be quite drought tolerant and will be fine in part shade or full sun.  Looks great with silver toned foliage plants or darker maroons.   Come visit--We'd be happy to show you our specimens in our garden.  Penstemon strictus or Rocky Mountain Penstemon has a similar habit and color and is a tough alternative to some of the taller forms of Penstemons.  We always try to have both in stock.

Geranium x 'Brookside'

on Monday, 07 June 2010. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Brookside Hardy Geranium (Cranesbill)

geranium-overall-plant-of-t

We're into the purples this month it seems and this eye-catching purple is hard to capture in a photo.  This lovely hardy Geranium has deep lavender blue flowers with a white eye that is one of the easiest perennials we have grown.  It is similar to the more familiar 'Johnson's Blue' variety but is slightly more compact at around 2' x 2' and has sturdier stems.  Soft foliage surround the everblooming flowers that seem to complement most other perennials or grasses.  The strongest bloom comes in June but it will bloom most of the summer especially if it gets cut back after the first flush of bloom.  Not many perennials get nice fall color but this one gets brilliant red and orange as it fades out into winter dormancy.  We have it on the west side of our house in full sun, where it looks best with moderate water and well draining soil, but it can be drought tolerant in part shade.  Could be deer resistant but we think the smellier Geranium varieties (Biokovo) are better for that, but let us know what you find out!  We also carry Geranium 'Rozanne' a newer variety with a compact habit and darker purple flowers.

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

on Monday, 24 May 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Fall Color, Ground Cover, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Angelina Stonecrop

sedum-angelina

We're always looking for a Sedum that looks good all year and this one gives a rainbow of colors throughout the seasons.  It's easy to use in a container or as an evergreen groundcover that is drought tolerant, cold hardy to Zone 3, and deer resistant (should be).  We have it dotted throughout a rock garden as a yellow and orange highlight against creeping thymes and hens and chicks.  A small piece of the plant casually planted (or dropped!) will easily root so you can spread it where you like.   Quickly gets to 15-18" wide and about 4" inches tall with yellow flowers in late summer.  The needle-like leaves will be more yellow in full sun and get red and orange highlights in colder weather and green up in more shade.  In spring it had green, yellow, orange, and red all on the same plant, just like a rainbow. 

Hesperaloe parviflora

on Monday, 17 May 2010. Posted in Winter Interest, Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Red False Yucca

hesperaloe-plant-of-the-wee

Red False Yucca is better behaved than it's common name connection to yucca but is still heat and drought tolerant.  It makes a tidy clump of blue toned blades but doesn't make offshoots every which way.  And the flowers are spectacular- dozens of salmon colored tubular flowers attract hummingbirds throughout the summer.  This has been our plant of choice to replace New Zealand Flax that have died this winter.  It comes from the higher elevations in Texas and Mexico, so seems to tolerate our cold winters better as long as it has well drained soil and full sun.  The sturdy blades are not sharp or pointy so they would work near a path or pool and get about 2-3' tall and wide with the flower spikes reaching 4-5' tall.  It is also deer resistant and does well as a focal point in containers in a hot spot.

Ginkgo biloba

on Monday, 26 April 2010. Posted in Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Trees, Drought Tolerant

Autumn Gold Ginkgo

yellow-ginkgo-plant-of-week

We usually think of Ginkgo trees in the fall when they are at their most brilliant- 'Autumn Gold' describes this male variety well.  It is truly a golden yellow and the fall color can last quite a long time; with the leaves tending to drop all at once.  Ginkgos also have value as a tough, slow growing tree that work well in urban or rural situations.  Ginkgos have been around for 150 million years so they are adaptable to most soil and climate conditions.  They have an open habit in youth and become more dense with age; 'Autumn Gold' reaching 45' tall and 35' wide at maturity.   Put them in front of dark green conifers to highlight their fall color or use them as a street tree.