Monday, August 23, 2010

New Aquisitions

Salvia Fuji Snow

Every year, I aquire a number of new and unusual plants that we don't carry at the garden center to try out in the gardens. It's what makes gardening fun. This year for a number of reasons (such as starting a small mail-order nursery, and the closure of 2 great nurseries: Asiatica and Seneca Hill) I've managed to get quite a few more than normal. I won't go into detail with this post, as I'm sure I'll write about a number of them at some point next year.

Amorphophallus atroviridis
Amsonia elliptica (both white and blue flowered forms)
Arum italicum Chameleon
Arum italicum Gold Rush
Arum italicum Ghost
Atractylodes japonica
Atractylodes ovata
Buxus koreana Sunburst
Chelonopsis yagiharana
Croton alabamensis
Deinanthe bifida
Deutzia Nikko Dawn
Disanthus cercidifolius Ena Nishiki
Eupatorium fortunei Pink Elegance
Eupatorium fortunei yellow margin
Hosta Appetizer
Hosta Dixie Cups
Kirengeshoma palmata Magic Touch
Leucosceptrum japonicum Gold Angel
Leucosceptrum japonicum Mountain Madness
Leucosceptrum japonicum Silver Angel
Leucosceptrum stellipilum October moon
Lycoris sanguinea
Mukdenia rossii Starstream
Orixa japonica Summer Sunshine
Rabdosia trichocarpa
Salvia glabrescens Momobana
Salvia glabrescens Shi Ho
Salvia nipponica Fuji Snow
Smilacina stellata Blue Dune
Solidago virga-aurea var. lelocarpa
Taxus baccata Amersfoort
Tofieldia nuda var. furusei
Tricyrtis hirta Golden Gleam
Uvularia sessilifolia Cobblewood gold

Taxus Amersfoort
Atractylodes japonica
Leucosceptrum Silver Angel
Leucosceptrum Gold Angel

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hummingbirds and butterflies love licorice.

At least they love plants from the genus Agastache, many of which have licorice-scented foliage. Many varieties have done very well in my garden. Nearly all of them need well drained soil to thrive and survive the winter. If you can provide the right soil conditions, they will reward you with masses of blooms, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
'Black Adder' is a tall, sturdy variety with dark purple calyces (the calyx holds the flower to the stalk) and lighter lavender flowers, the overall look is a dark purple. This year it is 4' in my garden. Last year it hit 5'. This variety seems to be a heavier feeder than the others, as it gets yellow in the garden without fertilizer. A slow release fertilizer would be a good idea. To much fertilizer and it could get leggy and floppy however, so don't over-do it. Tiger Swallowtail butterflies love this plant.

A. rupestris is a wonderful 30-36" mound of silvery foliage with coral flowers that blooms from the end of June through August. This is probably my favorite variety for the substantial fine textured clumps it makes in the garden. A hummingbird magnet.

'Raspberry Summer' is a rosey-pink flowered variety that gets 30"-36" tall on wiry stems that are pretty sturdy. They sway in the breeze, but aren't too horribly floppy. This year it was a little open and not very dense, so I recently cut it back and it is filling in nicely. This zone 6 variety has perfomed quite well overall, and this is its 3rd year. I do nothing special for winter, so I would say z5 with well drained soil.

'Summer Love' is a nice vivid purple that has a habit nearly identical to 'Raspberry Summer'. Hummingbirds love both varieties. This zone 6 variety has proven to be a stronger grower for me, and in year 2 has surpassed my clump of 'Raspberry Summer' for size and blooming power. Easily z5 with well drained soil.

'Purple Haze' has not yet been planted in my own garden, but had been perfoming ok up to this year in the trial garden at work. It was planted in a somewhat heavy soil and with the new layer of mulch and all the rain we've had it rotted out this year. Similar growing to 'Black Adder' but with a more vivid purple flower.
'Golden Jubilee' is a nice fairly adaptable variety with golden foliage and purple flowers. It is a prolific self-seeder however, and needs to be deadheaded to prevent taking over part of the garden. This one can take a slightly heavier soil. Hardy to at least z4, probably z3 with well drained soil.

'Blue Fortune' is similar to 'Golden Jubilee' but with green foliage. Also more soil adaptable than other varieties and also a self-seeder. Both are around 30" tall. Hardy to z4, z3 with well drained soil.

I look forward to trialing a good number of new Agastache next year, with hopes that they will be proven hardier than expected. There is an increasing number of new varieties hitting the market, and most have been acceptable in z5 with good drainage. Experiment away, and have fun!

Friday, August 6, 2010


It's early august, which means it's time for the leafless flower stalks of the Surprise Lily (Lycoris squamigera) to make their appearance. Also known as Resurrection Lily, the foliage appears in spring with the bulbs and goes dormant by mid-June. Flowers appear in early August without any foliage, usually (if you're like me) well after you've forgotten they existed in your garden. Lycoris squamigera is easily grown in partial sun from zones (4)5-9 as long as they have moderately well drained soil as they don't want to be too wet in winter. Mine have done beautifully, I add a few more every year as they're slow to spread for me.

There is a good number of other hardy Lycoris species, and for further reading I recommend Jim Waddick's article here: