By Sally Credille and Laura
Spring is nearly here, and
with its arrival comes a host of new and exciting perennials and shrubs which
are ideal for the Northwest landscape. Whether you are novice or master
gardeners, these plants offer low-maintenance options that are striking and
unique. “Today’s genetically superior perennials and shrubs can be used interchangeably
in the landscape and container garden for maximum flexibility,” says Linda Guy,
new plant product development director for Novalis
Work. “Gardeners can first plant them
in dramatic container gardens and then transfer them to the garden the
following year, or plant perennials en masse for an
Gardeners in the Northwest
have always been known for their stewardship of and great care for the
environment. As attention turns toward more sustainable options in the horticultural
world, more plant selections that cater to this concern are now available.
“Many of today’s perennials and flowering shrubs are bred for
disease-resistance to reduce the use of harmful and often confusing
pesticides,” says Dan Heims, president and co-owner of Oregon-based Terra
Nova Nurseries. “Heat- and humidity-tolerance also reduces wasteful
watering, which is all too important today, when concern for our resources is
high and restrictions are common.”
Plant experts like Novalis’
Guy and Terra Nova Nurseries’ Heims develop plants that are suited to the lush
growing conditions of the Pacific Northwest, with proven tolerance for pests
and the region’s off-chance weather extremes. From their years of horticultural
experience, Guy and Heims recommend these new varieties for fabulous, easy-care
gardens throughout the Northwest:
Gaillardia ‘Commotion Tizzy’
Common name: Blanket Flower
USDA Zones: 5-9
Growing conditions: Grow in full sun with regular
water, allow soil to dry fully between waterings.
Part of the revolutionary
Commotion™ Series from the Northwest’s own Skagit Gardens, and introduced
exclusively by Novalis
Plants that Work
in 2008, ’Tizzy’ is a vigorous grower with a manageable, mounding habit. Early
in the season, ‘Tizzy’ offers red and burgundy tones, with hints of yellow. By
summer’s end, orange seeps into the red, making this variety a natural for fall
planting. “This variety has a higher petal count per bloom, so it often appears
as though it is semi-double,” says Guy. ‘Tizzy’ reaches 18 to 24 inches tall
with a 24-inch spread. Planted in the perennial border or in boldly colored
containers, this plant’s numerous blooms will provide color all season.
Hypericum ‘Mystical Beauty’
Common name: St. John’s Wort
USDA Zones: 5-9
conditions: Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.
“‘Mystical Beauty’ allows
gardeners to enjoy the same hypericum plants that were bred exclusively for the
cut-flower industry,” says Guy. “Beautiful, salmon-pink colored fruits on
perfectly branched stems are lovely in the garden or in long-lasting bouquets.”
A large, red-berried form, ‘Mystical Beauty’ is also exclusively available from
Novalis in 2008. This plant will fill the fall garden with interest and floral
arrangements with lovely colored hips and bright yellow flowers in spring.
Hypericum can be used as a specimen plant or in masses. ‘Mystical Beauty’ is
rust-resistant and reaches a height of 30 to 36 inches.
nitida ‘Edmee Gold’
USDA Zones: 6-9
conditions: Grow this evergreen in well-drained, compost-rich soil with
protection from afternoon sun.
Add a touch of gold to the
shade garden with this new box honeysuckle. Equally at home in the perennial
garden or used as a specimen to infuse an area with color, ‘Edmee Gold’ throws
layer after layer of golden branches with tiny, delicate leaves. “This shrub is
so adaptable that it also can be used as a tall groundcover under large trees,”
says Guy. “It makes a very attractive addition to the winter garden with its bony,
architectural silhouette.” This native of China reaches four feet tall and wide
in eight to 10 years.
Weigela ‘Shining Sensation’
Common name: Weigela
USDA Zones: 5-8
conditions: Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full- to part-sun exposure.
A blooming machine, the
pink, funnel-shaped flowers of ‘Shining Sensation’ engulf the plant in May and
June, and then sporadically bloom through summer. Shiny, burgundy foliage
appears polished and contrasts nicely with the pink flowers. Long, arching stems
provide a handsome architectural element to the mixed border. “This shrub is
often used in place of a
traditional perennial,” Guy says. “It is a true performer, offering months of
blooms and beautiful foliage.” A fast-growing shrub that reaches five to six
feet tall with a gracefully arching habit, ’Shining Sensation’ adds season-long
Campanula ‘Pink Octopus’
Common name: Bellflower
USDA Zones: 5-9
Growing conditions: Plant in full sun to partial
shade. Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
The buds of ‘Pink Octopus’
open to reveal striking pink, octopus-like flowers that weep from the upright
flowering branches above strong, deeply cut foliage. These unusual plants reach
18 inches across and 10 to 15 inches tall. “With more than 50 blooms per plant
at any given time, this long-blooming, oddly exotic selection adds interest to
any perennial border or container garden,” says Heims.
USDA Zones: 4-9
conditions: Plant in full sun in coarse, composted soil. Allow soil to dry
slightly between waterings. Deadhead to prolong flowering.
blooms might stop traffic with their striking color, which is one of the
deepest magenta flowers we have ever seen,” says Heims. “They are extremely
showy when planted en
masse in the border.” Up to 30
flowers adorn this compact, well-branched perennial in the first year. The
flowers are small and numerous, and emerge for a long period, from midsummer to
fall. The plant reaches 18 to 24 inches tall with a 15-inch spread.
Hellebores ‘Regal Ruffles’ Strain
Common name: Double Lenten Rose
USDA Zones: 5-8
conditions: Grow in light shade or full sun and provide regular watering.
Bred by one of the world’s
greatest hellebore hybridizers, Marietta O’Byrne, the ‘Regal Ruffles’ strain
marks O’Byrne’s first introduction by Terra Nova Nurseries. “Marietta’s single
mix is a compendium of the world’s greatest hellebores,” says Heims.
“Brushstroke splashes, spots and true, rich colors adorn the wide petals of
this superior group.” A delight in the winter garden, these deer-resistant
plants reach 12 to 24 inches tall with a 24-inch spread.
Common name: Foamy Bells
USDA Zones: 4-9
conditions: Plant in full to partial shade in well-drained soil. Feed and water
‘Alabama Sunrise’ changes
color with the seasons. The deeply-cut foliage is gold with red veins from
spring to midsummer. In late summer, leaves turn green with red veins, and in
fall the older foliage turns orange-pink for excellent seasonal appeal. A veil
of small white flowers bloom above the foliage in summer. This mounding plant
reaches 12 inches tall and 20 inches across.