Dahlia ‘Sangria’

This is a brilliantly colored dahlia with large single  deep pink flowers that contrast wonderfully with midnight black foliage. To 34″ tall and increasing by tubers. Excellent cut flower but it makes a better garden subject where the contrast in foliage and flower color shine. Blooms late June to frost. This is a vigorous and hardy dahlia that is very easy to grow. Amend the soil heavily with compost and add all purpose organic fertilizer to the planting hole. Wonderful with the brilliant orange flowers of Epilobium (Zauschneria).  Mulch in fall or lift after frost and store in shredded paper in a cool dry place. Replant after all threat of frost has passed and the soil is sufficiently warm. Regular summer water in full sun.

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Dahlia 'Towering Blonde'

Dahlia ‘Towering Blonde’

We promised this very tall dahlia that it didn’t have to play basketball. And she agreed to produce a constant supply of amber/blonde single flowers that we love. This is a very old variety for us. In the past 20 years we’ve let our original seed and cutting raised plants dwindle as they are taken out by horrible freezes. What we’ve found is that we lose Dahlias by variety which implies two things. One,  Dahlia’s cold hardiness is different for every cultivar let alone species. And  (two) we’ve let nature do the selecting for us. The varieties that are left are the very cold hardiest Dahlias, and we’ve been very impressed with their performance. Rich soil that is never boggy but is moisture retentive with regular summer irrigation. Full sun and this variety also sports dark foliage which is highlighted by the lighter colored flowers. To 5′ tall with long flower stems. Dahlias as best planted in a warm full sun position in our climate where the soil seldom freezes. A thick mulch in fall is added insurance. Our varieties have been reliably hardy down to 5ºF with no issues. If you live in a colder zone you can lift and store the tubers over the winter.  Replant when all danger of frost has past. Mulch annually with compost.

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Disporum cantonense 'Night Heron'

Disporum cantonense ‘Night Heron’

Amazing perennial that is a great release from the former Heronswood Nursery. A tall growing evergreen fairy bells that emerges in spring with new growth dyed distinctly black- stems and leaves. They eventually turn to a medium green in summer. White the new growth unfurls its bearing small green/white bell shaped flowers. The effect is sublime. To 4′ tall ( or taller) it rises up to a finely divided scape of leaves in an arching fan construction. Excellent perennial that may be cut back to the ground in late winter to showcase the dramatic new growth. Woodland conditions, rich, humusy soil with regular summer water. Great in containers. Resistant to slugs and snails. I have not tried this perennial in deer land so I’m not sure how it would fare. Please let us know if you have experience with that.

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Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense 'Bandit'

Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’

We love this little multidimensional barrenwort that pairs fresh green leaves outlined in black in spring while simultaneously producing clouds of star shaped crystal white flowers. A compact smaller growing plant to 10′ tall and with good care spreading to 18″ wide. The remarkable new growth morphs to solid fresh green in summer. Blooms March to May in part to full shade (really doesn’t like sun so don’t fudge it). Regular summer water. Rich, moisture retentive hummus rich soil. Add an annual application of compost and even a  handful of organic fertilizer in spring to increase vigor- give it a good life. Completely winter deciduous. Long lived perennial.

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Epimedium x grandiflorum 'Pierre's Purple'

Epimedium x grandiflorum ‘Pierre’s Purple’

A really good purple flowering barrenwort with new foliage that emerges deep purple and accompanies the mid-violet colored flowers that have spurs tipped in white. A really good effect on a sophisticated long lived perennial. To 1′ tall and 2′ wide in rich, moisture retentive soil. Add a layer of compost annually and water regularly through the dry summer months. Completely winter deciduous. One of the best purples that we’ve grown. Easy plat.

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Erica cinerea 'Velvet Night'

Erica cinerea ‘Velvet Night’

Heathers and Heaths are fun to grow, but the tales of failure are epic. The easiest Heaths are Ericas and they all like some sort of regular summer water to thrive, bloom and adapt. This is a favorite shrub aside from being the darkest flowered Heath that we’ve seen. Beginning in June with a summer crescendo that bleeds into autumn with deep beetroot purple flowers on deep black green needle like foliage. To 2′ x 2′ in 3 years and fairly upright for an Erica cinerea. Outstanding long season of summer bloom that is a thrill to hummingbirds as well. Great aesthetic and cultural companion for Grevilleas. This Heath will bloom while most Grevilleas are having a summer bloom rest. Shear after blooming (fall) this will increase density as well as blooming wood. Full sun and rich to regular soil with regular irrigation for the first 3 years- then much less. This is a dark shadow of a shrub. We love it. Moderate deer resistance. Mulch heavily with bark after planting and annually. The secret to Heaths and Heathers in our climate is mulch, mulch, mulch. Excellent performance at the coast.

 

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Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'

Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’

Bold cold hardy bulb that we cherish for its rosettes of huge wide deep purple foliage as it emerges in spring/early summer. By the middle of the season stems extend from the middle of the plant with unique columns of dense pink/white flowers. On top is a hat of leaves. Reminds me of a garden form of Carmen Miranda. The resemblance is where we get the common name of Pineapple lily.  Give this big spreading perennial space. Following the flowers the wide, heavy leaves will turn more greenish and lay down. That means they will swamp any delicate neighbors nearby. At least 2′ of clearance on each side. Multiplies happily in rich, deep soil in full sun. Regular summer water restricts stress and keeps the leaves happily vertical. Long lived and hardy. South Africa.

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Euphorbia x 'Purple Preference'

Euphorbia x ‘Purple Preference’

Excellent Euphorbia hybrid selected for deeply hued purple foliage that it pairs with early spring panicles of large chartreuse yellow flowers. Semi-shrubby evergreen perennial for RICH soil that drains quickly and light summer irrigation. The foliage goes through several hues before settling to deep green (purple to mustard to green). To 3′ tall and half as wide. Completely sterile hybrid that will not reseed or become a pest. Long season of bloom and interest. Appreciates the good conditions.

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Fuchsia 'Insulinde'

Fuchsia ‘Insulinde’

Not the hardiest Fuchsia but by all means one of the showiest. This improved form of ‘Gartenmeister’ is taller  with longer brilliant orange red flowers. Tubular pendant flowers in groups to 3″ long. They appear in a massive and continuous display for months petering out around frost. To 30″ tall and very upright- just half as wide. The foliage is a distinct maroon/burgundy which sets off the hot colored flowers nicely. Rich, well drained soil with regular summer irrigation. Part shade to full sun (but not against a hot wall) with water. Incorporate a handful of all organic fertilizer at planting. To over winter this more tender than normal beauty plant deeply, mulch in autumn heavily, and even pile some dry leaves around the crown. It may return from the base if we have a mild winter (above 20ºF). Otherwise its a stellar container constituent. Hummingbirds.

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Geranium sessiliflorum ‘Red Select’

Very pretty cocoa brown leaves have fine hairs on them that give them a kind of metallic sheen. Everything about this plant is the same uniform cocoa color save for the dime sized white flowers which appear continuously as long as its warm and provide welcome contrast. Mounding evergreen plant to 6″ tall and 20″ wide. Full sun and rich,well drained soil with regular summer water. Takes less water in richer soil. A very pretty and durable New Zealand native Geranium. Not bothered by slugs and snails.

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