The perennial world is constantly plastered with marketing for new plants, many of which have not been sufficiently trialed under consumer-like conditions. I may be a certified landscape designer and a long-time horticulturist and gardener but I also think of myself as a typical consumer in that I am so busy that plants, once installed, have to fend for themselves, albeit having the benefit of an irrigation system. Unlike many gardeners, I do keep records so I can tell you that the perennials below were planted in my garden in 2014 and have done very well.
Although late October is the wrong time in northern Ohio to be planting perennials, it is the right time to assess one’s garden, determining what should be replaced and where there are “holes”. Thus, I have some suggestions for you.
Astilbe ‘Sugarberry’ is a dwarf, growing only twelve inches high with soft pink plumes that resemble a fluffy starburst. Part of the Short ‘n Sweet™ series, it blooms in mid-June for approximately three weeks. I still enjoy the deadheads as a structural element. The foliage is glossy green. Like most astilbe, this one benefits from some shade. Mine are planted at the top of a south facing slope but are shielded by the taller foliage of other perennials and, in June, by the large heads of Allium christophii. The soft pink plumes blend well with the soft lavender of the allium and with the purple foliage of the neighboring Berberis ‘Concorde’, a sterile cultivar of barberry.
Heuchera ‘Glitter’ has many incarnations depending on its siting. Most catalogs show it as a silver-leafed cultivar with black veins. However, seen in full sun in April 2016 at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, it was a silvery burgundy. In my garden, facing east but also getting some afternoon sun, the leaves are purple with a silver glaze. This heuchera blooms in mid-May with bright pink clusters of tiny bells. The foliage is about eight inches high and the flower stalks are fifteen inches high. Although this bed is irrigated, ‘Glitter’ is at the edge so the drip doesn’t always extend that far; thus, I will say that this heuchera is relatively drought-tolerant.
Three more perennials in next week’s post.