New, semi-new or otherwise really great plants for 2017
The newest thing isn’t always the best thing, as many of us have discovered throughout our lives, from the first love who turned out to be a twit, to the latest fashion that makes us look dumpy. So I often wait a couple of years to see how the newest plant introductions perform before adding them to my crops. Here are some of the truly new, or just new-to-Egan Gardens plants that I’ve decided are worthy of growing for you.
Passion Vine ‘Becky’s Blue and White’ Striking, exotic, bold and yet delicate – it’s hard to describe the stunning flowers on this big, hardy vine. Bees and butterflies love them. We only grew 50, so get yours soon.
Clematis ‘Sapphire Indigo’ Another vine, but it’s almost not a vine. This has big deep purple-blue flowers like the old ‘Jackman’ Clematis around so many older homes, but on a plant only 3 feet high and wide. Use it in the ground as a weed-smothering groundcover, or a filler under shrubs. It would be great in a planter, either on a short supporting trellis or obelisk, or loose and trailing.
Camas ‘Blue Melody’ A particularly pretty variegated-leaf selection of our native Camas, whose bulbs were a staple food of the local people. Stalks of blue lily-like flowers bloom in May, a good timing to fill in between the daffodils and tulips of early spring and the rush of perennials that comes in June. They will probably make themselves at home in your garden, gradually spreading to nice, big clumps. Planting natives helps support our native bee populations.
Grecian Windflower, or Anemone blanda Not a new plant at all, just one I haven’t produced before. They’re just so cute! Blue flowers on little tufts that will settle in with your crocuses and primroses and be there for you early every spring. They’ll be ready opening weekend.
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ Another not-new bulb, but one I just added to our growing because of their tremendous bee-feeding reputation. Big purple drumsticks bloom in summer. If you go to the Million Pollinator Challenge website, it’s a purple Allium with bees that you see as the home page photo.
Salvia ‘Playin’ the Blues’ and ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ Two different plant breeders got the same great idea, and produced virtually identical plants under different names. Consider them interchangeable. About 2 feet tall, vertical and sturdy, and massively covered with slender, deep blue flower stalks from May through October. Bees and hummingbirds were all over these last summer. They were perfect planted with zinnias and purple fountain grass.
Leopard Plant (Farfugium j. ‘Giganteum’) This one’s just for the foliage; though it does flower, many people choose to cut the flower stalks off so the beautiful, lush foliage remains undisturbed. Big, round leaves like green parasols blown inside-out give a rich tropical look to shady beds or planters. But unlike Elephant Ears and most similar great foliage plants, they are completely hardy here – no need to move them to a greenhouse for the winter or kiss them good-bye each fall. They need plenty of water, so I plan to put mine in a big pot where I can concentrate the water, since I leave the rest of my yard fairly dry. If you have a shady pond edge, a Farfugium would love it there.
Back by popular demand
Garvinea Gerberas Mostly-perennial Gerberas that bloom all summer and about 2/3 of them overwinter. Last year our source of Garvinea starts failed us,and we weren’t able to get any to grow. Glad to have Garvineas back.