Mighty Midgets, Short Plants for the Garden

Seeing that I am not a speck over five feet tall (and probably shrinking!) I find myself drawn towards the perennials that are small but mighty! Not that I don’t appreciate the occasional tall beauty like Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ or Filapendula rubra ‘Venusta’ because I do, but my favorites are of the shorter stature. Here are some perennials that I am proud to boast about!

Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – This is one is tried and true! Sturdy, strong, disease resistant, and long bloom time are some of its great qualities. There is nothing better than to see this “sea of blue” going strong when most perennials are fading. Although the bees are drawn to it, they are really more concerned with their lunch than with visitors passing by. Butterflies love this one too! Cutting this back half-way after first bloom will encourage another full set of blooms that will flower until frost!

Alchemilla mollis – I hope everyone is familiar with this perennial. Early to rise in the spring, the big fuzzy leaves are so soft and luscious! Every morning after a dew or after a rain, the leaves will hold large globules of water which I just love the look of. Great for shade and dry areas.

Campanula p. ‘Blue Waterfalls’ – This is a new favorite of mine! A customer asked us to grow it and I’m so glad we did! I planted this in mid-May in full sun. This plant never got over 6” tall, bloomed from the time I planted it and it still has blooms on it today (yes, it’s November!)  This awesome plant kept up with my Wave petunias and that is something for a perennial! Flowers are a periwinkle blue and the foliage is a nice dark green. If you haven’t tried it, go for it! You won’t be sorry!

Geranium biokovo OR biokovo ‘Karmina’ – There are many varieties of hardy geraniums out on the market but these two take the cake in my mind. The soft fragrant blooms of the biokovo are just beautiful and the scent is incredible! I love the new color of Karmina as well and neither will get floppy in the landscape. (I hate floppy!)

Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ – Surprised?  For short and color and a nice neat look all summer long, this is definitely my favorite! For larger hostas my vote goes for ‘Stained Glass’ and ‘Sum and Substance.’

Indigofera k. ‘Rose Carpet’ – This is a fairly new introduction from Spring Meadow Nursery. Although late to wake up in the spring, once it wakes up and takes off… nice! The foliage reminds me of crown vetch BUT stays low to the ground and spreads SLOWLY! Small pink flowers all over it most of the summer! Great for under-plantings.

Leucanthemum ‘Broadway Lights’ –Can you say Love, Love, Love it? This was another customer pick for us and I’m so glad! You say ‘Who needs another white Shasta daisy?” I say “YOU DO!” This stays 18-24” and will bloom non-stop with some dead-heading. The blooms start as yellow buds, open to large yellow flowers, begin to fade to a soft butter yellow and then fade to a pure white… all without turning brown or looking anything but awesome!

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’ – There was a reason this one made “Perennial of the Year!” Blooms all summer and stays 18”.

Pulsatilla vulgaris – This one is the earliest bloomer in my garden! Bright purple flowers in early spring lets me know that old-man-winter is on his way to bed! Do I need another reason to love it? Foliage stays nice all summer. Seed heads are great too!

Rudbeckia ‘Little Suzie’ AND ‘Indian Summer’ – I couldn’t decide between the two… the small numerous flowers of ‘Little Suzie’ that spread and spread or the very large flowers of ‘Indian Summer’ that technically can’t be considered a perennial but will re-seed dependably are both rated tops by me. The flowers of the ‘Indian Summer’ will last in a vase for over a month if you change the water every day.  Keep watch for ‘Denver Daisy’, this is a new one that has dark burgundy and yellow flowers and is getting a lot of attention for bloom time, bloom color and overall performance!

Stachys ‘Hummelo – This perennial is fairly new and I’ve had it planted out a couple of years now. The foliage is thick and tough and a nice green. Late spring, early summer flower spikes of a deep fuchsia pink/purple spring up and WOW! The flowers last about a month or so. Very hardy and will tolerate very dry soils once established.

Thymus ‘Elfin’ – This is a groundcover but worth mentioning. It is the tightest thyme I have ever grown and it is tough! Mine barely gets any water, my dogs trample all over it and it just hangs tough. Perfect for planting between stepping stones, rocks, etc.

Tiarellas – I love all of these! I honestly have several and love them all! They stay short and compact. They bloom all the soft pinks in the spring and then some of them turn bright fall colors in the fall. Dainty additions to the garden!

Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ – I adore the blue of these flowers. This plant doesn’t burn up from the ground like it suffered a ground fire and I love how compact it stays! I cut it back once in late June and it bloomed again (very heavily) for me! Full sun and parched areas are fine for this one! I have it planted with Hens and Chicks if that tells you how dry it is!
So there you have it! I thank you for listening to my opinions and I’m glad to share, but remember these are just my opinions. My gardens are full of plants… some good, some bad, but loved! I plant them and let them go without much attention. My motto is “I’ve put you in the ground, it’s up to you whether you survive or not!” I don’t have time to baby my gardens so all of the plants I’ve tested really are tested for strength and neglect!
If they thrive, then they have done their job and I get the opportunity to observe how they do.

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One response to “Mighty Midgets, Short Plants for the Garden

  1. Pingback: 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year….Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’! | Gilsongardensinc's Blog

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