Tag Archives: Perennial plant

Fall Planting is GOOD for your Plants!

  Remember the old adage…Fall is for Planting“?  That has been the truth for  many, many years! Not only is this the time for planting bulbs like daffodils or tulips for spring but almost anything else you want to plant!  The secret?  Mulch!

As long as you mulch your plantings, you are almost guaranteed that your fall plantings will break forth in the spring with new growth and be as happy as ever! 

Shrubs, perennials, ground covers, grasses, vines, etc. actually love this time of year. Planting now, you get the benefit of fall rains, soil temperatures that aren’t headed to  “too hot” and cool air temperatures mean the stress level is low.  Plants get a chance to get settled in before winter which is what you want!

We do not recommend planting rooted cuttings this time of year. We do not suggest you divide your hostas now but most anything else is fair game! Most perennials are on their way to dormancy so they won’t have much on top anyways. You are planting the roots, giving them a nice home for the winter where they will settle into the soil and be ready for take-off come spring!

Don’t fear the fall and the good news is most garden centers are running specials and sales to avoid storing them in containers over the winter.  You get rock bottom prices and happy plants!  You won’t be sorry!  Just follow the planting instructions on the labels!  Have fun and PLANT!

2012 Perennial Plant of the Year! Amsonia hubrechtii

Amsonia hubrichtii – This is from the Ohio Gardener E-newsletter
by Russell Studebaker – posted 07/15/11

The Perennial Plant Association has chosen for the 2011 perennial of the year the Arkansas amsonia, also known as Arkansas bluestar and threadleaf bluestar. Leslie Hubricht first discovered it in Arkansas in 1942 and his name was bestowed to this species, Amsonia hubrichtii.

Light blue flowers appear in late April to early May in domed panicles at the ends of the stems. The flowers are attractive to swallowtail butterflies and especially zebra swallowtails.

The grassy foliage ranges from over an inch to 3 inches long and the plants produce clumps about 2 to 3 feet tall. In October the foliage is second to none with a golden to clear yellow color, making it one of the few herbaceous perennials with good fall color that lasts for weeks.

The Arkansas amsonia is definitely a star in the garden.


Common Name: Arkansas bluestar, Hubricht’s bluestar, threadleaf bluestar, Arkansas amsonia

Color: Sky-blue, 1-inch trumpet-like flowers on nodding racemes on stem terminals

Height: 12 to 14 inches

Bloom Period: Late April-early May

Type of Plant: Native herbaceous perennial

Exposure to Sun: Full sun best, but tolerates light shade.

When to Plant: Anytime from containers

Soil: Well drained, average to rich

Watering: Normal applications, drought resistant after well established.

Maintenance: Plant 18 to 20 inches apart; pest and maintenance free, forms a woody tap-like root system.

In Your Landscape: Use as a specimen or back of the border planting. Naturalize it in clearings or at the edge of woods. Combine with butterfly weed, sundrops (Oenothera), black-eyed Susans, purple coneflower and Baptisia. Contrast it with Siberian iris, golden barberry, Black Lace elderberry or ‘Dart’s Gold‘ ninebark.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

The Arkansas amsonia is a star among native perennials in the garden for its blue flowers,
fine-textured foliage and its striking golden fall color. (Photo by Melanie Blandford.)


(Amsonia flower photography courtesy of Steven Still/Perennial Plant Association.)

Russell Studebaker is a professional horticulturist, book author and garden columnist for the Tulsa World. He is a frequent lecturer at garden events in the Southern region.

Rudbeckia n. ‘Herbstsonne’ – A Perennial Giant

I LOVE this perennial! Now that you all know how I feel about it, I’ll tell you why! It’s a biggy! In full sun, it will easily reach over 6 feet! (this is the flowers, not the plant itself!) The flowers are a beautiful butter-yellow, the petals droop downwards and they have nice dark brown cones.  When in bloom, you are looking up at them and they are beautiful! The bees love them too!

       The plant itself only gets a few feet tall. It sort of reminds me of cabbage but prettier. If you want the plant to stay shorter, you can cut the foliage back hard in mid to late June and the flowers will stay about 4-5 feet tall.  If planted in full sun, the plant does not need staking but if it’s in anything less than full sun, the flowers may flop on you.  Because the flowers get so tall, it’s not easy to stake it.  This plant is not picky on soil conditions, needs average moisture once established and doesn’t require fertilizer to perform well.  Just give it the sunshine!

  You can cut the flowers for the house and they will last for up to a week if you keep your water changed every day. 

Maintenance for this perennial is up to you. You can leave it alone, and it will bloom for you and be awesome. You can cut it back, dead-head it and it will be awesome.  It’s just not that picky!  You MUST however, plant it in the back of the perennial bed because it would look silly out front! It is beautiful planted in a mass planting or all by itself.  I just love it but I said that already didn’t I? 

 Rudbeckia n. ‘Herbstsonne’  is a zone 3 plant and  will bloom July through September depending on where you are. Here in NE Ohio, she kicks into color about early August and will bloom in to the fall.   Overall I would give this one a 10!

2012 Perennial Plant of the Year….Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’!

Unidentified blue flower in upstate New York

Image via Wikipedia

Exciting News! Wanted to share!

 David Kuack January 10, 2011 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ named 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year - Image

Members of the Perennial Plant Association have selected Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ as the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year. In addition to the winner, the other choices for 2012 were Panicum virgatum ’Northwind’, Heuchera ‘Caramel’ and Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’. Over 400 plants were nominated this year.
Discovered at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich., in 1999, B. macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ was commercially introduced in 2000. The deer-resistant plants produce silver-gray foliage and reach a height and width of 12-15 inches. Plants produce racemes of blue star-like flowers in mid to late spring. ‘Jack Frost’ is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8.
The 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year is Amsonia hubrichtii.

Pictured: 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Photo courtesy of Walters Gardens

Amsonia hubrechtii Wins 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year!

Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia. Real...

Image via Wikipedia

Just found this and thought I’d pass it along! We grow this plant at Gilson Gardens and offer it in a 2 gal. container!  It’s slow to get started in the spring but the blue star shaped flowers are magnificent and you can’t beat the fall color!  definitely a winner in my book!


Amsonia hubrichtii named 2011 PPA Plant of the Year
Arkansas blue star—Amsonia hubrichtii—has won the hearts of Perennial Plant Association members, who voted it the 2011 PPA Perennial Plant of the Year. Four plants each year are nominated, and in order to qualify for PPA recognition, each must be suitable for a wide range of climate types; low maintenance; easily propagated; and exhibit multiple seasonal interest. Amsonia fits the bill with small, blue, star-shaped flowers in late spring to early summer and bright green, fern-like foliage that turns golden yellow in fall. Recent past winners include Baptisia australis (2010), Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (2009), Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (2008) and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (2007).

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.

Native Plants of the Year for 2011

American Winterberry Ilex verticillata 'Winter...

Image via Wikipedia

The Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity (LEAP) has finished the postcards and posters that will be available soon to advertise and promote the 2011 Native Plants of the Year.  Each year a perennial, a shrub and a tree are selected.  These plants are selected because they promote native diversity, attact wildlife, require less fertilizer and watering and thrive under natural conditions.  The winners are…

Liatris spicata – Blazing Star (perennial)

Amelanchier laevis – Allegheny Serviceberry (shrub)

Ilex verticillata – Common Winterberry

Please see the LEAP website for the promotional details of these great natives!  www.leapbio.org