Who knew such a stunning plant, originally from South Africa , could grace our gardens and add such architectural curiosity in the late summer garden. ‘Sparkling Burgundy ‘ was selected by Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina and has found its way to the West Coast where gardeners have marveled at its ease of growth and overall winter hardiness. In early summer, succulent and strap-like deep purple foliage begins to emerge and looks absolutely stunning contrasting with the bright gold of Sedum ‘Angelina’ (a combination I recreated in Bed 7 of the Soest Garden ).Read more
“Sleek and sophisticated” many say about this outstanding perennial from Dan Hinkley of the former Heronswood Nursery. The emerging stems of this much sought after perennial are strikingly deep red, almost black, stalks with pink sheaths that give it the appearance of a rare and enticing bamboo. The slender stalks are then topped with interesting green, bell-shaped flowers and the plant “greens up” eventually.Read more
This month’s perennial plant pick is appropriately named ‘June’. This has been one of the finest variegated Hostas ever introduced because of its exceptional color, substance and humble vigor. It is a mutation of the ever popular blue cultivar ‘Halcyon’ (in fact, you can see both varieties growing next to each other in Bed 7 to see the resemblance). Hostas are hot right now with such a diverse selection available.Read more
Ornamental tumbleweed onion
One of Ciscoe Morris’s picks is this early summer sparkler that’s starting to bloom as we speak.Bed 6 is home to several flowering onions that begin to open in late may, but this species is the most impressive of all with it’s huge “beach ball” size inflorescence composed of over 200 florets. What’s striking of all is the fact that when the entire seedhead dries, it is still highly ornamental in the garden and, yes, looks like a starry tumbleweed, but far more decorative.
“So good, it’s almost too good” my friend and colleague Richie Steffen, Curator at the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, said about this plant when it was selected as a Great Plant Pick (www.greatplantpicks.org). This is a fairly new addition to the Soest garden as part of a collection of various silver-variegated cultivars. ‘Jack Frost’ is, by far, the most popular of these selections for its large heart-shaped silver leaves netted in green, profuse “forget-me-not” blooms in mid-late spring, and remarkable vigor and hardiness.Read more
Another early season charmer, this sweet little ground hugger has captivated avid gardeners for years and we’re fortunate to have several clumps of this spring ephemeral under the new Shade Bed under the large Oak in the Soest Garden. Topping out at only 6 inches in height and forming a clump about a foot wide, the tight buds burst into pure white with a single row of guard petals encasing a central tuft of frilly pompoms.Read more
Helleborus Ivory Prince (‘Walhelivor’)
Introduced a few years ago, Skagit Gardens kindly donated three plants of this lovely hellebore. Developed by English plant breeder David Tristram, this fabulous perennial is strikingly evergreen with blue green foliage faintly marbled in silver gray. In January, pale maroon-pink buds emerge from the base and slowly develop and come into bloom in February when it opens to a 3” cream white flower with a green base and over a period of several weeks, it gently ages to a pale green with a pink cast.
Chrysanthemums or simply “mums” have always been frowned upon by savvy gardeners for being so common, disposable and overused. However, when sophisticated gardeners come across ‘Apricot’ in the Soest Garden, nothing else makes them fall to their knees begging to have this profusion of bloom and warm delicate color in their autumn landscape. Starting in mid-October, deep pink buds burst open like a fireworks display of peachy pink petals and continue through frost!Read more
Known in the trade as Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, it certainly lives up to that name come fall. This “tough as nails” perennial thrives in fully exposed sites, poor soil with very little irrigation once established. Another beautiful quality about this plant is its winter interest as the leaves fall and you’re left with the dried slim stems and clusters of flowers that persist until basal new growth commences in the spring.Read more
Formerly called Cimicifuga, these sexy dark-leafed selections have taken the perennial garden world by storm with its elegant form and architectural habit in the garden.
The fine fern-like foliage emerges a deep green that ultimately deepen in color as the summer progresses and by late summer, strong erect stems catapult spikes of curvy, voluptuous, creamy-white blooms that have a soft fragrance.