One of the best reasons to work in a Garden Center is that you get the first crack at the deliveries and you have the opportunity to satisfy all of your horticultural cravings and obsessions. There are hundreds of new varieties of plants being introduced. And spring is a fabulously appropriate time to play with new container color schemes and re-designed borders. Each truck holds some fervently wished for treasure. Every day is like your birthday. So here a few of our favorites for 2019. Or as we whisper to ourselves as we unload and tag, what is going directly from the truck into our own yards!
One of our favorite cues that winter’s grip is loosening is the first sighting of Epimedium flowers. Also called Bishop’s Hat for the miter-shaped leaves, this low, shade-loving perennials sports loads of Columbine-like flowers on wiry stems. Epimeidum ‘Koji’ is a new-to-the-Garden Center with airy sprays of rosy-pink blossoms in early spring and coral to copper fall foliage.
And while you’re considering your shaded border, think about Hakonechloa ‘Beni Kaze’, which translates to Red Wind. This gorgeous Japanese Forest Grass is a breezy green in the familiar flowing shade, but once there is a nip in the air, the blades will glow in shades of garnet, scarlet, and cerise, giving us at least one reason to look forward to fall.
The bold flowers of Clematis are a familiar sight on sunny trellises. But did you there that there is a bush variety? We’ve always liked the long-lasting blossoms of C. recta, but the plants tend to splay. ‘Mongolian Bells’ is in the species and boasts stems sturdy enough to provide support all of the pink, white and lavender flowers that are produced from mid-spring to late summer.
We’d buy Echinacea ‘Fiery Meadow Mam’ for the name alone. The fact that the blossoms are so spectacular is icing on the cake. The bright golden petals reflex so that they drape to surround the deep red cone and are punctuated with a fiery red halo. Amazing! It’s like a Coneflower and a Blanketflower had a baby.
It’s taken years to develop mildew resistant Monarda. It’s such a useful and reliable perennial, but who wants to constantly spray fungicide to keep the foliage clean? Take a look at ‘Grape Gumball’. The plant forms a tight dome of vibrant magenta flowers and will thrive in full sun to part shade. And those blossoms are a magnet for Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.
Are you salivating yet? We are for sure. It seems as though spring is more anticipated with every year that passes. So let’s all synchronize our inner gardening clocks for Friday at noon. We’ll all hope for gentle spring rains, no more frosts or hail and a much smaller population of rabbits and Japanese beetles in one, big collective wish. Maybe, Mother Nature will be listening.