New Year exciting for gardeners

Especially if you are a gardener, as there is always the anticipation of new plant introductions making their way into the nurseries...

THE BAPTISIA belongs to the pea family and is a tall flower which is draught-tolerant.

THE BAPTISIA belongs to the pea family and is a tall flower which is draught-tolerant.

With the flurry of Christmas under our belts, it is easy to get excited about a new year rounding the corner.

Especially if you are a gardener, as there is always the anticipation of new plant introductions making their way into the nurseries in short order.

Doing some scouting on the Internet, I have earmarked a few plants that caught my eye.

In particular, a hardy hibiscus called Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Purple Hearts’. It promises open-face, deep red flowers 10 to 11 inches in diameter. Picture those flowers laying against a background of dark purple, heart-shaped leaves.

Do not despair over lack of garden space. It is a dwarf…only gets three feet high and wide. And hardy to Zone 4!

If you love echinaceas keep an eye open for these two: Echinacea x ‘Rocket Man’ and E. ‘Supreme Cantaloupe’.

The latter is touted as being the exact colour of a ripe cantaloupe and it is a double. ‘Rocket Man’ is a single with long, watermelon-coloured petals that reflex down. Both have long-lasting blooms, making them great pollinator attractors.

The photo of a new grass truly made me stop dead in my scrolling through internet pages. A cultivar of our native North American bluestem grasses, the foliage of Andropogon gerardii ‘Dancing Wind’ is purported to be green liberally tinged with red.

But the photo on the website taken after the first frost showed nothing but scarlet glory. Ruggedly hardy from Zones 4 to 9, this plant will tolerate all soil conditions except wet. I can picture this six foot specimen amongst the other grasses in my tough garden area out front.

Carrying on…exciting news from Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina.

Are you familiar with Baptisia spp. (false indigo)? Great plant species. Not only looks good but also sets nitrogen in your soil…being that it is in the pea family.

Since 1998, this nursery has been working to improve on baptisia’s large purple-blue flowers. At 4.5 feet tall with 20 inches of that height all flower spike, I would hazard the nursery has a winner in Baptisia “Blue Towers”. Especially if it lives up to its “tower” name and does not need staking.

Another great feature…it is very drought-tolerant, as are all baptisias.

Chrysanthemum buff? There is a hot new florist’s mum out this year…Dendranthema ‘Fireworks Igloo’.

(According to the 1999 ruling by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, florist’s mums were returned to the Chrysanthemum genera, making Dedranthema obsolete. Hence, I am a little confused over this name. Nothing new, I might add!)

Proper name aside…this plant’s gorgeous spidery petals of pink totally cover its entire mounding form. Wonderful pizzazz for an autumn garden.

I like wallflowers and Erysimum ‘Honeyberry’ is as lovely as its name. Variegated sage-green edged in butter-yellow foliage is a subtle backdrop for the vibrant magenta-purple flowers.

An early bloomer, the flowers will mellow out to a soft mauve shade so they will not steal the whole spring show. However, we likely will not add this beauty to our garden as it is only hardy to Zone 7 and we lose them reliably in our Zone 7a garden…unless we take cuttings.

Remember: USDA plant zones are not the same as Canada’s. In determining our zone designations, we take into account more environmental variables. If the label states Zone 7, it is hardy only to Zone 8 in Canada.

One last plant I have to rave about is Eupatorium ‘Capri’.

This Joe Pye weed is shorter than its six foot cousins and has variegated frilly leaves for a change of pace. The summer-blooming, frothy pink flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Out of space and I have not mentioned the new hydrangeas, helleborus, heuchera, ornamental trees, a lavender…or all the new vegetable varieties! So keep your eyes open at those nurseries!

Yup. My 2014 New Year’s Resolution…to have the best gardening year ever!

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A fawn stands in a field. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
MARS hoping to build fawn complex for rehab

Their goal is to raise $20,000 in a relatively short period of time.

Aspen Park in Comox is the latest school reporting a COVID-19 exposure. Screenshot, Google Maps
Fifth Comox Valley school reports COVID-19 exposure

Exposure at Aspen Park in Comox was reported for Feb. 22

Cumberland Brewery is looking to expand its patio space temporarily for the summer. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland Brewery looks for temporary patio expansion

Move would allow business to spread customers outside in summer months

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read