Great New Perennial Flowers & Shrubs
|By Charlie Nardozzi|
(Family Features) Each year I vow not to expand my
perennial garden because it’s already too crowded. Still, each spring
I succumb to the desire for new plants. It’s tough when there are so
many great new perennial flowers and shrubs to choose from. Below I
describe five really intriguing new varieties. They grow best in full
sun or part shade and are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 unless
otherwise noted. Give them a try!
‘Merlot’ coneflower – “One really hot group
of new perennials is the coneflowers (Echinacea),” says Leonard
Perry, perennial flower specialist at the
latest addition to the coneflower family features an unusual stem color.
Echinacea purpurea ‘Merlot’ grows three feet tall, produces
sturdy, deep-wine-colored stems and fragrant five-inch-diameter flowers
that are great for cutting. The stem color contrasts nicely with the
rose-pink daisy-like flowers. It’s hardy to USDA zone 4.
‘Blue Moon’ wisteria – Gardeners
in cold climates often yearn to grow wisteria. The vines may survive
cold winters, but they don’t flower reliably. But this new
Minnesota-bred variety is hardy to –40 degrees F (USDA zone 3)! It not
only flowers every year, but blooms repeatedly, two or three times per
season. Branches of Wisteria macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’ grow up
to 25 feet long and produce fragrant blue flowers. It needs minimal
pruning — just enough to shape the vine.
‘My Monet’ weigela – Weigela is a spring-flow
‘Pink Octopus’ campanula – Campanulas,
or bellflowers, are common perennials, but this new one is unusual. The
pink petals resemble the long legs of an octopus as they weep down from
the deeply cut leaves, giving this 15-inch plant an eerie appearance. Campanula
punctata ‘Pink Octopus’ shows best planted in the front of a
border or in a container where you can admire its exotic blooms.
'Blue Moon’ wisteria (click on picture for larger view)
Nardozzi, a nationally recognized garden writer, book author, speaker
and radio and television personality, has appeared on HGTV, PBS and
Discovery Channel television networks. He is the senior horticulturist
and spokesperson for the National Gardening Association (www.garden.org)
Chief Gardening Officer for the Hilton Garden Inn.