Connecticut Garden Journal: Top 5 picks for new flowers to get excited about
With real winter temperatures seeping through our windows and doors it's good to remember that spring is only a month or so away! That means it's time to look for some new, interesting perennial flowers for our gardens. Each year nurseries and breeders introduce new colors and versions of popular perennial flowers such as echinacea and salvia. But I like looking for something that is truly unique. Here's some of my picks.
Agastache or anise hyssop is a zone 5 perennial with colorful spikes of flowers and a nice fragrance. The 'Meant to Be™' series adds a little something more. The 2- to 3- foot tall and wide plants have flowers and calyx that hold their color into fall. The raspberry and peach varieties are particularly stunning.
'Bit O Honey' heliopsis is a false sunflower that adds a bright spark to the garden. The 2-foot tall plant has 3-inch diameter, golden, semi-double flowers. The real drawing card is the white leaves with dark green veins.
Veronica 'Ever After' features 14-inch tall plants loaded with purple flower spikes that flower longer than most Veronica varieties. There's a white flowered version as well.
For shade gardens nothing beats astilbe. 'Dark Side of the Moon' not only has bright purple blooms that stand 2- to 3-feet tall but also has black colored foliage, too.
For a new species of iris, try Iris amphiflora 'Ming Treasure'. Hailing from China, this 4 foot tall and wide clumping iris producing masses of large, 4- to 5-inch diameter blue flowers with a yellow crest. It's stunning but only hardy in zones 6 and warmer.