Plants to try in 2011

In my landscape design practice, my primary focus isn’t plants, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in them.  In fact, in a garden, plants are the workhorses that hold a design together in a specific season.  I have to know hundreds and hundreds of plants in order to make the best possible choice in any one client’s landscape design.

Just like every other person who is serious about gardens, I spend much of winter pouring over plant and seed catalogs.  That’s where the similarity ends however.  I look for plants that will add to my designer’s tool box that I can use in other people’s gardens rather than developing serious plant lust for my own.   Here are three of the plants I’ve been looking at–some are new introductions, others just new to me.  All are more or less native…some more, some less.

Helianthus x multiflorus 'Sunshine Daydream'

I like this tall and mildew free Helianthus from North Creek Nurseries for its late summer button-like blooms.  So many late flowering yellow perennials have large blooms and this will allow a different scale and will create a show in the back of a late season border.  Massed they’ll be absolutely spectacular.

Panicum virgatum 'Ruby Ribbons'

I use grasses frequently in areas where deer are prevalent and Panicums are a favorite.  This native is a cross between two of my favorites:  ‘Haense Hermes’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ .  Love the red foliage!  Maybe I won’t have to plant so many red fountain grasses in containers to get this rich color–they’re not hardy or native, this is.

Heucherella 'Solar Eclipse'

I’ve been in lust with the variegated foliaged geraniums for a few years now.  I use them in containers for a punch of all season color and textural interest.   Heucherella ‘Solar Eclipse’ from Terra Nova gives me the same warm and tingly all over feeling…but for shade.  I just love Tiarellas and their spawns Heucherellas…don’t you?

What plants are you going to try in the new year?

6 thoughts on “Plants to try in 2011

  1. You win me on 2 out of 3, but var Heuch scene is a big no-no for me!
    Great points in first para about true role of plants in garden design and very strong point about the shere scale of knowledge needed to make the best choices.
    Happy New Year Susan!

    Thanks, Robert! I’m really not big on the whole Heuchera scene either but as a shade loving sub for those pelargoniums…well, yummy.–s

  2. This isn’t as new plant to me, but I’ll be using it for the first time:
    I have a red bird of paradise, also called Pride of Barbados, (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) that I grew from seed. I’ve had it in a pot for a few years as it’s still small and I didn’t know where to put it. I’m revamping my pond garden and realize I have the perfect spot for it. The yellow variety (Caesalpinia mexicana) I’ve used before, in my garden and a customers, with great success.
    Can’t wait to see this one in my yard. If it works as well as I think, it’ll go in that customers yard also.
    Question – why down on Heucheras? Overused? Raggedy foliage? Just curious.

    What zone are you in? In my Z6 NJ gardens, many Heurcheras poop out in the summer heat and humidity. I don’t have time to trial them all since there are sooooo many new cultivars.–s

  3. Susan, I have ‘Ruby Ribbons’ and thus far, it hasn’t done a great deal. I hope for its first two seasons it was laying down roots and now is ready to shine. I’ll let you know.

    As for what I’ll try. I need to look over the catalogs. 🙂 ~~Dee

    Hoping it’s one of those ‘third year leap’ plants. I love the red texture and a native cultivar would make me very happy indeed!–s

  4. I’m warmer than you (bordeline between 8/9), so perhaps that’s it. I had considered them Fall thru Spring plants, linda like lenten roses.

  5. Hi Susan,

    I’m trying out sea holly for the first time this year. Got it from a friend, so don’t know what variety. It will go in front of a an artwork screen that hides our propane tank. I needed something that is architectural, but blends in with the surrounding lavender garden.

    RE: Huechera. Here in Zone 5B, Venus holds well all season.


    Let me know how it thrives…or not. I have Heuchera ‘Molly Bush’ that has been a star performer in my garden for many years. Love it, but the real one is now hard to find.–s

  6. Those all sound like winners to me! I just saw that Heucherella on Terra Nova’s site the other day and made a mental note to look for them in nurseries this spring. So far, I’ve not been disappointed in their plants. This year, I’m trying out some Knautia ‘Melton Pastels’ that I finally found seed for, a couple Agastache I’ve never had (Blue Blazes, Ava and Desert Sunrise) from High Country Gardens…I have high hopes for them all 🙂

    It’s so interesting to hear about what everyone is excited about. I’ll have to try that Knautia…I had some in my own garden years ago, but they’re short lived. So pretty though.–s

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