(Artemisia 'Silver Lining' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
I have been selling perennials for over 25 years at Amsterdam Garden Centre and during that time, I have seen numerous branded collections come and go. The problem being that many wholesale nurseries package mediocre perennial varieties together with a few worthy cultivars, with the idea that gardeners will just purchase all of them based on the branding. Of course, the real test begins when we take them home and watch how they perform in our respective gardens – far too often with disappointing results. So, when Proven Winners expanded from shrubs into a dedicated perennial line, I was more than a little skeptical. But I am happy to report that so far, their selections have been impeccable. With that in mind, I thought I would give you an early sneak peak at a few of next year’s perennial selections, with daylilies making a strong comeback.
Artemisia ‘Silver Lining’ (USDA Zone 4)
(Artemisia 'Silver Lining' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
Given the drought conditions we have been experiencing of late, I think this is one foliage perennial that we should be all paying attention to. The beautiful ferny silver leaves work nicely in combination with ornamental grasses, as well as gracing the edges of retaining walls. This hybrid is not as aggressive as some Artemisias and is reliably perennial. Grows 12-16” tall by 32-36” wide.
Baptisia ‘Periwinkle Popsicle’ (USDA Zone 4)
(Baptisia 'Periwinkle Popsicle' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
I like to think of Baptisia as a more durable Lupine, as they don’t crash and burn after flowering. The stately spires of deep blue pea-like blooms are ideal in naturalized meadows or even at the back of the perennial border and they are long-lived once established. ‘Periwinkle Popsicle’ also blooms a little later than most Baptisia, extending your flowering season. Grows 4-4.5’ by 3.5’ wide.
Hemerocallis ‘Blazing Glory’ (USDA Zone 3)
(Hemerocallis 'Blazing Glory' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
It only takes a casual glance to realize that this frilled golden-yellow Daylily with a blazing burgundy-red picotee and eye-zone is going to be a hit. The flower scapes are well-branched, producing an abundance of buds in July and it is also a rebloomer. Add to that fragrant flowers, extreme cold hardiness and tolerance of poor soils as well as salt run-off. Grows 32” tall by 18-24” wide.
Clematis ‘Stand By Me Pink’ (USDA Zone 3)
This herbaceous Clematis is the pink version of ‘Stand By Me’, bearing nodding flowers from late spring through to fall. These are followed by attractive silky seedheads that look great with a light frost. This variety is ideal for container culture or training at the base of leggy shrubs and it regenerates entirely from the ground each spring. Grows 38-42” tall by 24-26” wide.
Heucherella ‘Capture the Flag’ (USDA Zone 4)
These Heuchera x Tiarella hybrids really deserve more attention, as they provide much-needed colour in the shade garden. ‘Capture the Flag’ doesn’t disappoint with finely cut golden foliage accented with dramatic burgundy veining which changes to a coppery-red later in the season. Add to this, interesting sprays of airy white flowers in spring, and you have some real potential for an eye-catching shade perennial. Grows 8-10” tall by 20-22” wide.
Hemerocallis ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ (USDA Zone 3)
Even if you didn’t like the 1960-70s band of the same name, there is no way that you can deny that this is a truly stunning Daylily cultivar. The very large (6”) ruffled raspberry-red flowers are further accented with a yellow throat and bright pink eye, but if you look close enough you can see the thinnest of white picotees on the petal edge. It is also fragrant and reblooms. Grows 28” tall by 18-24” wide.
Eucomis ‘Purple Reign’ (USDA Zone 6)
(Eucomis 'Purple Reign' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
Like any heat-loving perennial, you have to be patient in spring to see this one pop-up, but it is definitely worth the wait. The leaves start out a rich burgundy and you will have to stand by until late summer to early fall to see the pineapple-like flower stalk with starry blooms that open a blush pink and mature to a deep mauve. If you have had problems overwintering them in the past, try planting the bulb deeply and mulch in colder climates. This variety is a real showpiece in containers. Grows 18-20” tall by 24” wide.
Hosta ‘Love Story’ (USDA Zone 3)
(Hosta 'Love Story' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
This is the newest member of the SHADOWLAND series with bright green heart-shaped leaves sharply accented with well-defined cream and chartreuse inset highlights. The tall scapes carry elegant tubular white flowers in early summer, which are much sought out by the hummingbirds. Grows 14-16” tall by 36-42” wide.
Sedum ‘Midnight Velvet’ (USDA Zone 3)
(Sedum 'Midnight Velvet' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
Another perennial we should be paying closer attention to given water restrictions and colder winters. ‘Midnight Velvet’ features a domed growth habit with dark burgundy-red foliage, mauve flower buds and rose-red blooms. Great in combination with ornamental grasses such as Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) and when left, the seedheads will provide winter forage for the birds. Grows 22-26” tall by 30-32” wide.
Hibiscus ‘All Eyes on Me’ (USDA Zone 4)
(Hibiscus 'All Eyes on Me' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
Perennial hibiscus are trending right now but some people are having trouble overwintering them. Choose a location where the sun hits the soil early in the season because these plants need the heat to break dormancy and be patient! The massive 8” wide blush pink blooms are accented with a contrasting red eye on a very compact plant. While they look quite tropical, they are also very cold hardy. Grows 3.5’ high and wide.
Schizachyrium ‘Brush Strokes’ (USDA Zone 3)
(Schizachyrium 'Brush Strokes' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
A hardy ornamental grass with bold powder blue stems and foliage that shifts to wine-red in the fall. The seed stems stand quite erect but gracefully bend with the wind and this species also tolerates hot, dry sites and those with erosion concerns. Grows 32-36” tall by 22-26” wide.
Hemerocallis ‘Persian Ruby’ (USDA Zone 3)
(Hemerocallis 'Persian Ruby' Plant | 📸: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
I told you the Daylilies were looking great next year and this one, which reminds me a bit of ‘Bela Lugosi’, bears massive 8” wide blooms. The dark reddish-purple flowers are starkly contrasted by a unique yellowish-green throat, hence the second look. Add to that its floriferous nature and durability common to most daylilies and you have an easy-to-grow but stunning perennial to add to your collection. Grows 30” tall by 18-24” wide.
All images credited to Walters Gardens, Inc.