New Plants for 2012
Touting new plants always makes me a little nervous because, honestly, nobody really knows for sure how they’re going to do in their first few seasons. Still, I can’t resist trying a few each year, and most do pretty well as long as I mostly stick to plants that can survive in my hardiness zone (4).
Oh, I’ve tried pushing that zone with mixed success. Several different types of lavender have done surprisingly well in different spots in my yard over the years. But butterfly bush—dead, always dead, dead as a dead thing can be.
Oh, well. I remain undaunted. This season I plan to tempt fate with a pretty, carpeting pincushion flower (Pterocephalus depressus). This new introduction is native to Morocco and it’s low growing enough to be used as a groundcover or in between stones on a path. But it would also look good as a border or in the front of beds.
Foliage is gray-green and described as having a bit of a “crinkled” look, which doesn’t sound so hot but looks good in photos. Blooms are pink and mauve and they last from late spring through mid-summer. Gardeners are advised to let the flowers dry so we can enjoy the silver-tinged seed heads. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Zones 5 – 9.
Heading back into zone 4 reality, I’m also going to try a “new” vining heirloom honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’). How can an heirloom be new? you ask. Well, as is often the case, new introductions can be once-known plants that somehow got forgotten or taken out of cultivation for one reason or another.
This heirloom honeysuckle was originally propagated in the 1880s and was recently rediscovered growing in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Easily grown in almost any soil, ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’ is a compact vine with yellow late-spring flowers. Plant in full sun to part shade. Grows 8 to 12 feet tall. Zones 4 to 8.
Okay, one last one. And before I tell you what it is, let me be the first to admit that I’m really, really tired of coneflowers and their diseased and bedraggled ways. I’ve ripped them out of my garden over and over again vowing never to plant them again.
But, wait a minute! What’s that new brightly colored one over there, I mutter to myself, staggering helplessly toward a garden center table brimming with coneflowers. And the cycle starts again.
This time, the siren is Echinacea ‘Leilani’. It’s big yellow-orange blooms, which kind of look like a cross between black-eyed Susan and coneflower, won me over. It grows to about 3 1/2 feet tall and blooms in late summer. Plant in full sun. Zones 4 to 9. Fingers crossed.