|Metasequoia g. ‘Soul Fire’ Dwarf Dawn Redwood. Love at first sight! My friend and very talented gardener, Marie, was giving me a tour of her stunning gardens when I stopped in my tracks. A majestic line of 3 brilliant golden Dawn Redwoods planted along the road captured my attention. I have always wanted Dawn Redwood but the species grows quite tall, 75’-100’. Marie pointed out that these were ‘Soul Fire’ Redwood, a compact beauty that had all the elegance and appeal of the species, but topped out at 15’-18’. The striking ferny leaves turn orange to reddish brown before dropping in fall. ‘Soul Fire’ is hardy in Z4-9 and does well in sun to part shade. (photo Plants Nouveau)
Amsonia ‘String Theory’ Blue Star Flower. Amsonia ‘String Theory’ (nativar) is a compact version of Amsonia hubrichtii (native), the 2011 Perennial of the Year. A. hubrichtii can grow as tall as 36”, while the wispy, threadlike leaves of ‘String Theory’ max out between 18”-22”. Both have soft blue flowers in spring and leaves that turn a lovely gold in fall. Both are no-fuss perennials – drought and deer resistant, attractive to pollinators, and hardy in Zones 5-9 (some resources say its hardy to Zone 4).
I love pairing Amsonia with Bergenia (commonly called Pigsqueak) for striking foliage contrast spring through fall. Bergenia, a spring bloomer with spikey pink or white flowers, has large, glossy, leathery green leaves that take on a burgundy-red cast in fall. They are amazing dance partners! (Photos Perennial Resource)