Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’ This Northeast native perennial creates waves in shade gardens. It has always been one that folks ask about in my display gardens. The steely blue, lacey leaves provide an impressive backdrop to white fuzzy flowers that appear in late Spring. These flowers develop into panicles of showy white fruits (“doll’s eyes”) which are borne on red pedicels in autumn for 4-6 weeks. ‘Misty’ Blue’ grows to 24”-36” tall and hardy in Zones 3 – 8. This striking shade plant can be challenging to find at many garden centers. Thank goodness for Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, Connecticut. This family-owned nursery specializes in rare and usual plants. In addition to their large retail center, they also offer many of their treasures for sale online. Online orders start shipping on March 5th!
Lycoris radiata Common names: Red Spider Lily, Naked Lady and Surprise Lily. Brilliant coral-red flowers appear on leafless stems in late summer. The unique looking flowers are beloved by gardeners and pollinators alike. Strap-like grayish-green leaves appear in fall AFTER the flower has finished blooming. Leaves overwinter and remain in the landscape before eventually disappearing in late spring. Each flower (to 2” long) has showy reflexed petals and exceptionally long stamens resembling spider legs, hence the common name. Red Spider Lily gets between 1’ and 2’ tall and enjoys sun to part shade in Zones 7 – 10 (many say Zone 6) and will happily naturalize. For best success, buy freshly dug bulbs. Most of the time bulbs have been dehydrating in plastic bags for months at retail stores. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs only ship these after they have been dug from their farm in late spring. They are then shipped in late May and early June – happy and healthy – for immediate planting! Brent and Becky’s Bulbs has been rated a top mail order company for many years. They specialize in bulbs but also offer many varieties of perennials.
Supertunia ‘Bordeaux’ This is one ‘over-performing’ annual, and I’m lovin’ it! Large plum-purple flowers keep heads turning until the first hard frost. No deadheading required for this no-fuss annual, just water and some occasional fertilizer. ‘Bordeaux’ is heat and drought tolerant and thrives in full to part sun. It mounds to 6”-12” and can trail up to 30”. It is prized in gardens, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets plus it excels as a ground cover.
Clematis ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’ This gorgeous, showboat Clematis is relatively new to the market. It has 3” wide, periwinkle blue flowers that are delightfully fragrant! The flowers have a sweet smell reminiscent of gardenias. This wilt-resistant Clematis enjoys full to part sun and grows to 6’ – 9’. It is hardy in Zones 6 – 9 (some say 5). Pruning should be done in late winter. ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’ is easy to grow; the biggest challenge might be to find where to buy it! Thankfully, my friend Dan Long, owner of Brushwood Nursery (a mail order company specializing in Clematis and other flowering vines), has this gem available. It is available in a gallon-size pot and on sale for $26. Plus Brushwood Nursery offers FREE SHIPPING to all states in the U.S.