August 2012

New perennials are pretty, charming and evergreen


Prince Charming Solomon's seal flowers. Photo courtesy Chicagoland Grows

Low-growing speedwells, a charming Solomon’s seal and dwarf Japanese anemones make up the second part of a new plant sampler. Look for these plants next spring in garden centers or in online or mail order catalogs.

The Pretty Lady series of Japanese anemones (A. huphensis) from Blooms of Bressingham stay on the short side, reaching only about 16 inches tall. The spread is about 2 feet. Two-inch wide single or double flowers in various shades of pink bloom in late summer. Japanese anemones do best in part sun or light shade. They are hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8.

Pretty Lady Julia Japanese anemone. Photo courtesy Blooms of Bressingham

The newest one is ‘Pretty Lady Julia’. Expectations are that it will be as lovely as Diana, Susan and Emily in the Blooms of Bressingham Japanese anemone series. Gene Bush of Munchkin Nursery & Garden in Depauw, Ind., an expert in shade gardening, says the ladies are prolific bloomers with flowers that cover the plants.

Two deer and rabbit resistant, vigorous-spreading speedwells (Veronica) are coming from Chicagoland Grows. Jim Ault, plant reeder, director of ornamental plant research, and manager of Chicagoland Grows Plant Introduction Program, said these speedwell hold together well and resist splaying like many other ground cover veronicas.

Tidal Pool speedwell (Veronica). Photo courtesy Chicagoland Grows

‘Whitewater’ does well in sun to part shade, sporting white flowers April through June. The perennial ground cover’s season extends into fall and winter with green leaves that turn burgundy. ‘Whitewater’ gets up to 6 inches tall. Plant in full sun to part shade in average soil.

Whitewater speedwell (Veronica) in fall. Photo courtesy Chicagoland Grows

‘Tidal Pool’ gets 4 inches tall and is blanketed with medium to dark blue-violet flowers in late spring. The perennial evergreen will rebloom lightly into autumn. Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Drought tolerant once established. Both speedwells are hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 7.

Prince Charming Solomon's seal's berries turn purple in fall. Photo courtesy Chicagoland Grows

Also from Chicagoland Grows is ‘Prince Charming’, a dwarf Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum). Plant in moist soil, rich in organic matter in deep to part shade. Within a few years, a 12-inch tall clump of white flowers will reach about 24 inches wide. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 7.

‘Prince Charming’ has graceful, arched stems loaded with white, bell-shaped flowers in spring. As the flowers fade, green berries form and turn dark purple in fall.