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Shop local plant sales to add to your garden’s beauty

Perennial Premiere at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Perennial Premiere at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

If you are looking for unusual or hard-to-find plants or just a few good standbys to fill in the garden, check out area plant sales.

This weekend is Perennial Premiere, the annual plant sale at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which ends at 5 p.m. Sunday. Here, you’ll find plants, art and garden accessories from area growers, merchants and artists.

Even for plant geeks like Irvin Etienne, horticulture display coordinator at the IMA, Perennial Premiere has tempting treats.

'Forever Pink' Phlox. Photo courtesy Jim Ault/Chicagolandgrows.com

‘Forever Pink’ Phlox. Photo courtesy Jim Ault/Chicagolandgrows.com

Intriguing Etienne is ‘Forever Pink’ Phlox, which is said to start blooming in spring and go into October. This sun-loving hybrid was developed at the Chicago Botanic Garden and is marketed through Chicagoland Grows. An upright, clump grower, it is a sterile, so it doesn’t need to stop blooming to produce seed, Etienne said. It’s about 1 foot tall and is mildew free. It should have good drainage. “A perennial with this length of bloom has a place in any garden,” he said.

He also is tempted by ‘Wesuwe’ salvia (S. nemorosa), which promises to rebloom. If you’ve grown East Friesland salvia (S. nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’) or Blue Hill (S. x sylvestris ‘Blauhugel’), you know like other perennial salvias, it’s pretty much one and done, even with deadheading. Even the popular May Night (S. x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’) is only good for one really strong bloom.

This sun-loving salvia, with deep purple flowers, is one of three used in Salvia River in the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Eitenne recommends cutting it back by at least half after the first bloom.

Salvia River at Lurie Gardens in Chicago. Photo courtesy Millennium Park/Lurie Gardens

Salvia River at Lurie Gardens in Chicago. Photo courtesy Millennium Park/Lurie Gardens

One he’s grown is Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’, which he calls “a blooming machine.” It is loaded with soft pink flowers with darker pink calyces, or seedpods. “The calyces keep them colorful even after the flowers drop,” he said.

Agastache Cotton Candy. Photo courtesy TerraNovaNurseries.com

Agastache Cotton Candy. Photo courtesy TerraNovaNurseries.com

This sun-loving perennial gets 2 feet tall and blooms all season. Sometimes called hummingbird mint, agastache is a bee, butterfly and hummingbird magnet. Give it good drainage, especially in winter, Etienne said. Introduced by Terra Nova Nurseries, ‘Cotton Candy’ is listed as hardy to USDA Zone 6, “but it is coming back after our for-sure Zone 5 winter,” he said.

Other plant sales on the calendar:

• Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society’s Plant Sale and Auction, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May 10 at Park Tudor School, Upper Gymnasium, 7200 N. College Ave., www.inpaws.org.

• Garfield Park Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 9 a.m. to noon, May 17 at the Conservatory, www.garfieldgardensconservatory.org.

 

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