Avid gardeners got a real treat earlier this month when Richard Hawke took us through the tried and true perennials from the plant trials at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Hawke, who has been overseeing the plant evaluations since 1987, picked about three dozen of his faves and highlighted what made them standouts in the trials. His free talk April 2 was sponsored by the Indianapolis Museum of Art Horticultural Society.
Here are six of the attention getters:
With false indigo (Baptisia) ‘Starlite’ and ‘Midnite,’ from the Chicagoland Grows program, the goal with these new introductions is to get a bicolor flower that resembles lupine, Hawke said. ‘Starlite’ has periwinkle blue flowers and ‘Midnite’ has deep blue-violet blooms. ‘Midnite’ reblooms on secondary stems, which extends the display for several weeks in late spring and early summer.
Yarrow (Achillea) ‘Angelique’ and ‘Pretty Belinda,’ get the nod because they do not flop like many other yarrows. These plants also are better behaved when it comes to spreading, doing so slowly without thuggish tendencies. ‘Angelique,’ has dark red flowers from June into mid-August and ‘Pretty Belinda’ has light violet blooms from May into mid-August.
Speedwell (Veronica) ‘Fairytale’ and ‘Baby Doll’ earned praise for their resistance to powdery mildew, a plague on other cultivars, and their tidy habit. ‘Fairytale’ has pale, 15-inch long pink clusters of flowers with showy purple stamens from June to late September. ‘Baby Doll’ blooms in June and July, exhibits good uniformity and frequently reblooms in August.