Well, our Spring Open House is over and we’d like to thank those who attended. We didn’t have as many visitors as normal, but this was in part thanks to many folks who did their spring shopping at our winter open house in February. The most memorable moment of our Spring Open House was the dramatic hailstorm that struck while folks were shopping during our final Sunday. This is our fifth hailstorm this spring after having only one in the previous 18 years that we’ve had the nursery. Someone here must have been really bad.
As an incentive to visit during open house, we always add some new plants to the nursery sales area which are not otherwise available. Since attendance was down a bit, we have a few of these left that we are now adding to the web. Click here to view this list of web-only plants.
For those who are waiting, we have a new crop of the Arisaema triphyllum ‘Black Jack’ that are now ready. If you missed the first crop this spring, don’t wait, since supplies are still limited.
For those who missed our spring open house, here are some of the highlight plants that were putting on a show for the visitors. The Salvia gregii and Salvia microphylla cultivars and hybrids were stunning this spring. Most of these put on their best show in spring and fall. One of my favorites is the unique S. ‘Christine Yeo’, which is certainly the best of purple flowered selections. These salvias like it hot and well-drained, so find something else for those soggy-soil sites. If cold hardiness is a problem, try S. ‘Pink Preference’, which I feel is the same plant as S. ‘Wild Thing’, which is being touted as a standout in Denver’s Zone 5/6 climate.
Closely related to salvias is the US native, Stachys coccinea ‘Hot Spot Coral’. For the same conditions as the salvias, the spring floral show or coral-red is hard to beat.
Every year seems to be a great one for Dianthus. I’d like to mention two of my favorites, D. barbatus ‘Heart Attack’, a perennial Sweet William with three months of killer flowers and D. ‘First Love’ that starts blooming for us in mid-February and continues until frost.
I mentioned a bit about solomon.s seal in my last update, but I want to specifically mention three superb, but virtually unknown species. Polygonatum filipes is a small plant with very long pedicels, creating a most unusual floral show. Polygonatum macropodum (macro-big and podum – feet) is probably the most architecturally wonderful plant in the genus. From the arrangement of the stems to the abundance of flowers, this species is a winner. Lastly, I can’t write without mentioning the wonderful P. cyrtonema. This 4′ tall species is one of those plants that you can’t walk by without stopping to admire. Forming a massive clump, a specimen of this is a great addition to the woodland garden.
One of the more talked about plants at Spring Open House was Amorphophallus dunnii. Although you don’t hear much about this easy-to-grow species, it is one of the Amorphophallus for the garden. Unlike A. konjac, A. dunnii doesn’t spread by stolons and it’s flowers smell like fresh carrots instead of the more memorable smell of rotten meat. A. dunnii flowers every year to coincide with spring open house, prompting visitors to assume them to be phallic garden sculptures.
Another of my favorite amorphophallus, A. kiusianus is just opening in the garden today. I wish we could coax it into flower two weeks earlier for open house, but we just can’t seem to make that happen. Amorphophallus are really easy-to-grow and provide so much fun in the garden when they are tucked in among ferns and hostas.
As I mentioned, not all plants agree to flower during our open house days and unfortunately, most of you can’t be here to enjoy the ever-changing floral show. Visitors to the garden this week were particularly impressed with the stunning patch Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba, which produces a mass of white flowers. Try as we might, photos just can’t do this plant justice.
Another favorite that has burst out in the last few days are the Acanthus. We’re too hot for most Acanthus, but a few have proven to be real stars. A. ‘Summer Beauty’ is an A. mollis hybrid that has been amazing in our climate with stunning 6′ tall flower spikes. Equally as good of a grower is A. balcanicus var. hungaricus, which has a shorter, but no less showy 3′ tall flower spikes
The Hymenocallis or spider flowers are starting to open with the wonderful early-flowering H. traubii leading the way. Our patch, which weaves itself in among other plants, in a non-disturbing way has several dozen bright white flower that seemingly float in mid-air.
I’ll end my plant diatribe with a mention of Campanula ‘Sarastro’. Campanulas have been frustrating in our climate, either they die within a week or spread so fast that they reach my neighbors house in the same time. Campanula ‘Sarastro’ is one of the few cultivars that changed that paradigm. We have had Campanula ‘Sarastro’ in the gardens for 3 years and it never fails to please with its huge tubular purple flowers and superb garden habit. Now if I could only get it to flower two weeks earlier so that open house visitors could see it in person…. oh well.
We’re already starting work on the fall catalog and there will be plenty of choice gems to choose from. Even after all these years in business and all the great plants that we have had the pleasure of introducing, it still gets us excited when we are writing descriptions for these new exciting plants.
If you missed our Spring Open House, the next opportunity is as a part of the American Hemerocallis Society, Region 15 meeting. The busses roll into PDN on Saturday June 17…. a great time to see the gardens and pick up a few of your favorite plants. For more information, click here for the AHS Region 15 meeting website.
For those who entered our Top 25 contest, the May 20 list is now posted. The new is that Aroids still rule the top 2 spots in the list. There have been quite a few other significant moves since April and leading the way is Echinacea ‘Evan Saul’ which moves from 13th to 4th. Dianthus ‘Heart Attack’ moved from off the list into the 5th position in sales, but this always happens when people see this in the garden during open house. Nierembergia ‘Starry Eyes’ jumped from 12th to 6th, while x Heucherella ‘Stoplight’ surged from 23rd to 7th. Only seven more months before we announce the winner of the $250 gift certificate… I hope your picks are staying near the top of the list.
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Thanks and enjoy -tony