The 2005 shipping season is drawing to a close at the end of November, so if you’ve procrastinated until now, time is running out. If you need to purchase Christmas or holiday gifts for that special gardener, remember that a Plant Delights Gift Certificate may be just what the plant doctor ordered.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be announcing the winner of our 2005 Guess the Top 25 Best Sellers Contest for the $250 PDN gift certificate. If you didn’t enter the contest this year, be thinking about next years’ contest that begins January 1.
We’ve been busy writing the 2006 catalog that is now only a few weeks away for hitting the presses. To fill the pages, we’ve propagated an amazing array of great plants that includes 125 new offerings…enough to drive even the most hardcore gardeners completely over the edge. To make room for these new offerings, we will, unfortunately, be rotating an equal number of our old favorites out, so if you’ve been thinking about ordering that obscure gem, it’s often best not to wait. Remember that fall is a superb time to plant, provided your ground is not already frozen, and the plants you are planting are more than marginally hardy in your zone. For marginally hardy plants in your zone, it is very important that you wait until spring to plant.
We have enjoyed a beautiful fall season and have so far only had 2 light frosts. It’s amazing how many plants are still in flower, and I’d like to take a few moments to highlight a few. We all know that fall is the peak season for many ornamental grasses such as Muhlenbergia capillaris, many of the miscanthus, Pennisetum ‘Tall Tails’, and the giant Saccharum arundinaceum, but there is so much more to offer color now.
If you don’t grow salvias, then you have missed out on some of the best fall bloomers. The Salvia greggii and microphylla cultivars are simply superb for fall bloom. If you like yellow and haven’t tried Salvia madrensis ‘Red Neck Girl’, you have missed a real winner with its 18″ long flower spikes. Another fall bloomer that has put on a real show this fall has been Salvia ‘Blue Chiquita’ along with the ever-popular Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’.
The tree Dahlias have been great this fall, since we have had a late fall. The single, purple D. imperialis must have several hundred flower buds atop the 14′ tall stalks. The double purple form seems to be the earliest in flower in our trials. We have now assigned a name to this previously unnamed cultivar…Dahlia imperialis ‘Double or Nothing’.
If tall is your thing, Verbesina microptera is not to be missed. This giant Mexican frostweed makes a huge, 14′ tall clump, topped now by giant panicles of yellow flowers with the unique fragrance of burning sugar. If you need something smaller, Verbesina persicifolia ‘Autumn Sunburst’ is also flowering as we speak.
If you live in Zone 7b south, I hope you are growing Hibiscus mutabilis. We offer a superb selection of these fall-flowering Chinese hibiscus that have been long-prized in Gulf Coast gardens…back when there were some Gulf Coast gardens.
Other plants of fall include some of our splendid offerings of all blooming garden mums. Do not confuse these with the marginally hardy plants that you purchase from your local garden centers. http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Fall/page16.html The surprisingly hardy Coreopsis integrifolia, fall-blooming South African Kniphofia rooperi, and US native Eupatorium greggii are all fabulous additions to the fall garden for late flowering.
Other great fall flowering perennials with an obscenely long season of bloom include Geranium ‘Rozanne’, which has been in flower since May and Dianthus ‘First Love’ which started in May. If you would like something taller, the evening-fragrant Cestrum parqui is still in full flower after starting in May.
I couldn’t conclude without mentioning cyclamens, especially the easy-to-grow C. hederifolium that is in full flower now. As long as you plant it where it can stay reasonably dry in the summer, you can’t loose with this gem.