Cool & Classic Perennials

rainbow marcella coneflowers

Barb's Picks for 2021...

The best formula for a beautiful and exciting perennial garden is to mix classic, 'tried and true' perennials with newer varieties every year.

 

Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' (Coneflower)

'Magnus' is the most popular purple Coneflower of all time with huge, 6" wide flowers with rosy purple petals surrounding a copper cone. The deep-green foliage contrasts beautifully with the flowers. Voted Perennial Plant of the Year in 1998. 
Mature size: 2 - 3' tall; clump forming
Bloom time: Early, mid and late summer
Light: Full sun or light shade
Water: Water regularly in extreme heat.
Soil: Average or dry and well-drained
Reasons to love it: Attracts birds, butterflies & hummingbirds. Excellent for cut flowers. Drought, deer, heat, humidity and poor soil tolerant.

 

Allium Millennium

Echinacea 'Rainbow Marcella' (Coneflower) (above)

The gently curved petals are bathed in sunset hues. A raspberry pink color surrounds the large cones. The petals are tipped in light orange to golden yellow... and then, age to pink. It's a relatively short coneflower with strong stems... a real butterfly magnet in the sunny border.
Mature size: 15 - 18" tall 
Bloom time: Early summer to early fall
Light: Full sun to mostly sunny
Water: Average
Soil: Tolerant of dry soil
Reasons to love it: Drought & humidity tolerant. Attracts butterflies. Snip as cut flowers. 

 

Echinacea Magnus

Hibiscus moscheutos 'Luna Pink Swirl' ('Luna' Series) (above)

Commonly known as Hardy Hibiscus or Swamp Rose Mallow, this perennial hibiscus dazzles gardeners & others with its giant, pink & white flowers.
Mature size: 2 - 3' tall x 2 - 3' wide
Bloom time: July to September
Light: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Soil: Moist to wet soil  (rain gardens, pond edges, water gardens)
Reasons to love it: At the peak of bloom, each plant can produce 20 or more flowers per day, although each bloom lasts only 1-2 days. Attracts butterflies and makes a great addition to any pollinator garden.

 

Nepeta cats meow

Astilbe simplicifolia 'Sprite' (above) 

An excellent perennial for the shade garden with its soft and feathery, shell-pink plumes that float above lacy, bronze-green foliage.
Mature size: Foliage only: Up to 12" tall and 24" wide... With flowers: Up to 18" tall.
Bloom time: Mid summer
Light: Dappled sun; full and partial shade
Water: Keep soil evenly moist.
Soil: Rich and moist, organic soil
Reasons to love it: Provides good color in the shade garden. Plant in groups to intensify the color. A good, shorter plant for the front of the border. Use as cut flowers, too.

 

hosta blue mouse ears 

MINIATURE HOSTAS

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' (above)
Foliage and Flowers:
This is the classic, miniature Hosta with its thick, blue-green leaves that are almost perfectly round. Large clusters of lavender flowers grow in perfect proportion to the small leaves... appearing in mid-summer. 2008 Hosta of the Year.
Mature size: 8" tall x 19" wide
Bloom time: Early summer to autumn
Light: Part shade to shade
Water: Medium
Soil: Average, well-drained soil
Reasons to love it: A great addition to a shade garden and a 'must' for Hosta collectors. Also, it's  slug-resistant.

 

 hosta blue mouse ears

Hosta hybrid 'Mini Skirt' (above)
Foliage and Flowers:
This mini Hosta will get plenty of attention with its uniquely ruffled foliage... yellow/cream edges with green centers... topped off with pale lavender flowers that bloom early to mid summer.
Mature size: 5" tall x 13" wide
Bloom time: Early to mid summer 
Light: Part shade to shade
Water: Average
Soil: Prefers moist, organic soils.
Reasons to love it: This petite, miniature Hosta simply glows in the shade garden. Hummingbirds love the small, trumpet-like flowers.

 

hosta pandoras box

Hosta 'Pandora's Box' (above)
Foliage and Flowers:
A little gem and a real collector's Hosta! This mini Hosta boasts small leaves with blue-green margins and bright white centers... and lavender flowers. 
Mature size: 4" tall x 6" wide
Bloom time: Early summer
Light: Part shade to shade. Needs a special spot with extra care because of the needs of the contrasting leaf colors.
Water: Dry to medium
Soil: Average, well-drained soil
Reasons to love it: Unique and very small--even for a miniature Hosta. Plant it where it can be appreciated and not dwarfed by larger plants.

 

lobelia starship series 

Lobelia speciosa or Cardinal Flower... 'Starship' Series (above)
(Starship Blue, Starship Deep Rose & Starship Scarlet Bronze Leaf)
Foliage and Flowers:
 Flowers have gorgeous clear colors in blue, deep rose or scarlet bronze leaf. Green foliage with purple tones accent the colorful flower spikes.  
Mature size: 20 - 24" tall
Bloom time: Early summer to autumn 
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Consistently moist
Soil: Prefers moist to wet 
Reasons to love it: A good plant for wet areas in the landscape. The 'Starship' Series is an improvement over other Lobelias with its better branching habit and earlier flowering. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators.

 

lobelia cardinalis red 

Lobelia cardinalis or Cardinal Flower (above)
Foliage and Flowers:
 Showy scarlet red, white or rose flowers  
Mature size: 2 - 4' tall x 1 -2' wide
Bloom time: July to September
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Consistently moist. Plants should never dry out.
Soil: Prefers rich medium to wet soil.
Reasons to love it: Perfect for a rain garden or moist woodland. No serious insect problems. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.