Ships beginning March 2021
High summer is one of the most interesting times of year in a garden. As many flowers start to fade in the heat, it's important to have flowers that are just hitting their peak. We also need flowers that can stand up to consistent 90-degree days. Also, perennial hibiscus need more exposure and love.
Hibiscus 'Mars Madness' - This is a perfect dark rich leaf, later bloom time, and perfect velvet red flower. The family of perennial hibiscus is confused with tropical hibiscus and rose of Sharon hibiscus. They are true vegetative perennials that die back to their base each year after hard frost events: think herbaceous peonies. Then when the ground warms in spring, they push out their new growth from that basal stem.
Hibiscus 'Blackberry Merlot' - This is huge credit to the team at Walters Gardens in Michigan. Their breeding work shows that anything is possible with effort, creativity, and knowledge. 'Lady Baltimore' was one of the early perennial hibiscus cultivars. The flower was pretty, but its growth habit was leggy and the flowers were few. The breeding of 'Blackberry Merlot' is fantastic. It takes the flower of 'Lady Baltimore' and makes it better. The habit is compact, the foliage dense and healthy, and the best yet, it is covered with flowers.
Achilea ptarmica 'Peter Cottontail' - This is such a great summer perennial. Achilea is another plant that suffers from common name problems. Yarrow is just not descriptive enough, and again, we are lumping nearly a thousand species and named varieties into a group when we say "yarrow." 'Peter Cottontail' shows a glimpse of the wonderous potential of the Achilea family in the garden. By early summer, the plant is covered in pure white delicate flowers that bloom for well over a month. With a hard cut before the flowers fully fade, you will get a second flush of new growth and a sprinkling of new flowers. It's the perfect plant for a mid-tier in the border and would be beautiful situated in front of either of the perennial hibiscus in this collection. In the first year, keeping the soil evenly moist is perfect for Achilea ptarmica. But in year two, the plant is very drought tolerant.
Achilea'Sassy Summer Taffy' - The name is fun, and the plant is better. I've grown a lot of Achilea over the years, and some I find to be messy and weak late in the year. Many of the varieties grown from seed have small flowers and tend to be foliage heavy and flower light. 'Sassy Summer Taffy' is the Goldilocks of Achilea, just right. It has extremely strong stems and with light cutting continues to bloom from late spring through summer. In fact, as I write this, it's the end of August and still in bloom. The key is to hard cut the flowers as much as possible to trigger new growth. The flower color starts as a strong coral tone and then fades to a soft pink taupe color range. I don't curate every collection for them to be planted near each other, but in the case of this collection, I would strongly encourage just that.