Staff Favorites


The staff at Specialty Growers is a group of dedicated gardeners, and we each have our own unique gardening “style”.  Often we are asked for our personal recommendations for high-performance perennials.  Here are some of the plants that we like best!

Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ –

We are really impressed with this new Agastache! Although we wouldn’t describe the color as blue - it’s actually more purple - its flowers do look like a boa: long, feathery and fluffy! The flowers of ‘Blue Boa’ are the largest of any Agastache we have grown; wider and longer than older varieties. It has a super-long bloom time, starting in late June and blooming well into the fall. This genus, often called Hummingbird Mint, is indeed a favorite of hummers, and it attracts plenty of butterflies and beneficial bees too. The neat upright clumps, 30-36” in height, produce loads of blooms that make lovely anise-scented cut flowers. Tolerates drought, not bothered by deer or rabbits and with no pest or disease problems, this is one fool-proof perennial for the sunny garden!

Photo from: North Creek

Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’ –

There is something uniquely different about this Astilbe that sets it apart from the scores of other Astilbes available. Perhaps it is the dark, finely cut foliage -- purple in spring and bronzy green in summer. Or maybe it’s the red stems carrying salmon pink buds that open to frothy pink panicles. ‘Delft Lace’ stands out with a combination of fancy foliage and beautiful lacy flowers. Like all Astilbes, it wants to be pampered with moist well-drained soil in a partially shaded location for best effect, so water during periods of drought. Attains a height of 24-30” including the flowers, which appear during June and July.

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ -


No plant elicits more comment in July than this bright member of the gladiolus family. But unlike the gladiolus, the corms (flattened bulb-like underground structures) of this variety are completely hardy. The brilliant red-orange flowers are arranged on long arching stems reminiscent of Freesia. The tubular shape and bright color are attractive to hummingbirds. This is an easy-care perennial for a full sun to mostly sunny garden. It is sometimes called Sword Lily for its elongated iris-like leaves. Grows 3.5-4 ft tall.

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Hosta ‘Earth Angel’ –


In order to appreciate this magnificent hosta, one must see a mature specimen. Young plants don’t even hint at the grandeur of a well-grown ‘Earth Angel’, so it’s a leap of faith to buy that 1-gallon nursery plant. This hosta has the genetics to become YUUUGE! A sport of ‘Blue Angel’, it develops the same enormous heart-shaped blue leaves, but all dressed up with wide creamy yellow margins that change to white by July. One of the giants of the Hosta world, give it plenty of space to show off its majesty. Expect a 30” mound, 40” with flower stems, and a 5 ft spread. Named Hosta of the Year in 2009.

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ -

This is our favorite member of the member of the SunSparkler® Series of sedums from Chris Hansen. In spring, the dense clumps smoky bluish gray leaves form neat mounds at the front of the perennial or rock garden. By midsummer the foliage darkens to bluish purple, topped with scores of developing flower buds getting ready for the big show in August. That’s when the giant 6-8” clusters of raspberry-red flowers cover the plants, nearly obscuring the foliage. Because ‘Dazzleberry’ has a different look each season, it’s like getting three plants in one! It’s a low grower, 6-8” tall, and creeps gently by forming spreading mounds. Full sun and well-drained soil are its only requirements.

Photo from: Chris Hanson