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!

Astilbe ‘Mighty Chocolate Cherry’

Astilbe ‘Mighty Chocolate Cherry’

 

The newest member of the Mighty series of Astilbes has become our new favorite! Like all members of this series, it is tall and vigorous, producing loads of extra-long colorful cherry red spires on plants nearly 4 ft tall. What sets this selection apart is the beautiful chocolate-burgundy foliage. Unlike other dark-foliage Astilbes on the market which fade to green at bloom time, ‘Chocolate Cherry’ retains its burgundy leaves well into the blooming season. Give it moist, rich soil and a site with morning sun for best color and performance.
 

Photo from: Compass Plants

Buddleia ‘Glass Slippers’ – Glass Slippers Butterfly Bush

 

Over the years we have come to appreciate the unique qualities of this subtle colored butterfly bush. Its icy crystal blue flowers are an uncommon color that sets off its silvery foliage, attractive even when not in bloom. ‘Glass Slippers’ is a member of the dwarf Monarch ® series of butterfly bush, reaching only 3’ tall. It distinguishes itself from other dwarf varieties by the unique pendant habit of its branches and flowers which create a layered look. Very long bloom season, and of course it attracts butterflies just as well as taller varieties.
 

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Buddleia ‘Glass Slippers’ – Glass Slippers Butterfly Bush -

Echinacea Double Scoop™ Cranberry

Echinacea Double Scoop™ Cranberry

 

These double cranberry red flowers are among the reddest of all coneflowers. The color is just perfect for adding bright punctuation in the perennial garden. Flowers start appearing in early summer and keep coming until fall. The plants are compact and sturdy, with excellent branching habit. At maturity, expect 4” wide flowers on plants 24-26” tall. This is one of the showiest of coneflowers that we have ever grown.
 

Photo from: Ball Horticultural

Phlox ‘Blue Paradise’

 

Our most-asked about tall Phlox is a staff favorite here at Specialty Growers! We are not sure what magic of chemistry makes these big lavish flowers change color throughout the day, but we have noticed that they are nearly blue (rare in Phlox paniculata) in the morning, changing to rich purple by afternoon. This phenomenon repeats on a daily basis on the same flowers; it’s not a simple matter of the color changing as the flowers age. Fortunately all of its color variations look fabulous in the garden, especially when contrasted with red, pink, orange or yellow companions. Grows 36” tall and blooms in midsummer.
 

Photo from: White Flowers Farm

Phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ – Phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ –

Persicaria ‘Firetail’

Persicaria ‘Firetail’

 

This is a big bold perennial that we’d never be without. With its incredibly long bloom period, it can carry a perennial border from July through hard freeze. Its bright raspberry-red color is showy enough to really stand out, but because the spike-like flowers are narrow, they never overpower. A workhorse in the garden, ‘Firetail’ provides lush arrow-shaped foliage on bushy plants, creating mass at the back of the border. Its flowers are a favorite of honeybees and many native bumblebees. It grows 4 ft tall, and grows well in sun or light shade.

 

Photo from: Eric Hofley