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’
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
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
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