Tried and True

 

We’d like to draw your attention to some older varieties that have withstood the test of time, and are stalwart performers in the garden.  Certainly everyone loves to choose their favorite “new and exciting” variety from the season’s offerings, but often plants of great merit go unrecognized and unheralded.  Here we hope to show off a few of the “oldies-but-goodies”– plants that you can count on year after year.  The classics never go out of style!

Liatris ‘Kobold’ – Kobold Gayfeather or Blazingstar

Liatris ‘Kobold’ – Kobold Gayfeather or Blazingstar

 

Even non-gardeners will recognize this flower, as it often appears in cut-flower bouquets. In addition to its use in the vase, ‘Kobold’ is a perennial that has withstood the test of time. Introduced to horticulture decades ago, its genealogy includes the native North American wildflower, Liatris spicata. It is an easy-to-grow perennial, thriving in full sun and well-drained soil, and is a favorite of butterflies. It blends well in the garden with daylilies and other midsummer bloomers, growing 18-24” tall in full sun.
 

Photos from: Walters Gardens

Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Apache’


Among the hundreds of Daylilies we grow at Specialty Growers, this variety is one of our all-time favorites. Introduced in 1981, it is certainly no newcomer, but still remains one of the best red varieties. Its flowers never fade by day’s end nor do the petals “melt” in the blistering heat of summer – both common problems for red daylilies. ‘Chicago Apache’ stands tall in the garden; our plants reach 3 ft, and blooming starts later than most daylilies (late July for us) and lasting well into August.

 

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Hemerocallis ‘Chicago Apache’

Epimedium ‘Lilafee’ – Lilac Fairy Barrenwort  

Epimedium ‘Lilafee’ – Lilac Fairy Barrenwort

 

Members of the genus Epimedium are regarded as some of the best perennials for shaded or woodland gardens. They are often considered groundcovers by merit of their dense, fibrous root masses and spreading habit. Barrenworts are recommended for dry shade, one of the most vexing problems a shade gardener encounters. Due to their drought tolerance and mat-forming roots, Barrenworts compete well with the roots of trees and shrubs. ‘Lilafee’ is a lovely selection whose name translates from German to ‘Lilac Fairy’. The name perfectly describes the delicate flowers, which appear in advance of the foliage, in April and early May. ‘Lilafee’ is a dwarf variety, growing 8” tall.
 

Photo from: Missouri Botanical Garden

Aruncus dioicus – Goat’s Beard

 

This plant is an outstanding choice for the partially shaded garden. It looks like a giant white Astilbe: the large plumes can rise 4 to 5 ft on a well-grown plant! Although often recommended as a perennial for shade, we have found that it performs best when it receives at least a few hours of sun per day. Morning sun is ideal. This tall species of Goat’s Beard (there are dwarf varieties too) needs ample room to develop into the spectacular specimen that it can be. Slow-growing in its first year, your patience will be rewarded when the plant matures. Provide moisture during dry spells, and fertilize yearly.
 

Photo from: Walters Gardens

Aruncus dioicus – Goat’s Beard –
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’

 

We believe that the Bigroot Geranium is one of the unsung heroes in the landscape. It has large felt-textured scalloped leaves and a creeping rhizomatous growth habit that make it one of the best groundcover perennials, growing equally well in sun or light shade. It’s a tough plant that rarely needs watering or fertilizing, making it nearly maintenance free. It is also deer-resistant and we have never noticed any insect or disease problems. The foliage has a pleasant sweet herbal scent, and may develop red-orange fall color, particularly in sunny locations. We like ‘Bevan’s Variety’ because its magenta flowers are brighter than others in this species. Grows about a foot tall.
 

Photo from: e.Commons@cornell