Instead of the "same old same old," how about putting some pizzazz in
your landscape this spring with some plants that are a little out of
Coreopsis Heaven's Gate
Whoever named this Coreopsis was definitely inspired, perhaps with
visions of this particular plant welcoming new arrivals at the Pearly
Gates. Unlike its more common yellow cousins, this one is pink. In
fact, Heaven's Gate is a sort of two-tone pink with a deep ruby center
changing to a more delicate pink towards the tip of each petal.
It might look delicate, but Heaven's Gate is easy to grow and doesn't
need a lot of TLC. Blooming from spring to fall, and best suited to
Zones 5 to 8, it prefers a sunny spot in your garden and will grow to
around 12 to 24 inches at maturity. It's a showy, compact perennial
that could put a little breath of heaven close to home.
Coreopsis rosea Sweet Dreams
As I started writing about Heaven's Gate, I was reminded of another
Coreopsis that is both spectacular and easy to care for. With Sweet
Dreams you'll find blooms with deep raspberry centers bleeding out to
pure white tips that really seem to glow against the tapered, dark
They bloom pretty much from late spring until the first frost. Growing
to about 18 inches tall, they also spread nicely to about 18 inches
wide, making them a good addition to a sunny bank as well as the more
traditional flower bed. An added benefit: they attract butterflies but
Coreopsis grandiflora Domino
If you prefer the more traditional look of a yellow Coreopsis, take a
look at this cheerful little guy whose bright yellow, fringed blooms
each have a deep burgundy-red center. They add a splash of sunshine to
a flower border all summer long and are perfect for cut flower
Achillea Summer Berries
Why settle for one color when you can enjoy several? Summer Berries
blooms with a sumptuous mix of fruity colors that range from salmon/
apricot to yellow and cherry red to pink/cream to two-tone pink and
even more, in clusters of 3 to 5 inch blooms.
I've found that a lot of Achillea tend to fade, but the blooms on
Summer Berries hang in there, even in summer heat and bright sunshine.
This plant can really enhance a border and, once again is easy to care
for. A favorite of both bees and butterflies, it makes spectacular
flower arrangements, fresh or dried.
Happiest in Zones 3 through 9, it grows to around 2 or 3 feet tall,
flowering from June to September.
If you'd prefer a single color Achillea instead of the rainbow effect
of Summer Berries, try the Paprika. As the name suggests the clusters
of flowers are bright red and each flower has a distinctive yellow
This is one of the Achillea that will fade a bit - from bright red to
pink - as it ages. It's possible to reduce the fading effect somewhat
if you plant them in a spot that has some afternoon shade.
Regular deadheading will keep the blooms coming back. Paprika is a
perennial that grows to about 2 or 3 feet at maturity.
Clematis Ernest Markham
This Clematis was named by Rowland Jackman in 1937 to honor Ernest
Markham who is credited with being the first to raise this variety.
The Jackmans, incidentally, have a long horticultural pedigree
themselves, having operated the family nursery in England since 1810.
Speaking of pedigrees, this Clematis received the Royal Horticultural
Society's Award of Garden Merit.
I particularly like the large, rich red flowers with their creamy-
brown stamens. It does well in just about any average, well-drained
garden soil, but really thrives in loamy, pH neutral soil. This is a
fast-growing deciduous vine than can quickly grow as high as 20 feet.
Isn't it nice to know that many uncommon plants are still very easy to
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