The Plant Man column
for publication week of 03/26/06 - 04/01/06
The Plant Man
by Steve Jones
These big bloomers you'll be proud to own!
Perennials, it seems, really are a perennial favorite with readers of
this column. And no wonder. Perennials provide years of pleasure and a
sense of continuity in your landscape as you see familiar friends
returning season after season.
In the past few days, I have received via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org numerous questions and requests for information
on perennials that might be a little out of the ordinary. Rather than
include all those questions here, I'll pass along some of the
information that I sent to those folks who contacted me.
Scabiosa Grand Stone
Think really big bloomers - and I don't mean oversized pantaloons
- and you're describing Grand Stone. It has the biggest flowers I
have seen on a Scabiosa: about 3 inches across with bold, blue petals.
Unlike plants that spread out in a wide pattern, Grand Stone seems to
concentrate all its energy into producing flowers, sometimes a hundred
or more in a single season from one plant no more than 20 inches wide.
One reader wanted suggestions for plants suitable for cut flower
arrangements and I immediately thought of Grand Stone. Cut off a few
stems and it just seems to bloom even more, often all the way until
really cold weather arrives in the fall. You can buy them in flats,
but, in my opinion, you are better served looking for plants like these
that are somewhat more mature, with an expanded root system. Those are
usually shipped in two-quart containers and give you something of a
Green Screen Bamboo (Fargesia robusta)
After a brief mention here of bamboo, I received requests from readers
for more information on different bamboo varieties. Here's one you
can look for if you want something fast-growing and sun-tolerant. In
fact, I bought a few to plant in my own landscape.
Fargesia robusta is large-clumping bamboo that will quickly reach a
height of 15 to 18 feet with approximately a one inch diameter. It
makes a pretty impressive hedge and also looks good in a container,
either indoors or out. As always, let me know if you need some
shopping information about this or any of the other "out of the
ordinary" plants I mention.
Salvia x sylvestris "Snow Hill"
Speaking of containers, here's a perennial that makes for an ideal
container plant, although it also works well amidst roses or even in a
vegetable garden. It has delightfully aromatic foliage and is a
definite attraction for both bees and butterflies. But what makes it
special for me is the sight of its glowing purple stems and the mass of
clear white flowers that bloom from June to October. Snow Hill is a
fast-growing perennial that is deer-resistant and prefers full sun and
moist, well-drained soil.
Clethra alnifolia Sixteen Candles
Remember the 80's movie "Sixteen Candles?" Or the hit record of
the same name by The Crests? Of course, you're not THAT old! But
this nostalgically named plant certainly does look like a cake
decorated with stiffly-upright glowing white candles. Actually, rather
than a mere sixteen, it can produce hundreds of 4 to 6 inch candle-like
spikes in a single season.
These "candles" have a delightful scent, too! They'll do well in
full sun, partial sun or shade. Again for best results, my advice is to
search out plants that are shipped in containers that are one or
one-and-a-half gallon, letting you enjoy a mature, thriving plant more
delight of planning and developing your own unique landscape!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send questions about trees, shrubs and
landscaping to email@example.com. For resources and additional
information, or to subscribe to Steve's free weekly e-mailed
newsletter, go to www.landsteward.org
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.