Plants for Season-Long Color
Dorothy Danforth's idea of a great plant is one that enhances the place where it is planted and hangs around a long time. She has found out how to accomplish season-long color by moving plants around her yard. These are some that she just can't live without.
In order to have a blooming Spring garden, Dorothy divides all of her plants and places them throughout her garden. These are three of her favorites.
'Flore Pleno' buttercup (Ranunculus acris 'Flore Pleno'). This starts blooming in May and blooms until July, quite long for a perennial. It also looks gorgeous in arrangements, especially with Siberian Iris.
'Rosalinda' phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Rosalinda'). This phlox starts blooming in early spring and blooms a long time. It is very vigorous and can be divided endlessly, making it possible to have it throughout the garden in spring and early summer.
'Superba' clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata 'Superba'). This is an outstanding plant for the early garden. It is also a spreading plant, supplying many plants throughout the garden.
Dorothy divides all these plants to have a variety of color in summer.
'Souvenir d' Andre Chaudron' catmint (Nepeta 'Souvenir d' Andre Chaudron'). This nepata is tall and provides color in the garden for a long time, starting in early summer and ending in late August. It needs support as it is limp. I use tomato towers, the tall and sturdy kind, which I place around it in early spring.
'Laura' phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Laura'). This blue phlox is mostly disease resistant, bloom for a long time, starting in mid-summer and last through early fall. The stems are sturdy, needing little support.
'Firetail' fleeceflower (Persicaria 'Firetail'). This plant starts blooming in early summer and continues until the killing frost. It is a big plant taking much space, but it earns its spot by the service it gives the summer and fall garden. It is not too tall, but broad.
'Blue Lagoon' aster (Aster novi-belgii 'Blue Lagoon'). This plant starts blooming in September, is short and can enhance the border throughout the garden with little blue puffs, and is so vigorous that it can be divided a lot. It seems to be more disease resistant than other asters.
'Autumn Fire' sedum (Sedum 'Autumn Fire'). This sedum is an improvement over 'Autumn Joy' which I find hard to grow in my garden due to the overhead watering. 'Autumn Fire' does not rot in my frequently watered garden. It can be multiplied all over the garden, enhancing a fall look.
'Fireworks' goldenrod (Solidago 'Fireworks'). This is a gorgeous plant, tall and graceful that blooms a long time in fall. it spreads to a big plant and can be multiplied throughout the garden.
'Arabesque' maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Arabesque'). This grass is the first to bloom in late September. It has strong stems and the inflorescences start copper and turn silver, then wheat color in late fall. It is a gorgeous sight when the morning sun shines behind it. It stands tall all winter, swaying in the wind and returns upright when a blizzard bends it over temporarily.
'Ice Dance' sedge (Carex morrowii 'Ice Dance'). This little sedge works its head off for the gardener. It spreads by growing little baby shoots in all directions. It stays green all winter, looks graceful with its waterfall foliage, and will grow any place I put it—sun or shade. My advice to anyone who attempts to grow this plant is, "Don't plant them too close together."
'Gowdy' Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis 'Gowdy'). I like conifers with personality. Conifers are new to me and I can't get enough of them.