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Heritage Perennialsí

Top 10 Perennials for 2005

Written by Canadian Garden Centre   
Chosen from over 1500 varieties that are grown by Heritage Perennials and from the many hundreds of new varieties introduced, discovered, or sometimes rediscovered every year. 28Top 10 Perennials for 2005

Chosen from over 1500 varieties that are grown by Heritage Perennials and from the many hundreds of new varieties introduced, discovered, or sometimes rediscovered every year.

1. Echinacea purpurea ‘Doubledecker’ – Zones 3-9
A totally new twist on the traditional Purple Coneflower, with delightful and bizarre two-tiered blooms that will attract plenty of attention. Blooming begins in midsummer and continues for weeks, especially with regular deadheading. Plant habit is like the usual
Echinacea purpurea, with tall stems (around 30 inches) and a reasonably bushy form.

2. Echinacea Mango Meadowbrite™ – Zones 4-9
Recent breeding work at the Chicago Botanic Garden has produced this marvel, their second new coneflower introduction. It produces large, single daisy blooms of a glowing neon mango-yellow shade, surrounding a golden-orange cone. Flowers are delightfully fragrant, with an overtone of sweet-spiced tea, making them particularly useful for cutting. Plants prefer the same conditions as regular coneflowers – a full sun location, good drainage and a regular supply of moisture.
   
3. Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ – Zones 5-9
Blanketflower is widely respected as being one of the longest-blooming perennials. Rather than the usual daisy shape, here the individual petals are rolled into tubes. Plants are sturdy and fairly compact, topping out at around 14 inches, so very well-suited for the front of the border.

4. Helleborus X hybridus – Zones 4-9
Selected as the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2005 by members of the Perennial Plant Association, these are perhaps some of the most exciting, easy-to-grow and rewarding shade-garden perennials on the market. Mature plants can form clumps that are 18 to 24" tall and 24 to 30" wide. Long-lasting cup-shaped blooms are available in many lovely pastel colours, appearing in both single or double forms. Plants perform best in partial to full shade, growing particularly well under deciduous trees. The evergreen leaves are thick and sturdy, divided into 7 to 9 segments like coarse leathery umbrellas.   

5. Hemerocallis ‘Apricot Sparkles’ – Zones 2-9
‘Apricot Sparkles’ is one of those rare constant-blooming Daylilies that are a generation beyond ‘Happy Returns’. This dwarf variety has 4" diameter blooms of deep apricot-yellow with a delightful sparkling diamond-dusted finish. It repeats constantly from May to frost, beginning slightly later in short-summer regions. Plants are 12 to 16 inches tall, reaching a width of 18 to 22 inches or so.

6. Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ – Zones 4-9
The leaves are large, smooth and glossy, rounded in form with gently scalloped edges and a jet-black colour. Sprays of creamy flowers appear in early summer, held above the leaves by bright coral-red stems that are a beautiful contrast to the foliage. This selection is proving to be more sun-tolerant than most other dark forms, suitable for full-sun conditions in all but the most sweltering of regions but also tolerant of at least part-day shade or all-day bright, dappled shade.   

7. Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – Zones 3-9
It’s true that several selection of variegated Jacob’s Ladder have been introduced in past years, but ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is truly distinctive and superb. The compound leaves have a ferny appearance, medium-green in tone with a strong edging of creamy-white. In strong light or during cool weather the foliage takes on a delightful flush of soft coral pink. Clusters of lightly fragrant bell-shaped flowers appear in mid to late spring, medium violet-blue in colour and held on stems that reach 12 to 16 inches tall.
   
8. Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ – Zones 3-9
Tolerant of both clay and sand, and soils ranging from dry to moist, these ask only for a sunny location to perform to their full potential. In this selection, the flowers are a deep indigo-purple shade and held on purple-black stems that provide a truly distinctive and rich overall effect. Flowers appear in early summer, with more blooms produced into the fall if the faded stems are ruthlessly deadheaded just above the mound of pebbly olive-green leaves. This taller variety reaches a height of 20 to 30 inches, spreading 18 to 24 inches wide.   

9. Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ – Zones 3-9
Simple to grow is an understatement when it comes to most kinds of Sedum, and ‘Angelina’ is no exception. ‘Angelina’ has succulent, needle-shaped leaves in a remarkable shade of bright golden yellow that seems to truly glow. Clusters of tiny star-shaped yellow flowers are a bonus feature during the summer. This spreads to form a groundcover 4 to 6 inches tall, spreading to 2 feet or beyond within a couple of seasons.

10. Tradescantia ‘Blue and Gold’ – Zones 3-9
The foliage forms a grassy mound, studded with a long succession of triangular flowers in a deep gentian-blue to violet-blue shade that looks just stunning against the leaves. Like with many yellow-leaved plants, a bit of afternoon shade is advisable to help prevent sun scorch, yet bright conditions will help to bring out the best possible colour. Plants grow 18 to 22 inches tall, spreading 18 to 24 inches wide. Flowering begins in early summer, with loads of little buds that open over several weeks, each flower only lasting for a day.
 
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