Peek into the future with the winter announcement of new varieties available from Creek Hill Nursery, formally announced at the January MANTS trade show in Baltimore, MD. Available for shipping this spring, these crops can be ordered through your favorite broker, via the Creek Hill shopping cart, or directly by email or phone orders. Visitors to our MANTS booth can review growing product in trays displayed in our New Plants pinwheel. Below are a few highlights of this year's collection.
HELIOPSIS ‘FIRE TWISTER’: We were impressed when we saw the mass planting of ‘Fire Twister’. The Heliopsis flowers are big and bright, but the dark foliage underneath truly makes the color pop—both are striking in combination together. A dark addition to the pollinator garden, the plant flowers in sunny areas from June to October. As you would expect from a Heliopsis, ‘Fire Twister’ is also a good cut flower. It grew to our waist.
EPIMEDIUM ‘SPINE TINGLER’: Spiny edges such as these on the thin, dagger-like leaves are unusual. Dense sprays of light yellow star-like flowers above the plant look nothing like ‘Nevium’. Flower sprays appear at about the same time as the foliage emerges. This is great for planting under trees, because it thrives in dry shade.
PULMONARIA ‘OPAL’: A well-named Pulmonaria brought over from England, ‘Opal’ has flowers faintly tinted with blue or pink. Blooms are iridescent, just like the gem. A silver polka-dot pattern on the leaves enhances the showy nature of the plant. It’s hardy to zone 3 and evergreen in mild climates. As a rule, this is one of the earlier genera to bloom in the spring. Plant ‘Opal’ in the shade.
CORYDALIS ‘BLUE PORCELAIN’: It’s all about the aqua blue for this Corydalis—a very unusual tint to find in the garden, much less in a woodland plant like this one. ‘Blue Porcelain’ blooms in waves: first in the spring, then again toward early autumn. The foliage has tints of blue but picks up some bronze in the summer. Of special note: this cultivar doesn’t go dormant in the summer. Corydalis is related to Bleeding Hearts so if you can grow Dicentra, you can grow it. Plant ‘Blue Porcelain’ in partial to full shade. It grows about a foot high and spreads out almost two feet.
Both cultivars try to tame Nepeta’s wilder aspects to move it from the landscape to the gardenscape. NEPETA ‘BLUE PRELUDE’ does this by offering a much larger bloom on stiffer and tighter stems. The effect is more like a low shrub than a wild perennial. It grows short the first year, but it can scale to three feet by the second year.
NEPETA ‘NEPTUNE’ goes for the compact strategy, shrinking the plant into a pint-sized version of the classic Nepeta form. This dwarf still offers full-sized flowers on the tops of its stems, but it doesn’t get tall or spread out very wide. This version of Nepeta behaves more like a traditional garden perennial and suitable for a pollinator garden.
SEMPERVIVUM ‘BRONCO’: If you watch ‘Bronco’ for a full year, you will see virtually every color found in a Sempervivum pulse across its surface, coming and going as the seasons change. It happens to be a great pupper with prolific numbers of little ones surrounding its diameter.
THE POP STAR PLATYCODONS: Cute miniature plants with full-sized balloon flowers that will sometimes dwarf the plant that produces them. Platycodons are normally small, but the Pop Stars will grow only about six inches tall with twelve inch trails. These are full sun plants that bloom throughout the summer. They are remarkably hardy, down to zone 3.