December 2012

Katie Ketelsen

Everlasting Pink

I’ve always been a huge fan of dianthuspinks. They’re the perfect perennial to line the edge of your flower beds, add a pop of color in those tight spaces, or even accent your container garden. My only beef with them was their bloom didn’t last long enough to satisfy my blooming-hunger!

Thankfully there’s a hot, new dianthus available for 2013 that blooms and blooms and blooms. The EverLast pink series is available in five, beautiful, double-blooming colors!

Orchid

Lilac

Burgundy Blush

White

Lavender

Personally, my eye is drawn to the white dianthus first. There are so few, reliable white-flowering perennials that you almost have to go with this one first. Runner-up would be orchid. I usually go for the sharp tones versus a light, pastel color. Which one is your favorite?

In case you’re not familiar with pinks, here are some specifics for the EverLast series:

Scientific Name: Dianthus interspecific
Hardiness Degree: -20°F (-28.9°C)
Blooming Season: Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Autumn, Winter, Late Summer
Plant Habit: Mounded
Height: 8 - 12″ (20 - 30cm)
Width: 10 - 14″ (25 - 36cm)
Exposure: Sun

Make sure you talk with your local garden center or landscaper to see how you can get some EverLast (everblooming) dianthus in your garden!

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Justin W. Hancock

Happy New Hibiscus

I love perennial hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos hybrids). I know some gardeners think they’re garish and too flashy, but the tropical feel they endow to the garden be so much fun. And they’re so easy to grow! Few perennials tolerate the range of conditions — from hot and dry to wet soil — that perennial hibiscus do.

And it’s really exciting that plant breeders are continuing to work on them, giving gardeners more choices than ever to add to the landscape. One variety I’m particularly excited about is Hibiscus ‘Hypnotic’. This stunner offers 11-inch-wide pale pink flowers with deeper stripes that radiate from a glowing red throat. It’s accented by finely cut purple-tinted foliage that looks great all summer and autumn.

Another exciting aspect to the plant is that it grows only 42 inches tall — so it’s easier than ever to tuck into the garden. Pair it with pink coneflowers, coreopsis (such as ‘Cosmic Evolution’), and Rozanne perennial geranium for a combo that flowers all summer long, no matter what the weather’s like.

Look for ‘Hypnotic’ hibiscus at your local garden center this spring!


Justin W. Hancock

Start a Hydrangea ‘Revolution’

The first time I saw Everlasting Revolution hydrangea, I knew I was looking at something special. It was a couple of years ago and I’ve patiently waited for this plant to make it to garden centers. Happily, in 2013, the wait is over! Want a sneak peek of something you’ll just have to have this year? Read on!

What made such an impression on me was the plant’s constitution. The leaves were thick and almost leathery to the touch. The blooms were thick, too, and almost rubbery so you know they’ll hold up a good long while. I had guessed the thickness of the leaves meant the hydrangea would hold up better to drought than your typical bigleaf hydrangea — and the baby trial plant I grew in the summer of 2012 did hold up impressively to our hot summer temperatures.

Being a plant geek, I pay attention to the way the plant performs. Those qualities excited me. But most of my friends were much more interested in the blooms and the fact that the flowers go through a color-changing phase. They start out pink or blue (or purple), depending on the pH of your soil and gradually take on green highlights, giving them an old-fashioned look. I do have to admit it’s pretty fun.

Another thing that caught my eye is that Everlasting Revolution hydrangea is a rebloomer, so it blooms on new stems and old. That’s really important to me here in Zone 5 Iowa, where harsh winters kill the flower buds before they open. That means we’ll get to enjoy this plant’s lovely blooms all summer, no matter how harsh the winter is.

Look for Everlasting Revolution hydrangea in a garden center near you this spring!

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