Hello Fellow Readers; Perrenials are a perfect solution for container gardens that return their favor year to year, providing a happy ending to naked pots.
What fun I had perusing a favorite wholesale nursery to fill my naked late-season pots. Rarely am I able to shop for my gardens during peak season. I found the ‘Mini Penny’ mophead hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) I was looking for to serve as the anchor piece in the collection of pots. However, she was blooming pink rather than blue due to the alkaline soil versus acidic she was rooted in. As my dear sister can attest, I am not a fan of pink. You see, my sister’s seniority afforded her the right to choose the color of our bedroom, which was Pink Panther pink. Not the real name, but certainly a descriptive that haunted our walls growing up. It seems to me the warm earthy green I campaigned for would have been more soothing, not leaving a residual dislike. Who doesn’t like green? It’s the primary color of our dear earth, after all.
Indeed when the three to four-foot-tall re-bloomer is planted in my acidic garden soil, she will become a beautiful baby blue. Or I could add Holly-Tone, Pro-Holly, or lime pellets to the potting mix. But I couldn’t fathom waiting for the shift. (Some childhood aversions last forever.) Instead, I chose a perennial option as the anchor plant, grabbing three ‘Brunette’ Snakeroot, Actaea ramosa, aka Cimicifuga simplex, with dark purple foliage. They’ll grow four feet tall with bottle brush white flowers with a tinge of pink in early fall. Yes, Sis, a tinge of pink is okay. One must remain flexible.
To complement the ‘Brunette’ Snakeroot, I stumbled across Sugar & Spice Foam Flower, Tiarella x ‘Sugar & Spice,’ with her bright green deeply lobed leaves and dark burgundy centers. She, too, forms spikes of pinkish-white flowers in spring above her foot-tall foliage.
I couldn’t help but try the shiny heart-shaped leaves of Beesia, Beesia deltophylla, from the Dan Hinkley Collection. Dan Hinkley is a legendary American plantsman well known for collecting and propagating unusual plants. Beesia is best in Zone 6 to 8, which pushes the envelope a bit as I consider our area a zone 5b. When it’s time to transplant from the potted gardens to the garden beds, I’ll opt for a microclimate area protected by winter winds for this spreading semi-evergreen woodland plant that grows 18 to 24 inches tall.
Then ‘Alexander’s Great’ Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla, called my name. He’s a larger version of the more well-known Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ with silvery dark veined heart-shaped leaves and sky-blue clusters of flowers that come spring above his eighteen-inch-tall foliage. I planned to divide the Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola,’ Japanese Forest Grass, spreading nicely in the rock garden to add a wispy edge along the garden pots. But instead, I opted to adopt a pot of ‘All Gold’– a variety with bright golden-yellow foliage.
All the selections will contrast nicely with the big-leafed blue hosta donated by a client. Plus, the new plants with good deer resistance will spread over time when they are moved into the woodland garden come fall. A happy ending to my naked garden pots begging for attention. Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com
Please let us see an after picture, Mary.
Hello Lorraine, I just posted the dressed pot photo. They’ve grown since and I look forward to transplanting them into a shady garden area in need of a face lift come fall. Thanks for asking :^) Mary