Posts Tagged ‘Rudbeckia’

On a quick trip out to the nursery last week I came across a gorgeous plant with spiky pink flowers that made me stop in my tracks. October is not the time of year I would expect to see Celosia in full glory, but this cultivar, called ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ looks fantastic even now. Nestled into a mixed annual bed, it fits right in with Verbena bonariensis in the backdrop.

Celosia ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ with Verbena bonariensis in the Background

Celosia ‘Cramer’s Amazon’ was discovered in Peru and features magenta blooms. It is recommended to pinch the plants back when they are smaller to produce more stems, but if you leave it undisturbed, it can grow up to 9′ tall! The flowers are excellent for cutting and can also be dried. The reddish tinge to the leaves and veins are also ornamental in my book. Try it out in a garden bed with other annuals like Verbena or Salvia or try it next to fail-proof perennials like Rudbeckia or Perovskia for an Erb-approved planting scheme!

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Sedum 'Autumn Joy' Paired With Pennisetum 'Little Bunny'

I was strolling through my local garden store this weekend when I came across this perfect fall combination of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny’ (can also be substituted with ‘Hameln’). Now that Labor Day has passed, it is time to give the garden a spruce up for autumn.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is appropriately named for the jubilant explosion of pink flowers beginning in late August and continuing for a good month into the end of September.  The color ranges from light pink to almost pale purple depending on the exact variety (‘Autumn Joy’ is just one of many fall blooming sedums).  This particular sedum grows to be about 2-3′ tall and 2-3′ wide.  The pale lime green leaves appear in early spring and provide a contrast of green within the garden during the summer months.  The flower buds are a very light version that also brings some interest.  Use ‘Autumn Joy’ in the perennial borders and beds paired with other fall interest plants such as the Pennisetum pictured above or rudbeckias. Make sure to aggressively deadhead early flowers to stimulate new growth on the plant which will produce an even bigger spectacle in autumn.

Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny’ or ‘Hameln’ look almost identical with wispy green blades in the summer giving way to feathery flower plumes in late summer.  The flowers on this fountain grass, are reminescent of bottle brushes but are much softer to the touch.  The main difference between these two varieties are height.  ‘Little Bunny’ makes good on its name with the height and width of about a foot.  For greater impact in larger spaces, use ‘Hameln’ because of its height of 2-3′ and width of 3-4′.

All of these plants are very readily found in your local garden store or market, especially now when they are in their peak season of interest.

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As I was doing a late season nursery trip last week I came across Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Una Belle’ which took me by complete surprise. The sheer height and scale of this perennial make it stand out. We tend to use Rudbeckia as a low maintenance fail-proof perennial that gives a golden punch of color in mid to late summer, but this cultivar of the Asteraceae family adds height to the garden as it grows up to 6′ tall.

Just Behind the Table and Cart in the Foreground Stands the Towering Rudbeckia laciniata 'Una Belle'

Rudbeckia laciniata, commonly referred to as Cutleaf Coneflower (not to be confused with Echinacea) is hardy to USDA zone 3. It is covered with golden-yellow flowers typical of a Black-eyed Susan in late summer to early fall. It prefers a sunny and well-drained location in the garden. Can you imagine a huge patch of this surrounded by mounds of ornamental grasses? This plant can absolutely revitalize your garden in late summer when everything else is looking a little crispy and faded. Think big scale with this one. It isn’t a plant for the small container garden.

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Pycanthemum muticum AKA Mountain Mint (photo from http://www.sproutdc.com)

Pycanthemum muticum, also referred to as Mountain Mint, is a favorite native perennial that has many useful purposes. Commonly found at the woodland edge, it attracts butterflies, bees, and other wildlife.  Mountain Mint can tolerate light shade to full sun and grows to be about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  It will clump from the base so be sure to give it extra room as it grows.  Evenly moist, sandy soil is best but it can adapt to a wide range of soils.  Mountain Mint is hardy in zones 4-8.

Use Mountain Mint as a replacement for mint in any recipe including tea.  The leaves produce a refreshing minty odor when crushed. While it doesn’t have a splashy color found in many native perennials such as the yellow of Rudbeckia or the purple of Echinacea, the flowers create a billowy cloud of silver color in planting beds. Mountain Mint is a subtle and elegant filler plant that would look gorgeous among Artemesia, Astilbe, Liatris spicata or even Salvia.

If you want to see Pycanthemum muticum in person. Check out the High Line section 2 where you can find it growing between the old railroad tracks and perennial borders.

Article written by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design.

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