Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952

Meeting Topic: Favorite Perennial Introductions

  • November 12, 2013
  • 7:30 PM
  • The Church of the Brethren

Featuring: Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury

Like gardeners everywhere, the gardeners at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens have their favorite plants – the ones they have found work well and look good in both their public and home gardens.   Since Hillwood’s gardeners get a chance to observe new introductions before most of the rest of us do, they also are keenly watching for plants that might make the next “favorites”  list.


At the November Capitol Hill Garden Club meeting, Hillwood’s lead gardener, Jessica Bonilla, and Drew Asbury, greenhouse and cutting garden grower, combined their observations and expertise to present an overview of 47 notable plants – some old, some new – along with hints about each plant’s characteristics and cultural preferences.


Notes and photos from our presentation:


Favorite and Reliable Perennial Introductions was the topic for Jessica Bonilla and Drew Asbury, gardeners from the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens. They featured a variety of recently introduced perennial cultivars which due well in our Zone 7 from shade to sun, wet to dry, good soil to poor. [See list below.]





The remaining bulbs from the annual bulb sale fundraiser were steeply discounted.








   

Most fascinating tip of the evening?  


Add foot powder (think Dr. Scholl’s) to tulip beds to keep the squirrels at bay.

  

Picks for new and exciting plants?  


There’s Thalictrum (Meadow Rue) ‘Black Stockings’, best planted with lots of leaf compost and in dappled light.  Or if you’re looking for a plant for a hot, dry sunny spot, try the Kniphofia (Poker Plant) Popsicle Series that are smaller than many Poker Plants and rebloom in late summer.  Another long-blooming plant is Coreopsis ‘Mercury Rising’, a red coreopsis that the Mt. Cuba Trial Gardens in Delaware found to be less susceptible to disease than many of the new cultivars.  Helenium autumnale Mariachi Series was recommended as a “great late-summer-blooming Sneezeweed” that will add oranges and reds to the landscape.  A new grass to consider is Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’, a Little Bluestem  grass that grows 2’ – 3’ tall in a very upright form with the bonus of red and purple fall color.  Another is the Giant Sacaton Grass, Sporobolus wrightii ‘Windbreaker’, recommended  as a worthy replacement for  Pampas Grass that is becoming a problem invasive in warm climates.  (Several other new plants were also included in the evening’s list now posted on the Garden Club blogspot.)


Some favorite perennials that perhaps you haven’t considered yet?  


Hillwood’s gardeners found it difficult to settle on their favorite and reliable perennials but they finally winnowed the list down to 36.   If you don’t have a Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) in your garden, the recommendation was to go buy one for a dry shady spot.  At bloom time, be sure to cut off the old leaves so you’ll see the new leaves emerging.  Another plant good for shade is the spring-blooming Barrenwort, Epimedium perralchicum  ‘Frohnleiten’, which holds its flowers above the green and red foliage.   


Thinking beyond the usual ground covers?


Bonilla and Asbury suggested Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ (Japanese Forest Grass) to add texture to the garden and which has more vigor than many of the other varieties of this plant.  Also suggested for ground covers were Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, (Creeping Jenny), if you can supply the all-important moisture, and Tiarella ’Elizabeth Oliver’, an 8” – 12”- tall Foam Flower that is suitable for shade and is stronger than the native.  


Looking for some recommended perennials?


Perennials that are perhaps less well known are Acorus gramineus ‘Minimum Aureus’, a Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag with a pleasing fragrance (but keep it moist if it’s in the sun) and the Cranesbill Geranium ‘Rozanne’ that “blooms non-stop from June to November”.   The Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop) rewards the gardener with foliage that changes color every season from green to yellow to orange in the fall.  For bold foliage, one to think about might be the South African native  Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (Pineapple Lily) that grows from a bulb and is an easy plant in part to full sun.  


Recommended Plant List


Verbena bonariensis, Tall Verbena
Agastache rupestris, Sunset Hyssop
Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage
Verbascum 'Southern Charm', Showy Mullein
Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldstrum', Black-Eyed Susan
Sedum rupestre 'Angelina', Angelina Stonecrop
Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy', Pineapple Lily
Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low', Catmint
Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink', Hardy Mum
Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus', Purple Coneflower
Amsonia hubrichtii, Arkansas Blue Star
Athyrium nipponicum 'Pictum', Japanese Painted Fern
Helleborus orientalis, Lenten Rose
Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold', Japanese Forest Grass
Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', Creeping Jenny
Tiarella 'Elizabeth Oliver', Foam Flower
Primula japonica, Japanese Primrose
Chelone Iyonii 'Hot Lips', Pink Turtlehead
Liriope 'Monroe White', Lily Turf
Astilbe chinensis 'Superba', Chinese Astilbe
Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', Chinese Astilbe
Epimedium perralchicum 'Frohnleiten', Barrenwort
Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum', Variegated Solomon's Seal
Trillium grandiflorum, Wood Lily
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, Plumbago
Heuchera 'Caramel', 'Citronelle' & 'Mocha', Coral Bells
Hosta 'Krossa Regal', Hosta
Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears', Hosta
Acarus gramineus 'Minimus Aureus', Dwarf Golden Sweet Flag
Geranium 'Rozanne', Cranesbill
Stokesia laevis 'Peachie's Pick', Stokes' Aster
Phlox paniculata 'Shortwood', Garden Phlox
Eupatorium fistulosum, Joe Pye Weed
Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard', Adam's Needle
Panicum virgatum 'Northwind', Switch Grass

New and Exciting

Thalictrum 'Black Stockings', Meadow Rue
Kniphofia Popsicle Series, Poker Plant
Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising',. Tickseed
Helenium autumnale Mariachi Series, Sneezeweed
Brunnera macrophylla 'Alexander's Great', Siberian Bugloss
Lobelia cardinalis 'Black Truffle', Cardinal Flower
Delosperma 'Fire Spinner', Ice Plant
Agave neomexicana, New Mexico Hardy Century Plant
Agave salmiana 'Crazy Horse', Crazy Horse Hardy Century Plant
Schizachyrium scaparium 'Standing Ovation', Little Bluestem
Sporobolus wrightii 'Windbreaker', Giant Sacaton Grass


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