Monday, February 6, 2012

More Warmth and a Few Pretty Photos from Terra Nova

On Saturday afternoon while I was in the middle of cooking up a storm, Kevin called and said, "There are a bunch of robins across the street."  Grabbed my camera and shot this through the foyer window.  There were just as many in our garden as well.  I've never seen robins in larger groups - usually just ones and twos.  And now am concerned about what on earth they're finding to eat.  Today it is expected to be about 8C (48F) - well and truly above normal.  Wonder if the insects are finding their way to the surface for food?

February is always an impatient time, but usually there's snow on the ground to give me a reality check.  There are a few interesting seed heads here and there, but mainly it's pretty dull and uninteresting.  So, like every other winter at this time, it's time to cuddle up with Bart and my catalogues.  Today, I wanted to share some of the treasures I've found from Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

I had the good fortune to visit TN when I was out in Portland and was amazed at what they've been able to accomplish through their breeding program.  I think their Heuchera are beyond belief.  Starting at the beginning and working my way through - here are some of the wonderful plants I discovered in their pages:

Photos courtesy of Terra Nova® Nurseries, Inc.

At this point in the gardening season, when I'm all dreamy and hopeful, I decide that once again, I'm going to imprison a few perennials in pots - just because I can.  Acanthus molls 'Tasmanian Angel(tm)' (Zone8-10) is gorgeous enough to make me think that Kevin should start parking his car in the drive so we can keep this sweet plant alive over the winter. 

I grow Aralia cordata very well.  It is a large (2M) plant with huge leaves and cool sputnik blossoms followed by seed heads that the birds adore.  However, in my garden the lower leaves die off in August which means you need another beast of a plant to hide the hideous dead and dying lower leaves and it self-seeds like a weed.  I'm almost at the point where I'm thinking of donating it to the plant sale (note to self- remove that last sentence from post before doing so) and replacing it with Aralia cordata 'Sun King' which is chartreuse (a reason to grow any plant in my opinion) and is only a meter high and wide.  Dan writes that it survived the heat of Oklahoma, so perhaps it doesn't have a problem with lower leaf death later in the season.   I'm tempted......notice how cool it looks with some of those hard-to-pair with Heuchera.

Agastache are terrific plants in my garden.  None of them lasts more than 5 years, even the hardy ones, but I'm willing to forgive anything in exchange for their cheerful long-lasting flowers and marvellous scented flowers and leaves.  Find it's a good alternative to lavender (something I adore, but am sooo allergic to).  Here are three I'm going to find and shoe-horn into the garden:


Agastache 'Raspberry Summer'  Agastache 'Summer Love'
Agastache 'Summer Sunset'

Any plant that presents me with flowers the colour of baby aspirin just has to find a spot front and centre in the garden.  They are listed as zone 6-9, so I'm pushing it a bit.  I've done just fine with many other fine-leaved forms of Agastache known to be a little less hardy than the bigger blue varieties, so I don't think I'm being all that reckless.

The photos of the ferns are enough to send anyone into an Anthyrium frenzy.  Unfortunately many of them have been a bit of a hit and miss for me (RIP tatting fern, sad looking 'Dre's Dagger', arms missing 'Burgundy Lace', 'Ursula's Red, a.k.a. 'Ursala's Dead'.)  However, should I ever move to the west coast.....I'd be so tempted.

I don't understand the attraction of Bergenia.  In my garden during the winter it sports half-dead brown leaves.  In the spring, it has green leaves with big brown edges and a few bright pink flowers.  During the summer it has leaves that look like old cabbage leaves and in the fall, who really cares any more.  So, even though there's a chartreuse bergenia on offer called Bergenia 'Lunar Glow', I'm still not tempted.

Carex phyllocephala 'Spark Plug' sadly is a Zone 7-10 sedge.  The leaves look quite similar to C. muskingumensis but with great variegated foliage.  Quite yummy.  Again, thinking that Kevin parking his car in the drive, would be a good thing.

So many new Coreopsis.  I fear this may become the new perennial disappointment the way the colourful new Echinacea were.  They are so absolutely beautiful, but I fear not as hardy as advertised.  In my catalogue the lanceolata and verticilata are shown to be hardy in Ontario for the first and second and Quebec for the second.  Unfortunately the whole provinces have been highlighted up to and including Hudson's Bay (Zone 1-2).   I've had trouble in my Zone 5B garden with all of them except Route 66, a C. verticilata.  In all fairness to the catalogue the text says that the hardy ones are Zone 6, so if you find them on the nursery bench be sure to hold onto your plant tag and bill - I suspect you'll be asking for a refund next year.  Just have to include a few photos so you can see how brilliant their breeding program is. Here's 'Cherry Lemonade' and ' Pumpkin Pie':


No clever wind-up of my blog today.  I'm going to put things on pause to resume later about more amazing Terra Nova plants.   The sunshine and warm weather are calling - Bart and I are going for a walk to capture some rays.

(This post is a wee bit dogsbreakfasty - Terra Nova's photos went missing this a.m. & I've replaced them - must work on my HTML to figure out what's going wrong with the positioning.  The longer you live, the more opportunities to learn something new. bpc)


Barry said...

You will have no problem with A.c 'Sun King' whatsoever. I am slightly confused with its height and spread, but will wait and see! Mine came from Lost Horizons last year, and so long as it isn't in full sun, it is stunning. Add the new Gentiana 'True Blue' as a foil...... fabulously chartreuse and true blue! I have Acanthus 'Whitewater' - came out the year after Tasmanian Angel. It is inside but struggling....... even in a container last year it wasn't happy! I am giving it another year to see if it settles in and finds happiness... otherwise, more room for another Cyp!

Jennifer said...

Hi Barbara, Can you believe that I have no Agastache? Not one! I admired them all last summer on other gardener's blogs and so this year they are high up on my wish list. Love the Acanthus molls 'Tasmanian Angel(tm)'. I have been burned by new varieties of Coreopsis in the past. While billed as "perennials", they are annuals in my garden. Still, I really like the burnt brown ones and the newer pink varieties.