Flowering Quince. A strong-growing cultivar with a more upright habit than typical which helps to display its sumptuous light and dark pink flowers spring. The reddish new growth following flowering is a nice bonus. Earlier in the winter, stems can be cut for forcing indoors to combat daylength depression. Hardy zone 4-8.
Flowering Quince. A selection introduced in 1948 by Wayside Nurseries of Ohio and notable for the very vivid crimson-red flowers and a growth habit more columnar than typical although this becomes less apparent with age. The name pairs well with the flowers although given the time, the memory of Spitfires over London was very fresh.
An older cultivar introduced in 1948 by Walter Clarke of Clarke Nurseries in San Jose who was blazing new trails in breeding Chaenomeles by crossing C. cathayensis and the hybrid x superba.with the resulting crosses called x californica and then he just had to name one 'California'. This has showy pink and rose-pink flowers.
Flowering Quince. An old Victorian cultivar remaining worthy for over a century and granted the Royal Horticulture Society's Award of Garden Merit and they don't give away AGM's freely. A hybrid quince with a profusion of orange-scarlet flowers in March and April and if you can't wait, will force from cut branches. Takes dry when established.
As neither of us were lucky enough to be debutantes ourselves, growing this 'Debutante' is ample solace. The flowers are small but tend to face upwards opening orange but fading rapidly to a soft pink in the interior which is accented by a yellow eye while the exterior retains a deeper orange-red coloring. To 30" of tidy habit with conservative values until it blooms
Red Birds in a Tree. Sometimes we like common names and this is one of those time. New Mexico native where it grows in moist canyons. Small white-lipped red tubular flowers in clustered congeniality throughout the summer to the delight of the nectar feeders. Likes to lean on other plants.
A seedling selection from Agapanthus 'Back in Black' from the Netherlands. This has strong purple black flower stems to 3 feet which hold dark violet blue flowers. It is those little things like the dark stems that tend to loom large in the landscape giving your garden that competitive edge over your friends. Not that you care. Mulch in winter.
Rock-solid ground cover Phlox with rock-star flowers that are white with an intense dark purple eye and literally cover the plant in their multitudes late May through June. Evergreen and drought tolerant although does better with a little water, this is very easy to please - just don't be too nice to it! Leaner, well-drained soil in full sun. Hardy to zone 3.
A fastigiate cultivar of Japanese Holly introduced by the US National Arboretum and a favorite of designers, container gardeners and oddly, miniature railroad hobbyists. This is slow growing eventually reaching 6'-10' tall and only 2'-3' wide as a narrow evergreen column and easily kept smaller. Not for the humid South, hardy to zone 6-8.
Summer Snowflakes. A robust bulb from South Africa which has it origins with a seed collection by Scottish plantsman Will Soos who collected this in South Africa and kindly shared seeds with us during our visit to his garden. This makes strong clumps of grassy summer foliage with tall 2'-4' stems of white and green flowers. Mulch if it gets all arctic in winter.
Introduced by plantsman Darrell Probst, this is hard to miss with large flowers on 8" stems that have a prominent yellow central star nested within a larger white aureola and all surrounded by petals of the most rent-by-the-half-hour provocative shade of cherry lipstick imaginable. So wrong it's right, so bad it's good.
Named for the inspirational nurserywoman and gardener, this selection has narrow red petals slightly recurved held well above the narrow green leaves. The petals are touched lightly in orange which gently seeps to the small central yellow eye nestled coyly in the throat. This carries inherent expectations given the celebrated name and does not disappoint.
New Ligularia hybrid which raises the high bar set by Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford' which is one of the finest dark-leafed cultivars. 'King Kong' doubles the leaf size of Britt Marie to about 16" across while retaining the near-black foliage early in the season which mellows to a burgundy chocolate later on. Large golden yellow daisy flowers on stems to 4'
Harlequin Glory Bower. Our collection from Anhui in China of this hard to resist small tree. Sure the peanut butter scented leaves have appeal but those fragrant white flowers are enchanting in late summer which and the raises the ante morphing into fruit like blue-black pearls in the red star-shaped calyces - whew! The suckering tendency seems a small price.
One of the most distinctly "What is that plant?" deciduous shrubs around is this tough little mutant redstem dogwood. Intensely columnar and slow with curled leaves held close to the vertical stems. These turn a most satisfying purple in the fall. As far as flowers go, forget about it. Slow growing, our 6 footer in the garden is pushing 40 years of age.
Collected by Crug Farm in the high mountains of Yakushima, this rare variety of climbing Hydrangea is much reduced in size. This self-clinging vine has tiny dark-hued terrestrial leaves as it clambers about on the ground and over boulders but once it finds a likely tree trunk, it will climb to 10' or more with larger leaves and white lace-cap flowers in early summer.
This UK selection has good ripe tomato red flowers arrayed nicely on the stem and held out horizonatally to optimize viewing. Very accommodating those Brits. The flowers are nicely ranked with some overlap which creates a showy floral synergistic effect. This is a compact grower to just a couple feet tall.
A perennial species collected by plantsman Darrell Probst in Sichuan. This grows in habit somewhat like the more familiar Impatiens omeiense. Somber pink-hued leaves are a perfect foil for the late summer pink flowers. Darker in foliage and flower than the clone 'Emei Dawn'. Uncommon perennial for moist shade.
A collection by PT's own Josh McCullough from Volcan Azul in Guatemala at around 10,000'. This grows both epiphytically and terrestrially. Fab narrow pleated leaves with terminal drooping panicles of flowers backed in lavender-pink with pale faces followed by shiny red berries.
Very nice gold-leafed Escallonia which has bright pink flowers. The foliage can fry a bit if given blasting afternoon sun but looks great given just a wee bit of protection. Ours froze back the unusually bad winter of Dec 09 but grew out and looked good in June. Well worth growing.
This is way too hot to be called an Ice Plant. Scarlet flowers scorch the foliage in summer and blaze with nary a care. Great sidewalk edger, rockery or container plant especially for those of you who delude yourselves into believing you really will water your containers. It's xeric.
From Hokkaido in northern Japan comes this very impressive Hemlock. Dark short green needles and simply presenting a beautiful aspect in all stages of growth. We especially delight in the light green new growth tipping the branchlets in spring in our shade garden. Likes it moist and shaded.
This is maybe the best variegated Red-Twig Dogwood selection with green leaves boldly margined in golden yellow and the contrast with the red twigs is pretty darn good. The red twigginess is showy in the winter and great foliage spring and summer - what more do you need?
More widely known as 'Apricot', this is one of the stellar performers in the fall garden where its seemingly artless open display of classically simple single flowers of peachy pink ray petals around a yellow eye belie a scrupulous attention to detailed presentation behind the veil of nonchalance.
These are from our seed collection on the flanks of Fanjingshan in Guizhou. This one was particularly fine with excellent fall color which these plants are showing. It was not only a profuse bloomer but the racemes were certainly at the upper limit for size. Mature plants were 10'-17' tall. Expect midsummer white flowers that are sweetly scented.
This is from Great Dixter. Christopher Lloyd. Christo. Brought here to us from Dixter by the iconic Jim Fox, mainstay of Wells Medina Nursery. It is surprising that the flowers are pink at all considering how blue the blood runs in this distinguished plant of impeccable provenance.
From the fog-shrouded beaches of New Zealand's Chatham Islands comes this appropriately named Chatham Island Forget-me-not. Big, glossy evergreen leaves and clustered blue flowers makes this unforgettable. Linda Cochran on Bainbridge grew this perfectly in rich moist soil.
This has grown - quite literally - into one of our favorite plants. Much like an Eremurus or Foxtail Lily in effect as it gets long basal strappy leaves and a tall branched flower spike with lots of pale peach tinted white flowers. The foliage withers away in summer and we leave the dried seedheads standing tall.
Tasmanian Blueberry Vine. Very cool evergreen vine from Tasmania with tubular greenish white flowers in May and June followed by very showy violet non-messy berries which depending on the weather, can persist through the winter. One of the finest small vines.
A Roy Lancaster introduction of the variety chinensis from Yunnan, China (which in of itself is reason enough to have this plant in the collection) of an invaluable winter blooming shrub tolerant of deep shade with white fragrant flowers from late fall into early winter. Superb shade evergreen shrub.