We gardeners are a curious, acquisitive lot, always looking over the horizon, searching for the next best thing. I’m delighted to share with you some of my fabulous finds — exciting 2014 plant offerings of favorite mail order nurseries.
First up, Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery, which has an extensive collection of ornamental trees, shrubs, vines and perennials. I’ve been a Klehm customer for over 20 years and gladly attest to the quality of their plants. Almost all are shipped in containers, which not only ensures a safer transport but eliminates the frenzied need to put them in the ground the moment they arrive. A big plus for me.
But enough about me. As Elmore Leonard advised in 10 Rules of Writing, “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” So, on to the plants:
Heuchera ‘Blondie’ (zones 4-9)
Most heucheras produce pink or white flowers for a short time in summer or early fall, but the unique, enchanting mini, Blondie, flaunts an abundance of lovely creamy-yellow flowers in spring, summer, and fall. Colorful foliage enhances the plant’s presence and value. A splendid perennial ground cover or specimen plant for shade.
Heuchera ‘Cajun Fire’ (zones 4-9)
A new introduction from Terra Nova Nursery, Cajun Fire is all about foliage; through the growing seasons its leaves change from striking shades of red to a rich maroon. Tall white flower spikes heighten the display in summer. Another choice perennial for a shady garden.
Clematis viticella I am Lady J, ‘Zoiamij’ (zones 4-9)
Lady J captured my heart with her small, showy, milky-white centered, purple-edged flowers. It was love at first sight, though I’m rather partial to the entire small-flowered viticella group. They are beautiful, reliable, vigorous, cold-hardy plants, untroubled by the scourge of large-flowered clematis, the dreaded clematis wilt.
As for cultivation, at one time it was generally accepted that clematis should be planted with its feet in the shade and its head in the sun, but that is no longer the case. With adequate moisture, viticellas, for example, do quite well in sun or shade. And while conventional wisdom dictated a clematis preference for sweet (alkaline) soil, now that too is an open question. Nonetheless, when I plant, I add lime to my acid soil.
Klehm ships 2-year-old, well-rooted, trellised plants, which have always bloomed for me the first season. (Note: This has been my experience, not a Klehm guarantee.)
And do check out Klehm’s outstanding selection of peonies. They range from an old-fashioned, fragrant favorite, ‘Mrs Franklin D Roosevelt’, to modern dazzler ‘Circus Circus’ and luscious pink confection, ‘She’s My Star’. (The last two are introductions of foremost peony breeder and Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery owner, Roy Klehm.) Peony photos below in order of mention.
Tip: Peonies do require a sweet soil; if your soil is acid, add lime.
To easily access Klehm’s Song Sparrow catalog, click on their Link from my blog. (See also my earlier January 9, 2013 blog post about the nursery, “2013 The Next Best Thing: Part 2”.)