Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amsonia hubrichtii

OK, this is not your normal perennial. In fact it will be the 2011 PPA Plant of the Year.
I started using Amsonia about 8 or 9 years ago. It was an odd thing then, considered more of a native plant than anything else and a few of my designer friends were unsure how to deal with it. I too thought it was an odd duck of a plant as it wasn't in bloom when I purchased it and it wasn't in its fall color stage.
So here I am with this rangy looking plant and putting it into a client's garden asking them to trust me as it will be quite a show in the future, even near future. Rangy, and a plant without shape when its young is a tough sell sometimes.

The 'willow-like' foliage is upright, but wispy, and adds softness to the more rigid looking panicums. I thought it would have a couple seasons of interest but my client is one to trim her garden back in the spring (they do listen from time to time) and she was amazed at how it added a texture to her wintry landscape.
Late spring blossoms are blue to blueish white, and fall the foliage becomes intense and bright mustard yellow.

I would say to keep it in an area where the soil is slightly moist, but not soaked all the time. I figure it naturally goes through periods of drought as it is.
It will be exciting how we as garden writers, nursery people, garden designers, and gardeners will help to promote this plant this coming year.

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