Friday, November 26, 2010

Geranium 'Orkney Cherry'

I have had a lot of success with this beauty here in Eastern Washington. Placed along driveways, sidewalks, gravel paths, and rockeries it has been very prolific. The color was described to me as burgundy chocolate but I find it to be more of a burgundy/violet foliage with hues of copper. There is almost this strange otherworldly feel to the color. I know this could be the result of both heat and soil, but it's simple marvelous.
This foliage is exceptional at creating a mood and then the violet pink flowers, small blossom but with a big punch add a sparkle to the overall effect. Just imagine the use of this with other bold and shocking colors, splashing through your perennial border and frolicking among the grasses.

This hardy geranium is one of my three favorites. Seriously, the foliage alone is worth everything. Tight mounds up to 10 inches high and maybe the plant gets 24 inches wide. I think this and Geranium Rozanne are the top two that I use and grow here at the nursery.

Hardy geraniums are excellent filler plants and add so much to both the residential and commercial landscape. Such versatile and useful plants.

Other suggestions that I read about was to use them in containers, baskets and window boxes. I think this would be great if you were in Western Washington, but this may not really be suited for the east side of the state. Well, let me rephrase that. They would last the growing season but being strong enough to be perennial in an unprotected container is something else altogether.

This is a Plant Haven introduction.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hydragea quercifolia 'Amethyst'

Alright, just when I thought I was running out of quercifolia Hydrangea forms along comes this beauty.
Now the sales people are telling me this shrub is smaller and more compact, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Yeah, sure.
This shrub is medium sized at 6' x 6'. The blossoms are like 'Snow Queen' as they are held aloft and upright. They are creamy white and appear to have a nice shape to small sized heads.
What I feel is the real selling point is the fact that the flower heads turn such a dark and glowing shade of cherry amethyst when they age and dry. I am continually reassured that they hold their color, and that the rich burgundy and purple leaves set everything off.
Useful in shade plantings or as a spectacular foundation plant. I would recommend planting this somewhere where it might be noticed.
Attributed to Dr. Michael A. Dirr