Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New (to Me) Plants for 2014

(Photo: Proven Winners)  Clematis 'Diamond Ball'
I have been plant hunting.  Oh, I haven't been scaling mountains in Turkey or Japan looking for something incredible, beautiful, and rare.  I have been traveling down the alleyways of the internet, which for someone curtailed by a walker and fairly housebound, is almost as much fun.  The cold weather makes it even more fun to contemplate possibly warmer days.

Anticipating walking unaided and removing myself from my brother's family's bene-magnificient care,  I have been spending some time looking at some of the new plants out there. 

Now, I can't possibly keep up with all the new annuals or the new and improved veggies on the market (and I have been saving veggie seed to develop some provenance, anyway, so sweet corn is about all I will look at these days).    Having no access to water for the family vegetable garden is something which I may have to deal with this year, so seed and vegetable selection and planting methods will need to keep drought-tolerance in mind.  I have also been analyzing how to incorporate more edibles into my borders in my home garden, too.  Curly parsley and 'Thai Queen' basil could be most enjoyably incorporated into the long border, a touch of deep green and dark purple.

Those struggles aside, perennials and shrubs are something I can wrap my hands around, though.

I have to say I am still waiting on the opinions to completely form regarding the pink Annabelle, Invincible. I'm waiting for that to mature in a couple gardens I know to see what I think of that one.  After Endless Summer series hype, I have become a bit leery regarding hydrangea other than the paniculatas, of which I am a confirmed big fan.

Clematis 'Diamond Ball' looks promising.  Almost no one I know grows any double clematis.  Double clematis look tropical in this area of central Wisconsin, which with the Polar Vortex and the sun hanging so low in the sky for almost the entire day, seems to have more in common with the Artic Tundra than places such a clematis might grow.

Researching 'Diamond Ball' and clematis scotti (actually hunting plants or seed on that one, with no luck) have led me to admire several beautiful images of clematis alpina.  I realized I choose two years ago to add to a pergola as a companion to a rose.  Last year I had just a scant half dozen blooms near the ground.  As it blooms on old wood it is a perfect companion for the unidentified (might be 'Eden') rose which is its companion, Neither climber will need much grooming other than for shape over the coming years.  given the exuberant growth this clematis experienced last year, I am anticipating loads of bloom competeing for trellis space.

Unidentified rose, maybe 'Eden'?

(Photo: Proven Winners) Rhododendron 'Handy Man Purple'
I would love to add more big, showy rhododendrons to my garden.  The breeding behind 'Handy Man' makes it a possible candidate.  I also have a couple 'Diabolo' ninebarks I have been trying to keep small.  'Tiny Wine' might make a better choice.
(Photo: Proven Winners) Ninebark 'Tiny Wine'
I have also been fascinated by alpine plants of late and have been hunting seed.   In addition to looking, make that drooling, over clematis and the continual hunt for that one rose; I have been looking at sub-tropical bulbs.

The cranberry taro (also known as red stemmed rhubarb colocasia) combined with this airy grass and peachy orange coleus  in this planting in the Janesville Rotary Gardens last fall.captured  my imagination.
I would also like to see if I can grow dierama from a bulb each year like we do dahlias.

I am also anticipating the corner of my garden where the black Austrian pine was shading a lot of the plants there to be much more spectacular this year.  Lacking sun, plants were diminishing, rather than expanding there.  Also this coming summer, I will be enjoying some new daylilies purchased from Dr. Apps through the Kiwanis fund-raiser last fall.  I think they will bring me much joy.

These are some of my plant musings keeping me warm these days of the Polar Vortex.  What new to you plants are you considering this year?

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