The Plant Select® program of 2003 introduces and recommends the following plants for regional gardens. These exceptional plants continue the program’s standard for superior performance in gardens from the high plains to the mountains.
Corsican Violet (Viola corsica) comes to us from the Mediterranean region. This wild violetis widely prized for the large, one-inch, bright purple flowers that bring cheerful color to gardens in every season. It is exceedingly heat tolerant and can take considerable drought. Corsican Violet can be planted anywhere; it will reseed moderately.
LA VETA LACE® Geranium (Geranium magniflorum) is another great plant from the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. This hardy alpine geranium forms compact evergreen mounds of foliage resembling finely textured parsley. The foliage takes on hints of purple and scarlet in the winter months. The vivid purple flowers appear from spring into the summer. This is an adaptable and long-lived plant.
Snow Angel Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea ‘Snow Angel’) adds immense charm with low-growing mounds of foliage marbled with light cream variegation. This is an excellent plant for part shade or shade and drier conditions. The spikes of pink-red bells add a complementary note to the garden from late spring into the summer.
CRYSTAL RIVER® Veronica (Veronica x ‘Reavis’) is an exceptional evergreen groundcover that is a hybrid between the popular Turkish veronica and woolly veronica. It combines the best qualities of both parents and demonstrates hybrid vigor as well. Tiny blue flowers appear in a solid mass in the spring, with scattered blooms throughout the season.
TANAGER® Gazania (Gazania krebsiana) is a hardy gazania from South Africa. It features fluorescent orange daisies from earliest spring to late autumn. Theglossy, dark green leaves develop a deep purple tinge in the winter months. This colorful gazania will reseed moderately in zone 5 and is hardy in protected microclimates.
Mountain Lover (Paxistima canbyi) is a low growing, broadleaf shrub with lustrous, dark green leaves with purple tints in the winter. MountainLover is durable, adaptable, and the perfect plant for low edging or as a small-scale groundcover in the home garden.
Waxflower (Jamesia americana) features intensely fragrant and showy clusters of waxy, white flowers in late spring. Added interest comes from the flaking, reddish-brown bark. Heavy-textured green foliage transforms to brilliant orange and pink tones in the autumn. This is a western native that will add winter interest with its silvery silhouette. It is an excellent shrub for dry shade.
Plant Select® introductions and recommendations are available at garden centers and nurseries. Additional information on the cultural needs of these and other plants in the program is available at the Plant Select® website, www.plantselect.org.
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