The Plant Select® program of 2007 introduces and recommends the following plants for regional gardens. This year’s selections reflect the program’s standard for outstanding performance in gardens in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond.
HOT WINGS® Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum ‘GarAnn’ PP 15,023) is a superior small ornamental tree that grows to around 18 feet in 12 years, eventually maturing to about 30 feet. This tree is quite tolerant of the alkaline soils that are predominant in our region. HOT WINGS® garners its name from the brilliant red samaras that clothe the tree in midsummer providing a tremendous show of color. The fall color ranges from orange-red to yellow. HOT WINGS` ® Tatarian Maple is a sturdy tree with strong branch unions. This is a great tree that ensures interest in the landscape through all seasons.
SHADOW MOUNTAIN® Penstemon (Penstemon x mexicali ‘Psmyers’) is sure to become just as popular with gardeners as the other Penstemon x mexicali varieties RED ROCKS® and PIKES PEAK PURPLE®. This distinctive new penstemon has luminous white-throated, lavender-blue flowers with attractive purple-red veining and grows to around 18 to 24 inches tall. SHADOW MOUNTAIN® is adaptable and easy to grow in full sun or partial shade, and requires moderate watering until established and is quite xeric thereafter. For all of you that love and collect penstemons – here is another great one for your garden.
KANNAH CREEK® Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum ‘Psdowns’ ) is a durable native plant from western Colorado that is best known for its masses of bright yellow flowers that gradually deepen to orange as they mature. The flowers rise above a low mat of green leaves that spreads moderately as a groundcover. During the weeks of autumn the foliage transforms from deep green to a vivid purple-red and adds interest through the winter. KANNAH CREEK® is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, but does best in full sun and average soil that drains well. In a perennial border or a rock garden, you can’t go wrong with this plant.
RED MOUNTAIN® Ice Plant (Delosperma dyeri ‘Psdold’)
brings the color of blazing, scarlet to these popular ground cover plants. Originating in the dry mountains of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, RED MOUNTAIN® is hardy to an elevation of 6,000 feet. The red shades of the flowers give this plant a Technicolor dazzle that continues through the summer. Ice plants are extremely drought tolerant and RED MOUNTAIN®is no exception. Be the first on your block to have this dramatic color break in hardy ice plants.
Purple Winter Savory (Satureja montana v. illyrica) is an unusual member of the mint family. It maintains a short, compact mounding habit of growth and blooms late in the season when many garden perennials have finished flowering. Interesting tubular purple flowers are packed along the stems contrasting with the dark green, glossy leaves. The foliage is persistent into the late autumn and in a protected microclimate may even be evergreen. Purple Winter Savory can be used as a culinary herb, but is more acrid than the species. Grow in full sun to partial shade, provide moderate watering and enjoy a beautiful new plant in your garden.
VERMILION BLUFFS® Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi ‘Pscarl’) is an extremely showy plant, sporting tall spikes of brilliant red flowers from August through October. This plant scores the highest mark for attracting and satisfying hummingbirds. They simply can’t resist visiting VERMILION BLUFFS® for the sweet nectar. The flowers are spectacular and the plant is easy to grow in sun with moderate moisture. The native origin of VERMILION BLUFFS® is the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains of Mexico. It is hardy up to 5,500 feet elevation. For those gardeners at higher elevations it is a valuable plant to grow as an annual, your local hummingbirds will be forever grateful.
CLEAR CREEK® Golden Yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium ‘Psgan’) is a striking small tree and is often grown as a large shrub. This attractive specimen is relatively unknown in commerce and not often found in gardens. The tree is extremely eye-catching when the beautiful flowers appear in April and May. The fragrant flowers feature bright white petals with a blotch at the base, which changes from yellow to red. Another interesting feature is the large seed capsule that forms after the flowers fade. The feather-like leaves are a lustrous dark green and provide a lacy textured backdrop for the flowers. The mature height of CLEAR CREEK® Golden Yellowhorn will reach to around 18 to 22 feet. This is a perfect choice for smaller garden areas and one of the prettiest flowering trees to be found.
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.