New Plants for Spring

High Country Gardens continues its reputation for introducing delightful new perennial plants to American gardeners with 2011 offerings.

Bouteloua garcilis Blonde Ambition from High Country Gardens.

Bouteloua garcilis Blonde Ambition from High Country Gardens.

courtesy High Country Gardens

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High Country Gardens has developed a reputation for introducing delightful new perennial plants to American gardeners every year. For Spring 2011, High Country Gardens continues this tradition with offerings that include the exclusive new Agastache ‘Blue Blazes’ and a remarkable new ornamental grass called ‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue Grama that has been chosen a Plant Select Winner for 2011.

High Country Gardens is an award-winning source for waterwise native and adapted plants. The nationally recognized mailorder catalog and website specializes in easy-to-grow varieties that thrive in many areas of the country but grow particularly well in the climates of the western United States. High Country Gardens offers a wide range of perennials, ornamental grasses and shrubs including many water-wise (“xeric”) plants that need little or no extra water once established.

To receive a free spring 2011 catalog, call High Country Gardens at 1-800-925-9387, or order a catalog and/or view the entire High Country Gardens catalog online.

 

Agastache ‘Blue Blazes’ (Blue Blazes Hyssop) 

This exclusive introduction from High Country Gardens will fill any garden with a big cloud of gorgeous lavender-purple flower spikes. ‘Blue Blazes’ is a large, vigorous hybrid that blooms non-stop from mid-summer into fall, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds with its nectar-rich flowers. Prior to flowering, enjoy its deep green, mint-scented foliage. While the plant needs two growing seasons to reach full size, it blooms the first year. Grow ‘Blue Blazes’ in full sun and well-drained soil and it will reach 3.5-4.5 feet tall and 24-36 inches wide. Or, to keep it more compact, pinch back the plant in late spring. ‘Blue Blazes’ is an amazing hybrid between High Country Gardens’ Agastache ‘Desert Sunrise’ (introduced in 2000) and the blue-flowered eastern native Agastache foeniculatum. USDA Zones 5-9. Plants sell for $9.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, or 3 or more plants for $9.49 each.

 

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ PPAF (Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass) 

Plant Select winner 2011. Seldom does a new grass selection offer something completely different and exciting, but Blonde Ambition Blue Grama is a truly unique plant. Its profusion of big, showy chartreuse flowers, held horizontally over the leaves, is unlike any other ornamental grass in cultivation. An exceptionally large-growing selection of native Blue Grama, ‘Blonde Ambition’ has 2- to 3-foot-tall stems of flowers that mature to long-lasting blonde seed heads. These flag-like flowers rise up out of the blue-green foliage in mid-summer and are held for months on stiff, weather- resistant stems. ‘Blonde Ambition’ provides exceptional winter interest as the stems of seed heads pop up even after a heavy snow and remain standing through winter, giving the grass 6 to 8 months of garden color and texture. The flower spikes are also invaluable for dried arrangements. This beauty is extremely cold hardy, grows in a wide range of soil types and is a perfect choice for low-maintenance home or commercial landscapes. Its round, mounding shape (up to 36 inches tall and wide) makes it the perfect companion for tall, upright growing ornamental grasses (such as Panicum and Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’) and perennial flowers (such as Agastache, Aster and Salvia). Discovered and introduced by David Salman of High Country Gardens. Zones 4-9. $9.99 each in 5-inch premium pots, 3 to 6 plants for $9.79 each, 7 or more plants for $9.59 each.

 

Kniphofia ‘Red Nancy’ (Nancy’s Red Torch Lily) 

Red Nancy’s outstanding coral-red tubular flowers are hummingbird magnets that bring much needed mid-summer color to the perennial border. A smaller, more refined variety than many of its larger, more robust relatives, Nancy’s Red Torch Lily boasts finely textured, grassy foliage that adds a pleasing texture to the garden even when the plant is not in bloom. A fine choice for smaller beds, ‘Red Nancy’ has fantastic architecture to her flowers adding a vertical element that contrasts beautifully with many other flower shapes. ‘Red Nancy’ thrives in full sun in compost-enriched garden loam, reaching 18-24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The plants sold by High Country Gardens are the true cultivar – not the dark orange variety circulating in the trade under the same name. Zones 6-10. $7.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants for $7.79 each, 7 or more plants for $7.59 each.

 

Eryngium ‘Big Blue’ PPAF (Big Blue Sea Holly) 

A new improved hybrid of Sea Holly, ‘Big Blue’ has outstanding iridescent blue bracts and stems held over silver leaves in mid-summer. Very attractive to bees and butterflies, the spiny plants are deer and rabbit resistant. ‘Big Blue’ is a great choice for hot, sunny beds and mixes gracefully with lavender, grey santolina and other sun loving Mediterranean perennials. The flowers are beautiful for use in fresh or dried bouquets. Big Blue Sea Holly thrives in low-fertility, well-drained soil. It will reach 24-30 inches tall and 24-30 inches wide in USDA Zones 4-9. Plants sell for $8.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants $8.79 each, 7 or more plants $8.59 each.

 

Lavandula intermedia ‘White Grosso’ (White Grosso French Lavender) 

This new variety is hands-down the best white-flowered French hybrid lavender. Discovered as a sport of ‘Grosso’ (the most vigorous and most cold hardy of the French hybrid types), ‘White Grosso’ will be a star performer in your garden. White Grosso French Lavender provides a beautiful contrast when inter-planted with the more-common blue flowered lavender. ‘White Grosso’ will reach 30-36 inches tall by 36 inches wide, and it loves low-fertility, well-drained soil. It will grow throughout USDA Zones 6-10 (and it may even be cold hardy to Zone 5b). A great companion plant for Echinacea (purple coneflower). $8.99 each plant in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants $8.79 each, 7 or more plants $8.59 each.

 

Penstemon pseudospectabilis ‘Coconino County’ (Coconino County Desert Beardtongue) 

Few plants can duplicate the tremendous floral display produced by ‘Coconino County,’ which blooms for a month in late spring, sporting hundreds of intensely deep-pink, tubular flowers. Enjoy the attractive mound of evergreen foliage by deadheading the plant after the flowering is finished. David Salman of High Country Gardens loves native Southwestern Penstemons for hot, dry sites and poor, fast-draining soils. Coconino Country Desert Beardtongue is a vigorous re-seeder, so combine it with other re-seeding native wildflowers like Blue Flax and Chocolate Flower to populate harsh sites with their seedlings. High Country Gardens’ original plants of this selection were grown from habitat collected seeds gathered in Coconino County, Arizona (hence its name). The flower stalks will reach 30-36 tall and the plant will reach 18 inches wide. Zones 5-9. $7.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants for $7.79 each, 7 or more plants for $7.59 each.

 

Stachys lavandulifolius (Pink Cotton Lamb’s Ear) 

Pink Cotton Lamb’s Ear is truly breathtaking in full bloom. This amazing xeric wildflower puts on a profuse display of fuzzy, bright pink flower spikes unlike anything you’ve seen before. The flowers are stacked with woolly calyxes (flower sheaths) that create a halo of pinkish-white fibers through which bright rose-pink blossoms emerge. The 10-inch tall flowers hover over attractive low-growing gray-green foliage. This High Country Gardens selection adapts easily to garden cultivation, is nicely xeric and thrives in a range of soils including dry clay. It is an excellent choice for hot, harsh, poor soil sites, and it is highly resistant to browsing animals. Deadhead promptly after flowering is done to keep the plant tidy and the foliage looking good. Zones 5-9. Plants sell for $8.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants sell for $8.79 each, 7 or more plants for $8.59 each.

 

Chilopsis linearis ‘Lucretia Hamilton’ (Lucretia Hamilton Desert Willow) 

‘Lucretia Hamilton’ is the perfect desert willow for attracting hummingbirds to patios and small yards. A naturally compact grower, this selection provides a long blooming summer display of stunning burgundy-red flowers. And during the winter and early spring, its finely textured branching makes an especially nice focal point when planted against walls and fences. (Miss Lucretia stays smaller in zone 6 climates, hence the significant variation in mature size – 12-18 feet high and 12-18 feet wide.) Selected by Ron Gass of Mountain States Nursery. USDA Zones 6-10. $8.99 each in a 5-inch premium pot, 3 to 6 plants $8.79 each, 7 or more plants $8.59 each.

 

Linum narbonense (Spanish Blue Flax) 

Bring the deep blue sky down into your garden with Spanish Blue Flax. Native to the foothills and mountains of northern Spain, this wildflower gem is most at home, not in formal flower beds, but along paths, in among rocks and other areas with poor soil. Encourage the plant to re-seed itself and it will gently spread itself into your landscape. This species is reported to be a longer lived perennial than common Linum perenne. The seed-propagated plant thrives in low fertility, well-drained soil. At maturity, Spanish Blue Flax will reach 15-18 inches tall by 15 inches wide. Cold hardy in USDA Zones 5-8. One plant in a 5-inch premium pot is $7.99, 3 to 6 plants are $7.79 each, 7 or more plants are $7.59 each.