Gardeners in the Upper Midwest looking for colorful perennial plants that offer multi-seasonal interest with minimal maintenance should check out the latest introductions from Chicagoland Grows®. Burgundy Fireworks Coneflower – A Meadowbrite™ Introduction (Echinacea ‘Burgundy Fireworks’ PPAF) is a unique selection that produces vivid beet-red ray flowers and has deep burgundy stems and dark green, glossy leaves. Prince Charming Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum ‘Prince Charming’ PP#22304) is one of the most attractive selections of Solomon’s Seal available that produces creamy white, slightly fragrant one-inch long flowers in late spring over compact foliage. Tidal Pool Prostrate Speedwell (Veronica ‘Tidal Pool’ PPAF) is a vigorous and adaptable evergreen groundcover that produces medium to deep blue-violet flowers in late spring. These plants will be available for sale at the 46th annual spring plant sale during the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Bloomin’ Festival, May 19 & 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Burgundy Fireworks Coneflower PPAF – A Meadowbrite™ Introduction was developed by Dr. Jim Ault at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This perennial is hardy to USDA Zones 5-7 and starts blooming in northern Illinois (USDA Zone 5) in mid-June to early July, with a heavy flush of flowers for all of August, and then a continuation of at least a few flower heads well into October. The flowering stems are a deep burgundy color in spring and fall, which is still evident in the heat of summer. The smallish, glossy leaves are a lovely deep green and in colder weather features red midveins. What is most unique about this selection is the vivid beet-red ray flowers, which are not only upturned like its E. tennesseensis ancestor but are individually fused into quills. It is best grown in full sun and a well-drained, medium-moist soil. It has few disease and insect problems. This long-blooming perennial is perfect for containers, perennial borders, and small urban gardens. We recommend interplanting it with other sun-loving perennials for a long and carefree bloom display.
Prince Charming Solomon’s Seal is hardy to USDA Zones 4-7 and blooms for three weeks from mid-May to early June in northern Illinois (USDA Zone 5b). Developed by Brent Horvath at Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, this herbaceous perennial is compact for a Solomon’s Seal, growing only 9 to 12 inches tall, yet spreading quickly to form a clump twice as wide in a few years. ‘Prince Charming’ is one of the most attractive selections of Solomon’s Seal available. Its creamy white, slightly fragrant, 1-inch long flowers are produced in profusion in late spring, followed by green berries that turn purple in autumn. Its foliage is a medium green to blue-green in stronger light, with a contrasting gray underside, turning a golden yellow in late autumn. It prefers a moist, organic-rich soil in partial to deep shade but will tolerate a drier site in shade and sun if given adequate moisture. This is a low-maintenance plant that rarely needs dividing, has no known pests or diseases, and is deer and rabbit resistant. We recommend using this in a perennial border, woodland garden, or partially shaded rock garden. It can be used as a slowly spreading groundcover or as an accent plant.
Tidal Pool Prostrate Speedwell is hardy to USDA Zones 4-7 and blooms for four weeks from early May to early June, and then lightly repeat-blooms from late June into late September in trials at the Chicago Botanic Garden (USDA Zone 5b). Developed by Dr. Jim Ault at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the parents of this hybrid speedwell are Veronica armena and Veronica pectinata ‘Rosea’. Plants grow from 3 to 4 inches tall and will spread upwards of 30 inches wide in a single season. Over time, it will cover a more expansive area. The medium to dark blue-violet flowers blanket the plant in late spring, with sporadic repeat bloom afterward well into autumn. The fine-textured foliage is evergreen, providing an excellent backdrop to its spring flowers and as a complement to bulbs and other perennials. The small oak-like leaves are medium green with a faint silvery-blue cast from its slight pubescence. This plant performs well in full-sun in a well-drained, medium-moist to dry soil, and is quite drought tolerant once established. An excellent groundcover plant, it can be used in a rock garden, along paths and border edges, cascading over stone walls or among stones and boulders or any other sunny location.
Visit www.chicagolandgrows.org for more information and images of all three plants.
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