22 January 2010

plans for “old” perennial bed

Grasses, I think, and baptisia (for spring color and summer foliage), and asters/boltonia (for fall color), cotinus, and sedum. This is to be the autumn garden, after all.

Rule to live by? “I place plants based on the color and shape of their leaves. Color of bloom is secondary” (from the Renegade Gardener)

Inventory: Grass
1 Miscanthus sinensis “Morning Light”: large plant, several years old
1 Miscanthus sinensis “Purpurascens”: new as of 2009
1 Miscanthus sinensis “Zebrinus”: new as of 2009
1 Panicum virgatum “Shenandoah”: new as of 2008
To buy? Calamagrostis “Karl Foerster”

Inventory: Baptisia
1 Baptisia australis: good-sized clump
To buy? Baptisia “Purple Smoke,” Baptisia “Twilight Prairieblues”

Recommended by the Garden Professors:
  • Baptisia x 'Twilite Prairieblues' is a cross between B. australis (our PPA winner) and B. sphaerocarpa—a shrubby, tough little guy with yellow flowers. This fortuitous romance yielded quite a jaw-dropping color combination of dusky violet with a yellow keel petal.
  • Now take a gander at B. 'Solar Flare'—a "complex hybrid, probably open-pollinated" of B. alba (white-flowered), B. tinctoria (yellow-flowered), and B. australis. This is what can happen when a whole bunch of species and hybrids are planted close together (cocktails and/or bees are usually involved).
Inventory: Aster/Boltonia
Aster novae-angliae “September Ruby”: tall
Aster novae-angliae “Hella Lacey”: tall, move from near road
Aster novi-belgii “Alert”: short, move from near road
3 Aster oblongifolius “October Skies”: short, move from near road
3 Boltonia asteroides “Pink Beauty”
To buy? Aster laevis “Bluebird,” Aster lateriflorus “Lady in Black,” Boltonia asteroides “Snowbank”

Inventory: Cotinus
1 Cotinus coggyria “Royal Purple”
To buy? Cotinus coggyria “Golden Spirit”

Inventory: Sedum
3 Sedum spectabile “Autumn Joy”
2 variegated sedums that have never done very well for me
To buy? Sedum spectabile “Matrona,” Sedum spectabile “Stardust,” Sedum “Autumn Fire”


  1. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Hi J, a grand plan! I came here via Nancy at Soliliquy's blog and like your list of plants. It will be a wonderful fall for humans and critters alike with those fine plantings. :-)

  2. This is going to have great fall color with the grasses and asters! The baptisias will have large black seed pods in the fall too so they will add interest then too. I think it will look good all year - but it is realy going to pop in the fall:)

  3. Can't go wrong with grasses and baptisia. Panicum virgatum Northwind is one I put in that's very strongly narrow and upright, but casual like all switchgrasses. Baptisias are supposed to be slow to establish, but my Twilite Prairieblues exploded the first year into a big lush foliage bomb (not so much the flowers).
    I love your barn for all seasons. Very very nice site, J, I'm going to poke around in the older posts, as I just arrived here.

  4. Looks like a Wonderful list for your property! You have lots of good, sunny room! :-) I'm sure you'll be glad when you're able to get out and actually do some work!