Red Plants at the Perennial Plant Conference

Helianthemum ‘Hartswood Ruby’
Helianthemum ‘Hartswood Ruby’

At the Perennial Plant Conference held at Swarthmore College TheGardenLady enjoyed seeing and learning about red plants

The nursery Green Leaf Plants have a Helianthemum ‘Hartswood Ruby’ that is new. It has a red flower with a yellow center and grows in zones 6,7 and 8. Check out the look of this flower on the Green Leaf Plants site and call them to find out where it can be bought.

Hibiscus Red Flyer
Hibiscus 'Red Flyer'

Beverly Fitts an instructor at Longwood Gardens recommended a Hibiscus called ‘Red Flyer.’ She said the flower is so spectacular that people stop to comment on it or to ask her what the plant is.  See here. This is a monster plant, towering to 12′ in height, so you need room to have it. It is resistant to insects and is a vigorous plant that starts flowering in mid-July and continues until frost. Plenty of nutrition and moisture will produce the best results. It won’t become invasive because it is a sterile plant.

Another red flowering plant that appealed to me was recommended by Carrie Wiles of North Creek Nurseries. This was a honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler.’

Lonicera sempervirens Major Wheeler Trumpet Honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler' Trumpet Honeysuckle

Many honeysuckles have become very invasive. They say that this lonicera will not become invasive because it is a native honeysuckle. And the reason the nursery recommends ‘Major Wheeler’ is because of its red flowers -the plant is COVERED in red trumpet flowers in late spring and keeps producing flowers all summer long, especially with a post-bloom trim. Carrie Wiles said that hummingbirds will find it from miles around.

These are some of the wonderful recommendations of plants for your garden from people in the know.

Echinacea – The Purple Coneflower

Echinacea Pixie Meadowbrite by fdr2164
Echinacea Pixie Meadowbrite by fdr2164

Every year one of the best plant conferences on the East Coast is the Perennial Plant Conference held in the fall at Swarthmore College. This conference is co-sponsored by Chanticleer Garden, Longwood Gardens, The Hardy Plant Society/Mid Atlantic Group, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College.  (If you haven’t visited Chanticleer, Longwood Gardens and The Scott Arboretum, you should. Each garden is fantastic in its own right.)

This year on October 16th a group of friends and this Garden Lady joined what looked like a sell out crowd for this 2009’s excellent, informative conference. I hope to be writing about what some of the excellent speakers had to say in future posts.

Right now I want to talk about one of my favorite features at the conference and that is what is called the Promising Plant Forum. Five people who are either from top nurseries or who work at top gardens give a 7 minute presentation of 3 of their favorite choices for best new plant or underused excellent plant for your garden.

It was interesting that of the 15 plants recommended, 4 were Echinacea plants. Echinacea which are commonly called purple coneflowers are native to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. Echinacea are generally long lived plants that have large, showy flower heads and are in bloom from early to late summer.

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