Friday, August 2, 2019

August in the Garden To Do List

Article courtesy of

August gardening chores can be a mixed bag. For many gardeners, the month of August begins the downhill slide into off season. Warm climate gardeners have a second chance, but some don't have a second wind after summer's heat. By all means, take some time to simply enjoy your garden and all the hard work you've put into it. But August weather is often milder than we expect and it's a great time to perk things up in the garden, after July's extremes.
Your garden plants are hardier than you think and there are plenty of gardening tasks for August that will keep your flower and vegetable gardens going longer, as well as opportunities to get a head start on next year's garden plans.

Garden To-Do List for the Sultry Month of August

  • *Seed a fall crop of peas and spinach and keep harvesting. Many flowers and vegetables will revive and continue producing if you regularly harvest the vegetables while they are young and tender and deadhead spent flowers.

*Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying. Most herbs have a more concentrated flavor if they are not allowed to flower and frequent harvesting will accomplish that. Harvesting will encourage them to send out fresh, new growth and keep them growing longer.

*Order spring bulbs for planting and forcing. You won't be able to plant them until later in the fall, but you will get the best selection if you order early.
*Check that your mulch hasn't decomposed and add more as needed. While organic mulches are meant to continue decomposing on your garden beds and help feed the soil, you do not want to leave your soil uncovered at the end of the season. Bare soil is an invitation for weed seeds.

*Spread a mid-season layer of compost or manure. Your plants will appreciate the extra boost to get them through the final growing months and your soil will need some amendments, too

*Leave some annual seeds to self-sow. Many annual flowers, like cosmosnigella, and cleome, will seed themselves throughout your garden. You'll be delighted next season with an abundant, natural scattering of flowers. Don't worry, any that seed in unwanted places will be easy to pull out early in the season.

*Start saving seeds and taking cuttings. Focus on your top performers and sentimental favorites, so you will have them to grow again next year.

*Remove any diseased foliage now, so it doesn't get lost in the fall leaves. Dispose of diseased plants in the garbage or burn them. Don't put them in the compost pile unless you are absolutely sure it will get hot enough to kill any lingering spores.

*Cut back the foliage of early bloomers like Brunnera and hardy geraniums, to revitalize the plants. They are probably looking a bit tired and removing the older leaves will encourage fresh new growth.

*Prune summer flowering shrubs as the flowers fade. This will help put the energy back into the leaves and roots of the plant, rather than into setting seed.

*Trim and feed hanging baskets to prolong their beauty. Sometimes we take hanging baskets for granted since they tend to be planted with profuse bloomers. However, they will need some TLC after working so hard setting flowers all summer.

*Take pictures of your garden at peak. Take pictures of container combinations you'd like to repeat. This will give you reminders next season of what worked and which areas of your garden need some tweaking.

*Make sure the cold frame is ready to go. Whether you plan to overwinter some tender plants in it or you won't need it until the early spring, you will want it set up and in place before the ground is suddenly covered in snow.

*Begin dividing perennials. Start with the bearded iris. You will want to get your perennial divisions in the ground at least a couple of months before the ground freezes, so they will have time to set down roots.

*Pot up perennial divisions for spring plant swaps. Sink the pots into the ground this fall and they'll be one less chore in the spring. (An empty spot in the vegetable garden is perfect for this. By the time you're ready to plant vegetables next spring, it will be time to lift the pots.)

*Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials now, so they can take root. Keep them well watered, until the ground freezes, since they have a limited root system.

*Get your fall-blooming crocus and colchicum planted so they'll bloom on time. They bloom in the fall, but they need to be in the ground several weeks earlier.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cause of Root Rot: Root Rot Remedy for Garden Plants, Trees and Shrubs

Article Courtesy of Gardening Know How; By Jackie Carroll

While many people have both heard of and dealt with root rot in houseplants, most are not aware that this disease can also have an adverse effect on garden plants outdoors, including shrubs and trees. Learning more about the cause of root rot and how to look for early signs of root rot in garden plants will go a long way in its treatment. For root rot prevention and treatment info, keep reading.

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the roots of plants growing in wet soil. Since the disease spreads through the soil, the only root rot remedy for garden plants is often to remove and destroy the plant. However, you can try these corrective measures if you want to attempt to save a particularly valuable plant: Keep the soil as dry as possible. Don’t irrigate the plant unless the soil is almost completely dry. Pull back the soil to allow moisture to evaporate from the soil. The cause of root rot is a fungus. Species of the Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, or Fusarium fungi are the usual culprits. These fungi thrive in wet soil, and you can transfer them from one part of the garden to another when you transplant ailing plants.

Identifying Root Rot 

When it comes to identifying root rot, look at the plants. Plants with root rot can’t absorb moisture and nourishment from the soil properly. The plants often resemble those suffering from drought and stress and mineral deficiencies. Signs of root rot in garden plants include stunting, wilting and discolored leaves. Foliage and shoots die back and the entire plant soon dies. If you pull up a plant with root rot, you will see that the roots are brown and soft instead of firm and white. Trees with root rot develop cankers, ooze reddish or black sap, and sometimes develop dark vertical streaks.

Treatment for Root Rot 

The best root rot remedy for garden plants is prevention. Prevent root rot by filling in low parts of the garden and improving the soil with organic matter so that it drains freely. If you can’t improve the drainage, use raised beds where the where plant roots sit above the soil. Taking care not to overwater garden plants will also help. There are chemical fungicides and biological agents labeled as treatment for root rot disease; however, you should not use these products unless you know which fungus is causing the problem. Contact your local agricultural extension agent for information about how to have the fungus identified. Once you know which fungus you are treating, your agricultural extension agent can recommend a product to treat that specific fungus. Fungicides are toxic chemicals that should be used with caution. Read the label and follow the instructions exactly. Store them in their original container and out of the reach of children. Even when all of the precautions are taken in the garden, root rot may still occasionally become an issue. However, if you pay attention to the signs of root rot in garden plants, you’ll have a better chance of saving your plants.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Cause Of Root Rot: Root Rot Remedy For Garden Plants, Trees, And Shrubs

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Caring for Spring Flower Bulbs After They Bloom

Article Courtesy of  Longfield Gardens

Flower bulbs get the gardening season off to an early start. From the first crocuses and daffodils to the last tulips and alliums, it’s a show that can last from March through May. As spring eventually turns to summer, gardeners often wonder what to do about the spent flowers and fading foliage from these spring-blooming bulbs. To answer that question, you need to know if the bulbs will be treated as annuals or perennials.

Spring Bulbs as Annuals

Many spring-blooming bulbs return to bloom year after year. But not all of them behave this way.

Tulips and hyacinths, for example, always look their best the first spring after planting. In future years, you typically get fewer flowers that are also smaller in size. To ensure a good show of color every spring, it’s best to plant fresh bulbs each fall. 

If you are treating your spring bulbs as annuals, you should dig them up after they finish blooming. Use a garden fork to gently lift the bulbs out of the ground and then put them in your compost pile. Removing the bulbs as well as the foliage will help minimize problems with fusarium, a common fungal disease that can affect flower bulbs.

Growing spring-blooming bulbs as annuals does have some advantages. It guarantees you will always have a wonderful display of flowers. You also get the fun of putting together new color and texture combination each year.

Spring Bulbs as Perennials

Early-blooming bulbs such as snowdrops, crocus, chionodoxa, scilla and daffodils will flower year after year and multiply over time. These bulbs are reliably perennial and incredibly carefree. There’s no need to deadhead, fertilize or divide them unless they become overcrowded or you want to add them to other parts of your yard.
Hyacinths will usually bloom for several years, though the size of the flowers tends to gradually decline. Muscari and alliums will also return to bloom again if the soil is well-drained and stays relatively dry during summer and winter.

Tulips may bloom for several years if the soil conditions are ideal. Like muscari and alliums, they require loose, well-drained soil that gets hot and dry in the summer and stays cold and relatively dry in the winter.

When tulips are planted in heavy soil that holds too much moisture, the bulbs have a tendency to split. If you have ever dug up a tulip bulb after it has bloomed, you may have seen this yourself. Once a tulip bulb has split into two or more sections, it no longer has enough energy to produce a full-size blossom. Some types of tulips are less prone to splitting and more likely to rebloom. These include most species tulips, Darwin hybrids, emperor tulips and some triumph tulips.

Removing Spent Flowers

Smaller bulbs, such as crocus, muscari, scilla and snowdrops, multiply by seed as well as by bulb offsets. To encourage naturalizing, it’s best to leave the flowers attached so the seeds can ripen.
If you are growing tulips and trying to get them to rebloom, snip off the flowers right after they fade. With daffodils, the flowers may be removed for aesthetic reasons, but there's no other downside to leaving them on. The seed heads of alliums can be almost as attractive as the flowers, so you may want to leave them in place. Removing them doesn’t seem to affect the performance of the bulbs one way or another. Some alliums, including Purple Sensation, will self-sow. If you don’t want seedlings, you should remove the flower heads.

Hiding or Removing Bulb Foliage

Bulbs use their foliage to produce the energy they need to form new flowers. So, if you want your bulbs to rebloom, it’s important to leave the foliage in place until it has withered and turned yellow. When the foliage can be pulled away from the bulb with a gentle tug, it’s ready to go.
The foliage of early-blooming bulbs such as chionodoxa and scilla fades away very quickly. Larger bulbs take longer; a few weeks or a few months, depending on the weather and the type of bulb. There are several ways to cope with ripening foliage.

In perennial gardens, you can let the foliage of other plants hide the leaves. Hostas, daylilies, nepeta and perennial geraniums are a few of the perennials that are good at covering the spent foliage of tulips, daffodils and alliums. Click here for some recommended bulb and perennial pairings based on field tests at Cornell University.

Another option is to plant your bulbs in a dedicated area where you won’t mind seeing the foliage. For tulips and hyacinths, this could be in a cutting garden or even part of your vegetable garden. Alliums and daffodils are ideal for wilder areas where their ripening foliage will be out of sight. It's also possible to dig up your spring bulbs immediately after they finish flowering and replant them – with their foliage still attached – in a holding bed. When fall comes, dig up the bulbs and move them back. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Help!!!!My Daylilies Stopped Blooming!!!

Most daylilies (Hemerocallis cvs) bloom year after year without your having to do much of anything: they are very reliable and very permanent plants. But some varieties, even though they are treated the same way and grow under the same conditions, bloom less after they have been in the ground 5 or 6 years. They may stop blooming entirely. The very popular ‘Stella de Oro’ daylily – the mostly widely sold daylily in the world – belongs to this category. After a number of years, it just doesn’t bloom the way it used to. What’s wrong?
Competing With Itself
If a daylily is no longer blooming well yet others around it are still going strong, the problem most likely has nothing to do with fertilizing, watering, exposure, or other cultural factors, but rather results from overcrowding. And not overcrowding caused by other plants (most daylilies can hold their own in that department!), but with itself. It has produced so many offshoots that there is now a profusion of plants that share the same space, each competing with its neighbors for light and minerals. This intense competition reduces or eliminates flowering. It’s as simple as that.
Time to Divide
And the solution is just as simple: divide the plant. Maybe not when you notice the problem, in midsummer, but either in the fall (at least one month before the first frost) or the spring, when new shoots start to appear. That’s because daylilies respond better to division when they are more or less dormant. (And in the fall, even though they still have leaves, the average daylily is pretty much asleep.)
That said, you can divide a daylily in summer if you really want to, but it’s more of a shock to the plant and it’s therefore extra important to water regularly to help it make a complete recovery.
Daylily Division
Dividing a daylily is pretty basic.
Dividing a daylily in the fall: you can cut the foliage back if you prefer.
Start by just digging up the entire plant with a spade, taking the biggest root ball possible. If you do it late in the season (late August, September), you can shear the foliage to 8 inches (20 cm) high before starting so you can better see what you’re doing… if you want to (shearing is not absolutely necessary).
Slice through the plant with the spade to cut it into 2, 3, 4 or more sections. Each section must have at least one  healthy fan; preferably 3 or more. Now replant each section without burying the crown (the junction between the roots and the stem)… in other words, plant it with its leaves at the same level as they were before the division.
After the division, water well and apply a mulch. The plant will need additional watering in case of drought until it is well established and that can take a full year.
If you end up with too many plants, no problem: they make great gifts for friends and neighbors!
Once replanted, your divided daylily will likely flower at least modestly its first season and heavily from then on. And after 5 or 6 years, since it is one of those daylilies, it will be time to repeat the process!

Article Courtesy of Larry Hodgson-The Laidback Gardener

Monday, March 11, 2019

Early Detection of Rose Rosette Disease

Article Courtesy of:
Alan Windham, Professor and UT Extension Specialist
Mark Windham, Distinguished Professor
Frank Hale, Professor and UT Extension Specialist Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Rose rosette is a serious virus disease of roses. It is spread primarily by a microscopic mite. Successful management of rose rosette disease (RRD) involves early detection of symptoms.


a. Hyper (excessive) thorniness.
b. Distorted flower buds.
c. Affected tissues may be red, but they are sometimes green.
d. Strapped (thin) leaves.
e. Thickened stems.


f. Plants should be inspected at one- to two-week intervals for symptoms during the growing season.
g. Do not wait until the plant has multiple symptomatic shoots or a rosette before digging, removing and bagging the plant. Delayed action could jeopardize other roses in your garden as the microscopic mites* that vector RRD are more numerous on symptomatic tissue. 

 *Eriophyid mite courtesy: Gary Bauchan, USDA-ARS

h. Herbicide damage may appear as strapped, bunched or dwarfed leaves but not as swollen canes or hyper-thorniness.
i. Shoots damaged by chili thrips may have dwarfed, distorted leaves. Leaves may become blackened as they mature. 
j. Fasciation of stems has not been associated with RRD. Fasciation may be found in many herbaceous and woody plant species. It is the result of several flattened stems growing together. The cause of fasciation is unknown. 

• If multiple symptoms are present, even one shoot, remove the plant; losing one plant is preferable to losing the rose garden.
• Send a sample of live, symptomatic foliage to your Extension office for positive confirmation. This will aid you with future diagnoses.
• For more information on rose diseases, see A Guide to Rose Diseases and their Management at

Monday, March 26, 2018

April Gardening Tips from UT Institute of Agriculture

April is the month for gardeners. All the world seems to be in bloom and gardening enthusiasts are just waiting for assurances that the last frost for the spring has passed. For much of the state April 15 is the “safe date” but estimates are available from the National Weather Service for specific locations.

Jason Reeves, curator of the University of Tennessee Gardens, Jackson, offers these tips for coordinating a few of your outdoor efforts as you struggle to install landscape plants and gardens:

·  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, basil, sweet potatoes pumpkin and gourds resent cool temperatures, so despite your enthusiasm, wait until night temps are consistently above 50 degrees F to plants. Wait also for the ornamentals vinca, lantana, ornamental sweet potatoes and caladiums.

·  Prune spring-flowering shrubs (azaleas, flowering quince, Forsythia and Loropetalum) soon after they finish flowering, but only if they need it. Selectively cut old or unruly branches by reaching deeply into the shrub leaving no visible stub, making the cut just above a joint. This pruning method will keep them from looking like meatballs.

 ·  A good option for Loropetalums that have outgrown their space is to tree-form them. They can easily be limbed up by removing lower branches. Loropetalum ‘Crimson Fire’ is a new dwarf from that has proven to be hardy in all but the coldest part of Tennessee. As with all Loropetalums, they are best planted in spring or summer in insure proper establishment before the winter months. It will mature to 3-ft tall, and can be seen growing at the UT Gardens in both Knoxville and Jackson.

·  Kerria japonica, also known as Japanese kerria or yellow rose of Texas, often has dead branches. Follow them to the base to cut them. Remove older branches the same way to keep the plant looking good. Older, overgrown or neglected plants can be cut to the ground for rejuvenation.

·  Azaleas often show symptoms of lace bug and spider mite infestations during the hot months of summer. This damage can be prevented by a one-time, early application of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid. This insecticide should be poured in liquid form around the root system as the flowers fade, spreading the active ingredients throughout the plant tissue where it remains effective through the growing season. Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control is a common brand that contains this safe and effective insecticide. Always follow label directions when applying any pesticide.

·  You can direct seed easy-to-grow flowering annuals and vegetables. Some easy flowers to grow from seed include marigold, zinnia, sunflowers and cosmos. Beans, peas, corn and okra are some easy direct sow vegetables, while dill, basil and cilantro are some easy direct sow herbs.

·  Try the annual moon vine, Ipomoea alba, this year to attract sphinx moths to your garden.
Nick the hard seed coat carefully with nail clippers and soak in water overnight to hasten germination.

·  Spring is a good time to freshen up the mulch in your landscape. Remember not to pile it around the trunks of your trees and shrubs. If using a pre-emergent herbicide, be sure to apply it before spreading your mulch to prevent the sunlight from breaking it down. It also forms a more effective barrier when allowed to bond with soil particles. Remember it is not necessary to fertilize well-established trees or shrubs. If you are trying to encourage faster growth on new plantings, a balanced granular fertilizer scattered on the soil surface is effective. Be careful not to overdo it. Tree spikes or drilling fertilizer into the root zone is unnecessary and expensive.

·  Cut back any woody perennials that may need it, like rosemary, rue, lavender, Santolina and Artemisia. If done before the danger of frost has passed, new growth may appear, and a freeze can kill that new growth and sometimes the entire plant.

For additional tips, visit the UT Extension website: and click on the menu link to “Publications.” Enter the term “landscaping” or “gardening” in the search engine. You can also contact your local county UT Extension agent.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Want Some New Blooms for 2017? 

Check out some of these beautiful, award winning perennials!

Best New Perennial Flowers of 2017

Article Courtesy of George Weigel-

A showy new ornamental grass, a new dark-leafed succulent, and new disease-resistant phlox and beebalms headline the list of perennial flowers debuting in 2017.
Let’s take a look at some the best of the best of these perennial newcomers showing up now in catalogs and primed to go on sale in garden centers this spring:

Japanese forest grass SunFlare
Credit: HarkAway Botanicals
Japanese forest grass SunFlare
Pennsylvania author and “perennial diva” Stephanie Cohen is a fan of the basic, compact, arching, shade-preferring Japanese forest grass (a.k.a. Hakone grass), but she’s particularly enamored by an even more compact and colorful variety called SunFlare coming to garden centers by fall 2017.
“It starts out with a colorful, showy chartreuse that blends well with other perennials,” Cohen says. “The morning sun makes the leaves glow a golden yellow with deep crimson flecks in the blades. But this little grass has one more trick up its sleeve. The chartreuse and gold mingle, and its fall flare bursts into a rainbow of color with a simmering burnt-orange and one of my favorite fall colors, burgundy-red.”
SunFlare grows 12 to 18 inches tall and does best in well-drained soil (no wet clay), ideally in morning sun and afternoon shade. Cohen also likes it for use in a container. It’s being introduced by Canada’s HarkAway Botanicals.
Sedum ‘Firecracker’
Fans of dark foliage will love this new drought-tough, succulent groundcover for hot, sunny spots.
“I love the foliage saturation of purple,” says Erica Shaffer, manager at Highland Gardens in Lower Allen Twp., which plans to carry ‘Firecracker’ this spring. “I can never have enough purple in my garden.”
Introduced by Michigan’s Perennial Resources, ‘Firecracker’ plants grow only about 6 inches tall in a dense, tight mound that doesn’t flop apart like some sedums.
Small pink flowers in late summer are a bonus.
Foamybells Fun and Games
For afternoon-shade garden beds, check out this new three-version series of foamybells (Heucherella) that rate as the favorite new perennial of Carleen Vorisek, the perennial manager at Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses in Monroe Twp.
Vorisek especially likes the colorful, deeply lobed foliage of the ‘Red Rover’ variety. “This plant stays green in summer but changes to a copper-red color in the fall,” she says.

Foamybells Leapfrog, left, and Red Rover
Credit: Proven Winners
‘Leapfrog’ has wider chartreuse leaves with burgundy markings (“mellowing” to green and purple by summer), while ‘Hopscotch’ has leaves that emerge red in spring, soften to green in summer, then turn bronze-red in fall.
All three varieties grow 10 to 12 inches tall with creamy white bottlebrush flowers in May. All also are coralbell/foamflower hybrids of U.S. native perennials.
Anemone Wild Swan
Breeders keep trying to extend the bloom time of perennials. This Scottish hybrid is one of the longest yet, producing its white petals with the unusual soft-lavender back sides nearly non-stop from June through October.
I saw Wild Swan in plantsman David Wilson’s Lower Paxton Twp. garden last summer, and it was happily blooming away in July’s dry heat.

Anemone Wild Swan
The plant is related to the better known Japanese anemone that blooms in early fall, but this one blooms much earlier (as well as longer) and is more compact at 18 to 20 inches tall. Anemone Dreaming Swan is also new and very similar.
These anemones are sterile and so don’t seed around. (Best in morning sun, afternoon shade.)
Liriope Purple Explosion
Liriope is a grass-like, workhouse perennial that’s usually used as a groundcover for its versatility and hard-to-kill reputation.
Purple Explosion is a new variety that turns the corner on liriope to make it an attractive bloomer, worthy of ornamental use alongside the coneflowers, lavenders and salvias of the garden.
The variety not only produces significantly more purple flower spikes than older liriopes, but it produces them earlier, longer and on stems that poke up more prominently above the bladed green foliage.
Plants grow 10 to 12 inches tall, and clumps spread slowly – no over-aggressive “runners” as some liriopes produce. (Full sun to part shade.)
Yarrow New Vintage series

Yarrow New Vintage Red, left, and Violet
Credit: Penn State Trial Gardens
This four-color series of heat- and drought-tough yarrows from Darwin Perennials was one of the best-performing perennials of any kind in the 2016 Penn State Trial Gardens in Lancaster County.
The Red and Violet colors did particularly well in 2016’s hot summer, earning nearly perfect scores from trial Director Sinclair Adam.
New Vintage plants grow to a compact 12 to 14 inches tall. They bloom for weeks in late spring, then rebloom nicely in late summer, especially if you cut spent flower stalks back to the ground after the first bloom fades. (Best in full sun.)
Phlox Fashionably Early series
Amanda Bastiaanse, a perennials grower at wholesale Quality Greenhouses near Dillsburg, likes this new four-color line of early-flowering, disease-resistant, native tall garden phlox introduced by Michigan’s Walters Gardens.
“Old-fashioned garden phlox, while they have beautiful flowers, tend to have a short bloom time and are prone to all kinds of fungal diseases that make them look ugly much of the season,” says Bastiaanse. “Many of the new hybrid phlox that we have grown in the last couple years, including the Fashionably Early series, are really great improvements in terms of the length of time they flower and disease resistance. These bloom a little earlier, too.”
The Fashionably Early series includes ‘Princess’ (fuchsia pink), ‘Flamingo’ (lavender pink), ‘Crystal’ (white), and ‘Lavender Ice’ (lavender with a pink eye). Plants grow 28 to 36 inches tall and perform best in full sun.
Coneflower Butterfly ‘Postman’

Coneflower Butterfly Postman
Credit: Plants Nouveau
This new heat- and drought-tough U.S. native offers both a short, 18-inch size and bright-red blooms as opposed to the traditional lavender-pink of coneflowers.
“Fiery red flowers and a contrasting brown cone make for a lovely combination in this compact, long-blooming addition to the Butterfly series,” says Angela Treadwell-Palmer, co-owner of Plants Nouveau, which is introducing the plant. “It’s a true red with slightly dropping petals. ‘Postman’ stands out in any planting like a red-lighted beacon.”
Treadwell-Palmer says it looks especially nice with blue ornamental grasses, white- and orange-flowered perennials and coarsely textured leaves like ‘Black Ripple’ elephant ear. Best in full sun.
Monarda Bee-You series
Treadwell-Palmer also likes this new pollinator-friendly line of beebalms with the excellent disease resistance, compact 18- to 24-inch size, and range of five colors.
“These new beebalms are mildew-free, covered in flowers, the perfect size, and available in colors to bring any outdoor space to life,” she says. “Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds can’t resist their sweet nectar and fragrance.”

Monarda BeeTrue
Credit: Plants Nouveau
Varieties include ‘Bee-Merry’ (coral pink), ‘Bee-Free’ (maroon), ‘Bee-Happy’ (red), ‘Bee-Lieve’ (pale pink), and ‘Bee-True’ (purple). Best in full sun.
Lamium Purple Chablis
Ashcombe’s Vorisek suggests this Proven Winners newcomer as a colorful groundcover in shady to partly shaded areas.
She says lamium Purple Chablis has “silver-green foliage that’s attractive all during the growing season. The purple flowers add flare.”
Plants grow only 10 to 12 inches tall and bloom a long time, starting in late spring and running most of the way through summer.
“It would be a great option for shade perennial containers, too,” Vorisek adds.
Purple Chablis is heat- and drought-tough, isn’t bothered by deer, and tolerant of nearly full sun as well as nearly full shade.
Rudbeckia American Gold Rush
The black-eyed susan variety ‘Goldsturm’ is one of America’s best-sellers, but it’s increasingly troubled by a septoria leaf-spot disease that blackens its leaves many years in late summer.
American Gold Rush is a new rudbeckia variety from Illinois’ Intrinsic Perennials with much narrower leaves and far better disease resistance. It’s also debuting as an HGTV brand under the name Everlasting Sun.
American Gold Rush plants bloom just as heavily as ‘Goldsturm’ with 3-inch golden, daisy-like flowers that produce over about 2 months from mid to late summer. Plant height is just under 2 feet. (Best in full sun.)

Ligularia King Kong
Credit: Walters Gardens
Ligularia ‘King Kong’
If you like both dark leaves and very big ones, you’ll hit the double jackpot with ‘King Kong,’ a hefty new shade-preferring perennial introduced by Michigan’s Walters Gardens.
‘King Kong’ is similar to an existing head-turner called ‘Britt-Marie Crawford,’ except this one’s leaves are nearly twice as big – checking in around 16 inches across. They’re also leathery and nearly black.
Plants grow about 3 feet tall, produce a few stalks topped with golden flowers in summer, and do best in damp soil and afternoon shade.