Flowering annuals, perennials bring color to yards and gardens

Whether you have several acres in your landscaped yard or a few growing containers on a tiny porch of balcony, there are flowering perennials and blossoming annuals that will bring color to your home. There are literally thousands of different types of flowering plants to choose from, so the biggest challenge is deciding on which ones to grow.

This spring, brighten up your outdoor space with these stunning new varieties. Add color to a shady area in the yard with a new Hellebore called Ice ‘n Roses. Liven up a container with a new collection of plants called Jeweled Tapestry. Create a “mountain” of sunflowers in a garden bed. Or, introduce color with a dramatic tropical Angel’s Trumpet or a pink-flowering Vitex.

All of these beauties will thrive in a variety of growing conditions, and they will bring color and delight to your garden.


‘Ice ‘n Roses’ brings color to shady garden spaces

Ice n Roses Hellebore web

Ice ‘n Roses Red Hellebore from Wayside Gardens

As an esteemed member of the Hellebore Gold Collection®, Ice ‘n Roses Red Hellebore is a welcome addition to the garden. This Lenten Rose boasts more blooms than the typical Hellebore cultivar, and Ice ‘n Roses ‘Red’ is perfect for the front of a shade border. Its large, boldly colored rosy-red blooms carry the garden beautifully from winter to spring, and the flowers also make excellent cut flowers for the vase.

This evergreen perennial is a very hardy plant once established. It stands up to the heat, humidity, and drought of summer, the cold of winter, and poor soil at any time. Diseases and pests are no problem, and Ice ‘n Roses Red Hellebore slowly spreads over time, bringing more flowering stems each season.

Just 12 inches high and about 12 to 15 inches wide, this Lenten Rose sports serrated dark green foliage and good branching as well as masses of elegant nodding blooms. Very long-lived, it is a fine addition to any setting, blooming at a time when the rest of the garden is still fast asleep.

For best results, plant Ice ‘n Roses Red Hellebore in moist, well-drained soil in full to partial shade in USDA Zones 5-9, and watch this perennial burst into bloom in very early spring. It is available as a one-quart potted plant for $19.95 at Wayside Gardens. www.waysidegardens.com, 800-845-1124.


New variety produces a “mountain” of sunflowers

Sunflower 'Candy Mountain'

Candy Mountain Sunflower, new from Burpee

Sunflowers have been garden favorites for generations because their large bright yellow flowers tower over other garden plants. A new variety of sunflower called Candy Mountain Hybrid introduces a whole new look to the familiar annual garden favorite.

‘Candy Mountain’ Hybrid Sunflower produces an astonishing display of big, beautiful multi-color blooms—with burgundy-to-cherry flowers with yellow flames and brown centers. The flowers seem to shoot off in all directions because every leaf node on these towering plants develops branches and additional flowers.

‘Candy Mountain’ adds a vertical spectacle of sensuous color in any garden or landscape. The flower heads can reach 8-10 feet tall in a sunny location. This variety produces outstanding cut flowers, and each plant grows 20-36 inches wide so Candy Mountain is an excellent choice for small spaces. Sow these seeds directly into garden soil. A packet of Candy Mountain Hybrid Sunflower seeds sells for $6.95 exclusively from Burpee at www.burpee.com or 1-800-888-1447.


New collection of annual plants is designed for containers

Jeweled Tapestry Combo LR

Jeweled Tapestry Annual Combination of plants from Wayside Gardens

A container filled with vibrant plants can make any patio, balcony or deck more beautiful. Not only does the right selection of plants add a welcome designer touch, but growing plants in containers is the best way for novice gardeners and busy homeowners alike to enjoy the benefits of gardening.

Unfortunately, choosing the right combination of plants for a container can be challenging. That’s why Wayside Gardens has introduced the Jeweled Tapestry Annual Combination, which contains a carefully selected assortment of plants that thrive in the same growing conditions.

Various shades of pink blooms contrast beautifully with chartreuse and maroon foliage in this fanciful mix of vibrant colors and unique textures that is designed with containers in mind. This six-pack of annual plants includes two Angelonia Pink plants, one Dipladenia, one Petunia Sumo Pink, one Burgundy Wedding Train Coleus, and one Ipomoea ‘Margarita’.

The Jeweled Tapestry Annual Combination contains premium 3.5-inch plants— not the average six-pack plants found at your local big box store. This combination is designed to grow in full to partial sun in most climates, and it appreciates moist soil. The Jeweled Tapestry Annual Combination sells for $29.95 each or $26.95 each for three or more at Wayside Gardens. www.waysidegardens.com, 800-845-1124.


New Angel’s Trumpet boasts beautiful, coral-colored flowers

Brugmansia Audrey Lea web

Angel’s Trumpet ‘Audrey Lea’ from Logee’s

Brugmansia hybrids, also commonly known as Angels Trumpets, are favorite tropical flowering plants because of the long, trumpet-shaped flowers that hang gracefully from the plant during the summer.  ‘Audrey Lea’ is a stunning double flowered Angel’s Trumpet with a unique combination of flower colors ranging from watermelon to coral and pink. As the flower matures the ends roll up, making the fancy tails more evident on the double skirt at the bottom of the bloom. The flowers measure 12 inches long and 5 inches wide, and they have an intense nighttime fragrance.

‘Audrey Lea’ makes a great accent plant in a summer garden or in a container on a patio or balcony. In fact, the natural beauty of this plant makes a sensational statement wherever it is grown. This prolific flowering hybrid needs full sun to grow and flower at its best. This is a tropical plant that’s only cold hardy to USDA Zone 10, so it needs to be brought inside during the colder months. A plant in a 4-inch pot sells for $24.95 from www.logees.com.


A flowering shrub that calls attention to itself

Pink Pinnacle Vitex web

Pink Pinnacle Vitex from Nature Hills

Pink PinnacleTM Vitex is a flowering shrub that becomes a summertime star in the landscape. In the heat of the summer, Pink PinnacleTM Vitex is covered with long pink flower spikes. The long panicles of bright pink blossoms gradually open from the bottom and extend outward above the vibrant, green foliage. Simply clip off the spent blooms and the floral show will continue all summer long.

As the season progresses, the flowers yield to dark berries that give the shrub an additional decorative touch. Even the foliage is beautiful, with green compound palmate leaves. Pink PinnacleTM Vitex will grow up to 4 feet tall and wide. It has a compact, rounded habit with a slightly bushy nature. This shrub is an excellent choice for lilac-lovers who reside in warmer climates (where lilacs would struggle). It’s even insect and disease resistant, and deer tend to pass it by.

This tough shrub thrives in full sun throughout USDA Zones 6-9. It is moderately drought tolerant and grows best in well-drained soil. A 3-gallon plant sells for $54.95 each exclusively from www.naturehills.com.



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