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by Pernell Gerver

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"You Gotta See These Exciting New Perennials!"

It's always exciting to grow something new and different in the garden. There are many new perennials that have been introduced in recent years with nice attributes. Many are horticultural breakthroughs. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Forget-Me-Not 'Unforgettable'Forget-me-not 'Unforgettable' is definitely unforgettable with its unique, variegated foliage in medium green with cream margins. It forms compact clumps with clusters of small, bright-blue, forget-me-not flowers with yellow centers that stand above the foliage on slender stems. It blooms from May to June and is a good choice for the front of the flower bed or as an edging plant.

Gaillardia 'Frenzy'Gaillardia 'Frenzy,' commonly called blanket flower, bears rich red flowers with fluted rays that have contrasting yellow tips and yellow centers surrounded by dark burgundy. It's one of the longest-blooming perennials, in bloom from May to October. The flowers bloom atop a mound of foliage that spreads to form a wide clump up to two feet across.

Sea Holly 'Jade Frost'Eryingium 'Jade Frost' is one of the first variegated sea hollies. The leaves are blue green with prominent white margins that take on a pink cast with cool temperatures. The leaves form a clump six to eight inches high and a foot across. Violet-blue globe flowers, surrounded by spiny bracts, bloom on 24-30” tall spikes in midsummer above the foliage. This is an exciting new sea holly.


Coreopsis 'Red Shift'Coreopsis 'Redshift' is a very hardy coreopsis with flowers that have deep red centers that lighten to cream with red streaking toward the outer tips. Flower color gets predominantly red with cooler temperatures creating added interest. It forms wide clumps three feet high and nearly as wide and blooms all summer long.


Tall garden phlox 'Candy Floss'Phlox paniculata 'Candy Floss' is a compact variety with large, full clusters of dark-magenta flowers blooming from June to August on stems up to 30” tall. Its size makes it perfect for the middle of the border. It tolerates partial shade well and has excellent disease resistance.


Hakonechloa 'Nicolas'Hakonechloa macra ‘Nicolas’ is a new cultivar of hakonechloa that has solid-green arching leaves that take on orange and red tones in the autumn adding even more interest. The colder it is, the more colorful it becomes. The stunning coloration remains through fall and really stands out in the garden.

Helenium 'Red Jewel'Helenium ‘Red Jewel’ is an exceptional new color for Helenium. This new hybrid features masses of dark-pink flowers blooming from midsummer to early autumn. Flowers have maroon centers encircled in yellow. It’s a very long-blooming perennial and it’s perfect for the middle to back of the flower bed or border.


Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Plant Easter Lily Outside"

Q. I wonder if you could help me with a problem. For the past several years I have put my Easter lilies in the ground after they've bloomed in the house and they come up again in the fall and are usually about six to eight inches tall when the frost kills the foliage. What can I do to get them to begin growing for the summertime? Thanks!

A. The fragrant, pure white, trumpet-shaped blooms of Easter lilies have traditionally been enjoyed indoors as a potted plant (forced into bloom in time for Easter), but the garden can be a permanent home for them as well. Easter lilies grow from bulbs, just like other lilies, and if the bulb is allowed to store-up enough energy, it will bloom again later in summer.

Easter lilies can be planted and grown outdoors in the garden. With proper care, the bulbs will bloom year after year for many years, but there's one catch - outdoor-planted Easter lilies won't bloom for Easter, though, summertime is their normal bloom time.

Easter lilies can be planted outside after all danger of frost is passed (customarily Memorial Day here in western Massachusetts). Choose a spot outdoors that is sunny and has good drainage. Knock the plant out of its pot, dig a hole deep enough so that the top of the root ball is 6 inches deep in the soil, set the root ball in the hole, then backfill the soil. Leave a slight depression to catch water.

Soon the stalk will begin to turn brown. This is normal, as the bulb takes a little rest period. When the old stalk is completely shriveled, cut it away. In not too long a new stalk will emerge, and the lily bulb will bloom again, but this time it'll bloom in late summer.

Easter lilies will return for many years to provide summertime bloom as long as they are given some winter protection. In late autumn, after the ground freezes, apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch such as winter mulch. As new growth starts in spring, remove the layer of winter mulch. If everything's okay, the Easter lily will again bloom in late summer.

Even though it won't bloom on Easter, it's still worth planting an Easter lily outdoors to enjoy its blooms summer after summer.

Click here to read more about winter mulch and order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Click here to submit gardening questions for Pernell Gerver's online Q & A column.

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