More Winning Perennials

'Early Bird Cardinal' day lily.

Plant breeders strive to introduce the shiniest, ‘must have’ perennial.  We are lucky to be able to share The Perennial Diva’s current picks of promising plants.  Stephanie Cohen says it’s getting more and more difficult to pick winners and losers. She’s brave and kind enough to offer a few suggestions here.

Let’s have a drum roll. We are putting down the green carpet. Each plant vying for contention will strut its stuff before entering the garden arena. They have been primped, the PR is out, but the question remains; Can they perform as well in the garden to get us excited about them?  Here are a few more plants for inspiration.

Hosta 'Cherry Tomato'

We’ll start with a rather diminutive beauty that has just come into sight down the carpet. The small shade emperor takes center stage. You can here the buzz. Yes, it’s the trend-setter and jet setter-Hosta ‘ Cherry Tomato’ new this year, but it is working its way to being a top selling hosta. It flaunts long lance shaped leaves that are creamy yellow to white with wide dark green margins. Attractive red petioles and purple flowers make you want to take a second look. Besides there is a cuteness factor. It is a miniature sport of ‘Cherry Berry’ who looks upset by our choice.

The sun goddess who will not let the Hosta steal its thunder is the Hemerocallis. The day lily quote,”A garden without dailyness is like a day without love”. We never exclude one of the most popular perennials when it demands center stage. The ‘Earlybird Cardinal’ is the progeny of Dr. Darrel Apps.

Salvia 'Silver Sabre'

It has large watermelon flowers that scream buy me! Garden centers need this now! It flowers a month earlier than other lilies. It stops traffic! If you already have one, don’t despair there is Kansas Kitten It has a rich lavender purple flowers with a black eye zone. This is no kitten, but a tiger in disguise. Check out the black eye. This ferocious grower will take on all comers!

The plant quivering in the corner is Salvia officinalis ‘Silver Sabre’. It is extremely nervous because it is a perennial herb. It moves onto the green carpet and wows the crowd. It is a brilliantly variegated edible sage. It stands up straight to show its great habit. The pink swirls in spring against the white variegation are fantastic. It would love to be in your perennial border basking in the sun. It hopes it’s not relegated to the herb or vegetable border. It wants to be a trend-setter!

We’ll post more of Stephanie’s recommendations soon.

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About the Author

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen is an acclaimed author, educator and lecturer. She is known as the Perennial Diva. Among her books, she's co-authored “The Nonstop Garden." She's written a book on design that was published in the spring of 2005 called "The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer" published by Storey Press. It was their best seller for 2005. This book was chosen by The Garden Writer’s of America as the winner in the best overall book.(2005) Stephanie finished a new book for 2007 called "Fallscaping". The Diva has received the honor award from The Perennial Plant Association at their meeting in 2005 in Canada.

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