Another happy winter activity: placing the first plant order of 2008!
If you have acute vision, it might just be possible to read the chart below. Or just click on it to open the chart in a larger window.
Here are some highlights of that small print . . .
Joe Pye weed "Gateway": Last summer, when collecting my son from a day of labor for his aunt's landscape gardening company, I saw this dramatic plant growing in a client's yard. The dark purple stems topped by lilac flower heads produced no ordinary Joe Pye weed: it was architectural when still and graceful when stirred by a breeze.
Dahlias: I admit that I am powerless over dahlias. And I am definitely not interested in joining a 12-step recovery program. Last year, I imbibed slightly with three tubers; this year I'm buzzing with eleven. One group of purple-flowering dahlias should link visually with the purple stems of the Joe Pye weed "Gateway"; another will blend tones of apricot, orange, and dark red.
Iris ensata "Aichi-No-Kagayaki": This soft yellow-flowering hybrid combines the elegant form and refined behavior of a Japanese iris with the palette of the rambunctious yellow flag Iris pseudacorus.
Writing from his big office with a view of Mount Fuji, VPS, Jr., tells me that this cultivar's name translates as "shining iris from Aichi": Kagayaki "means shining and can be used as an adjective in reference to the sun or to flowers or even pretty girls." Sweet.
Marsh marigold: I indulge my sentimental side by incorporating plants in my garden that share names with family members--Phlox panticulata "David," Peony "Sarah Bernhardt"--and this marsh marigold evokes my Aunt Mary's maiden name. Its cheerful disposition is as "Kagayaki" as was hers.
Witch hazel "Diane": I've been battling my attraction to these fiery crimson blossoms since encountering this cultivar in full show last year at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Last week at Tower Hill was more compelling.
Okay, I give up. Must have.
Daylilies: The bed along the house took some heavy hits during French drain construction. I'm shopping around for tall varieties in clear colors: "Bright Apricot"? "Benchmark"? "Chicago Regal"? Other suggestions?