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This Week, Still More Annuals And Herbaceous Perennials That Are New For Your 2015 Garden
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

March 15, 2015

Above, two shots of ‘Anytime’ Dove Pansiola (Viola wittrockiana); one shot of ‘Blue Diddley’ common Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus); and one shot of tuberous Begonia ‘Illumination’ apricot shades, Below, two shots of ‘Rock ‘N Grow’ Lemonjade Sedum; and finally two shots of ‘Color Spires’ Pink Dawn perennial Salvia.
All photos courtesy Proven Winners.



My five new plants this week are all either annuals or herbaceous perennials. I’ll start with Dove Pansiola (Viola wittrockiana)—a heat tolerant Pansy that will bloom throughout summer even in warm climates. Vigorous and semi-trailing, they are great landscape and garden plants. This will be winter hardy in U.S.A zones 5 and warmer and can be an interesting plant for winter sunbelt color.

Vigorous and semi-trailing, they are great landscape and garden plants. Gardeners plant them in borders, containers, as edging and for mass planting. This mounding/trailing plant will spread up to 30 cm (12 in.) and trailers will stretch as long as 45 cm (18 in.). The plant itself grows to a height of 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in.)

My second new plant this week is blue Diddley Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus). This dwarf chaste-tree is a fun little ball of lavender-blue flower spikes in mid-summer. Its compact size fits nicely into perennial gardens and mixed borders. Treat like a perennial in the north; it is a shrub or small tree in the south.

This plant’s height and spread in the garden is 90 to 180 cm (36 – 72 in.). It likes to grow in full sun and is usually in bloom through early, mid and late summer.

The next new plant for 2015 from Proven Winners is one that most gardeners will likely know well, but the new cultivar is where the “new” emphasis is being placed. It is Illumination Apricot Shades tuberous begonia.

Tuberous begonias can be quite susceptible to powdery mildew disease and there are a number of solutions to that problem. First always plant them where they will receive at least a couple of hours of sunlight each day. While they are usually considered a shade-loving plant (and they are) they will also grow in partial shade and that position generally will go a long way to preventing powdery mildew. Another tactic to use is never to water your tuberous begonias late in the day, but rather do it early in the day so the foliage (if you get it wet) has a chance to dry off before the sun goes down.

There are also a number of chemical remedies (such as powdered sulfur) which will help control the disease.

Although the aforementioned tuberous begonias are usually considered an annual, since it is easily possible to keep the tubers (bulbs) over the winter in a cool basement, they really should be considered herbaceous perennials.

The next plant too is a fairly well-known perennial—‘Lemonjade’ Sedum Autumn Stonecrop (Sedum hybrid).

This unique stonecrop bears bright citron yellow blossoms rather than the typical pink. Yellow seed heads take on rosy peach tones in cold weather. The plants have a compact, mounded habit. This one performs best in full sun and poor to average, well-drained soil. It does not re-quire supplemental water and you need not fertilize.

Diversify your fall Sedum varieties with this unique yellow flowered selection. Unlike most autumn stonecrops which have pink flowers, ‘Lemonjade’ bears large 12 – 18 cm (5-7”) panicles of bright citron yellow flowers which completely cover the top of the foliage in early fall. As the cold weather sets in, the seed heads take on rosy peach tones.

This is a compact selection with a stocky, upright mounded habit. It does not split open when it blooms like so many older Sedums do. Its grey-green, toothed foliage remains clean all season long.

Finally this week I thought you might like to learn more about a pink-flowered perennial Salvia—Color Spires ‘Pink Dawn’.

Salvia is a staple item for every sunny garden. It asks little more than sunshine and a little drink every once in a while in return for producing a bountiful mass of colorful flower spires from late spring into early summer. It forms an upright clump of aromatic, rugose green foliage that looks nice all season long and is not enjoyed by rabbits or deer.

‘Pink Dawn’ Salvia produces a cloud of sizable, cotton candy pink blossoms which pop open from fuchsia buds held on purplish stems from late spring into early summer. Compared to other pink Salvias, it is a bit longer blooming due to its well-branched flower stems.


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