Documents: Container & Small Space Gardening:

Four new medium-sized shrubs for containers or garden beds, and two new low-growing perennials
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

April 30, 2017

Above, three of the new smaller Buddleia shrubs: ‘Miss Molly’; ‘Miss Pearl’ and ‘Miss Ruby’. Be-ow, the final new ‘Miss Violet’ Buddleia, and two new perennials: Heuchera Primo ‘Black Pearl’; and Lamium maculatum ‘Purple Chablis’.
All photos courtesy Proven Winners.




Every spring, around this time, we see advertisements and articles about newer cultivars of all types of plants that are “dwarf” or “smaller” than the commonly known varieties. This is all for the reason that there are increasing numbers of gardeners growing part or all of their garden in containers rather than in traditional garden beds.

This year is no exception. In this item I thought I would tell you about a new series of Buddleia shrubs, known as the ‘Miss’ series. They are part of the Proven Winners group of new plants and should be available at many local (to you) outlets this spring.

All four of these new cultivars were developed by Dr. Dennis Werner of North Carolina State University. They all grow to only about half the size of typical Buddleia shrubs (which can be further reduced if desired by annual spring pruning once the young buds have begun to sprout). The estimated growing height of all four of these cultivars is 122-152 cm (48-60 in.).

Let me make mention of the four new cultivars:

‘Miss Molly’ is the reddest of all Buddleia shrubs. The nursery says that the red colour may be slightly more pronounced in southern areas. That presumably means the hotter the weather the hotter the sangria-red colour will be. Keep in mind that all four of these plants are sun-lovers—that means a minimum of six hours of sunshine daily.

‘Miss Pearl’ of course is the white cultivar. Obviously this would make an excellent choice to contrast with any or all of the other three.

‘Miss Ruby’ is another spectacular colour—apparently unlike any other existing Buddleia. This is the only one of the four to have won an exclusive AGM (Award of Garden Merit) from Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society. If you only have one container for Buddleia, this may be the one you should consider.

Finally ‘Miss Violet’ would make a great contrast with any of the others mentioned here including, of course, the white ‘Miss Pearl’.

If planting any of these four this spring keep in mind the sun requirements as well as their preference for sandy soil and not being water-logged.

While writing about the well-known Proven Winners plants I took a look through their current catalogue to see if there were some other plants I should write bout. The first one that came to hand was a new Heuchera for this year. And, if you are looking for dark-coloured foliage this one is definitely for you. It is Heuchera Primo ‘Black Pearl’. Now this one is really virtually Jet Black! A stunning foliage plant for both shade and sun! Forms an incredibly dense habit of shiny, jet black leaves with scalloped, ruffled edges and rosy purple undersides. Topped with white flowers with pink calyxes.

Now, this final new item for this week is not really a perennial (or shrub) but if it behaves anything like its namesake that has yellow flowers, it will come up for you annually. It is dead nettle, Lamium maculatum Purple Chablis. We have the old yellow-flowered one in a small area and it is in bloom most of the summer. It is a ground cover for us but you may use it however you wish. A frothy confection of silver and green foliage with lavender-purple flowers; heat tolerant, and a continuous bloom or re-bloomer.

That’s all for this week, more next week!


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