Plants to know 2

We are all relieved to witness the demise of winter, but saddened to discover the toll it’s taken on our gardens. If you have lost a plant or two, now is a great time to think about replacing it. To continue an earlier post, here are more plants we recommend that will bring you years of beauty and reliability.

Hollies are one of the few plants that have male and female flowers on separate plants; in order to produce fruit, you need both male and female flowers. For us, this meant having at least one male holly planted in a group of females, and the male would produce no fruit. Royal Family Holly, Ilex X meserveae  ‘Royal Family’, has dark, shiny blue green leaves and produces dark red berries in the fall. This variety is a self-pollinating combination of Blue Prince and Blue Princess Holly, eliminating the need for an additional, non-blooming plant. 4-6’ H x 4-6’ W. Sun-part shade.

“Another year, another Hydrangea!” some might say. But Bloom Struck Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bloomstruck’, promises to be a real winner. It is a cross between Endless Summer and Twist ‘N’ Shout and has taken the best characteristics of both. It is more compact than either parent, with smaller flowers, but they are borne in such profusion the plant is covered in colored blossoms from June until frost. Flowers are rose-pink, purple or blue (determined by soil pH). It has dark green glossy leaves with red petioles and red veins, on strong purple-red stems, making this shrub a standout even before the flowers start! 3-4’ H X 3-4’ W. Sun-part shade.

Speaking of another standout… Many of us are familiar with the red-leaved form of lace leaf Japanese Maple, less so with the green-leaved form. Seiryu Japanese Maple, Acer palamtum var dissectum ‘Seiryu’, has bright green leaves that emerge with a tinge of red. Seiryu is is a lace leaf type, but it is very unique in that it has an upright habit rather than the typical weeping form. It is a strong upright grower with just the right amount of vigor. It matures at about 12’ tall. Fall color is a spectacular combination of oranges and reds.  12’ H x 8’ W . Part shade.

Here’s a gorgeous crabapple with a fitting name. Royal Raindrops Crabapple, Malus ‘Royal Raindrops’ is a disease resistant Crabapple covered in spring with stunning clusters of fragrant, deep rosy pink flowers. The flowers appear before the attractive deep purple foliage. Leaves are deeply lobed, giving the tree an interesting summer characteristic. Small, deep red fruits appear late summer and persist through October, providing a late season treat for birds. Fall color is an outstanding scarlet. 20’ H x 15’W. Full sun.