Unusual perennials - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Unusual perennials

It's time to make some plans for the perennial flower garden this winter, We saw interesting things at the UVM Horticultural Research Farm last summer that would make good ideas for your garden! The UVM Horticultural Research Farm is known for their collections of crab apples and lilacs, but they also have some beautiful perennials, too. And some unusual ones.

For example, this 'Lorraine's Sunshine' heliopsis kind of looks like a sunflower, with a bright yellow flower, but this one is really known for its green and white variegated foliage. Those are some crazy leaves! So even when it's not flowering, it's a beautiful plant to look at. However, it does self sow, so you have to be careful or it might pop up all over the place next year. 
Another one with beautiful foliage is this purple leaved sedum. Most people know sedums, such as 'Autumn Joy', for their green leaves and bronze colored flowers in fall. This one has purple leaves and stems, so it makes a beautiful dark backdrop to some lighter colored flowers and it
has its own flowers a little bit later in the season. It's a cool looking plant all summer.
Then we have a plant that looks like a common perennial plant, but it's not what you think! It looks like a yellow flowered lupine, but it's not a lupine! It's a Thermopsis. It's actually called Carolina, or False Lupine. It's related to lupines, but a tougher plant. It grows three
to four feet tall, has beautiful yellow flowers, and even when the flowers have gone by, it has beautiful seed pods too. A lot like a lupines.
And then finally, there's lavender. If you want to grow lavender in our climate, you should plant either the 'Munstead' or 'Hidcote' varieties. Not all varieties can handle our cold weather. These two are the hardiest ones. To protect them, in fall, cover them with bark mulch. In spring, cut them back by a third, give them some fertilizer and lime, and they'll come right up.
By Charlie Nardozzi
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