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When I come home from a day of shopping and tell my husband, “Oh, I just bought a few pretty new things,” he’s never quite sure whether I’m talking about clothes or plants! Here are a few new plants I’m trying out in my gardens this year:

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This is Veronica spiccata ‘Royal Candles’ (aka Speedwell), planted in the Terrace Garden late last summer.  It made it through our strange winter with no snow cover quite nicely (rated hardy from Zone 4), and has been blooming up a storm since mid-June.  It’s possible that it may bloom again later this summer, especially if I remember to cut off the spent bloom spikes.  It can grow up to eighteen inches high and nine inches in girth.  I am very pleased with this addition to Becky’s Corner!DSC_5483

 

This is Penstemon barbatus ‘Riding Hood Marble Cream’, also planted late last summer, in the rock garden.  I somehow neglected to take a picture of it in mid-June while it was at its best–just imagine three fifteen-inch stalks full of these dark pink flowers:DSC_5431This Penstemon, or Beard Tongue as it is commonly known,  is rated hardy from Zone 5-8, can grow to twenty-four inches high, and can spread as much as twenty inches.  Here’s a picture of it in a long shot of the rock garden, just beyond the Ox-eye daisies.  It was a great splash of color during an otherwise green season:DSC_5331This is a plant I would use again, currently out of stock, though, at my favorite mail-order nursery (Santa Rosa Gardens), but perhaps they’ll have them again by August!

I also planted Penstemon ‘Carillo Red’ in the Terrace Garden last August, but it never showed up this spring.  (Although, there is a mystery plant/weed out there that I haven’t pulled up, just in case, so maybe . . .?

 

One of my favorite vendors at our local farm market sold me this Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) just a few weeks ago, and I’ve planted it at the corner of the blue and yellow bed.  Its top selling point for me is that no critters should eat it!  It can grow from two to four feet tall, likes full sun, and is hardy from Zones 3-10.  I’m not sure it will bloom this year; time will tell!DSC_5429

 

I succumbed to temptation one day last week when I visited a local nursery and found several perennials at greatly reduced prices.  I bought this Sea Holly (Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’) and planted it in the rock garden:DSC_5426I’ve read differing reports as to its deer resistance, but in the week it’s been here, nothing has touched it.  It can grow quite tall, to three feet, so in the back near the rocks is a good spot for it.  It likes full sun and tolerates poor soil conditions.  It’s rated hardy for Zones 4-8.

UPDATE 7/7/16:  Less than 24 hours after posting this, someone did indeed come along and nibble the Sea Holly.  I suspect it was a woodchuck, since the deer seldom venture into the rock garden area.  Hopefully it wasn’t a satisfying treat, and the buds on the side shoots will have a chance to bloom:DSC_5598

 

I’ve wanted Verbena bonariensis for two years now, ever since I first saw it in the Macungie Flower Park, so I was happy to find it on the sale table!  I bought three!  The plant itself is not hardy here in Zone 5 through most winters, but I have it on good authority that it is a bountiful self-seeder.  DSC_5434It can grow quite tall and willowy, hovering gracefully up to six feet above the garden.  I just hope I won’t foolishly mistake its seedlings for weeds next spring and pull them up!DSC_5438

 

When I saw this beauty, I knew I HAD to have it!  This is Malva sylvestris, also known as Striped Mallow:DSC_5416The proprietress at the garden center told me she started with one of these plants, and it has reseeded itself generously into a full bed.  It can grow up to four feet tall and is supposed to flower all summer long.  The first night it was here, a woodchuck nibbled at its lower stalks, but has since left it alone.  To be on the safe side, I did spray it a couple of times with critter repellent.

I just think its flowers are so very pretty!DSC_5417

 

I chose two pots of the next plant for two reasons:  One, they were boldly labeled “DEER RESISTANT”, and two, they are  bright red.  These Dragon Wing begonias are just the bright pop of color my mostly shaded lasagna bed needed:DSC_5439

DSC_5442They are annuals, but I plan to take cuttings in the fall and hopefully keep them going until I can replant them up there next spring.  They should thrive in the rich soil and shady conditions here, as long as I remember to keep the bed watered.  So far, and it’s been about a week, the deer have indeed ignored them.

I like that I can see their color from down at the house:DSC_5489

Hopefully I’ll be able to give positive reports on all of these pretty new things at this time next year!

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