By Lee Edwards, Master Gardener
In a few months, gardeners will happily be heading back into the garden. Along with planting native plants friendly to pollinators, this year, gardeners may also want to include one or all the National Garden Bureau’s plants of 2019; the perennial salvia (Salvia nemorosa), the annual snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), Dahlia bulbs, and or the edible Pumpkin. There’s also the perennial plant of the year, the betony (Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’) chosen by the Perennial Plant Association. Each one of these plants represent different classes of plants that are fairly easy to grow and are also relatively low maintenance.
Belonging to the mint family, Salvia nemorosa is a striking, hardy, ornamental variety of sage. A full-sun, compost loving, easy to grow, drought-tolerant plant, it prefers moist, well-drained soil to produce tall, multi-branched, spectacular spikes of blue-violet flowers starting in the summer. Once the blooms fade and the stems brown, cut back the plants size by two-thirds to encourage more blooms throughout the season.
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are making a comeback with their fragrant, large, tubular, dragon-shaped flowers in a multitude of colors and heights. Considered an annual in cold temperature countries, these early spring blooming plants can interestingly withstand cold weather and slow down flowering during overly warm temperature. Great in containers, snapdragons require constant deadheading to encourage more blooms and often need staking.
Beautiful, tuberous, tender perennials, Dahlias thrive in full sun, well-drained, warm, slightly acidic, and moist soil blooming from mid-summer to late fall. Outstandingly showy and dramatic, dahlias need to be fed often with organic matter once the plants begin to grow and deadheading is needed to promote blooms. Flowers can grow from two inches to 15 inches depending on the plant variety.
Pumpkins are healthy edibles high in fiber and vitamins to name just a few health benefits. Related to melons, squash, and cucumbers, plant pumpkin seeds indoors to start, then directly in the ground once the soil has thoroughly warmed up. Pumpkins require constant watering, pollination by bees to fruit and take from three to four months to mature. Like many other edibles, they must be replanted every year.
Betony (Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’) is a herbaceous perennial that blooms in late spring to early summer, showing off its bee attracting, upright, purple flower spikes atop mounding, dense, clump-forming, dark green leaves. Stachys moneri ‘Hummelo’ likes a sunny location with a little afternoon shade and evenly moist soil. It makes a striking display when mass planted.
Reference: National Garden Bureau (“Year of The,” 2019). Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://ngb.org/year-of-2019/.
Have Fun Gardening!