Tag Archives: shrubs

PWs’ Lantana & Double Calibrachoa Rank Among Favorites for 2017/2018

The blooms of Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana emerge in pink, yellow and coral before turning into a gorgeous magenta set off against deep green leaves.

I’ve always considered lantana to be a gaudy, cartoonish flower that has no place in my yard or pots. This plant often exhibits unappealing color combinations, such as white/yellow, orange/yellow, or weird, faded shades of legitimate colors. If you do a lantana image search on Google, you’ll see what I mean. So in spite of the fact that lantana is supposed to be a stellar performer, I’ve never given it a try—until this year.

In May, Proven Winners sent me some new plants to try out, including Luscious Royale Cosmo lantana. This variety has been a game changer for me. I discovered that the blooms, which start out as yellow, coral and pink, mature into a rich magenta set against deep green leaves. And talk about performance—on my south-facing front walk, this plant blooms consistently with no sunburn. This outstanding variety will be available in garden centers in 2018.

I’m thinking that perhaps growers photograph lantana blooms in their early stages to show all of their colors, rather than showing them at a later stage, when one or two dominant colors may be richer and more appealing.  So unfortunately, the early photos may not do the plants justice.  And of course, when we visit garden centers, we usually see plants that haven’t yet matured.

Superbells Double Ruby calibrachoa hybrid’s luxurious double blooms brighten any outdoor flower arrangement. This darling will be available in 2018.

Other standouts in Proven Winners’ lineup of annuals include:

  • Superbells Double Ruby calibrachoa hybrid. This calibrachoa boasts double blooms that resemble tiny carnations. Mine has grown 4 inches high and 2 feet wide since early June. It’s delightful.
  • Superbells Blue Moon Punch calibrachoa. Another solid performer, this cheerful charmer pumps out purple and white blooms with a brilliant yellow throat. Mine cascades down the pot about 16 inches.
  • Prince Tut dwarf Egyptian papyrus. This fast-growing, no-maintenance stunner has reached two feet since I planted it in a pot in early June. It reportedly will reach 30 to 48 inches at maturity.

Proven Winners’ Pollypetite dwarf rose of Sharon produces ethereal pink blooms.  It reportedly grows 3-4 feet high and wide.

In Spring 2018, Proven Winners will introduce a new rose of Sharon, Pollypetite, in garden centers. An endearing shrub that grows 3 to 4 feet high and wide, Pollypetite features delicate pink, iridescent blooms.  Because of its smaller size, this plant will fit nicely in gardens that don’t have room for typical roses of Sharon, some of which can grow 10 feet high and wide.


Filed under Landscape Design, Plant Geekiness

Are ‘Bullet-Proof Plants’ Really Bullet-Proof?

A tiger eyes sumac, similar to the baby shown here, will be the centerpiece of my new garden.

A tiger eyes sumac, similar to the baby shown here, will be the centerpiece of my new garden.

Snow currently shrouds the carefully selected plants in my newly landscaped front yard. Bunnies have been chomping on some plants, even on so-called rabbit-resistant ones. I’m curious to see which plants survive the wildlife assaults and Fort Collins’ harsh winters to prove that they are, indeed, bullet-proof.

As promised in last month’s post, I’m sharing my plant selections with you, in case you’re looking for plants for tough growing conditions.


Autumn brilliance serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’).This multi-stemmed beauty is one of my all-time favorites, with its white spring blooms, tasty blue berries and flaming red-orange fall color. I wouldn’t have a garden without it.


Cheyenne Mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii ‘Cheyenne’). Cheyenne produces fragrant, lush white flowers each spring. This stalwart anchors a front corner of my house and will eventually reach 6 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide.

Hedge Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus). The home’s previous owner installed two of these shrubs, which turn an eye-popping red each fall. The shrubs are currently overgrown, but I’ll cut them to the ground this winter so they’ll emerge at a more appropriate size.

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry (Prunus besseyi ‘Pawnee Buttes’). I installed this woody groundcover for its hardiness, white flowers and red fall foliage. It’ll grow about 18 inches tall and 6 feet wide. The thing is, rabbits like to munch on Pawnee Buttes’ new shoots, so I’ve placed protective cages around these plants for the time being.

Regent Serviceberry ( Amelanchier x ‘Regent’). Like its cousin autumn brilliance, regent serviceberry boasts spectacular fall color. But instead of red, regent shows off stunning golden-coral autumn color. Regent also has a more compact and delicate growth habit than autumn brilliance. This colonizing shrub is a slow grower that will eventually stretch 6 feet high, but it can easily be pruned to a lower height.

Tiger Eyes Sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’). I’ve had my eye on this stunner for years, and finally I have a spot for it in the garden. Tiger Eyes is the centerpiece of my landscape because it’s so showy. Unlike other sumacs, Tiger Eyes doesn’t sucker insanely in Colorado unless it’s installed in heavily amended soil. I dug a circle 3-foot circle around it and shoveled in lean clay soil to discourage suckering. The shrub has lacy yellow and chartreuse foliage on rosy pink branches. Each fall, the leaves turn orange-red. Don’t over-water this baby. Right now, it’s an ugly brown fuzzy stick with buds on it. But as it matures, it will keep its branches over the winter to provide architectural interest.

Angela sedum? It's drought-tolerant and beautiful, but rabbits ate mine to the ground.  Try lemon coral sedum instead.

Angela sedum? It’s drought-tolerant and beautiful, but rabbits ate mine to the ground. Try lemon coral sedum instead.


Angelina Sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’). Rabbits decimated this yellow/chartreuse groundcover as soon as I plunked it in the ground. So I took the crumbs from their feast and planted them elsewhere in the garden. The crumbs have taken root. But I’m concerned about this plant’s long-term survival with so many rabbits around. Last spring, Proven Winners sent me some new plants to try. One of them was lemon coral sedum (Sedum reflexum ‘Lemon Coral’), a splashy, tough Angelina sedum look-alike that stands three inches high. The rabbits never touched lemon coral. Unfortunately, this new plant is an annual in Colorado, but I’m hoping that lemon coral self-sows so that more of this wonderful plant will emerge next spring.  You’ll find lemon coral in garden centers next spring.

Valentine Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’). This newer, more compact variety of the traditional bleeding heart is a show-stopper. It will grow about 2 feet tall and wide with lovely reddish-pink flowers and the usual, attractive, deep-cut foliage. Rabbits nibbled on the bleeding hearts some, but not a lot. I’m hoping that, unlike the traditional bleeding heart, valentine will resist going dormant in mid-summer.

There are 10 more perennials in my garden. I’ll describe them in my next post.

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Filed under Landscape Design, Plant Geekiness