Firewitch DianthusThe perennial of the year is Firewitch Dianthus. This is a plant that certainly can have more than one season emphasis.

In winter, Firewitch lends a silver – snow/blue interest to the landscape or container. In spring, they bud in early April and are prolific bloomers for months. Then they sporadically bud until the winter freeze sets in.

This plant is perfect for edging since it doesn’t get taller then 6 inches. It increases in size horizontally each year, and can be used as ground cover in hot and dry areas. Firewitch has a deep fuchsia bloom that does not fade.

Etain (Viola) BloomsThe availability of perennial violas is increasing each year. Etain blooms heavily in spring, is fragrant, and is yellow with, lavender-purple margins.

Painted Porcelain, in the Cornuta Group, is violet, with large creamy white flowers on its upper petals infused with lavender-purple. Deeper purple central markings make this truly as beautiful as ‘painted porcelain.’

Irish Molly, a unique blend sure to catch your eye. Molly’s upper petals are maroon-brown with a hint of violet, middle petals are olive green, and the lower petal is brownish-yellow. She has chocolate brown-rayed center.

Also, we will have Purple Showers, which is electric purple with slightly fragrant 2-inch flowers, and ‘Rebecca,’ which boasts vanilla-scented, white flowers, flushed lemon yellow in the center and flecked with deep violet around evergreen foliage. If you have not discovered violas, which by the way are edible, you are missing one of the true joys of spring.

The echinacea craze is still exploding. A lot of the new varieties will be even better the second year. One of our favorites is Kim’s Knee High. This 12-15 inch beauty has the same purple blooms as its taller bothers, but it blooms in bouquets, kicking it up till frost.

Echinacea (cone flower)

Fragrant Angel, a new white coneflower with its 30 inch, large fragrant blossoms horizontally held, overlapping petals, and huge yellow cone. As experienced gardeners know, a touch of white in the garden is needed. This dependable bloomer works for you summer and fall. 

Doubledecker, is exactly true to its name, this coneflower is two-tiered, rose pink with a set of short petals emerging from the top of the cone. A novelty for the garden, ‘Sunset,’ a vibrant orange, which has fragrant daisy blooms with brown cones. The flowers have a rose fragrance and the petals are a florescent hot pink/orange. Any selection you choose is sure to be one of your garden favorites.

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