by David Salman
High Country Gardens is adding two new perennial plant collections to our offerings for fall planting.
New Perennial Plant Collections: The Monarch Magic Collection (Five Plants/One of Each Variety)
Few insects inspire so much excitement and affection as our beloved Monarch butterflies. But because of the extensive use of herbicides across much of their North American habitat and deforestation of the pine forests in central Mexico where the migrate to spend the winter, their populations are plummeting.
Give monarch butterflies a boost by providing these migratory wonders with nectar for the adult butterflies and food for the caterpillars with the High Country Gardens' Monarch Magic collection. The collection includes one plant each of:
- Liatris aspera (Button Blazing Star)
- Aster lateriflorus Lady in Black
- Aster novi-belgii Professor Kippenberg
- Asclepias syriaca (Pink Common Milkweed)
- Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
The collection includes three fall-blooming perennials (Liatris and two Asters) that provide the migrating adult butterflies with nectar on their trip south to Mexico.
The collection also includes two of the most widespread Milkweed species that monarch butterflies will utilize as food plants for their caterpillars. Milkweeds (Asclepias) are the only plants that monarch caterpillars will eat. To avoid being eaten by birds, Monarchs have evolved to metabolize the bitter compounds in Milkweed as they feed on the foliage. With the unique color pattern of their wings, birds recognize and avoid eating monarchs so not to ingest the noxious milkweed chemical compounds contained in the butterfly's tissues.
So pitch in and plant for the Monarchs. Together we gardeners can make a difference and help to turn things around for these unique North American butterflies.
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New Perennial Plant Collections: The Oriental Poppy (Palaver) Collection(Nine Plants/Three of Each Variety)
The genus Papaver (the family name for poppies) is one of horticulture's most popular group of annuals and perennials. The High Country Garden's Oriental Poppy Collection" includes three plants each of our best selling Oriental poppy varieties:
- 'Brilliant' (bright orange)
- 'Beauty of Livermere' (deep sumptuous red)
- 'Royal Wedding' (pure white with a black center)
Oriental Poppies thrive in most any soil (including clay) and like lots of sun. Their huge flowers are stunning with petals that literally shimmer in the sunshine. Oriental Poppies do best in colder climates and are highly recommended, even for the coldest areas of the northern US. On the flip side, they dislike warm winters and should not be planted in USDA zones 8-10 regions.
Oriental poppies go dormant in the heat of summer and re-grow their foliage in the fall. So don't be alarmed when their foliage begins to lose color and go brown later in June. But knowing this, gardeners can use tall growing companion perennials to complement the poppy flowers and camouflage their foliage as they move into dormancy.
My favorite Oriental poppy companions include:
- Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold' (deep yellow umbels)
- Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus' (clear red )
- Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' (dark blue and indigo flower spikes)
- Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (smoky blue)
- Anthemis tinctoria 'Susanna Mitchell' (white daisies)
Fall is the best time to plant Oriental Poppies as they are impervious to winter cold and generally produce at least a few flowers their first spring in the garden. (When spring planted, poppies most likely won't bloom until the following spring.)
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