by High Country Gardens

Eriogonum umbellatum 'Proliferum'
Eriogonum umbellatum 

I continue my series on new and favorite plants for Spring 2013 with three spectacular Perennials for hot, sunny locations.

One of the most challenging sites for landscape plantings would be hot spots that bake in the summer sun.  Here in high elevation New Mexico, the intensity of the sun is legendary. This week I want to highlight three of my favorite perennials, two of which are new for 2013. But they are not new to me. These plants have been planted in my gardens for the last 5 years where I‘ve been testing and evaluating them.

Scutellaria ‘Dark Violet’ and Eriogonum umbellatum ‘Proliferum’ have passed with flying colors!

Scutelaria resinosa 'Smoky Hills'
Scutelaria resinosa 'Smoky Hills'

The genus Scutellaria, known by their common name as Skullcaps, is native to the northern Hemisphere of our planet. They can be found all across North America, Europe and Asia in both temperate and subtropical climates.  I first became captivated by this genus when I saw a talk back in 1998 in which our native Scutellaria resinosa (Prairie Skullcap) was shown and discussed. I had to grow it! And this wonderful prairie wildflower remains one of my favorites. The best selection of Prairie Skullcap is the strain

‘Smoky Hills’ originally found in the northwest corner of Kansas and introduced by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.  It is the largest and most vigorous strain of S. resinosa

Scutellaria ‘Dark Violet’ is my newest hybrid between ‘Smoky Hills’ Prairie Skullcap and the stunning rose-red flowered Scutellaria sufrutescens, native to southern Texas.  ‘Dark Violet’ has excellent cold hardiness and noticeably darker violet flowers than ‘Violet Cloud’. The small, numerous flowers cover the compact plant all summer.  It thrives in hot, sunny, dry conditions in well drained soils and is a brilliant companion plant toBeardtongues Penstemon and the following plant Eriogonum umbellatum ‘Proliferum’ as It helps to cool down Eriogonum’s blazing yellow flowers.

Scutelaria 'Dark Violet'
Scutelaria 'Dark Violet'

The Sulfur Buckwheats  are some of our most treasured, but underplanted natives. They are valued for their beauty, durability and value as habitat plants for feeding pollinators(butterflies, bees and bumblebees)  and beneficial insects. The Western Buckwheats can be found from the deserts to the subalpine elevations of our highest mountains.Eriogonum umbellatum ‘Proliferum’ (Prolific Sulfur Buckwheat) is a gem, growing into a neatly mounding evergreen shrub that covers itself with literally a hundred  umbels of yellow flowers.  Sulfur Buckwheats thrive in hot, sunny conditions in low fertility, well drained soils. They make long lived companions for Beardtongues, Lavender, ‘Dark Violet’ Skullcap and cold hardy succulents like Yucca and Agave.  This selection grows best west of the Mississippi River in regions that receive between 8 and 24 inches of precipitation per year.

  1. Lavandula angustifolia Mitcham Gray Lavender

    ‚Mitcham Gray‚ is a rarely offered cultivar of English Lavender similar to ‚Hidcote Superior‚ with a compact growth habit, dark lavender-blue flower spikes, a...

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    Mitcham Gray English Lavender Mitcham Gray English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia 'Mitcham Gray'
    As low as $13.99 Sale $13.29
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    'Mitcham Gray' is a rarely offered cultivar of English Lavender similar to 'Hidcote Superior' with a compact growth habit, dark lavender-blue flower spikes, and gray-green foliage. But it is a faster grower than the slow-to-mature 'Hidcote Superior'.
  2. Common Milkweed, Asclepias Syriaca, with pollinators

    Asclepias syriaca ‚Common Milkweed‚ is a gorgeous plant that produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love and spreads quickly. This native perennia...

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    Common Milkweed Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
    As low as $13.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Asclepias syriaca 'Common Milkweed' is a gorgeous plant that produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love and spreads quickly. This native perennial is a primary food source for the Monarch butterfly providing large leaves for caterpillars and big pink globe-like flowers that provide nectar for the adult butterflies. Planting it will help to support Monarch populations. Perennial.
  3. Rose Swamp Milkweed

    Asclepias incarnata ‚Rose‚ (Swamp Milkweed) is a showy pink blooming Asclepias species that is a food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and a nectar source for ad...

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    Rose Swamp Milkweed Rose Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata
    As low as $13.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Asclepias incarnata 'Rose' (Swamp Milkweed) is a showy pink blooming Asclepias species that is a food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and a nectar source for adult butterflies. Also known as Swamp Milkweed, it grows best in moist or wet soils.
  4. SunSparkler® Wildfire Stonecrop, Sedum 'Wildfire'

    Sedum rupestre ‚SunSparkler® Wildfire‚ PP#28621 (Stonecrop) blazes with ruby red petals edged in hot pink. Late summer brings clusters of long-blooming pink flowers. It&...

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    SunSparkler® Wildfire Sedum SunSparkler® Wildfire Sedum Sedum 'Wildfire' PP#28,621
    As low as $11.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Sedum rupestre 'SunSparkler® Wildfire' PP#28621 (Stonecrop) blazes with ruby red petals edged in hot pink. Late summer brings clusters of long-blooming pink flowers. It’s an attention-worthy groundcover that will naturalize to fill a sunny, dry area. In fact, the more sun, the brighter the color. A perfect easy-to-grow addition to a rock garden, container, or any sunny spot that needs a water-thrifty color boost. Deer and rabbit resistant.