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Most “”Bang for your Bucks”” Plants 2012

Before frosts and falling leaves tarnish my memory, I need to do this post.  Here are a few plants that were just AWESOME this season, despite extremely variable weather.  (here in MA: Frost free March, 80 degree April days followed by 25 degree nights, very dry spring, hot dry July, cooler wetter  August,  near perfect September, and thus far, a cooler gray October). 

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ is a new annual Globe Amaranth that dramatically surpasses your expectations: it is tough, extremely floriferous, hardly needs deadheading, and is still in full glorious bloom in October from a 4th of July planting. You can learn to love cerise.

Cissus discolor commonly known as Begonia Vine, is an old fashioned conservatory plant that  is quite happy to be growing and performing outside of a glass house during frost free weather. It is a vine, so it needs either a tripod or obelisk to climb, or perhaps a big moss basket to cascade from, but however you display it, there will be oohs and ahs from those who walk by. Cissus discolor loves the shade, but can take 1/2 day sun as well.

Meet Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Little Henry’. We’re big fans of end of the summer blooming perennials, and have grown this “little” guy’s big brother ‘Henry Eilers’ for some time. ‘Little Henry’ is not that little…he’s 3-4′ tall, but compared to the 5-6′ his big brother gets, he fits in to more intimate garden settings, (or at least doesn’t spill over as much). ‘Little Henry’ began blooming in late July and even now in October he is still making us smile.

Caryopteris clandonensis ‘White Surprise’ is the perfect small shrub for a sunny well drained spot. The foliage, a lovely aromatic forest green edged in creamy white, is attractive all summer, and in August, when you feel like your garden is starting to lose that “je ne sais quoi “, ‘White Surprise’ surprises you with cerulean blue flowers appearing  in whorls along the branches.

Cercis canadensis ‘The Rising Sun‘ has superb heart shaped foliage. The newest leaves emerge a warm coppery amber, brighten to yellow and then age to yellow green. Yes it is a Redbud Tree, and it will get  pretty pink blossoms before the foliage breaks in spring, but they seem to pass all too quickly. Why we’re smitten with Rising sun is that it continues all season with this fabulous foliar display. Fall color is a more coppery orange. It is not as weak wooded as other Cercis, and has a small rounded habit, more shrublike than tree, growing 9-12′ tall and 8′ wide. It lends itself to coppicing (above the graft!).

Despite humid conditions in August, when even some of our hardy Sedum flopped and melted in the garden, the container displays of “tropical” succulents just kept getting better and better. The closeup image was taken on Oct .12th when the Euphorbia tirucalli rosea was just beginning to take on fiery tones.

What plants were outstanding in your garden this season? I’d love to hear.


  1. Plectranthus ciliatus is currently blowing me away. It sat there all summer, inconspicuously, and then exploded in September. Will send you a photo if you want to see how it fares in Maryland.

    • I agree, it is the best autumn surprise! Our big plant is loaded with buds, and we covered it with a huge bucket on Friday night when there was a freeze warning. The protection worked!

  2. Red Dragon Begonias! Still going strong in Buffalo, with summer long drought & a light frost!

    • That’s some bang for your buck!


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