What’s New for 2017?
with Dawn Golloher of Gardens Plus


Spring must be around the corner, because March 21st, 2017, the Cramahe Horticulture Society was delighted once again to host Dawn Golloher from Gardens Plus.

The following basic information about Gardens Plus bears repeating here, especially for our new members, and the presentation that followed consisted of “Dawn’s Picks” for the upcoming gardening season. What a treat!

Gardens Plus is a perennial nursery located outside Peterborough, Ontario. The nursery and the business have grown over the past 19 years – through the introduction of greenhouses, display gardens, water collection facilities and stock beds.

Each year, you can visit May 6th to July 31st, every day but Tuesday. And, you can order your favourite plants without leaving home, because Gardens Plus ships all over Canada. (Contact GardensPlus.ca)

Dawn and her team have a motto ‘We focus on easy care perennials so you can enjoy your gardens not just work in them’ – can’t argue with that!

Over the years, Gardens Plus has evolved into a specialty shop of sorts, featuring easy care perennials that thrive in the Ontario growing zones. Dawn strives to provide perennials that will attract humming birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators. They have plants that you need not divide, that resist disease, that do not need staking or winter protection, that re-bloom, that are drought tolerant, that are long lived – not just 3 to 5 years – in short easy care!

Through a network of suppliers in Canada and the United States, Gardens Plus finds the newest cultivars to solve that difficult problem spot in your garden. These plants clump, resist mildew, are miniatures or dwarfed in size and tolerate shade, all characteristics that will help build a spectacular display, no matter the challenge.

Remember that not all sun is created equal and lighting is among the most important elements of a successful garden.


So, let’s begin with the PART SHADE heroes: 

Brother Stephan, Hosta of the Year

“Brother Stephan” is the hosta of the year for 2017 – it displays corrugated leaves of gold with a wide blue green margin.

“Curly Fries was the hosta of the year for 2016 and it is still going strong with its unusual spiky foliage. A decorative feature in any garden.

Curly Fries Hosta

Two more shade lovers are Munchkin Fire and Orange Star.

We all love the shade tolerant hosta “babies” and new this year are School Mouse, Sun Mouse and Wrinkle inTime. They are perfect for underplanting, edging and infilling in a layered garden.

If you like the white centred hostas, to add a punch of contrast among deeper hues, the Hans hosta will fill that role.

There are literally thousands of sturdy hostas which come up every year and require little maintenance. They are beautiful, adaptable and long living.
Cathedral Windows is a new hosta this year, it is a nice small plant with very fragrant flowers. Captain Adventure, Popcorn and the large leafed Ivory Coast are also new on the market.

First Blush and Raspberry Sundae Hostas

The pink hued hostas are gaining in popularity, for example the delicious First Blush and Raspberry Sundae  

Still in the part shady category, try the stately ligularia, especially Little Lantern and Café Noir. The tall flower spikes and huge leaves are very impressive in any garden.

Of course in part shade, you can always rely on ferns (such as the Japanese Painted variety) or Bladderberry which is a very civilized ground cover that won’t get out of control but will help keep the weeds at bay.

Coral Bells also thrive in part shade. Try Black Pearl and Pretty Pistachio in close proximity – deep rich purple and intense lime – gorgeous! Remember, not too much water for these plants. Appletini, Dew Drop and Lemon Chiffon are more Heucheras you may wish to consider. Pair them with Jacobs Ladder for a great display.


The Heucherella

The Heucherella – the marriage between the Heuchera and the Tiarella provides us the best features of both parents. Pink Fizz has purple veined leaves with prolific bubble gum pink flowers. Mix it with any purple/blue flowered shade lover.

Leapfrog, Pumpkin Spice and Catching Fire are other examples of the Heucherella.

And that brings us to the “Wedding Bells” series of Hellebores such as Wedding Bells, Blushing Bridesmaids and First Dance all stunning examples of this genus. Another series contains the dramatic Rome in Red, French Kiss and Mix which, as its name implies, is a combination of all the standard colours.

New this year is a variety of Monarda (Bee Balm) which is shorter, is mildew resistant and clumps well. Cherry Pops and Rock’n Raspberry and the delicate Pink Fosting are all available. Consider mass planting for a spectacular show of pinks, purples and a pinky red which almost defies description. Balmy Purple, Grape Gumball and Cranberry Lace further enhance the versatility of Monarda. And, this new variety is mildew resistant.


Judy Judy

Now the HOT, FULL SUN brigade!
Let’s begin with the Coneflower. Be careful not to weed them out or plant new too early. Try Double Scoop Mandarin, Green Jewell (yes, green flowers!) Delicious Candy or the Smoothy series Black Eyed Susan, Raspberry Lychee or Strawberry Mango.

Magic Amethyst (above) and Collier are but a few of this year’s ever popular Daylilies.

Judy Judy, is an impossibly beautiful daylily reminiscent of a pink and cream ruffled prom dress. This one drew gasps from the audience.

Gold Zebra

Gold zebra is a variegated daylily that does not disappoint. Once the flowers are spent, the striped, spiky leaves continue to add zing to the garden. Though there are too many to mention here, do look for daylilies that re-bloom between May and September. Lake Effect, Majestic Moves, Passion Returns, Garden Show, Royal Braid, Blackthorne, Tiger Swirl and Passion for Red are among Dawn’s favourites.

Before this article becomes a book, we’ll move on to Salvia. This plant does yeoman duty in any garden. It clumps, is long blooming in shades of pinks and purples and

the hummingbirds love them. Try Crystal Blue, Violet Riot, Sensations, Blue Sky and Pink Dawn. It flowers with the bee balm in June.

Siberian Iris

And who doesn’t love the Siberian Iris? They don’t need a lot of water and it looks like an ornamental grass when not blooming. It blooms 2/3 weeks in June (or 1st week of July in some areas). Pink Parfait, Regency Buck, Royal Blue or Concord Crush are a few of the new ones.

Sedum comes in so many varieties, Lemon Jade, Firecracker, and Lime Twister are a few to consider. This is a good time to mention that if you want to keep a plant variegated, pinch out the solid colour leaves before it reverts to its parentage.

Finally, in this, the year of the Canadian Sesquicentennial, many will want to create a red and white motif, which can be accomplished with a variety of perennials and annuals, (Tulips, Monarda, Phlox, Daylilies, Begonias, Sun Patience and so on) some of which you may already have in the ground.

Canadian Sesquicentennial

Take a few moments to go through the Gardens Plus website. There are hundreds of excellent pictures which clearly show the “easy care” perennial features as well as their characteristics, shipping information and the cost.

–Robin Young

Contact Dawn Golloher at www.gardensplus.ca