by Connie Oswald Stofko
Whether you’re looking for something new or you need something to fit a particular need, check out these suggestions from Thompson Brothers Greenhouses, 8850 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center.
Dawn Trippie-Thompson said that after they close their garden center for the summer, she and her husband travel to trade shows and test gardens to see the new introductions for the following year.
Here are a few plants that are new to Thompson Brothers this season: a shrub, a couple of shade plants and a tropical annual.
‘Diamond Rouge’ hydrangea
Thompson said she was eager to carry ‘Diamond Rouge’ hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Rendia’).
“It looks so amazing,” Thompson said.
It’s the reddest of any hydrangea paniculata on the market, she said. The flower starts out white and turns red.
It’s also easy to grow because you don’t have to do any special pruning to get it to flower, she said. It’s hardy down to Zone 3 (Western New York is Zone 5 or 6), so it will do well in our winters.
‘Diamond Rouge’ hydrangea gets about 4 1/2 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. It likes sun.
Two heucheras (coral bells) for shade
Folks who have shady gardens are always looking for something great, and here are two suggestions. Both are perennials.
Thompson likes the ‘Electric Plum’ heuchera, which has leaves in a deep grape hue.
“The color is absolutely amazing,” she said. New leaves emerge near black and lighten to an intense purple with dramatic black veining.
While the leaves are the big draw of this plant, the dainty, bright fuchsia pink flowers are wonderful, too.
For people who want contrast or just like the rarity of black plants, there is ‘Black Pearl’ heuchera. It is very deep purple, almost black.
“It’s very cool,” Thompson said.
While these can take part sun, the color gets washed out in the sun. They actually do better in shade to part shade.
New tropical ti plant
“This is a really cool tropical plant,” Thompson said of this new ti plant. (The ti plant is also called a palm lily or Hawaiian good luck plant.)
This new variety is called Cordyline terminalis ‘Cherry Cordial’. It’s not hardy here, so you’ll grow it outside as an annual.
The beautiful dark leaves are streaked with olive green and bright red.
In a container, it will be the “thriller” element, Thompson said. (For interest in a container planting, you want a tall, upright plant to be your “thriller;” a plant that will trail over the edge to be your “spiller,”and medium-size plants to be your “filler.”)
‘Cherry Cordial’ needs a lot of room, she said. It gets 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide.
It likes full sun to part shade.
Bonus tip: A note about planting tomatoes and peppers
When I talked to Thompson last week, it was 80 degrees out. People went to Thompson Brothers that day wanting to buy tomatoes and peppers, which are tender plants.
“It’s a nice day, but the ground is too cold,” she told me then.
Of course, in the following days, the weather didn’t get better for tomatoes. The temperatures dipped into the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit. They like warm temperatures, with the nights at least 60 degrees.
As I write this, the air temperature hit 70 degrees. Woo hoo! But that still doesn’t mean it’s time to plant those tender veggies.
The forecast for nighttime temperatures is still only in the 50s. Plus, the ground is still isn’t very warm yet.
You’re not getting a head start if you put your tomatoes and peppers in the ground too early, she said, echoing what we explained in an earlier post.