by Connie Oswald Stofko
Do you have trouble finding plants for a dry, shady area? Or maybe you want beautiful flowers for sun. Or you’re ready to try some native plants.
You can find that and more at the 59-cent perennial sale being held from Friday, April 26 to Friday, May 3 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The plants are sold only in packs of four plants at $2.36 per pack.
For the best selection, go early in the sale.
See the entire list of plants here.
For dry shade: lamium
It’s hard to find plants for dry shade, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. A plant new to the 59-cent perennial sale is lamium, a good drought-tolerant ground cover.
“It likes to have some moisture to get started, but once it’s established, it will do fine,” Yadon said.
Three varieties will be offered at the sale. On all three varieties, the foliage is appealing; each has leaves that are silvery white and green.
The plant also gets flowers that grow about 6 to 8 inches above the ground. The name of each variety tells you what color the flower will be: ‘Purple Dragon’, ‘Pink Pewter’, and ‘White Nancy’.
“It’s a fairly long-blooming plant,” Yadon added.
Foxglove that is perennial
Last year we discussed several varieties of foxglove that are biennials. Biennials live only two years. In the first year, they won’t flower. In the second year, the biennial will flower, go to seed, then die.
If you prefer perennials to biennials, try a foxglove called Digitalis mertonensis ‘Summer King’.
“It’s a true perennial, not a biennial,” Yadon said. Although ‘Summer King’ isn’t guaranteed to bloom in the first year, after that, “It will bloom year after year,” he said. It lives longer than the biennial varieties.
The large flower is a strawberry-red color, so ‘Summer King’ is sometimes called strawberry foxglove.
It’s also deer resistant.
Try a native plant
Mischler’s has offered native plants such as butterfly flower and agastache in previous years, and this year they’re introducing even more. There will be a total of 13 varieties of native plants in the sale.
However, the number of specimens available in each variety is limited this year because there is a learning curve in producing the plants, Yadon explained. Some varieties might be easy to germinate from seed, but then can be tricky to transplant or grow on.
“We learned a lot,” he said. “We expect to have more native plants next year.”
The Mischler’s staff worked from a list of native plants compiled by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.
Two of the new varieties of native plants to be offered are clump-forming grasses that attract butterflies. They are Canada wild rye or Elymus canadensis and Virginia wild rye or Elymus virginicus.
“They can take the wet, they can take the dry,” Yadon said, so they’re often used in rain gardens.
Both varieties need full sun to part shade.
Canada wild rye gets two to four feet tall, according to the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper guide. It establishes easily, providing quick initial cover. In autumn, the whiskery seed heads add a nice texture to the garden, continuing through the winter.
Virginia wild rye gets one to three feet tall. It has tall, flat grass blades that are green to silvery blue and wheat-like flowers. It’s a fast-growing grass that is an excellent slope stabilizer, or it can be used in masses for a naturalized landscape.