Your Favourite Crops Improved for the Northwest


In Paul Westervelt’s article on perennial upgrades, he explains the advantage of stepping out of your consolation zone and attempting new variations of tried-and-true crops:

“After whiffing a number of instances, customers and professionals alike could also be tempted merely to stay to time-tested varieties. However a few of these varieties aren’t what they as soon as have been. In different instances, they’ve been upgraded in significant ways in which enhance the gardening expertise—higher behavior, longer bloom time, enhanced illness resistance. Earlier than you swear off new crops endlessly, contemplate these traditional upgrades.”

That can assist you discover crops that gained’t make you say, “Ugh, I ought to have simply caught with the unique,” we requested regional specialists to choose 4 improved variations of fan-favorite crops. All of those crops have not less than one of many traits that Paul lists above—higher behavior, longer bloom time, enhanced illness resistance—and typically all three. Discover improved crops for the Northwest beneath, and for much more improved classics, take a look at Paul’s article 8 Higher Perennial Crops to Develop Over the Basic Varieties.


1. ‘Burgundy Jewel’ vine maple

‘Burgundy Jewel’ vine maple

Title: Acer circinatum ‘Burgundy Jewel’

Zones: 5–9

Measurement: 6 to 12 toes tall and 4 to eight toes large

Situations: Full solar to partial shade; tolerates a wide range of soil situations from humus-rich to clay

Native vary: Western North America from British Columbia to Northern California

With its small dimension and upright vase form, ‘Burgundy Jewel’ works completely as a focus for a small backyard or, when utilized in multiples, as a dense backdrop planting. The foliage shade makes it a enjoyable various to the straight species. Spring leaves emerge darkish purple to purple with yellow veins earlier than fading to coppery purple and inexperienced in summer season. In fall, the leaves seem to glow from inside, taking up tints of purple, yellow, and orange. The trunk and branches keep a deep reddish purple, making ‘Burgundy Jewel’ a real multiseason stunner. It’s a robust grower that doesn’t want a lot water in summer season as soon as established.


2. Frostkiss® Anna’s Pink hellebore

Frostkiss® Anna’s Red hellebore

Title: Helleborus ‘ABCRD02’

Zones: 4–9

Measurement: 18 to 24 inches tall and large

Situations: Keen on full shade; evenly moist, well-drained soil

Native vary: Europe and Asia

Throughout our darkest, wettest months right here within the Pacific Northwest, the winter blooms of hellebores are all the time a welcome sight. The FrostKiss® collection has the added advantages of longer bloom time, which extends into midspring, and a compact dimension that’s good for the entrance of a shady border. Anna’s Pink is a very gorgeous FrostKiss® cultivar with burgundy purple flowers held upright on sturdy stems. As soon as the blooms fade, prune them off to focus on the placing silver-veined evergreen foliage, which is eye-catching by itself. As a bonus, it’s deer resistant.


3. Lumen Gold fountain grass

Lumen Gold™ fountain grass

Title: Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘JS Jommenik’

Zones: 5–8

Measurement: 1 to 2 toes tall and a pair of to three toes large

Situations: Full solar to partial shade; common to dry soil

Native vary: Japanese Asia to western Australia

What makes Lumen Gold fountain grass distinctive is its shade; the foliage emerges vibrant yellow in spring earlier than maturing to a lime inexperienced. In summer season, fluffy plumes stand 6 to 9 inches above nice strappy foliage. By means of fall, the foliage shade evolves to shades of gold and orange. As winter units in and the foliage finally turns straw coloured, you possibly can lower the plant again to a compact tuft roughly 3 to five inches above the bottom. Alternatively, you possibly can go away the foliage and plumes standing for winter curiosity, trimming them again simply earlier than the brand new shoots sprout in early spring.


4. Fragrance Princess daphne

Daphne ‘DapJur01’

Title: Daphne ‘DapJur01’

Zones: 7–9

Measurement: 4 toes tall and three toes large

Situations: Full solar to partial shade; barely acidic, well-drained soil

Native vary: Hybrid

One of many first issues I discovered as a designer was how essential it’s to make the doorway of a house inviting. A good way to do that is to plant a daphne near the entrance door, with its delicate perfume performing as the right welcome for guests. Fragrance Princess, a hybrid of D. odora and D. bholua, is the earliest and longest-blooming daphne available on the market. You may count on massive clusters of star-shaped blush pink blooms from midwinter to late spring. From summer season by way of early winter, get pleasure from its darkish inexperienced evergreen foliage. Elevated warmth and solar tolerance broaden its usability.

Jennifer Smock is supervisor of the Missouri Botanical Backyard’s Kemper Middle for Dwelling Gardening in St. Louis.