by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Some flowers are just bigger, brighter, and showier than others. In this issue, we have each of the four Prescott seasons covered for flowers that show off in late winter right through the end of the year. These are the biggest and boldest of them all that once planted deliver many seasons of enjoyment.
List of the biggest bloomers ~
Each stem of this hardy Hibiscus is packed with numerous buds that will unfurl into breathtakingly large blue flowers with lacy centers that look like anemone blooms. This vigorous grower offers summer-through-fall color whether planted as specimens, hedges, or shrub borders.
A single flower panicle may be up to a foot in length, with each panicle comprised of hundreds of densely packed florets. Butterflies, naturally drawn to the nectar-rich little flowers, create a summer- through-autumn parade of these winged garden friends.
This handsome climbing vine displays billowy masses of fragrant flowers against dark green leaves. It proliferates in warm days with twining stems that quickly can cover fences, arbors, and sheds. Each variety is different, but most flowers emerge late spring to fall, followed by silvery seed heads. Excellent as a fall accent and for strikingly attractive cut flowers.
A sensational, award-winning selection that blooms with massive clusters of large flowers. If spent flower stalks are removed, the newest mountain varieties re-bloom freely into early fall. This easy to care for plant forms neat, compact foliage clumps. In mild winters many daylilies remain evergreen, making for a truly impressive perennial border.
Such glorious blossoms should be showcased as a high profile focal point at entryways and for viewing through picture windows. Makes a superior foundation cover-up that cloaks featureless walls in shaded exposures. Deserves front yard exhibition or positions at unique focal points around patio or terrace. The beautiful evergreen foliage is well-adapted to the acidic soils beneath oaks, conifers, and junipers.
A rare, hardy hybrid, the creamy yellow semi-double blooms of this plant become flushed with salmon as they mature. The flowers have a soft, pleasing scent, and are displayed on long stems perfect for cutting. Forms a lush hip-high mound with huge flowers that rival Hibiscus blooms in size, but with many more of them.
Oriental poppies send long taproots into the soil, helping them establish a long life in the spring garden. The dwarf, compact habit and hearty stems allow the blooms to withstand extreme weather conditions and remain upright. A colorful mix of red, scarlet, orange, pink, and white flowers all featuring that signature black dot at the center. Blooms more than seven inches in diameter are commonplace! A great addition to borders, containers, rock gardens, and when scattered throughout mixed beds.
This is the perfect shrub for the lazy gardener. It is deserving of a spot front and center of the landscape where it provides fabulous summer-long color with little care. In the world of hydrangea hybridizing, the big blooms just keep getting better. Handsome green foliage on a boldly branched, mounded shrub. When planted in acidic soils, it produces blue flowers; in more alkaline soils, flower color may have a stunning pink hue.
If roses haven’t been your go-to for large blooms, it’s time to get acquainted with them. With petal counts of 140 or more per bloom, these large, cupped flowers are vase-fillers with old-world fragrance to spare. A new line of Easy Elegance Roses has reinvented the shrub rose into something fragrant, bold, and more natural to grow than our grandparents’ high maintenance hybrid teas.
An outstanding lilac noted for its large trusses of purple-red florets edged in white, this mid-season bloomer typically flowers around Mother’s Day. Branches are erect and open with rich green foliage. A good choice to create a beautiful spring flowering hedge, screen, or for fragrant accents.
Gorgeous red blooms bigger than the largest man’s hand adorn this summer blooming perennial. Strong upright branches erupt each spring covered in these huge flowers with equally impressive foliage. Chosen for its tropical appeal and loose cottage style.
Bright yellow blooms with broad overlapping petals add bold lemon colors to raised summer garden beds. A must-have for a cutting garden, this drought-tolerant, cold-hardy perennial has a neat, compact form with prolific blooms over an exceptionally long season. Keep dried flower heads on the plants in the fall for winter interest.
Extraordinary summer color with large, vibrant sunflower blooms. This award-winning, multi-branching, heat-tolerant bloomer produces over 1,000 flowers in a single season, which runs throughout summer until the first frost. Bright yellow petals with a dash of rich red surround the large brown center of each sensational flower. Excellent in borders and containers.
A perfect summer bloomer with trusses of notably large, dark lavender-violet flowers, and handsome peeling bark. Each head-high bush glows with color until Autumn turns the leaves to their equally spectacular colors of orange, reds, and maroons. A superb plant for the hottest spots in the yard that just need a pronounced touch of ‘WOW’!
Until next issue, I’ll be helping local gardeners select their big-flowering plants here at Watters Garden Center.