Commonly known as hyssop, this half-hardy perennial with
fragrant foliage blooms the first year from seed. Two-foot tall
flower spikes in a wide range of colors attract pollinators.
Plants are deer resistant. Cultivars featured in 2014 include:
‘Globetrotter’ (Agastache pallida x rugosa) - Lilac/pink with
‘Astello Indigo’ (A. hybrida) - Mint-scented leaves, deep blue
flower spikes. This variety may be winter hardy if given
‘Apache Sunset’ (A. rupestris) - Tiny flowers in peach, rose and
orange with a rootbeer-like scent.
Although typically thought of as a shade plant, the following
newer cultivars grow well in summer sun:
- Tied for second in votes by visitors at Garden in the Parks
field day in mid-August
‘Chocolate Splash,’ ‘Keystone Kopper,’
‘Black Dragon’ and ‘Wizard Jade’
were also good performers.
Straw-like flowers can be added to fresh bouquets or dried for
winter display. The range of options will be expanded in 2015.
Best performing varieties in 2014:
‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘QIS’ Formula Mix and ‘Fireworks.’
Large, bold colors and long-lasting cut flowers. Although the
demonstration gardens display short varieties for containers and
small gardens, the most popular were these tall varieties
perfect for the vase:
- Double flowers of orange, yellow, bronze and brown
‘Chim Chiminee’ -
Unique quilled petals
‘Prairie Sun’ -
Green centers and bi-colored gold and yellow
Varieties are planted yearly in the demonstration gardens. They
are consistently outstanding performers with minimal
maintenance. Their flower spikes are attractive to pollinators
and hummingbirds and the plants are not bothered by deer.
‘Hummingbird’ (Salvia coccinea) -
A cultivar of Texas sage, it
is 24 inches tall, blooms early and continues to frost.
‘Honey Melon’ (S. elegans) – 3-4 feet tall, topped with red
flowers in early fall. Its leaves are edible and have a yummy
‘Black and Blue’ (S. guaranitica) - Bushy 3- to 4-foot-tall
plant with deep blue flowers and contrasting bright green
leaves. Attractive to honey bees in fall.
Mexican bush sage (S. leucantha) -
Tops out at 4 feet or more.
Its chenille-like flowers are a blend of purple and white.
Late-season pollen source.
‘Sizzler Red’ (S. splendens) -
A standout with 10- to
12-inch-tall spikes of red flowers.
Essential for cutting bouquets and attracting swallowtail
butterflies. Seek out these excellent cutting varieties:
‘Pop Art White and Red’ (Zinnia elegans) -
petals with irregular, eye-catching blotches.
Benary’s Giant (Z. elegans) -
Come in shades of pink, yellow and
purple, ‘Polar Bear’ is a bright white and ‘Macarenia’ has
scarlet petals tipped in gold.
Zinnia haageana and Profusion Series
are shorter, bushier and more resistant to powdery mildew than
taller varieties. 2014 favorites included ’Soleado,’ ’Persian
Carpet’ and virtually all Profusion varieties, including
Knee-High Red, White, Yellow, Cherry and Double Hot Cherry.
List of 2014 top performers also included:
‘Numex Twilight’, ‘Black Pearl’ and
‘Nippon Taka’ ornamental
peppers (Capsicum annuum)
celosia - Voted No. 1 by North Park visitors.
’Senorita Rosalita’ cleome -
Sterile, violet blooms.
Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) - Rolled
and quilled florets in red, yellow and gold.
’Bandana Red’ and
’Bandana Lemon Zest’ Lantana camara.
‘Alice du Pont’ Mandevilla splendens -
A tropical vine.
‘Black Knight’ Scabiosa atropurpurea –
Dark maroon pincushion
‘Sunstorm Blush’ and
‘Pacifica Cherry Red’ vinca (Catharanthus
fall cleanup day approached, many annuals were still blooming
and providing pollinators with a vital late-season source of
pollen and nectar after the goldenrod and asters had finished
The demonstration gardens could not exist without the support of
our partners from Allegheny County Parks and Public Works
departments, Angora Gardens Greenhouse and the local garden
centers that donate plants, fertilizer and mulch: Bedner’s Farm
and Greenhouse, Best Feeds Garden Centers, Eichner’s Farm Market
& Greenhouse, LMS Greenhouse & Nursery, McTighe’s Garden Center,
Pisarcik Greenhouse, Quality Gardens, Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm,
Soergel’s Garden Center and Trax Farms.
2014, Master Gardeners grew about 40 flower varieties from seed
at Angora Gardens Greenhouse in White Oak, and twice as many
have been started for 2015.
rated good and poor