The Lemon Fizz Bed

This bed has been our “problem child” in the test garden. Since it’s at ground level, it suffers many mishaps with slippery gelato cones and falling chairs. The planting depth of this bed is also shallow, and though it needs plants of substance, we really don’t want anything too tall here which might block views. Deb & the City have also planted some beautiful Lilies, Irises, and Peonies here, which provide a lot of magic when they bloom. The challenge has been to complement these mainstays, fill some difficult holes, and give this bed longer seasons of interest.

stachys bella grigio year 2Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ has overwintered and again gives the bed its name. There’s a hidden Medusa’s head-type Euphorbia (Euphorbia flanaganii) that’s survived tucked away at the back too. A great surprise though is the Cuphea ‘David Verity,’ which has come back with a vengeance this year (especially since we lost all of the Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ over the winter in the Ebony bed). An even greater surprise though is the Stachys ‘Bello Grigio’ (pictured left). No one expected this plant to survive, let alone look great through winter into early spring. Many of us have trialed this new Stachys in previous years; most us have lost it due to winter wet. Our expectations here were not high. However, we’ve been blown away by its second year of velvety lushness in this protected spot.

You’ll also notice another color of Dianthus ‘Jolt’ here that we’re trialing (‘Jolt Pink’), along with the more unusual annual Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses.’ Hemizygia is a tough, drought-tolerant Coleus and Plectranthus relative. Sweet stems of cream & green variegated leaves will erupt into a profusion of lavender-pink spires as the season progresses. Hemizygia is a long bloomer, with foliage as wonderful as its blooms. It’s also a very versatile performer in a range of conditions and light intensities.

Iochroma ‘Purple Queen’ is also located here (as well as in Purple Haze). It’s another unusual annual and hummingbird favorite; its clusters of purple tubular flowers will bloom until frost.