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great performers to 17

consider in 2015 WOW-factor plants!

Solenia begonias just keep on blooming.

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Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’ attracts hummingbirds.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Variegata’.

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Coleus Under the Sea ‘Molten Coral’.

Lilium ‘Cannes’. Introduced about a decade ago, Solenia begonias will

take full sun or part shade and put out copious fluorescent blossoms that just don’t stop until heavy frost. Their one to two inch flowers will light up any corner.

Dragon Wing begonias are another standout and not

just because the plant itself is fairly large for a container plant. They are hardy and prolific in semi-shade, overflowing baskets with a constant output of blossoms.

A new Rex begonia from Proven Winners called ‘Pega-

sus’, is a real treat. It happily produces an abundance of healthy variegated silver and green, maple-leaf-shaped leaves.

A WOW-factor plant, also from Proven Winners, was

Cuphea (pronounced coo-fee-a) ‘Vermillionaire’. Common- ly known as the firecracker plant, it is a star attraction for hummingbirds. Tubular orange blossoms cover the plant from the very beginning of the summer and never stop, just getting better and better. It can be a bit messy when the blos- soms drop, but they are instantly replaced, so who cares?

A wonderful plant for shade gardeners is the new varie-

gated bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Variegata’. It is a big plant. At maturity, it grows as tall as 18 inches and produces forget-me-not-like flowers in May and June. The leaves are what you grow it for though; they are huge with irregular, wide creamy margins that are visible from a good distance.

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Dragon Wing Begonias make wonderful showy containers. 6 • Beautiful Gardens 2014

‘Black and Blue’ salvia is always a hit, but ‘Wendy’s

Wish’, the magenta variety that has been around a few years, is also a winner. It grows into a good-sized, three-foot, shrubby plant with much the same form as ‘Black and Blue’, but its flowers are dark magenta and they are irresistible to hummingbirds.

Coleus Under-the-Sea, available from T&T Seeds, was

introduced in 2012. This outstanding series of coleus was bred by undergraduate students at the University of Saskatch- ewan. An unusual collection of eight varieties, this coleus has cool names such as ‘Bone Fish’, ‘Lion Fish’, ‘King Crab’, and ‘Yellowfin Tuna’. They have finely cut and beautifully varie- gated leaves that put on a good show in both sun and shade. Another great coleus is ‘Electric Lime’. Its green and gold leaves really stand out in a crowd.

Ipomoea ‘Marguerite’ is one of the most reliable of the

sweet potato vines with lime coloured foliage that tumbles down a container in a luxury of leaves. Its alter ego is the

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