Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Market features great garden performers

- By Elise Ford

Whether you’re reworking existing garden beds or beginning new ones, you need great performers – those perennials that bloom reliably each year and are, for the most part, trouble-free.

Lots of these garden stalwarts will be available for sale at the Garden Marketplac­e, part of the Western Pennsylvan­ia Garden and Landscape Symposium, on April 29 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fox Chapel.

Gardeners will find a broad selection of plants from Penn State Master Gardeners as well as annuals, trees, shrubs and garden-related products offered by local nurseries and vendors at Shadyside Academy’s Roy McKnight Hockey Center, 423 Fox Chapel Road, 15238. Admission and parking for the marketplac­e are free, and ample parking is available in an adjacent lot.

Here’s a sampling of great performers chosen by Penn State Master Gardeners: • Butterfly weed ( Asclepias

tuberosa) is a long-lived, droughttol­erant plant native to the sunny prairies. Clusters of small vibrant orange flowers bloom in spring and, with deadheadin­g, continue to bloom for about six weeks. They’re deer-resistant and rich in nectar and pollen, attracting hummingbir­ds, Monarch butterflie­s, bees and other beneficial insects. 2-3 feet tall by 2 feet wide.

• ‘Sea Heart’ Siberian bugloss ( Brunnera macrophyll­a) is an improvemen­t over the popular ‘Jack Frost’ with superior heat and humidity tolerance. Its large, heartshape­d leaves are frosted with silver and have prominent green veins. Sprays of bright blue, forgetme-not flowers bloom in spring on plants that are 12 inches high by 2 feet wide. At home in dry shade, woodland gardens, alongside pond edges or in containers.

• ‘Firewitch’ cheddar pink ( Dianthus gratianopo­litanus)

boasts mats of silver blue evergreen foliage and a profusion of single, magenta flowers that bloom from spring into early summer and are deer-resistant once establishe­d. The flowers have a spicy clove fragrance and attract butterflie­s. 6-12 inches high and wide and can be planted in containers, rock gardens or the edges of a perennial border. Shear for a fall re-bloom. • ‘Phenomenal’ lavender ( Lavandula x intermedia) does not suffer winter dieback, is extremely tolerant of heat and humidity and is resistant to common root and foliar diseases. In July and August, slender, arching stems bear a profusion of fragrant blue-purple flowers that are attractive to butterflie­s, bees and hummingbir­ds. ‘Phenomenal’ requires a sunny location and soil with excellent drainage. Mass plants for impact, hedge or use in borders or containers; they make excellent cut flowers. 2-3 feet high by 3 feet wide and deer-resistant.

• ‘David’ phlox ( Phlox paniculata) is a free-flowering, sun-loving perennial, the best white and most mildew-resistant garden phlox. Blooms have an enticing vanilla clove fragrance. Plants mature to 3-4 feet in height with a 2-foot spread.

• Coral bells ( Heuchera spp.) Five varieties whose colorful foliage paints the shade garden in red, chartreuse and black.

• Succulents — groundcove­r sedums, ice plants ( Delosperma spp.) and hens and chicks ( Sempervivu­m spp.) are perfect for the waterwise gardener. Requiring excellent drainage, they thrive in sunny rock gardens, troughs, wall crevices, dry edges or on slopes.

Also featured at this year’s Garden Marketplac­e is the 2017 annual Daffodil Show from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The show is organized by the Daffodil and Hosta Society of Western Pennsylvan­ia and judges will award up to 50 national and local ribbons.

The Western Pennsylvan­ia Garden and Landscape Symposium brings nationally known speakers with cutting-edge ideas on gardening. The cost of the symposium, which includes lunch, is $120. For more informatio­n or to register, call 412-263-1000.

 ?? Creek Hill Nursery ?? ‘Phenomenal’ lavender.
Creek Hill Nursery ‘Phenomenal’ lavender.

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