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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in eupatorium (2)

Wednesday
Dec022009

Crank Up the Volume With Pink Eupatorium, an Impressive Perennial

Eupatorium Gateway is a tall but compact variety suitable for a city garden. In direct sunlight, the pink color will not appear as intense as it does in this photo.Joe Pye Weed is another name for Eupatorium, an impressive garden perennial that began its career as a wild flower. In many parts of the world, one can still find varieties growing in marshes and alongside highways. The claim to fame for this family of plants has been its hardiness, height and sustainability. I grow it because its lushness just knocks my socks off !

Consider planting Eupatorium for three reasons: it is majestic, it is easy care and it flowers when many perennials have finished blooming. What it lacks in color saturation, it makes up for in height, texture, and volume.

Tall Eupatorium should be planted at the very back if a flower bed. It creates a dense textural background that enhances both the garden and the other perennials that grow in front of it. Because of its height and prominence in the late summer garden, the color of its stems becomes a notable feature of the plant as well. The picture above demonstrates the important contribution of the wine-colored stems to the overall appearance of the garden.

Between the wild and the bred cultivars, one can select an appropriate plant from a collection of more than 18 varieties. Choosing one can be challenging for some. At the beginning of the growing season, most Eupatorium look alike to the untrained eye. When in bloom, the differences between the pink varieties are subtle. Even when they are observed growing side by side, it is not easy to tell them apart.

To assist gardeners in finding the right plant for the right spot, here is a list of pink Eupatorium cultivars. Some are bushier than others while some have a wider spread. For city gardens where space is precious, consider the more compact growing varieties such as Baby Joe, Little Joe, Phantom and Gateway. The height of each of the plants listed below represents the lowest height recorded. Plants may grow taller than indicated.

6 Feet Tall

E. purpureum, purple flower heads, wild flower.

E. maculatum, magenta flower heads, wild flower.

E. maculatum Gateway, mauve-pink flowers, wine stems.

5 Feet Tall

E. cannabinum Plenum, old rose flowers, red stems.

E. fistulasom, mauve-pink flowers, purple stems.

E. maculatum atrpourpureum, rose-purple flowers, purple stems.

E. maculatum Carin, silver-pink flowers, deep purple stems.

4 Feet Tall: E. dubium Little Joe, light pink flowers, purple stems.

3 Feet Tall: E. dubium Phantom, dark lavender flowers, purple stems, long lasting blooms.

2.5 Feet Tall: E. dubium Baby Joe, fuchsia-lavender flowers, russet brown stems.

Eupatorium will grow in sun or part shade, in boggy or ordinary soil, in zones 3 to 7. In the path of the moving sun, it will sprawl to follow the light. Neatest growth occurs in a southern exposure or where light remains constant. Do not expect to find all of the varieties listed above at any one nursery.

Friday
Mar062009

Web Photos That I Like

This photograph demonstrates how critical it is to pay attention to the spacing of plants and the location of sun when planning a perennial garden. The key plants in this composition are tall pink Eupatoreum in the background and silver-blue Perovskia in the front of the border. The annual, Verbena  bonariensis, separates the two. In this picture, Perovskia appears to be growing horizontally instead of upright and stately as it is known to do. Usually a composition of pink and silver blue is eye-catching because the two colors play off against each other. It is less successful when Perovskia kneels to find the sun. What appears to have happened here is that Perovskia is being crowded out by the plant behind it and is not receiving full sun all day long. Instead, as the sun moves away from this composition, the Perovskia bends over to follow it. Many gardeners are content to leave this composition as it is and to enjoy the casualness of the composition. Those that insist on a neater looking garden, or who want the pink and silver-blue to be closer together, will stake Perovskia to keep it upright. Being a vigorous plant, strong stakes will be required. In the left foreground of the picture, the silver-green low-growing plant is Sedum. This photograph was taken at Kilmalu Gardens on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.