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Behnke’s Basic Perennials

PerennialBehnke’s Perennial Department has always been known as the place to discover something new and unique. We have always offered the finest selection of quality perennials to be found anywhere. Too often, though, the tried and true workhorses of the perennial garden are passed over in the mad rush

to acquire the hottest and newest perennial varieties. These true gardening classics are the solid foundation upon which a spectacular collection of the “one-of-a-kinds” is built. Without them, there is no continuity in the repetition of color, form, and texture necessary to achieve good garden design.

Many of our “Behnke Basics” are past Perennial Plant Association (PPA) award winners, and all are an exceptional value.

Here are just a few of my choices from the “Behnke Basics” collection.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ – This is the 1998 PPA Plant of the Year.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides – a tough and long-lived groundcover which breaks dormancy late in spring. The dark blue flowers, which are attractive to butterflies, bloom from late spring to fall. Green foliage takes on burgundy red tones in fall.

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan, Maryland State Flower) – These native plants are truly perennial, heat tolerant, and free-flowering. The single golden daisies bloom most of the summer – always looking fresh despite the heat.

Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’ – Bold, broad gray-green foliage in a tight, fast growing, rounded mound form. Adds fantastic texture to the sunny border. The attraction of the plant is further enhanced by spectacular clusters of pink flowers in late summer which transform through the season to shades of coppery-red and mahogany.

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ – Cheery, lemon-yellow, ruffled flowers continue almost nonstop, in a softer shade than Stella de oro. Fantastic in combination with bluish ornamental grasses and other yellow and blue perennial flowers.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Mainacht’ (‘May Night’) – 1997 PPA Plant of the Year. Low growing salvia that comes into bloom in early summer and bears a multitude of deep violet-blue flower spikes. If kept deadheaded, it will bloom throughout the summer.

Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ – Pale, butter-yellow flowers seem to float on the billowy, fine-textured foliage of this nonstop bloomer. A must for every sunny perennial border – it looks super with blue or lavender flowers. Past PPA winner.

Come and visit Behnke Nurseries’ tremendous Perennial Department this season. I know you’ll be captivated by my choices here as well as our new selections. You’ll soon discover why we say “When you know plants, you know Behnke’s.”

For a complete list of previous PPA Plants of the Year, pick up a list from our Perennial Department the next time you stop in.

by Randy Best, Perennial Specialist.

(Randy Best, Behnke Nurseries’ “Mr. Hosta,” wrote this article for our newsletter, the Behnke GardeNews, in 1998. The recommendations are still solid, showing that the “tried and true” cultivars remain as floral “workhorses” in the garden. These cultivars should come back bigger and better, year after year.)

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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