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Whidbey Island Landscapes

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Crocosmia – do you have to go so soon?

The last of the crocosmia flowers in my garden will be just a memory by the end of this week.  I grant them a well-earned rest after starting their show in mid summer and continuing the run all through late summer and into fall.

Crocosmia or Montbretia are native to South Africa. There are hundreds of beautiful, easy to grow cultivars on the market.  (See   Crocosmia do best in fertile, moisture retentive, well-drained soil.  They will grow and flower in sun or part sun, but excessive shade may cause them to sprawl. Some are clump-forming and others tend to spread about.   There is some disagreement over whether to cut back the brown foliage in late fall (seems to me this is a good idea to prevent disease) or whether to allow the dead foliage to protect the corms over the winter.  The larger flowered cultivars can be a bit tender, so maybe this is a good alternative for them or you could give them a light mulch instead.  Buy the corms in spring or as plants later towards the summer.

Here are the cultivars I currently grown in my garden.  I think I’ll look for ‘Emily McKenzie’ next spring . . . .

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’ is a vigorous clumper with beautiful red and orange buds and first to flower.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'George Davison'


New this year, from a friend  is C. crocosmiiflora ‘Colton Fishacre.’  Look at that bronze foliage.

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Colton Fishacre'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Colton Fishacre'


Crocosmia ‘Star of the East” is a  spreader, that usually has these fantastic dark orange seed pods when the flowers are finished.

Crocosmia 'Star of the East'

Crocosmia 'Star of the East' seedpods


Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Severen Seas’ with brilliant reddish-orange tubular flowers and golden throats and a favorite among the hummingbirds was a choice gift from a friend.

Crocosmia 'Severen Seas'





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One of my favorite work hard – no fuss perennials is Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ or Tickseed, still blooming in my garden after putting on a show (without deadheading) all summer.  It is drought tolerant once established (and needs good drainage), our Greenbank deer don’t seem to like it,  the rabbits nibbled it only in the  spring as the new foliage was emerging but then left it alone.  For combining with other plants, I especially appreciate the see through, fine texture.

 A new cultivar in my garden this year is C. verticillata ‘Sienna Sunset’ which I’m hoping will perform as well.

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Summer Blues – Catananche caerulea


One of my favorite summer flowers is Cupid’s Dart, because the lavender-blue flowers are a nice contrast or complement to almost any other color in my garden and the wiry stems weave in and out, knitting other plants together and filling in the blank spots.

with Linaria purpurea

Cupid’s Dart is a short-lived perennial, but self sows politely.  In my garden, the center of two or three year old plants die out, but new plants emerge just at the edges.  The two foot stems rise up from a one foot clump and can sometimes be a bit floppy, so it’s wise to plant where it can be supported by other plants.

with Nassella tenuissima and Nicotiana alata

Given its Mediterranean origins, it seems logical that most sources say to plant Cupid’s Dart in full sun with good drainage.  But I’ve also had luck with it planted in my entry garden which is soggy all winter.

with Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldstrum'

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