A variety of Hostas at Richbar Nursery. Lindsay Chung photo

Perennial plant of the year

The 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year is Stachys monieri ‘Hummelo’

Do you know what this list of plants has in common: Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’, Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’, Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’, Echinacea ‘Magnus’, Salvia ‘May Night, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’?

They are all past winners of the prestigious Perennial of the Year award. These are only a few in the long list, as the award was established back in 1990.

To win this award, a plant must exhibit the following qualities: have low maintenance requirements, be relatively pest- and disease-resistant, suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions, be easily propagated and have multiple seasons of ornamental interest.

I like the fact that they aren’t exotics but can be grown in most of our Cariboo gardens.

The 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year is Stachys monieri ‘Hummelo.’

Pollinators such as hummingbirds, bees and butterflies can’t resist being attracted to the spikes of magenta flowers growing above trouble-free foliage.

This plant was chosen as the most outstanding for its vigour, well-behaved habit, winter hardiness (zone 4) and strong flower production at the Chicago Botanic Garden Evaluation Trials.

Plant this in the sunny-to-part-shade border along with other bee magnets such as Ascelipias tuberosa (last year’s winner), Echinacea Magnus and ornamental grass for a showy summer combination.

The wiry stems make it an excellent cut flower — just cut it back hard to the ground after flowering to keep it tidy. Divisions can be made every couple of years in the spring.

And for you Hosta aficionados, this years Hosta of the Year is ‘Lakeside Paisley Print.’

To win this award, the hosta must be unique, easy-to-grow and loved by many. This hosta has also won the Popularity Poll award from the American Hosta Society, so it must be a crowd-pleaser.

‘Lakeside Paisley Print’ has heart-shaped, wavy, green leaves with narrow creamy white markings running down the center of the leaf.

It is a unique addition to the shady border with a height of 25 centimetres (10 inches) and a spread of 50 centimetres (20 inches). The flowers are lavender. It is a hardy zone 3 long-lasting perennial.

We have moved out our perennials from our growing houses to the outside perennial house where they have been “hardening off” and are now ready to be growing in your garden!

— Submitted by Jean Atkinson of Richbar Golf and Gardens

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