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They can look so exotic and foreign that I think many shoppers might think they would be impossible to have in the garden. Although they do have some specific growing requirements (consistent moisture, sun) these cool plants aren’t so different from other plants, except, they eat bugs!! I have them at my front door where everyone walking by asks about the strange spring flowers and the bracts continue to look good after the petals fall. By then, the leaves are pushing up with a crazy diversity of colors and forms. They come tall, short, red, yellow, white, fat, skinny and each phase of growth is equally fabulous. A funny thing happened when I first put the plants in the ground. As soon as the empty pots were cleared away a bee flew right down one of the tube-shaped leaves. I happened to have my camera to catch it for my DIY talk on what else: building a raised bog planter at your front door! Since Saracennias never get fertilizer and rain fills the reservoir under the soil line, I consider it a very low maintenance planter. It’s quite pleasant to occasionally sit on the stone edge and clean it of fallen leaves or spent flowers. The plants look cool and the flowers are unbelievable. What more could you want?
The hot plant I saw last year for retail customers to look for this spring was Digitalis ‘Illumination.’ The heavy stalks with masses of two-toned flowers are traffic-stopping gorgeous. It’s no wonder this was the 2012 Plant of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and, judging by the smiles in photographs, Thomson and Morgan couldn’t be more pleased with the breeding honors. By some miracle, this Digitalis has the genus Isoplexis in its phloem so it is sterile which translates to very long-blooming, lush displays of this exotically-colored foxglove. It will be in my front planters this year and I know everyone who walks by will be drooling.
Here it is with my friend Barbara Katz, London Landscapes LLC, as we visit in the hotel lobby. She had the attention of everyone who passed by.