Posted On: September 12, 2014

Gardener Steph: Perennial Pallet

Spring and fall are the best times of the year to plant perennials in the garden because, as the days grow cooler, plants adapt easier to their new homes. With that said, our garden team hopes that this planting of perennials will be successful enough to fill the void left by all of the plants that were damaged during last year’s extreme winter.

As part of our fall planting, we are excited to introduce two new Redbuds into our extensive collection, Cercis x Pink Pom Pom’ and Cercis Flame’. C.  Flame’ was one of the first double Redbuds in cultivation, found originally in Illinois in 1905. C. Pink Pom Pom’ is an incredibly new sport of C. Flame’ breed by Dr. Dennis Werner. Both plants bear flowers similar to those on Okame cherries. These two new Redbuds should be beautiful additions to the park come springtime. Additionally, these small trees should block some of the wind that rips down Madison Avenue, helping to protect future plantings on the eastern side of the park.

This year, we are making special plans so that the cold weather won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the gardens. Our garden crew just planted sixty new Hellebores throughout the park, including double-flowered Hellebores which are new additions. Hellebores can bloom as early as January and are nicknamed the Lenten Rose because of their holiday blooms in warmer climates. Our new doubles include several varieties including H. ‘Onyx Odyssey’, H. ‘Peppermint Ice’, and H. Golden Lotus.’ ‘Golden Lotus’ will be the first yellow flowering variety in our collection.

Alongside the Hellebores, we are looking forward to seeing three new Paperbushes in the park. Edgeworthia chrysantha, or Paperbush, hails from the mountains of China. Its fragrant flowers bloom a beautiful pale yellow very early in the spring. We have also restored another Chinese native, Sarcococca hookeriana. This virtually unknown plant resembles a small holly or boxwood and produces incredibly tiny, super fragrant flowers in late January. The scent will make your head spin.

So, don’t let the colder mornings get you down. There is still plenty of beauty to be found in the gardens of Madison Square Park, even as summer starts to wind down.