The race is on to be the first to display colorful blooms |

The race is on to be the first to display colorful blooms

by Sam Bauman, Appeal Diversions Editor

The “race” starts early, but it’s not too late to make a start now. The “race” is among those avant garde gardeners out to be the first to display with smug assurance they are the leaders in bringing a new flower to showy bloom.

Every year seed companies come up with all kinds of dazzling variations of old blooms and sometimes even entirely new blossoms. This spring is no exception; the seed catalogs are thick, the adjectives glowing, the photos saturated in color. Buy now most will have made their selections, but there’s plenty of summer ahead.

So how to pick, which new breed to pursue?

Depends on which catalog you read, but one grower reports offering three new spectacular breeds. Or phyla. Or whatever one correctly calls flowers. Maybe posies.

The three are the Ruby Stella, the Stella supreme and the hosta sundancer. The last named is noted for its ability to withstand heat, ideal for Carson Country, one would think. All are available at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.

The Stella supreme perennial is described as “long bloom season, lemon-chiffon in color.” The red Stella is billed as an “ever-blooming daylily.”

Seems that the red Stella is an offshoot, if that’s the right term, of the golden-yellow Stella d’Oro. It offers gardeners repeat blooms of deep red flowers. The yellow core the flower offers a sharp contrast with the rich crimson of the petals.

It has the usual daylily foliage, long, snappy medium-green leaves and stalks that are about 22 inches in height. It needs about six hours of sunlight daily and does best in full sun. It is drought-tolerant, the grower says, and does not require deadheading, pruning or pinching. Whatever they are. Obviously, a very independent plant.

Now the hosta sundancer is a less colorful affair, but looks lush and leafy. It likes, the growers says although there are no claims to having talked with the plant, “the sunnier spots in the yard or garden.”

Trials with the hosta in the Netherlands and Portugal gave evidence it withstands higher levels of heat than other hostas, although I never encountered a lot of heat in the Netherlands while covering the Formula One races at Zandvort.

Sundancer is a vigorous, low-growing perennial with attractive green foliage highlighted by soft chartreuse variegation that brightens to a white when exposed to heat. (How’s that for someone who is visual color challenged?) It grows to about 12 to 14 inches with spicy fragrance on its 18-inch stems in mid-season.

Stella supreme is perhaps the star of the Jackson & Perkins collection. It’s an ever-blooming daylily that offers a new brilliance outshining the former star, Stella d’Oro, which now will sadly suffer blossom droop.

Gardeners can expect the new every-blooming perennial supreme to begin to bloom late in spring and keep on blooming until the first frost.

It flowers longer than the d’Oro and offers a more consistent shape and size, with the foliage reaching about 14 inches in height and the flowers 20 inches.

The supreme has a pleasant citrus scent and gets along without deadheading, pruning or pinching and is drought-tolerant.

All that noted, there’s a report of a perennial geranium floating about. No one seems to know much about it, but stay tuned and we’ll see what we can dig up. Meanwhile, anyone want to help an aging bachelor figure out what to do with his few square yards of nice dirt?