It is Week 24, which is traditionally the time of year for our popular Darwin Perennials Day. This year, due to Restore Illinois restrictions on gatherings, our single-day event can’t take place, but no worries! We’ve reimagined Darwin Perennials Day into Darwin Digital Days – with an “s” – so you can virtually explore what’s blooming in West Chicago, and get technical tips and key supplier interaction all from the safety of your home or office.
June 15-19 will be a week-long celebration of perennials, and to kick things off, I’ve compiled a Top 10 List of Outstanding Perennials currently blooming in our Zone 5 overwinter trial gardens. Here they are below (in no particular order except for a fun countdown) capped with a video walk-through of me in the gardens showing them off as they look this week.
#10 – Digitalis Arctic Fox Rose. Reliably overwintered in our Zone 5 gardens and their flower stem is FULL of blooms.
#9 – Iberis Summer Snowdrift. It’s June and we’ve got a carpet of white flowers. This is not a typical I. sempervirens; this hybrid will flower all summer and has Zone 6 hardiness.
#8 – Sedum Prima Angelina. Look at this gorgeous color and spread! It has great winter-interest, too.
#7 Armeria Dreameria. Here we have Dreamland and Dream Weaver. Still a break-through series that won’t cycle out of flower in the summer. You’ll get these large blooms in the heat, too.
#6 Penstemon Rock Candy. This one’s tough as nails, folks. A reliable bloomer to Zone 5 and WOW what a pollinator magnet!
#5 Salvia Rose Marvel. Large flowers on a rose-colored calyx means even when Rose Marvel is spent it still looks fantastic in the landscape.
#4 Heuchera Carnival Watermelon. I’m in the back beds in the shade and our Carnival series of coral bells looks stunning, especially this Watermelon variety. Carnival is a solid Zone 4, doesn’t mind the heat, and has a great compact habit for versatile uses.
#3 Nepeta Blue Prelude. We introduced this for 2020 and what we love about Blue Prelude is that its first year the plants stay small and compact – perfect for growing and shipping. But once planted in the landscape the plants scale-up and grow up to 3 ft. for maximum impact.
#2 Dianthus Mountain Frost Pink PomPom. The double flowers on this landscape dianthus means you won’t see curl-up on the blooms. This bright color is very visible from anywhere in the garden.
#1 Coreopsis UpTick Gold & Bronze. Always a stunner in our coreopsis beds, UpTick Gold & Bronze can be easily grown alongside annuals, it’s first-year flowering, and reliably overwinters in Zone 5 for year-after-year enjoyment.
Well, that’s our list of outstanding perennials in West Chicago Week 24. Be sure to sign up for email alerts as each day of Darwin Digital Days launches with great perennial content, videos and more to explore. Visit www.darwinperennials.com/digitaldays and check out my video below as a sneak-peek into our exciting virtual event.