I know that sometimes, as gardeners and as bloggers, we wonder if we're just spouting into the ether and nobody is out there listening, but I can now provide a little evidence to one excellent blogger regarding this existential question. A recent post by Greggo, of his blog Gardening with Greggo, entitled Yearning for Yarrows had the dual effect on me of inspiring me to add some of the new yarrows to my garden and of making me feel guilty that I was not paying enough attention to this important group of plants.
I've planted a yarrow or two, mostly in the wrong place, and then left them poorly cared for, so there should be no surprise that I haven't been impressed by Achillea offerings. I also thought that many of the new introductions appeared washed out or a little too much on the pastel side and I like my garden colors bright and pure. But then Greggo showed me Achillea filipendulina 'Coronation Gold' and my soul shouted "I WANT IT". For my own garden, I couldn't find 'Coronation Gold' locally, but I was able to locate an excellent specimen of Achillea millefolium 'Moonshine', pictured at left, which has almost the same bright yellow tint and might even be more drought tolerant.
Achillea millefolium, also known as Western Yarrow, is the native yarrow in Kansas that pops up all over my prairie, but I've only known it in its white native species form (pictured at right). The species is a gray-leafed yarrow, highly resistant to drought and the whims of large prairie rats (i.e. deer), and frankly it fades quickly to a relatively dirty looking white. Hardy to Zone 3 and 18-24 inches tall, 'Moonshine' reportedly retains the drought tolerance of its forebear and ohh-la-la, hopefully will retain that bright color! High Country Gardens recommends 'Moonshine' as one of the best garden perennials currently available, and I find that high praise indeed.
Looking farther afield, I also found two red A. millefolium yarrows, 'Pomegranate' and 'Red Velvet' that satisfy my longing for blood red flowers. Here, heading into the July heat, they were on sale and both a little bedraggled by the haphazard care at local box stores, but look as if they'll make it in the long run. 'Pomegranate', pictured at left, is a bit shorter than 'Moonshine', about 15-18 inches tall at maturity, but she's a real stunner next to my new Buck roses. 'Red Velvet' has no blooms at present, but I couldn't resist that duskier red variety at a $1.29/quart price.
'Moonshine' has been around awhile, but 'Pomegranate' is one of the Tutti Fruiti series from Blooms of Bressingham, originally bred in Holland by the Sahin firm. Looking at the Blooms of Bressingham offerings, I'm glad the local firms carried these two yarrows, because I'm not crazy about many of the others; again a little too pastel for my liking with the exception, perhaps, of 'Strawberry Seduction'. I actually have a specimen of 'Strawberry Seduction', planted in a "native" garden plot last year, but I haven't gone searching for it yet to see if it survived the winter amidst the other weeds.
Thanks to Greggo, though, I'm at least exposed now to the possibilities of the new yarrow offerings.