Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yarrow Yearnings

ProfessorRoush is completely gaga this year over his yarrows. I've resolved to seek out more of them as the summer goes on, perhaps even braving a trip to a nursery that is unfortunately infested with Japanese Beetles, to look for new varieties.  My Achillea, drought resistant and tough as they are, also came through our recent monsoons well, tolerating swampy ground and, in fact, thriving on it.  My sole complaint is that the established clumps of yarrow in my garden outgrew themselves and are flopping around.  I've found that yarrows stand better if they haven't been fertilized and grow under a smidgen of drought.

'Cloth of Gold'
I've long known that there are some really fabulous yellow yarrow varieties available in my area, and these two, 'Moonshine', and 'Cloth of Gold' are the yellow yarrows in my garden.  While most of my yarrow are A. millefolium, 'Cloth of Gold' is actually A. filipendulina, which grows taller and broader (at around 3-4 feet) than the A. millefolium varieties who top out at around 2 feet.  'Cloth of Gold', however, is flopping everywhere right now while 'Moonshine' is erect.

Some great red yarrows have also been recently introduced. I have promised a gardening friend a division of 'Pomegranate', the deep red variety of the "Tutti-Frutti" series.  This year, mine is "to die for", a sensuously deep purple-red mound of color that isn't well represented by the photo at the right.  And the picture below of the whole clump, accentuated by a bright red daylily whose name has been lost, is just fabulous.

'Red Velvet'
'Red Velvet', at left, is a more routine red in the same bed, almost mundane compared to the nearby 'Pomegranate', while 'Strawberry Seduction' (below right), in an adjacent bed, is a saucier yarrow wench from the "Seduction series" by Blooms of Bressingham,  Sprouting bright yellow pistils as accents for the bright red color, it is a little stiffer, a little more compact than the other red varieties pictured here.  Tonight, I read on some Internet sources that 'Strawberry Seduction' is supposed to fade to a nice light yellow, and, checking this morning, I see that they are right.  I've never noticed that before.
'Strawberry Seduction'

'Colorado' series 
I've recently added a plant from the 'Colorado' series that I hand-selected in bloom at a local nursery.  The picture here looks a little more white than the actual bloom, which is a very light gray with pink tones that I thought was attractive.  The 'Colorado' series is another recent set of introductions, more compact and drought tolerant than many.

'New Vintage Rose'

The most brazen specimen blooming at present, however, must surely be 'New Vintage Rose', about 3 years old for me.  This neon beacon is hard to overlook in the garden, for both humans, and butterflies.  'New Vintage Rose' is shorter, very floriferous, about 20 inches tall, and the color darkens as it matures.  I need to remember to also divide this one and make a new bed of riotous color with it and some other gems.  

I hope you include Achillea in your drought-tolerant landscapes.  They have really come a long way from their pasture forb ancestors.

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