The Perennial Plant Association’s 2022 Perennial Plant of the Year is Schizachyrium scoparium and cultivars. Little bluestem is a spiky, tough and dependable clumping grass with a superior, tight, upright habit. It blends well with perennials such as asters, sedums, coneflowers, and other grasses. Native to a broad swath of North America, it was one of the dominant grasses of the vast tallgrass prairies.
‘Standing Ovation‘ is a cultivar that works extremely well in Lakes Region Gardens. It puts on three seasons of color starting with a bluish leaf, with a deeper purple tone towards the base in summer. Small, tan seed heads also appear in late summer. Then in fall, desert sunset shades of red, orange and purple take over. When the weather turns wintery, the grass dries to a pretty wheat gold. These blades are thicker than those of most other Schizachyrium, which means they stay upright—a great vertical accent for a garden border. Alternatively, you could plant it as a screen for unsightly things in the landscape like a gas meter. Because it changes colors, it can fit into a few different color palettes. You can also dry it for long-lasting interior décor. This grass does well in a wide range of soils. It’s especially handy for soils that dry out quickly, because it is drought tolerant. Be sure to make room in your Lakes Region garden plan for some Schizachyrium scoparium. You’ll be glad you did!
Size: 2-3′ tall x 15-18ʺ wide
Blooms: Late summer to fall
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to xeric
Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8
Pairs well with:
• Cone flower – all varieties
• Shasta daisy – all varieties
The 2018 Perennial of the Year will have both people and pollinators buzzing with joy! Allium ‘Millenium’ is a relative of the common onion and a standout in a late summer garden here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Blooming at a time when most of the garden begins to fade, it offers a welcome wave of color. It is a low maintenance, dependable perennial that puts out masses of purple blooms above neat, grass-like green foliage that remains long after the flower passes. Hummingbirds, bees, beneficial insects, and butterflies love the flowers, which are laden with pollen and nectar. They grow best in full sun and have a very drought resistant constitution. ‘Millenium’ will grow foliage around 10-15” tall with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch globes of purple florets that will last as long as four weeks.
‘Millenium’ will live happily in USDA zones 4-9. Once established, about the only maintenance it needs is cutting back foliage in late fall after the plants fade. A large mass of ‘Millenium’ looks amazing on it’s own, but it also plays well with others and looks great paired with numerous perennials. Shorter goldenrods like ‘Little Lemon’ in front and the lacy silver foliage of a Russian Sage behind, would make a lovely show in the garden.
2018 Perennial of the Year Allium ‘Millenium’
No serious pest problems have been reported. Leaf spot may occur in overcrowded growing conditions. Deer and rabbits leave ‘Millenium’ alone. Alliums are sometimes avoided due to their reseeding behavior. Fortunately ‘Millenium’ exhibits 50% reduced seed production, raising less concern for self-sown seedlings.
Allium ‘Millenium’ has a fibrous root structure forming an ornamental herbaceous clump easily propagated by division. Once in the garden, ‘Millenium’ can easily be lifted and divided in either spring or fall.
The Perennial Plant of the Year showcases a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free. If you are looking for an excellent perennial for your next landscape project or something reliable for your gardens, make sure to check out the Perennial Plant of the Year™ archive list. At Miracle Farms we often chose plants on the list of past Perennial of the Year winners to be reliable bloomers year after year.
Here is the list we often choose from:
Previous PPA Perennial Plant of the Year winners:
· 2016 Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ (windflower)
· 2015 Geranium ‘Biokova’ (dwarf cranesbill, hardy geranium)
· 2014 Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ (tall switch grass)
· 2013 Polygonatum odoratum variegatum (Solomon’s seal)
· 2012 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (Siberian bugloss)
· 2011 Amsonia hubrichtii (blue star)
· 2010 Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)
· 2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese forest grass)
· 2008 Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (cranesbill, hardy geranium)
· 2007 Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (catmint)
· 2006 Dianthus ‘Feuerhexe’ (aka ‘Firewitch’) (cheddar pink)
· 2005 Helleborus x hybridus (hellebore, Lenten rose)
· 2004 Athyrium niponicum pictum (Japanese painted fern)
· 2003 Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ (shasta daisy)
· 2002 Phlox paniculata ‘David’ (garden phlox)
· 2001 Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (feather reed grass)
· 2000 Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ (pincushion flower)
· 1999 Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (black-eyed Susan)
· 1998 Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ (purple coneflower)
· 1997 Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ (aka ‘May Night’ ) (wood sage)
· 1996 Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (beardtongue)
· 1995 Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage)
· 1994 Astilbe ‘Sprite’ (dwarf astilbe)
· 1993 Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ (speedwell)
· 1992 Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (threadleaf coreopsis)
· 1991 Heuchera micrantha diversifolia ‘Palace Purple’ (coral bells)
· 1990 Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)
Spring is almost…. well… somewhere around the corner. And before long, your time will be filled with backyard barbeques and late summer nights outdoors with family and friends. For many homeowners, a new or renovated patio is at the top of their wish list and winter is the perfect time to plan if you want to use your new hardscape this season.
A patio is often the hub of a home’s outdoor environment. The shape and size of your patio may be limited by a few factors such as the style of your home, where you would like it on your property, and your budget. Here are a few things you may want to consider when you’re dreaming about your new patio:
How do you think you will use the space? Will you be dining with family or entertaining a crowd – maybe a little of both? Knowing this will help you prioritize features. An area for a dining table and a second area for comfortable seating would accomplish both things. The addition of a fire pit or fireplace would create a focal point for relaxed gatherings. Make a list of everything that you want in your new or renovated patio starting with the ‘must-have’ features and prioritize all the other elements including the very extravagant. Even if they don’t make it in the initial build, it’s nice to have a plan for where you might add these features as time goes on. And don’t overlook the old adage, ‘location, location, location.’ It may make sense right outside the back door if dining is the main focus. But if chilling out by a fire is what you’re thinking, then perhaps in a quiet out of the way corner of your property. Keep in mind that permits are often required, so be sure to ask about this when you meet with your landscape contractor.
Which materials catch your eye? Bluestone is one of the most popular materials used for patios in our area. It is strong and versatile and holds up well in our climate. Pavers, once very limited in size, shape and color, have come a long way and really allow the designer to personalize the patio to match the surrounding landscape. Permeable concrete pavers are similar to traditional concrete pavers. Permeable pavers are individual concrete pieces that fit together in a pattern. The difference between permeable pavers and traditional pavers is that the spaces between each paver, known as the joints, are designed to allow water to flow through them. The base that the paver system is built on is made up of layers of clean crushed stone that varies in size and depth, depending on the site and volume of water. These pavers are well suited for patios and walkways. They come in a wide variety of colors, patterns & textures. The benefit of using permeable pavers is that because they allow water to percolate through them they do not count against your impervious surface total, which can be highly regulated, especially on lakefront properties here in the lakes region of New Hampshire. In fact, utilizing a permeable paver system can actually reduce the overall impervious percentage on your site.
What is your budget? There are many things to consider in a budget. Material costs vary enormously. In general, natural stone is more expensive. Bricks and concrete pavers can be less expensive, depending on how complex the design or material options you choose. The addition of walls, walkways, steps and outdoor kitchens can dramatically increase the cost of the project.
What’s your timeline? Any well-thought out project takes time. There are several phases that must be planned and coordinated. From demolition to material reuse to maintenance down the road, there are many facets to address in the overall hardscape plan.
Spend some time on design websites such as Pinterest or Houzz. There are lots of great garden magazines as well. The possibilities are endless and you are sure to see something that will inspire you.
The Miracle Farms design-build process makes every customer a part of the team. When dreaming of your backyard patio design you are limited only by your imagination. Together, with the help of our talented team, we will create the perfect outdoor living space for your family to enjoy all season long while also boosting the value of your home.
So don’t wait – there’s no time like the present to give us a call and start planning your patio project.
The garden in winter doesn’t normally get a lot of attention. However, with a little time and energy during the growing season you can add some ornamental grasses that will give life to your wintertime garden as well. We know ornamental grasses accent a garden at any time of year, but they just might be at their best in the dead of the winter. They provide texture and movement in the winter landscape – elements often lacking when the rest of the garden has gone to sleep. When the rest of your landscape is taking a visual rest, the colors, textures and movement of the grasses has a beauty all its own. Many varieties do double duty by attracting birds to your winter garden providing shelter and food. Maintenance is simple – cut back in the spring before new growth appears. Honestly, we think they’re worth growing for their winter interest alone!
Why we love ornamental grasses
- Natural appearance
- Deer resistant—white-tailed deer do not eat most ornamental grasses
- Few insect or disease problems
- Low nutrient requirements
- Little maintenance, except spring cutback
- More than one season of interest
- Fast growth—most are mature size by three years
- Varied texture, from fine fescues to coarse giantMiscanthus
- An array of foliage colors from many shades of green to blue, yellow, bronze, and red, as well as several variegated forms
- Movement with the wind provides visual and audio interest, susurration—a whispering or rustling sound—that is pleasing and unique
- Beautiful effect when planted en masse
Two of our favorites that are super hardy zone 4 grasses are panicum Northwind and calamagrostis Karl Foerster. Try them in your garden this year!
We want to tell you again how much we like the recent landscaping you did on our waterfront property. Your crew changed a mediocre back yard to one of exquisite beauty as well as being functional. It’s absolutely beautiful and beyond our expectations.
Your men (Marcelino and Louis) did a fantastic job . We were impressed with their professionalism and their work ethic. Please extend to them our sincere thanks.
If you and your company ever need a reference please feel free to ask us.
We would highly recommend you .
Again thank you for making our home just that much more beautiful.
P.S. Horst also agrees, your guys did a fantastic job!
Carol and Horst G.
We would like to compliment Miracle Farms for the fantastic job they did in designing and building a bluestone walkway and stairs from our house to the water, and underneath a large deck, creating a patio. Drainage issues were a concern and were carefully considered and accounted for. What was most impressive, however, was the implementation of the design. The employees consistently showed up earlier every morning, worked continually until leaving at the end of the work day for approximately a month. (It was a big project.) Aside from a lunch-time break, we never saw anyone disengaged. After each day’s work, before leaving, the grounds were cleared of debris and materials re-organized for the next day’s work.
Miracle Farms also cares for our lawn and looks after our house and dock during the winter. They have provided excellent service. They are responsive to any queries we have made regarding any concerns we have had. We are really pleased with the quality of work and care they provide.
Linda and Jarrod W