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Star Gentian, because of its nice foliage and drought resistance, has had a presence in the garden, despite its tendency to flop. And of course, the beautiful intense blue violet flowers always deserve a second look. That's just what we did - took another look, with an eye towards sifting out the undesirable ornamental traits, and dialing in the good ones. New possibilities emerged.
In Jelitto trials, Gentiana 'Blue Cross' has been selected for a more compact habit, making it a sturdy and durable plant. It is a beautiful selection for the rock garden, mixed containers or as a cut flower candidate. Ascending stems with thick spoon-shaped leaves make a neat intersection, resembling a cross, or star, from which emerge thick clusters of slender pure blue funnels. 'Blue Cross' extraordinary flower color, and tight clumping habit, works very well with Eriogonum allenii 'Little Rascal', Penstemon x mexicale 'Sunburst Ruby' and Stachys macrantha 'Morning Blush'.
Gentians are a valuable genus for rock garden and alpine enthusiasts named in honor of King Gentius of Illyria, for allegedly discovering the medicinal uses for the roots of Gentiana lutea from which tonic bitters are still made. 'Blue Cross' grows to tidy height of 25 cm (10'') and is hardy in zones 3-7. Seed is also available in easy-to-germinate JELITTO GOLD NUGGET SEED®.
There are over 250 different Buckwheat species native to North America, but only a few of these Eriogonums are in cultivation. Eriogonum allenii, the Shale Barren Buckwheat is an astoundingly beautiful and rare species, growing naturally in only a few areas in Virginia and West Virginia. The genus, deserves wider attention as an ornamental and 'Little Rascal' seems poised for recognition. Jelitto's trial results have fulfilled criteria that we find most valuable: proven toughness and versatility. We have selected this durable perennial for its handsome rosettes of grey-green, paddle-shaped leaves, its neat, low-growing habit and consistent growth.
'Little Rascal' grows so evenly that it would make an excellent candidate for mass landscape planting. Or combine with Scabiosa 'Blue Horizon', Seseli gummiferum and Penstemon 'Sunburst Ruby', in the well-drained border, rock garden or mixed containers. The nearly three month-long long flowering extends its usefulness as a good choice for flower bouquets, and the lovely maturing seed capsules would make interesting dried arrangements.
'Little Rascal' is very drought resistant, grows to 40 cm (16" tall) and is hardy to Zones 5 -10. If you are interested in attracting honeybees, this is a must for your garden. The name Eriogonum originates from the Greek erion, wool, and gony, knee, so called because the jointed stems are covered with hair.
Jelitto knows Echinaceas. Our award-winning 'Magnus' has received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit and the Plant of the Year from the Perennial Plant Association. We introduced 'Lucky Star' and 'Magnus Superior', in the years 2009 and 2010, only after we knew we had unique perennial seed selections. Jelitto was going for three in a row in 2011 with the introduction of 'Happy Star'. In all honesty, two of these introductions would be one and the same: 'Lucky Star' and 'Happy Star'. Surprised? We felt neither lucky nor happy to find-out that 'Lucky Star' was already a registered trademark name.
Breeders no longer consider plant names a playground; it's a minefield. We were firmly told 'Lucky Star' was our unlucky choice. It's a nuisance and an extra cost of doing business - unforeseen only a few years ago - to research trademark sites in Europe and North America, but we didn't think of Israel or Ecuador!
Will there come a time when all good names have been trademarked? When .com names became scarce on the Internet a new .net was designed. What will we do with future plant names? The puzzling name game is a distraction to the work, that we feel is more important, which is to sift through dozens of new Echinacea introductions to figure-out which ones will be affordable and durable.
The cost of tissue-cultured plugs, subsequent production losses, patent royalties and trademark registrations only increase your price tag. It needn't be a tough decision. We've tested most of the highly touted offerings from tissue culture and the seed houses. They have left a lot to be desired if price and garden value are worth anything. Jelitto seed varieties make a lot of sense: improved profit margins and durable perennials.
'Happy Star' is a lovely white flowering selection, bred out of Jelitto's 'Rubinstern'. Beautiful white petals, horizontally arranged around a large cone, distinguish this consistent, new affordable seed strain.
Jelitto is excited to offer a reasonably priced seed alternative to the more expensive tissue culture of the original Aruncus diocus 'Kneiffii'. It has taken a 15 year breeding effort to bring this consistent, finely dissected, cut-leaf form of Goat's Beard to market. Of course, at the beginning, we never imagined that it would take this long, but we think you'll agree: it's been worth the wait.
The decorative leaves - a little wider than 'Kneiffii' - provide season-long interest and are highlighted in May and July by creamy white feathery panicles. 'Whirlwind' looks magnificent planted in evenly moist soils with Alchemilla sericata 'Gold Strike', Luzula sylvatica 'Solar Flair', Geranium macrorrhizum and Thalictrum aquilegiifolium 'Purpureum'.
Tall and short Aruncus species have always been popular, long-lived perennials for sun or partial shade. The tall species, A. dioicus and A. sinensis, reach 160 cm (60''), and they tower above the diminutive A. aethusifolius that reaches only 30 cm (12''). All are cold hardy to zone 3. The bigger species are showstoppers in the back of the border and the smaller is wonderfully well suited for rock gardens and mixed containers. Jelitto's new 'Whirlwind' is mid-sized 140 cm (55'') and could be planted in the border or the shade garden and is hardy in zones 3-9.
The opportunities with seed-grown plants are endless and fascinating. Breeders of patented plants know this even though their goal, rather ironically, is to clonally produce thousands of the same. We preach the virtues of seedgrown plants since it is our business.We strive to breed consistent seed strains but we're fond of open pollinated surprises, too. Such was the case with Stachys macrantha 'Morning Blush'.
A single rogue white flowering plant set us on a path to develop a seed strain, which is not easy work. 'Morning Blush' has taken ten years! But we are pleased with the results of this splendid, new Big Betony. Dozens of clustered spikes are surrounded with pink-flushed white tubular blooms that look like little horns on short 40 cm (16'') spikes in July and August.The low-growing compact clumps are packed with wrinkled, heart-shaped, dark green leaves that remain remarkably handsome the entire season.
The versatile and long-lived 'Morning Blush' looks great in containers, the rock garden or the front of the border with Eriogonum 'Little Rascal', Dracocephalum 'Fuji Blue' and Penstemon 'Sunburst Amethyst'.
'Morning Blush' is also available in easy-to germinate JELITTO GOLD NUGGET SEED®.
The Great Wood Rush has a golden future. Jelitto's new seed strain produces low growing, ground covering, rhizomatous, evergreen clumps of wide grass-like blades. 'Solar Flair's consistent golden twisting leaves with fringed, hairy edges, is at its most colorful early in the season and again in the early winter months. During the summer the leathery leaves turn soft green.
There are a few notable herbaceous plants whose decorative foliage shine like a beacon early in the season. The chartreuse new leaves of Heuchera villosa var. macrorrhizza, the scalloped leaves of Alchemilla sericata 'Gold Strike' and the golden leaves of Luzula 'Solar Flair' brighten semi-shaded spots as spring unfolds. Alchemilla 'Gold Strike' and Luzula 'Solar Flair' both capture glistening drops of morning dew. The Great Wood Rush prefers humusrich, woodland soils but can tolerate dry conditions once established.
The late spring flowering clusters mature to dark brown and can be used in fresh or dried floral arrangements. Low maintenance 'Solar Flair' grows to 30cm (12" ), and is hardy in zones 5-8.
The name Luzula comes from the Latin, luceo, meaning to shine. Sylvatica hints at the woodland origins of the species.
'Golden Starlit' and 'Scarlet Starlit' come from a distinguished line of Himalayan species, recognized for attractive foliage and colorful blossoms. They can be found in cool, sub-alpine meadows from Afghanistan to southwestern China, growing with primulas and ligularias. Now, Jelitto has delivered 2 seed strains yielding blooms in bright gold-yellow and deep scarlet, with a shorter (30 cm/12''), more compact habit, while still retaining the lovely grey-green leaves.
The common name of cinquefoil refers to the leaves of some species that are palmately parted in five leaf segments or five fingers, cinque feuilles. Though there are some species with 15 leaves arranged pinnately, the Starlits have only three. And the latter has some of the most handsome of the genus - luxurious grey-green, with margins precisely toothed. The Latin origin poten means powerful, and it may be only coincidental, but the entire plant is used medicinally in the Tibetan culture for treatment of the common cold.
'Golden Starlit' and 'Scarlet Starlit' can be beautifully combined in the rock garden, front of the border, between paving stones or in mixed containers with Alchemilla 'Gold Strike', Aruncus 'Whirlwind', Ligularia 'Midnight Lady' and Scabiosa 'Blue Horizon'. Both are hardy in zones 5-8.
Alchemilla mollis 'Select' has been one of Jelitto's most popular and best selling perennial seed introductions since 1981. Plants produce thick, robust clumps, possess lovely yellowish green blooms and are easy-to-grow. Dew drops settle on the grey-green scalloped leaves and folk lore suggested these beads of quicksilver could turn ordinary metals into gold - a feature we dearly wish were true of all Lady's Mantles.
Jelitto's new Alchemilla sericata 'Gold Strike' takes-up where 'Select' left off. This underused species is free-flowering, with grey-green, velvety leaves that are more scalloped than A. mollis. 'Gold Strike has a shorter habit and has been remarkably consistent.
Our trials have produced plantings with thick, weed-choking mounds and a lovely profuse constellation of tiny chartreuse flowering stars that have been clearly more abundant than the species. These blooms make lovely cut flowers and are especially useful as fillers, tucked-in around the base of arrangements.
The flower color combines magnificently with most colors and looks particularly lovely planted together with, Geranium macrorrhizum, Luzula sylvatica 'Solar Flair' and Potentilla atrosanguinea 'Scarlet Starlit'.
'Gold Strike' is adaptable as a groundcover or as an accent plant in sun or partial shade, only requiring evenly moist soils, and is hardy in Zones 3-8. 'Gold Strike' is available in easy-to-germinate JELITTO GOLD NUGGET SEED®.