H: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Van Veen Plant Sale

As a reminder, please email me your Van Veen order by December 20.


Here are a few suggested selections from this year's list for those of you who are new to this program and/or are wondering what you should select.  They are listed by categories, with some really belong in more than one category.  All of these selections have done very well for me in my Zone 6a garden. A few photos appear at the end.


Proven Performers - plants that have shown themselves to not only do well in most zones in New England, but to look fantastic, in bloom and out of bloom as well.  These include:

·        Janet Blair – great foliage and a truss that is among the most pleasing.

·        Scintillation – Similar to Janet Blair.  Some prefer Janet Blair over Scintillation.  I prefer the latter for the glossy foliage, though Janet tends to retain its leaves better.

·        Mist Maiden – One of the best, very hardy foliage plants with trusses that open pink and fade to white over time (like most "yak" hybrids).  This and Scintillation are dominant plants in our garden.

·        Ken Janek – similar to Mist Maiden, but a little more robust growing.

·        Ruth Davis – another yak cross that hasn't gotten a lot of publicity.  Its flowers are much like Mist Maiden.  Its foliage is an incredibly dark green color.


Flowers – plants whose outstanding feature is their flowers

·        Grace Seabrook & Taurus – both are outstanding reds.  My Taurus bloomed for the first time last year, and it lived up to its reputation.  Both may show some leaf damage and perhaps some blasted buds in a Zone 5 winter.  Mine have been fine the past few years.

·        Percy Wiseman – Pink in bud, Flowers open a peachy yellow, change to pink and fade to a lighter color over time.  This hybrid does very well for me in my well drained soil.  Not recommended if you have heavy soil unless amended and well drained.

·        Cupcake – has a slight peachy look to the flowers.  Reportedly not hardy in my zone, but I've had no problems.  I suggest giving this one a try.  Indumented foliage and attractive flowers – what more could you want?

·        Edmond Amateis – covers itself in blooms every year.  Predominantly whitish in color.


Foliage Plants – these plants bloom too of course, but they are known more for their 52 weeks/year foliage display.  These are my personal favorites.  All do well in our Zone 6a garden.

·        Neat-o – incredible red/orange indumentum, deep green foliage, and typical species looking trusses (pink fade to white).  While this plant has shown a little foliage damage in harsh winters, it soon hides any damaged leaves with new growth.  This hybrid has won best in show in our foliage show (possibly more than once?)

·        Yak Exbury – like all yak selections, this has outstanding foliage and flowers.

·        Cinnamon Bear & Teddy Bear – Bureavii hybrids that have proven to be excellent performers.  Among the best foliage plants I have, with heavy rusty indumentum.  New growth is frosted with white tomentum.

·        Mardi Gras – This is a crossover plant with both fantastic foliage and flowers.  Everyone should have at least one of these (I have 3).

·        Golfer – fantastic sugar frosted new foliage.  The upper surface of the new leaves is covered with a white tomentum that lasts well into the summer.  Protected branches will carry this frosting into the next year.  Relatively slow grower.


Unusual Plants – plants that have less common features that make them stand out from the croud

·        Red River – A late blooming red.  Trusses are fairly good size.  Centers are lighter color, giving them a bi-color look up close.  This look like it will need some space over time.

·        Phyllis Korn – a polyploid with the heavy substance look that often goes with that.  A show winner.  Mine has not yet bloomed, but I always drool over the trusses brought to our flower shows.  The foliage is very nice.  May suffer damage in colder zones.


There are a few dozen other plants in the list that I would recommend for various reasons, including Atroflo, Babylon, Grumpy, April Mist, April Snow, Ginny Gee, Mary Fleming, kiusianum, adenopodum, and most of the yak hybrids.  I suggest you use the websites I provided in my first email to look at the flowers and foliage to assist with your decisions.


Joe Bruso




Percy Wiseman


Janet Blair


Red River


Golfer - foliage


Cinnamon Bear


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