High Country Gardens


Mail order xeric seedlings

A mail order supplier of dazzlingly hardy plants (mostly perennials) adapted to west of the Rockies. They specialize in drought resistance (xeric) varieties, which of course can be established in non-desert areas. Unlike many mail order outfits, they don’t deal in seed, but in young seedlings. Although more expensive per plant, I’ve come to seek out seedlings as the way to plant flowers and shrubs. They seem to take off faster than both seeds or potted plants. Specimens arrive live in minimal (lightweight) but remarkably adequate packaging. I’ve experienced very low failure rates, and good growth rates.
Silene laciniata (Mexican Catchfly)
15″ x 15″ wide (seed propagated) This brightly colored wildflower species blooms most of the summer and is a favorite nectar source for hummingbirds. Plant Mexican Catchfly in a lean, infertile soil and avoid too much water after it’s established; this causes the plant to get floppy. It makes a nice companion plant for another long-blooming wildflower, Berlandiera lyrata. Silene will reseed readily, especially if mulched with crushed gravel. Zones 5-9.
#9170, $5 each, cheaper for 3 or more (currently unavailable).

Calamagrostis arundinacea “Karl Forester” (Karl Forester Feather Reed Grass)
4-5″ x 24″ wide (division propagated) This is one of the best ornamental grasses for the western U.S. being rather drought tolerant (but not quite xeric) and tolerating a wide range of garden soils. Feather Reed Grass has a wonderful upright growth habit, making it very useful to place behind perennials with a spreading or rounded shape. The feathery plumes emerge in early summer and ripen to handsome wheat-colored seed heads by fall. Combine with Artemisia “Powis Castle” or Blue Mist Spiracea. Plant in groups of three or five for best effect. Zones 5-9.
#27550, each $9, cheaper for 3 or more

-- KK 08/25/03