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Now that it is December 2012 I am hoping it isn't too soon to start a thread that might be active to at least Christmas, getting us closer to spring 2013 regarding the best performing perennials which were new to your garden and so planted in 2012..
I will start:
SOLAR ECLIPSE heucherella;
I am not a big fan of heuchera and the like but the colours this SE were to me quite striking, quite unique
PRAIRIE GLOW: triloba
I have always liked the 'traditional' triloba but this bi-colour flowered plant was so cool. (I just wonder what the flower will be for the offspring).
LITTLE GOLDSTAR rudbeckia
This plant seems to correct the 'cons' of GOLDSTRUM. i.e. LG is quite compact and no blight or any other leaf issues as I had often got with Goldstrum. LG bloomed early and lasted very long.
BLUE HEAVEN FLUTTERBY buddleia :
I obtained the spindly specimen of a plant in early June and in the ground it went right away. It grew rapidly and by the end of June it had already begun to bloom and this continued into October. It's final size this season was a nicely proportioned 3' by 3'.
For me, the biggest surprise was Platycodon Hakone Blue, started from seed in February. Labels got switched somehow, and I thought I was planting a low annual in with Veronica Goodness Grows. What a surprise when it started to bloom in late July, and kept going until frost.
Another new goodie was Achillea Ballerina. Here it was just planted, between alliums, white Saponaria and Salvia White Hills. It looks like baby's breath. The clumps expanded and filled in beautifully, and never stopped blooming.
Lots other newly transplanted and/ or divided plants from last fall or spring 2011
did well too, but of all the brand new things of 2012, these two stood out right away.
Thanks Pam for your post and pictures. I do have a clump of a 'Achillea Strawberry Seduction' in my garden that always impresses me with the duration of its bloom. But with your write up and corresponding photo I have now marked down 'Achillea Ballerina' as a plant to check out for my own garden next year as I would prefer my achillea be shorter.
Oh, I planted Hakonechloa aureola this year, too, but for now, I actually prefer Carex Evergold (I mis-labeled it in the other post). I might grow to like the Hakonechloa better, but it was just getting established this year and not contributing much to the garden yet. They're such slow growers!
I'll try to remember to take a pic of that carex. So pretty, and evergreen! Those pics online don't do it justice. ;)