As I said just a few days ago, succulents are all the rage. While sedums are undeniably a focus of this attention, for much of the last decade, new sedum introductions have come in tall, upright forms. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Finally, though, some of that succulent love has crept on down to the lowliest, but most virtuous members of the genus–the groundcovers, those just as perfectly suited to a green roof as the crest of a rock wall.
And dipping into the 2012 crop of new introductions, I’m proud today to feature a great new groundcover sedum from my friend Chris Hansen of Great Garden Plants. Chris has done some exciting breeding work over the last few years and selected several eye-catching varieties on the down low that all hit the market in 2012 under the catchy series moniker Sunsparkler™. ‘Dazzleberry’ caught my eye at the Garden Writers Association symposium back in August, and Chris gladly shared a few plants with me that now call my two rock gardens home. Let me share a little about why I went screaming with glee up to my hotel room with these plugs…
First, in the architecture department, these sedums take top honors. For years, I’ve bemoaned the floppy, rangy habits of cultivars like ‘Sunset Cloud’ and ‘Vera Jameson’, even as I praised them for their dazzling color and contrast on the backdoor step of autumn. In fact they still call my rock garden home, though perhaps not for long. ‘Dazzleberry’, as an interspecific hybrid, brings together the best of both worlds–a lovely array of flowers that reportedly last for up to 7 weeks in Michigan and with a superb, compact, ground-hugging habit.
Second, in the floral department, the inflorescences are bigger than its competitors. Yes, in the plant world, size does matter, though there’s an argument to be made for using small flowers effectively (NOT in the case of sedums, exactly). But let’s not go there today (I’ll explain it all when you’re older).
Third, in the disease tolerance department, all indications point to ‘so far so good’. I’m hoping to repeat Chris’s good luck with it in Michigan throughout the course of my bestial Iowa summers. Stay tuned.
As a closing thought, I have to candidly admit that I swoon for any flower in this shade of lipstick verging on carmine–my Achilles’ heel. If you start counting the number of times I say that, you’ll rack up a long list of major weaknesses in my horticultural constitution. What’s a plantsman to do?