Known as the Lavender of the South, Russian Sage germinates easily and grows quickly into a long-lived, fragrant delight for the sunny garden!

The Year of the Rooster is shaping up to be a banner one for new seed introductions! Here are 5 more exciting newcomers for spring 2017, all available (of course!) at Park:

Russian Sage Blue Steel

Blue Steel is the first Perovskia cultivar available to home gardeners in seed form! If you live in a hot or dry climate, you know the glory of Russian Sage. The stems are whitish-green, with a strong fragrance that has come to mean “summer garden” to many of us! The blooms are blue, massed together in clouds that last for months and months. Grow this long-lived perennial in full sun, and then just cut or mow it down in late winter. If you live in zones 4-9, it will pop again, better than before, in no time! Yet it isn’t invasive  . . . just wonderfully accommodating!

Licilia False Snapdragon

Licilia is an open-pollinated annual that attracts butterflies and bees over its long spring-through-summer flowering season. Let it go to seed and volunteer itself for next year’s garde, too!

Linaria has always been quick to germinate and grow, but it’s never looked quite as lovely as with the Licilia family of bright, two-tone blooms! Licilia Azure has already won a Fleuroselect Award in Europe, and can glorious crimson-gold Licilia Peach be far behind? These sun-loving annuals make lovely cuts, their pea-like blooms reminding us of Snapdragons. Just a foot high, they can be tucked into containers for the deck, sown in the front of the foundation or along the driveway, or intermingled with vegetable plants to bring in the pollinators!

If all mustards were as yummy as Miz America, even children could cheerfully make them part of their daily diet!

Miz America Mizuna

Winning the Best Variety Name of 2017 hands down, no contest, this baby-leaf Mustard is out to charm with deep violet leaves that regrow promptly after cutting. Harvest them just 3 weeks from sowing, then keep the deliciousness coming over a long, cool season. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard rich in vitamins and minerals, and Miz America is, frankly, the best we’ve ever tasted. By far.

Star of David Okra

Irritatingly, you can’t see the 6-pointed star in our photo, but you will when you slice into this okra for yourself! Star of David was introduced from Israel, and is also known as ‘Old-fashioned’ — it is a reselection of a beloved heirloom variety. That tells you that the flavor is going to be rich and true. And the new breeding has upped the yields, so you can expect 2 pounds or so of pods from a single plant!

Ready in just over 2 months from direct sowing into the warm spring soil, Star of David Okra puts on a beautiful flower show as well as a big crop of 6-pointed pods!

Unless you’re lucky enough to hail from the deep South, you may not have grown up with okra in the family vegetable garden. But especially in today’s warmer summers, okra is a must-have edible. It’s just so easy to grow! And before the pods arise, the plant covers itself in huge, really beautiful flowers. Even if you aren’t a fan of okra on the plate, try it in the garden — it may beguile you enough to give it another chance! Homegrown okra bears no resemblance to those frozen cross-sections of tasteless green that you find in supermarkets, and deeply flavorful Star of David is the one to sample.


What next, you ask? Can there be more goodies for spring? Oh yes — another handful will be described next week!

About Sappho Charney

Sappho Charney is a garden writer living in Lubbock, Texas.

Leave a Reply