Monday, August 13, 2012

Flower Tower

Notice the front of the plant is branched and in bud.
Day 187
The Daily DuBrule

One of the greatest plants in the August border at Natureworks is Coreopsis tripteris 'Flower Tower'. The name of this plant is spot on. It grows 6-7 feet tall, stands upright and tall, and offers a tower of flowers during a month when you really need it. 

I first heard of Coreopsis tripteris over a decade ago. I was told it was related to Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' and had my doubts because of the height. Yet, when you study the flowers up close, you can see it. I grew the straight species in some of my client's gardens for many years and then was unable to find it again. The leaves are very clean, deeply cut, in whorls around the stem. The only down side is that the flower clusters are a bit small for the overall size of the the plant.  It still makes a real statement in the garden.
One fun thing is that I used 'Flower Tower' to demonstrate the technique that I learned from Tracy Disabato-Aust in her book The Well Tended Perennial Garden. In June I cut the front half of this plant in half. This caused it to branch at about 18" tall. The resulting multi-stemmed front half of the plant is now about 4' tall and it is in tight bud, not in bloom yet. When the back half of 'Flower Tower' finishes flowering at the end of August I will deadhead it. At that point, the front half will bloom, offering me another whole month of color from the great garden perennial.

This is rarely offered in the trade and I don't understand why. The only reason I can think of is that in the spring it doesn't wow anybody. You would have admire the stately presence of this plant in a garden to know that you want it.

My new desire? A golden-leaved form of Coreopsis tripteris. Yeah baby, I there. 

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