Plant shopping – Klehm’s Song Sparrow

We are nearing single digit temps as I type this and the wind is absolutely pounding against the house. I’m pretty sure the house will be blown off of its foundation in the next hour or so. Until then, I am going to enjoy my evening coffee (caffeinated because I’m hardcore) and escape with some intense plant shopping online. 
Tonight I am perusing the website of Klehm’s Song Sparrow with a focus on their “New in 2013” section. I have a very specific process when plant shopping online and tonight is no different:
  • Ogle the eye popping flower photos and allow myself to get lost for a bit
  • Start reading individual descriptions of said flowers 
  • Methodically eliminate those plants that will not work in my landscape (deer, soil type, etc.)
  • Realize my list has dwindled to almost nothing
  • Curse and scream and vow to uproot the family to a property with better soil
  • Recover from my self pity party and review plants with a more realistic point of view
  • Start adding plants to my online “cart” without yet deciding on number of plants and ignoring cost
  • Review finalized cart, slowly mixing and matching plant quantities, keeping cost in mind
  • Once cart has been amended, step away for a day or two and analyze again 
This process has worked for years now so if it ain’t broke …
I love the Song Sparrow catalog and website as I can find so many unique and hard to find plants, not typically sold in my local nurseries and garden centers. This year’s version continues that trend and I wanted to share my “rough cart” with you. I won’t be purchasing all of the plant’s below, but these are the ones that made the final list.
If you click on the photos below (all taken from the Song Sparrow website), it will take you to the detailed description of each plant within the online catalog.
Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ (Dogwood) – Yellow flowers in spring before the leaves emerge followed by red fruit in summer. I love the glossy yellow leaves and since it maxes out at 9′ x 6′ and survives to zone 4, I am considering growing this in a large container on my deck. That way the deer can stay away and I can control the soil (not to mention the … sigh … constant watering). 

Geranium pratense ‘Laura’ – I have had a lot of success growing geraniums of late and I am totally digging these double white blooms. There is also a good shot at rebloom late in the summer, so that is just more reason to give these a whirl.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Sunny Swirl’ – This cypress maxes out in size at 3′ x 2′ so I can find a deer friendly unfriendly spot to tuck this away. I am intrigued by the mahogany red bark, contorted branches, varying colors of foliage and unusual cockscombs at the tips. OK, I had to google “cockscombs”.

Rodgersia ‘Bronze Peacock’ – I planted a few of these in the fall and I cannot wait to see if they come back with full vigor this spring/summer. I know they like wet soil (yeah) and I am enamored with the deep bronze color on this cultivar.

Viburnum lantana ‘Variegata’ – Viburnum lantana? Huh? Admittedly, I have never heard of this species but upon some research, I am liking the potential of this one. I am most interested in the berries that form after the white flowers in spring, as they emerge green and transform to red and to black, all at the same time possibly. Count me in for one.

Molinia arundinacea ‘Cordoba’  (Moor Grass) – I realize ornamental grasses will ultimately make up a large percentage of my landscape and I am more than OK with that. This moor grasss has silver seedheads by midsummer and it all turns a “golden russet” by October. It is a larger grass at 7′ x 4′ so I’m thinking maybe a screening of some sort.

Sesleria ‘Greenlee’ (Moor Grass) – I was immediately taken by the idea of pale purple flowers by early summer on this groundcover grass and love the fact that they eventually mature to a deep brown. I can envision massing these, but the price tag may be too much. Will have to start small and divide in the future.

Koeleria glauca ‘Tiny Tot’ – I like the look of this cool season grass and I have vowed to integrate more blue foliage into my gardens. The short tan seedheads by midsummer are a nice added bonus:

Picea pungens ‘Bonnie Blue’ (Blue Spruce) – At 5′ x 3′, this blue spruce is very intriguing. I see this as the perfect specimen tree. Where that specimen fits in exactly? Not sure yet.

Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails’ – I’m not the world’s biggest Pennisetum fan, but this one is labeled as “unusually vertical” and I was pulled in by the “tails” maturing to a “glowing wheat”.

Panicum ‘Dust Devil’ (Switch Grass) – It has gotten to the point where I want every available Switch Grass cultivar so this one immediately gets added to the list. The “wine/purple flower panicles” emerge by late summer and the foliage tips turn to “purple red” in fall. At 4′ in size, me thinks I can find some space for a few of these.

And there you have it.

I’ll be sure to share my final purchase decisions with you, but until then, I would love your feedback on any of these beauties.

Thank you as always,

9 thoughts on “Plant shopping – Klehm’s Song Sparrow

  1. Kris Peterson

    Beautiful plants! I received Klehm’s catalog years ago but was put off by the prices – and by the fact that many of the wonderful plants they featured wouldn’t work in SoCal – but maybe I need to look again. The only plant on your list I have is the Seslaria ‘Greenlee’, which I put in at my current house just recently; however, I’ve grown other varieties of Blue Moor grass for years without difficulty in partial shade and amended clay soils. Good luck!

  2. Dewberry

    I love the geranium ‘Laura’! I would definitely buy it if I had a chance. I’ve never seen it in Poland on the market, it looks really lovely! Greetings from snowing Poland!

  3. Barb Yingst

    When I saw the title for you post my first thought was Oh! Plant shopping and what is this sparrow you speak of. Oh! I laugh at myself, you can too.
    Lovely plants you have picked out, I envy your shopping – the viburnum has the prettiest leafs, I can’t wait to see if you plant this one.

  4. scottweberpdx

    Oh yes…I’ve been ogling the Song Sparrow site for a few weeks now…I’m VERY tempted by the two new Andropogon varieties they have (‘Indian Warrior’ and ‘Red October’). I bought a Molinia ‘Cordoba’ this fall…and it was gorgeous…even better color than ‘Skyracer’.

  5. Patty

    Love the geranium – that would be a diffinate buy – the blue spruce is beautiful but if I remember correctly they are very slow growers. The grasses are eye cating as well. I’m in snowy(today anyway) central Ohio – we had the frigid cold but no wind thank goodness. Stay warm!

  6. Nick Ternes

    I’ve found the Geranium pratense varieties to be somewhat short-lived in heavy soils, good drainage goes a long way towards prolonging their garden life.

    The Koeleria glauca ‘Tiny Tot’ is a must, just because it’s a K. glauca cultivar; all of which are fairly compact, easy to grow, and under-used!

    The V. lantana ‘Variegata’ will get bigger than 7′ in 10 years, and the leaf markings are quite variable. I’ve seen great specimens and not-so-great specimens. Either way, it is a great plant if you have the space.

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