Uno mas “Cerveza n’ Lime,” por favor.

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by “Cerveza ‘n’ Lime” for a plant name? I stumbled across this plectranthus variety in a nursery and was immediately attracted to the subtle lime fragrance of its soft, rounded sage-green leaves. With its wonderful texture, scent and ability to do well in full sun or partial shade, I’m not surprised it’s an award-winner from Proven Winners. It’s a front-of-the-border plant for the garden and thrives in containers. The bonus is, it can be brought indoors and overwintered as a house plant.

I count it as one of my best “scores” for the summer garden. Many of my finds aren’t necessarily new introductions in the marketplace, but they’re new in my garden. One of the joys of gardening is bringing home a plant you’ve never grown before.

Another score was a birthday gift from a friend, a “Color Fantasy” hydrangea — and what a gorgeous and unusual beauty. Slightly crinkled foliage is dark green-black with a hint of bronze, and the compact mophead blooms are deep, rich reddish-pink. A small plant that may just reach 3 feet high, it can be tucked in a tight spot in the shade garden. ‘Color Fantasy’ hydrangeas bloom on old wood and require a sheltered location and winter mulch.

I fell in love with a couple of coleus varieties, “Shiny Shoes” and “Ruby Slippers.” First, who wouldn’t love the names? “Shiny Shoes” has such dark purple-burgundy glossy foliage that it visually reads as black — like a pair of black patent leather Mary Janes. Naturally, “Ruby Slippers” — a lovely red coleus — is the perfect companion. Quite frankly, the combo is stunning.

Salvia Patio “Sky Blue” produces true-blue flowers on a branching, low-maintenance herbaceous perennial. The blooms are open and appealing to bees and other insects, and the plant does well in the sun, partial shade and drought conditions once established.

Amidst the pinks, purples, yellows and whites of summer annuals, red is a welcome punctuation mark. “Cherry Red” is a new introduction in the angelonia “Archangel” series. This series blooms all season long, undeterred by heat, high humidity or even a little drought. The first red in the series, the blooms have dark centers for a bit more drama. Foliage is glossy green, and plants can reach up to 14 inches tall.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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