Introducing the 2019 Perennial of the Year
By Kerry Ann Mendez
Each year the Perennial Plant Association selects one perennial to be the gold medalist. This is based on the input of green industry professionals nationwide. Winners must meet a number of criteria including:
- Suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions
- Low maintenance
- Pest and disease resistant
- Readily available in the year of release
- Multiple season interest or excellent foliage
Let's give a standing applause for the 2019 winner: Stachys monieri 'Hummelo'!
Similar But Different
Although related to Lamb's Ear, it is dramatically different in many ways. 'Hummelo' is a clump-grower (not an aggressive spreader like Lamb's Ear), plus its rich green crinkled leaves don't have the same issues with humidity as Lamb's Ear. Dense clusters of rose-purple flower spikes will also emerge from the tidy foliage mounds in summer.
Attracting the Right Wildlife
This drought and heat tolerant perennial is adored by pollinators but snubbed by deer and rabbits. Simply place 'Hummelo' in a sunny location with well drained soil and get ready for the cameras to start flashing! It will be hardy in Zones 4-8.
About the Author
KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more. Plus, check out her Garden Webinar series for more tips and tricks.