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Catalog B

BALLOTA nigra Prancing Jester (Black Horehound). Vividly variegated foliage produces 20 blue spikes. Notable>

BAPTISIA australis (False Indigo) 36-48". Hardy to Zone 3. Blue lupine-like flowers early summer, pleasing gray-green

foliage, nice pods. Prefers sun, takes some shade, drought-resistant. Slow to establish but long-lived. Minor is half the size of australis. Caspian Blue is a distinctive cultivar. Natives lactea (pendula) (3 ft.), leucantha (4 ft), and leucophaea (20) are various shades of white to cream. X Purple Smoke sports charcoal stems and gray-green foliage, smoky violet flowers. Its discovery is an example of the new American plant hunters at work, as is Carolina Moonlight, sensational new yellow.

BELAMCANDA (Blackberry Lily). 36". Iris like foliage, 1" black-spotted orange flowers, nice seedpods.

BERGENIA cordifolia (Saxifrage). Clusters of pink flowers in early Spring, but foliage is the best part of this plant. Leathery 6" x 10" leaves form a 12" high clump. Dark green in the Spring, they turn bronzy purple in the Fall. Cut old growth back in early Spring so that new leaves can develop. Shade or part sun. Darker-flowered varieties include Red Bloom and Abendglut. Baby Doll is more compact than others. We seem to have a nice white, obtained in 2002, but do not know its name or species.

BOLTONIA asteroides Snowbank. Substitute for fall asters. Masses of 3/4" white flowers are carried on 48" plants. Foliage is blue green and superior to that of asters. Blooms all Fall. Pink Beauty is less robust. Var. latisquama Nana is somewhat shorter, lavender flowered.

BRUNNERA macrophylla (False or Chinese Forget-Me-Not) 8-15". Early spring flowers look exactly like Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis), but the plant has textured heart-shaped leaves. It likes shade and moisture and self-sows readily; a good plant to naturalize in a woodland. We no longer stock the variegated ones; none are good doers. But Langtrees, discreetly brushed with silver, is an elegant and vigorous plant. Marleys White has white flowers. Jack Frost is a sensational new hybrid with largely silver leaves, veined and edged green. (PPAF). Zones 3 7 for these beauties.

BUDDLEIA davidii (Butterfly Bush). In warmer climates, buddleia is a woody shrub. In all but the coldest winters, it dies back to the ground in Central New York; thus the tendency to sell it as a perennial. Proper care here is to cut the bush back to the ground in late Fall or early Spring, then wait patiently for new growth to show, perhaps as late as Memorial Day. It will begin to bloom in August, and carry on until hard frost, particularly if you deadhead, just behind the spent flower panicle. (This also prevents random seeding, which can be a nuisance.)

We have found these satisfactory: Black Knight (deep violet), Harlequin (golden yellow variegated foliage and red-violet flowers), Nanho Blue (shorter than most at 5-6 ft.), Red Plume and Royal Red (rich red-violet), and Ellens Blue, the very blue superior selection from Ellen Hornig of Oswego, which has quickly become a national favorite. White Profusion is the best butterfly magnet; we have seen it covered with Monarchs in early Fall. We like Opera, White Ball (3-4 ft.) and Potters Purple (5 ft), new in 2002. Pink Charming or Summer Beauty may replace the older Pink Delight. Please tell your friends, butterfly bush is inexpensive and quick-growing. No need to search for the three-color bush featured in some (dare I say cheap?) catalogs; its a photo trick.

FOR EXAMPLE:

UNUSUAL BUDDLEIA SHOWS PRUNING CHOICES

May and June visitors to the Farm are blown away by the other buddleia. Alternifolia (Fountain Buddleia) is a Spring-blooming shrub, not often seen here, but perfectly hardy in Zone 5. Its lilac flowers appear in clusters up and down the stem; leaves are silvery and small. Over time it assumes a vase shape, with weeping branches, giving a fountain effect. You can prune it as you would any Spring-flowering deciduous shrub: After three years, remove the oldest (thickest) third of the stems, at the base, each year, within a month after flowering. In this way, it will remain an 8 10 foot shrub and always give good color. Or, you can do as they have at the Arnold Arboretum, and restrict it to one to three main stems, pruning the crown judiciously; in 25 years it will become a respectable