Patience for impatiens
BY DAINA SAVAGE, Correspondent
As you're planning your summer garden, you may need to find a replacement for a familiar favorite -- especially if, last summer, your impatiens became yellowed and withered.
A fungal disease called downy mildew is to blame, and if your garden was affected, the spores are most likely still in your soil.
As alternatives, you may wish to look at hybrids under the brands Sun Harmony, SunPatiens and Paradise. All three did well in the Penn State Trial Flower Gardens in Landisville last summer, with the purple-pink Sun Harmony Pink winning best of species. Numerous varieties of SunPatiens and Paradise also were named superior plants, ranging in shades from creamy white or rose pink to vibrant orange-red, with green or variegated foliage, and compact mounding to spreading habits.
Another option may be to plant New Guinea impatiens, which sport larger blooms and foliage and prefer a bit more sunshine. Favorites at the Trial Gardens include the bright red-orange Celebrette Orange Crush, which was named best of species, as well as the superior plant winners Magnum Peach and Sonic Pink.
Other annual options, in case you'd like to experiment with new colors and forms, include ivy geraniums, oxalis, fuchsia, salvia and nicotiana. Doublet and Maestro Deep Red begonias are also good choices, as well as Flutterby Yellow argyranthemum and SuperCal petchoas. Coleus are nice for foliage, especially the Stained Glassworks variety. The showy "fiber optic grass" isolepsis adds some fun to the landscape. And you can't go wrong with the reliable euphorbia Diamond Frost.
Finally, it may be time to add more perennials to your landscape and skip the annuals altogether. In place of impatiens, try hosta, iris, trillum, astilbe, lobelia, sedum, phlox, baptisia, heuchera and helleborus.