May 17, 1997

Flower Favorites Area Horticulturists List Their Top Choices For Inland Northwest Flower Gardens

Suzanne Pate Correspondent

Those April showers got us ready for May flowers - so what are you going to plant?

We asked area horticulturists to list their top choices of flowers for sun or shade.

Mario Solares at Mel’s Nursery puts geraniums at the head of the annuals list for full sun, followed by petunias and marigolds. “Trailing plants like alyssum and lobelia are also very popular, and do well in full sun to part shade,” said Solares, whose name is derived from Latin for “sunshine.”

He has noticed increased interest in plants for windowboxes, small containers and rockeries.

Solares says the top-selling perennials for early blooming are creeping phlox, candy tuft, sweet william and basket-of-gold alyssum. “They really brighten up rock gardens early in the season,” he said.

At Stanek’s Landscape Center, owner Valerie Stanek-Beasley says the fastest-selling flowers are “antique” pansies in pastel colors. “They’re really unusual shades - creams, lavender, light blues and mauves.

“I’ve just reordered again, but they USED to be right there,” she says, pointing to shelves now stocked with bright geraniums.

Perennials grown from bulbs like to soak up the sun, but some - like dahlias - need to be dug up in the fall and stored in peat moss. “The display of color you get is worth the effort, though,” adds Stanek-Beasley.

Among her other bulb favorites are lilies and gladioli. Solares votes for daffodils and tulips. Shade-loving perennials include astilbe; hosta and bleeding-heart manage well in partial sun.

Stanek-Beasley notes a growing interest in patio plants that can be brought indoors when the temperatures get nippy. She has gardenia plants that are 4 feet tall, bougainvillea vines, and eye-level trees of hibiscus, wisteria and yellow daisies. Yes, daisies!

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email