Raker Trial Gardens

I managed a very brief stop at the Raker Trial Gardens at the start of their officially opening, braving the heat wave to photograph perennials.  Things are looking great in the gardens, and I wish I’d had more time to spend.  I hope to return in late August for a more complete visit.

Here are some images of perennials that caught my eye in the gardens.


Remaining plants from the 2012 overwinter trial were flowering strongly.  There are a number of excellent, hardy Agastache species, and many are excellent butterfly and honey bee plants.

‘Acapulco Rose’ overwintered successfully, which was something of a surprise, and was flowering strongly.

Agastache mexicana 'Acapulco Rose'

‘Black Adder’ is a sterile hybrid of Agastache rugosum x A. foeniculum.  A sterile and long blooming selection that always brings a BBC TV theme song into my head…

Agastache 'Black Adder'

TerraNova Nurseries had two nice survivors, ‘Cotton Candy’ with an intersting two-toned effect; and ‘Kudos Mandarin’ with attractive, large orange flowers; ‘Summer Sky’ has

Agastache 'Cotton Candy'Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin'


Two nice, compact Coropsis (likely C. verticillata hybrids) from TerraNova Nurseries are featured in the sponsored rows.  ‘Bengal Tiger’ is bicolor red with yellow, and ‘Imperial Sun’ has attractive medium yellow flowers.

Coreopsis 'Bengal Tiger'Coreopsis 'Imperial Sun'Coreopsis 'Imperial Sun' and 'Bengal Tiger'

Danziger’s ‘Solanna Golden Ball’ is compact in habit with large, golden yellow, double flowers.

Coreopsis grandiflora 'Solanna Golden Ball'

Double Flowered Hybrid Echinacea

Echinacea ‘Double Scoop’ series from Darwin Perennials were looking very nice in Darwin’s sponsor bed.  All are well-branched, double “pompom” type flowers. Here are ‘Bubble Gum Pink’, ‘Orangeberry’, and ‘Raspberry’.

Echinacea 'Double Scoop Bubble Gum' Echinacea 'Double Scoop Orangeberry'Echinacea 'Double Scoop Raspberry'

TerraNova Nurseries has introduced a number of new Echinacea varieties recently, including some dwarf, “pompom” types.  Here are ‘Mars Red’, ‘Secret Affair’, ‘Secret Glow’, and ‘Vanilla Cupcake’.  Note that there was some browning on older flowers in ‘Vanilla Cupcake’.  Otherwise, these colors all look to be well-matched in height and habit.  Hopefully they will prove long-lived in Midwestern conditions.

Echinacea 'Meteor Red'Echinacea 'Secret Affair' Echinacea 'Secret Glow' Echinacea 'Vanilla Cupcake'

Single Flowered Hybrid Echinacea

Darwin Perennials ‘Sombrero’ series is a compact, well-branched, single-flowered series. Here are ‘Sombrero Hot Coral’, a very vivid red, ‘Sombrero Sandy Yellow’, and ‘Sombrero Coral’

Echinacea 'Sombrero Hot Salsa'Echinacea 'Sombrero Sandy Yellow'Echinacea 'Sombrero Hot Coral'

‘Cheyenne Spirit’ from Kieft is an excellent, AAS winning, multi-colored variety from seed.  Plants come in a range of vivid flower colors.

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'Echinacea hybrida 'Cheyenne Spirit'

Echinacea purpurea

Darwin’s ‘PowWow’ series continues to perform well in their sponsor bed.  ‘PowWow White’ is slightly taller than ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, and both are excellent, well-branched, long blooming dwarf selections.

Echinacea 'PowWow' seriesEchinacea purpurea 'PowWow White' Echinacea purpurea 'PowWow White'

‘Magnus Superior’ was blooming strongly in Jelitto’s sponsor bed.  This reselection of award-winning ‘Magnus’ features very horizontally held ray petals and large flowers.

Echinacea 'Magnus Superior'


Veronica longifolia ‘Charlotte’ from Rijnbeek is a compact, white flowered variety with variegated foliage with white margins.  It is quite striking.  ‘Marietta’ is a compact, blue-purple variety that was flowering strongly.  It’s nice to see Rijnbeek genetics included in the trials.

Veronica longifolia 'Charlotte'Veronica longifolia 'Charlotte'Veronica longifolia 'Marietta'Veronica longifolia 'Marietta'

I highly recommend visiting the Raker Trial Gardens if you have the chance.