Hydrangea macrophylla Pop Star

Out with the Old Classics, in with the New Epics

Pushing the boundaries of garden design with interesting and unique ornamental plants is a foolproof way to not only keep your clients thrilled, but to also keep your own brain from spilling over with images of the same plants time and time again. Surely, there is a place for the Endless Summer® bigleaf hydrangeas and dwarf fountain grasses of the world, but they are certainly not the end-all-be-all of landscape plants. This week, let us take you on a journey of new plant selections that are designed to become the next generation of garden classics.

Cornus amomum | silky dogwood

While red-twig dogwoods have been all-the-rage for the last several years, with the demand for varieties like ‘Cardinal’ and ‘Baileyi’ experiencing an exponential uptick with the collective swing towards native plants, other native species such as the silky dogwood, Cornus amomum, often get overlooked. Well, we’re here to tout silky dogwood’s good nature and ecological benefits! Similar to red-twig dogwoods, silky dogwoods offer color nearly year-round; small, white flowers in spring give way to purple-blue drupes in summer, followed by a mixture of purples, bronzy greens, reds and yellows that cover the foliage in autumn. Silky dogwoods are particularly helpful in riparian zones, or areas requiring erosion control. They can handle consistently moist soils, even creating dense thickets in areas where they are truly happy. The fruits are a particular favorite of many mammals and birds, including chipmunks, foxes, and everyone’s favorite, white-tailed deer. Like other native dogwoods, Cornus amomum is a select pollinator plant for specialized bee species in the Andrena genus, and is also a host plant for spring and summer Azure butterflies.

Hydrangea macrophylla Pop Star™ (‘Bailmacsix’)(PP33703)| bigleaf hydrangea

The Endless Summer® series has been the standard place-holder for reblooming bigleaf hydrangeas for 20 years, and the folks at Bailey have once again outdone themselves with their new selection, Hydrangea macrophylla Pop Star™. After having undergone vigorous testing, Pop Star™ bigleaf hydrangea has become known as the most robust reblooming Hydrangea macrophylla available on the market, carving a space out for itself as the new standard for future innovations of the series. Here at the nursery, our crop of Pop Star™ bigleaf hydrangeas are absolutely loaded with eye-popping, bright blue lace-cap flowerheads overtop its compact form and dark green foliage, that beckon for a place to illuminate in the part shade garden or container planting.

Nepeta ‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ (PP35867)| catmint

It’s darn near impossible to talk about timeless garden classics without bringing up the low-maintenance, drought tolerant catmints. Nepeta has long possessed a reputation for being an easy garden companion in full sun areas where it is allowed to spread a bit, its soft purple flowers enticing hungry pollinators and its fragrant foliage delighting passersby. ‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ catmint takes all of Nepeta’s best qualities and turns them up to 11. As its name suggests, bright, chartreuse foliage electrifies the front of the perennial border, with the stark contrast of the magenta purple blooms creating a sharp juxtaposition that compliments darker leaved perennials and grasses. While some catmints get tall and leggy, ‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ catmint stays tight and compact with an overall low-growing height of 10” and a spread of 24”, happy to help fill gaps in the garden without getting too gangly or aggressive. Where the silky dogwood invites wildlife activity to the garden, Nepeta ‘Chartreuse on the Loose’ deters browsing by deer and rabbits, keeping it intact for the number of visiting bees that are sure to drop by for some delectable catmint nectar.

Pachysandra procumbens | Allegheny spurge

It is likely some of your earliest garden memories are filled with dense groundwork patches of Pachysandra terminalis, which seemed to be the irrefutable groundcover standard for decades, especially in shady spots. For decades, gardeners and horticulturists seemed to opt for non-native species that were nonpalatable to grazing animals and easy to maintain, which, as we’ve come to learn, is not necessarily a benefit to either the landscape or the local ecosystem. Luckily, the recent championing of native plants has unearthed some long-forgotten species that deserve a chance to reclaim their throne. Pachysandra procumbens, our native Allegheny spurge, is the penultimate challenger to its Japanese rival, as well as other problematic non-native groundcover plants such as English ivy. Pachysandra procumbens possesses mottled foliage that is unpalatable to rabbits and deer, helping to create a naturalistic woodland groundcover in areas with rich, organic soil and partial to full shade conditions. Allegheny spurge foliage and stems remain evergreen in warmer zones, persisting throughout mild winters so long as it has good drainage. Cinnamon-scented flower spikes emerge rather discretely in late spring, and despite their inconspicuous presence, they are a sensory delight sure to fill the atmosphere with their delicious fragrance.

Panicum virgatum ‘Red Flame’ (PP35213) | switchgrass

Let’s face it, Pennisetum alopecuroides and Miscanthus sinensis have been gasping their last ornamental breaths as standard garden grasses for a while now. With so many fun, interesting, and colorful native grasses to choose from, the options for interesting seedheads and rainbows of blades are seemingly endless. Panicum virgatum ‘Red Flame’ is a brand-new selection to our lineup of grasses, featuring blue-green foliage tipped with burgundy throughout the growing season that slowly transitions to an autumnal yellow, and purple-red inflorescences that emerge in late summer to create a matrix of textural interest as seedheads throughout the remainder of the year. While ‘Red Flame’ switchgrass tolerates some light shade, it performs best in full sun with well-draining soils, its colorful foliage sparkling in the sunlight and providing shelter for insects and small mammals.

Ready to add these and some other awesome new selections to your next order? Make sure to head on over to our website, hover over the PLANTS tab in the upper right corner, and click the “New for 2025” option. You’ll be able to see our entire availability of new-and-upcoming plants that you can use to dazzle and delight during the next year’s growing season!


Cornus amomum (Kinnikinnik, Pale Dogwood, Red Willow, Silky Cornel, Silky Dogwood, Swamp Dogwood) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox (ncsu.edu)

Cornus amomum (Silky Dogwood): Minnesota Wildflowers


Endless Summer® Pop Star® Hydrangea Care & Growing Guide (thespruce.com)

Allegheny spurge Pachysandra procumbens from New England Wild Flower Society (nativeplanttrust.org)

Pachysandra procumbens Allegheny spurge from North Creek Nurseries

Nepeta Chartreuse on the Loose (darwinperennials.com)

'Chartreuse on the Loose' - Catmint - Nepeta hybrid | Proven Winners

Panicum virgatum 'Red Flame' Red Flame Red Switchgrass from Prides Corner Farms

Panicum virgatum 'Red Flame' PP35213 | Perennial Resource

Pachysandra procumbens