Five Plants Michael Petrie Loves

The genius behind Handmade Gardens picks his favorite flowers for 2009

1. Helleborus hybridus ‘Brandywine’  This locally developed perennial is an early bloomer. Mid-March through April, blossoms appear in whites, pinks and reds, standing out against its evergreen foliage. An added bonus: It’s deer-resistant. $16.

2. Fothergilla gardenii ‘Blue Shadow’  Late in spring, this small shrub offers fragrant white bottle-brush flowers. In fall, its light green leaves turn a rich golden-orange. Use as a foundation plant near a structure; it won’t outgrow its space. $39-49.

3. Hydrangea ‘Twist and Shout’  Midsummer through October, this hydrangea bears lace-cap flowers with pink blooms in acidic soil and blue in alkaline. Plant in shady woodlands, or as a foundation. $49.

4.  Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ Black Chervil
  This biennial herb, with its very dark purple foliage and white Queen Anne’s lace-like flowers, looks delicate but is quite hearty. Use as filler in containers to set off lighter-colored plants and other herbs. $12.99.

5.  Salvia leucantha ‘Midnight’
  Make a place for this plain-looking salvia in spring, and you’ll be glad you did when dark purple spike-shaped blooms appear August through mid-October, when other flowers are long gone. Great for hot, dry locations, in combination with ornamental grasses. $6.99.

Handmade Gardens, 320 West Uwchlan Avenue, Downingtown, 610-873-2830,