The cool season becomes like a garden celebration as much of the country changes out the old tired color of summer for the fresh new flowers of fall and fragrance. There is a White Knight leading the charge that opens up the door with endless companion possibilities.
White Knight is an award-winning sweet alyssum that is the perfect fit for your cool season containers. Right now, The Garden Guy who lives in zone 8a is looking out the window to his fall creation of Supertunia Picasso in Purple petunias, Superbells Yellow calibrachoa and White Knight sweet alyssum, which does look like a patch of snow.
If you have ever wondered why Proven Winners chose the name White Knight my answer is, I don't know but I have an idea. But you are sure to like the theory. Consider that their famous Snow Princess spreads up to 48 inches. There are definitely applications where this-fits perfectly, and after all it is one of the most awarded plants in history. On the other hand, maybe you would like one that is a little more gentlemanly, spreading only half that much and thus playing well with its cool season partners.
This is where the Knight series fits your wishes picture perfect. Notice I said series. In addition to White Knight there are also Dark Knight, which has an array of purple shades, and new Moonlight Knight, which is a soft yellow. This one caught everyone by pleasant surprise in the 2020 trials. The soft yellow will make an incredible partner with soft blues and/or lavender shades.
You'll want to plant them in full sun beds with fertile, organic-rich soil that drains well with the inevitable winter rains. Space your plants 12 to 18 inches apart, knowing they will spread close to 24 inches and reach about 8- to 10-inches tall. In the landscape, think of them as being a front-of-the-border plant combined with your cool season favorites.
You'll find them blooming a lot longer than you thought. In fact, the White Knight planted in the spring took honors at the JC Raulston Arboretum in North Carolina as Leader of the Pack in Early Summer and Leader of the Pack in Late Summer. It doesn't get any better than that.
Because of their wonderful spreading habit, you'll notice they have the ability to soften the harsh, straight edges along a sidewalk or driveway. As they creep over the edge, you'll find yourself suddenly having curves.
As great as they are in the landscape, you may love them even more in a container. The rim of your container will disappear as the glorious, fragrant little flowers tumble over the edge. In a container combined with an ornamental grass and pansies, you'll find them intermingling with the foliage of the other plants.
Cool-season flowers are actively growing. While we think to water and fertilize our plants in the spring and summer, we sometimes overlook this practice during the cool season. Should rains become sparse, add supplemental water when necessary. Proven Winners says these beautiful flowers are heavy drinkers and will be quick to show drought stress.
A little water-soluble fertilizer applied a couple of times during the growing season will pay dividends, and have you relishing the beauty of your sweet alyssum partners. Many think that cool season gardening is the best of all, with the Knight series of sweet alyssum it promises to be both beautiful and fragrant.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, "Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South" and "Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden." Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)(c)2020 Norman Winter Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC