New Variety

Justin W. Hancock

Hot New Variety

We’ve mentioned how rich, dark colors are a trend in the garden — and here’s another wonderfully trendy plant. It’s called Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Blackberry Punch’ and it’s a new variety for 2011 from the folks at Proven Winners and we think it’ll be an exciting new way to add drama to your mixed plantings.

What do you think? Let us know!

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Doug Jimerson

Here Comes The Judge

As a lifelong gardener, I’ve always enjoyed growing new and different plants in my garden. That’s why I jumped at the chance to be one of the judges at the trial gardens of Costa Farms in Homestead, Florida. Last week, I spent a full day walking up and down their trial beds grading hundreds of new plant introductions. Judging categories included: growth/uniformity, foliage appeal, flower power/size, and consumer appeal. Plants in the trials included entries from all the big plant companies including Ball, Syngenta, Dummen, Sakata, Ecke, Proven Winners, Benary, Fafard, Gro Link and more. There were three other judges also hard at work in the Florida sun: Delilah Onofrey from Greenhouse Grower

The Trial Gardens of Costa Farms

The Trial Gardens of Costa Farms

magazine, Heather Will-Browne from Disney, and Jim Barrett from the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida. Each one of us was chosen because we could bring a particular point of view to the results. Some of my favorite newcomers included the Bandana series of lantana from Syngenta, ‘Wendy’s Wish’ salvia from Gro Link, ‘Sunbathers Gold Coast’ gazania from Ecke, the Arctic series of lobelia, the ‘Sweetunia Soft Pink Morning’ petunia, and the Empress series of verbena from Dummen, the ‘Shock Wave Coconut’ petunia and ‘Breathless White’ euphorbia from Ball, ‘Siam Moon’ and ‘Pink Heart’ caladiums from the Foremost Co., the Sunpatiens series of impatiens from Sakata, ‘Snow Princess’ alyssum and ‘Emerald Lace’ ornamental sweet potato from Proven Winners, and an assortment of new and exciting succulents from Costa Farms. And these are just the ones that stand out in my memory. Frankly, the majority of new plants we viewed performed well, so choosing the very best wasn’t too easy. Now, I can’t wait for them to show up at my local garden centers.

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Everyday Gardeners

Pick of the Crop: New for 2010

Blue River clematis

Blue River clematis

We should toot our own horn every once in a while. BHG.com senior garden editor Justin Hancock has selected the must-grow new perennials for 2010.

The Great Garden Plants website has a video on three new shrubs for 2010. They mention Bloomerang reblooming lilac, which you can buy from readershopping.com.

The All-America Selections folks have a bunch of interesting plants they have singled out for recognition in 2010, including a new bell pepper ‘Cajun Belle’. See it and their other picks at the AAS website.

Our good friends from Benary Seeds stopped by our offices the other day to show off new varieties they have coming for 2010 and 2011. Lots of new begonias for you to look for at garden centers this spring. And a new sedum (which I don’t have a link to yet) that had all the plant nerds in the room sitting up and taking notice.

Botanical Seeds is offering you a chance to inspire other gardeners – and win a prize. See their website for details.

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Justin W. Hancock

Hot New Heuchera

Looking to add some drama to your landscape this year? Try ‘Midnight Bayou’ coralbells. A new variety for 2010, this showstopper features rich purple foliage with dark, purple-black veins. It looks amazing from spring to fall!

‘Midnight Bayou’ thrives in sun or part shade and looks particularly stunning against chartreuse foliage (such as ‘Blue and Gold’ spiderwort or golden tansy).

It’s very hardy, too — and hungry deer and rabbits tend to leave it alone.

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Justin W. Hancock

Cool New Rose

Hot new plant alert!

Munstead Wood, a new rose from David Austin Roses, has really caught my eye. And that says a lot because while I’m a big plant geek, I have to confess that roses rarely make the top of my list.

Why am I eager to try this particular rose? First off, the color. Dark, velvety flowers like this blend well with the blues, purples, and whites I fill my garden with. I can just imagine how this plant would look tucked in among lavender, ‘Rozanne’ perennial geranium, and white veronica.

But the plant hosts more than just pretty flowers. It offers excellent disease resistance (which is important to me because I don’t spray my garden with traditional or organic products), a nice rounded habit (usually about 3 feet tall and 2½ feet wide), and a warm, rich scent.

If you’re a rose lover, don’t miss our slideshow of other new varieties for 2010!


Justin W. Hancock

Hot New Variety

Every year, a handful of plant companies send me and the other  BHG garden editors  samples of their new varieties for the next year. That gives us a chance to try them out and tell you what we really think of the plants instead of trusting a press release.

Last year we received a sample of a new sweet alyssum variety called Snow Princess sweet alyssum from Proven Winners. And I have to say this plant totally impressed me with its performance. I grew in window boxes on my second-story balcony with Easy Wave Burgundy Star petunia, thinking the alyssum would look good in spring while the petunia was growing in, then the petunia would put on the show when the alyssum fizzed out in the heat.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the alyssum continued to look good once the summer heat kicked in. And in fact, it held its own against the petunia all summer and fall. I never would have believed I’d see an alyssum that put on as big of a show as a Wave petunia!

Snow Princess sports the largest flowers I’ve ever seen on a sweet alyssum, and the most fragrant, too. It looks pretty amazing in a hanging basket all on its own.  It’s definitely a hot new variety for 2010.