Hot New Plants: James' Faves
Angelonia 'Serena Blue'
I love this great, low-maintenance, no-fuss annual that stood up to summer thunderstorms and extreme heat in my garden. It bloomed its head off until the first killing frost.
Coleus 'Smallwood Driveway'
From Hort Couture, a boutique plant brand available only at independent garden centers, this upright, bushy grower with deeply scalloped edges was discovered growing in Carol and Tim Smallwood's driveway at their nursery in Virginia.
Durable and rugged, Wasabi coleus is brand new for 2012 and performed well for me in both sun and shade. It boasts lovely serrated chartreuse leaves that create a sort of netting pattern at the edges.
Diascia 'Diva Red'
The latest in the Diva diascia series from Hort Couture (joining 'Hot Coral' and 'Pink'), this one offers a compact habit, great heat tolerance, and extra-large showy blooms. It looks great in a hanging basket.
Rose Orchid Romance
A new floribunda from Star Roses, Orchid Romance was bred by my friend Bill Radler (who produced the Knock Out series of roses). This stunner exhibits soft, delicate, old-fashioned pink flowers with a lavender undertone. Best of all: It has a superb fragrance.
Rose Sunshine Daydream
Sunshine Daydream blooms practically nonstop with light yellow blossoms that finish to a creamy yellow. It reached 5 to 6 feet tall, and my garden and I loved its excellent disease resistance.
Rose Tequila Supreme
Tequila Supreme showed off small clusters of flowers in a unique combination of copper and ochre. It offers great disease resistance and reached about 4-1/2 feet in height.
A strong and healthy descendant of Knock Out, Thrive is hard to miss with bright fire-engine red blooms that last all season on a plant that reaches 4 to 5 feet in height.
Cool Wave Pansies
These flowers are touted to spread twice as far as regular pansies. I especially loved their subtle shades of soft blue, strong yellow, and icy white.