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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

New Plants for 2013


I was privileged to give the keynote address at this year's Gardeners' Big Day. It truly was a big day with almost 150 attendees, vendors, speakers, and more. The event gets better every year thanks to the leadership of Julia Pryor, Master Gardener coordinator, and all the wonderful Fulton County Master Gardeners.

My keynote address covered the top new plants for 2013. Every year new plants are introduced to fit a particular horticulture need or garden niche. The best of the best is promoted each year through gardening organizations and testing groups. Here are some that I would like to try in my garden this year.

The 2013 All America Selections (AAS) flower award winner is Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet.' This scarlet flowered canna grows over two feet tall and blooms throughout the summer. It has solid green leaves and is heat tolerant. I think it would work well in the tropical theme around my pool.

A second AAS flower award winner is Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit.' The AAS website says, "This stunning first-year flowering Echinacea captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white." This drought tolerant perennial grows over two feet tall, blooming from summer into fall. The three inches flowers attract bees and butterflies. This would work well in the back of my perennial bed.

The Perennial Plant Association plant of the year is the Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum'). This plant would make a great addition to my new secret shade garden. It has greenish-white flowers in late spring and variegated foliage all summer. The plant grows 18 to 24 inches tall and spreads by rhizomes to form colonies.

Last years I used a new phantom petunia in one my by blue containers by the pool. A true black flower is extremely rare in the plant world. In fact these are not really black, but rather a very dark burgundy/purple. In 2011 Burpee Seed introduced a velvety black petunia called 'Black Velvet'. Ball Seed then developed two variegated near-black flowers. Petunia 'Phantom' is a near-black flower with an eye-catching yellow star pattern. Petunia 'Pinstripe' has a similar pattern, but with thinner white or pink bands.

My keynote address covered many more new introductions to try. Many of them are listed on my Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/ilriverhort/2013-plants-of-the-year.

Want to see these plants this summer? My garden will be featured on the Havana Chamber of Commerce's Garden Walk this summer on June 9th. Stay tuned for more details.



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