New Plants

New seems to be the mantra of the nursery industry these days, even though there are lots of wonderful plants that have proven themselves in the landscape. But new captures people’s attention and imaginations and plant breeders and growers are determined to deliver.

The New Varieties Showcase was filled with 51 new varieties this year at the 2011 Farwest Show, produced by the Oregon Association of Nurseries and one of the nation’s largest wholesale trade shows. These varieties will be found in garden centers this fall and in spring 2012.

Flutterby Grandé™ Peach Cobbler
Nectar Bush

Judged to be “Best in Show” was Flutterby Grandé™ Peach Cobbler Nectar Bush (Buddleia x ‘Podaras #5’ PPAF) from Ball Ornamentals. This choice reflects the importance of Buddleia as part of the sales mix for Oregon nurseries. It is certified by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as sterile, which means Oregon nurseries can add Buddleia back into their growing inventory. The wonderful fragrance, full-sized inflorescences and silvery leaf color would be welcome in any garden. The fact that the plant also attracts pollinators, a popular gardening trend, is an added bonus. One garden center owner said home gardeners really want the intense color of past Buddleia cultivars that Oregon nurseries can no longer grow. I’m sure those colors will appear in future sterile varieties at some point. In the meantime, Peach Cobbler offers me the soft sunset-like colors I enjoy throughout my garden.

Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower

The overwhelming favorite of those visiting the New Varieties Showcase was Darwin Perennial’s Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower (Echinacea hybrida ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ PPAF). I must admit, the plants in the showcase were stunning.

Solar Eclipse Foamflower

Other favorites of mine were Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ PPAF) grown by Blooming Nursery (an adorable grass with brush-like flowers); Solar Eclipse Foamflower (Heucherella ‘Solar Eclipse’ PPAF, EU-derived variety) from Terra Nova Nurseries (wonderful red-brown leaves rimmed in lime green); Sparkler® Willow-Leaf Stachyurus (Stachyurus salicifolia ‘MonEmeri’) from Monrovia (strappy, leathery foliage); and You-Me Passion Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Rie 4’ USPP #16653, COPF) from PlantHaven (sweet double blooms).

To see Kym Pokorny’s favorites, garden writer for The Oregonian, visit her blog Dig in with Kym.