|Every August, Portland plays host to the Farwest Show, which is one of the biggest nursery and greenhouse industry trade shows in the country. It is one of the events I look forward to because it provides the opportunity to see what is next in the world of plants.These are the plants that we will be seeing at garden centers in the spring.
One of my favorite features at Farwest is the New Varieties Showcase. This is a section where plants have been selected to be featured because they offer something new. It might be the foliage, or the flowers, or the growing habit, or a combination of these. Or it could be a new plant introduction.
At the conclusion of the Farwest Show, awards are given within the New Varieties Showcase. There is an award for Best in Show and a People’s Choice Best in Show. Plus there are Awards of Merit. After spending time looking at all the choices, I selected five plants to talk about. Two of those were singled out for an award, but to me they are all winners.
A late bloomer
There is a wide selection to choose from. As to height, some would be considered shrubs and other trees. These are deciduous plants and Crape Myrtle bark is very attractive, making it ideal for a spotlight to shine on it in the winter. Depending on the particular cultivar, some will provide brilliant fall color.
The New Varieties Showcase featured ‘Cherry Mocha’ which had cherry red flowers in clusters and foliage that was deep burgundy. ‘Cherry Mocha’ is said to be a dense, compact plant and has mildew resistance. This would make an excellent container plant on a deck or patio with plenty of sun exposure. The deep burgundy foliage is an added bonus.
A tree for small spaces
One for the birds and bees
Each year I add new cultivars that I have not grown before and this past spring, one was Salvia Rockin’® Fuchsia. I planted four plants in a large pot and they started to bloom in early June and have not stopped. As I write this column, it is mid-September, my plants are prolific with flowers and there is no sign they are about to stop, and there are many new flower buds continuing to appear. With a black calyx, the flower stems are attractive even when the petals fall. Since the plants are sterile, they will not set seed and so that means more bloom. Honeybees and hummingbirds have been regular visitors and my plants have stayed much more compact than ‘Black & Blue’.
A pink and black contrast
Summerific® ‘Evening Rose’ is an excellent combination of hot pink flowers and near-black foliage. Compared to another popular cultivar, ‘Berry Awesome’, the foliage on ‘Evening Rose’ is much darker and the flower color is more magenta than lavender. ‘Evening Rose’ received an Award of Merit.
A fern of distinction
This fern is similar to the traditional Japanese painted fern but the tips of the fronds are double-crested. This would make a nice container plant for a shady space and would provide interesting texture all summer.
Expect to see them soon