Hartley Magazine

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Farwest’s Best Plants for Next Year – start your wish list now

In most parts of the country, autumn signals the end of the gardening season. Tender plants are stored in greenhousesand garages. Borders get a winter mulch. Even in warmer climates, it’s time for a break.

But wait—there’s more.

Here are five award-winning plants that I saw introduced in the recent New Varieties Showcase at Portland Oregon’s Farwest trade show. These top plants caught the eye of judges and show goers alike. The Showcase entrants are evaluated on what new characteristics they bring to the landscape. Look for them in your local garden centers next spring.

In the meantime, peruse your beds and borders now for the inevitable gaps you will need to fill. Then use these Farwest winners to start your own list of 2013 must-haves.

Winner, Best of Show:
Physocarpus opulifolus ‘Jefam’ First Editions® Amber Jubilee™ Ninebark (Zones 2-7) – It’s smaller  (5?x4?) than the species, but still maintains the ninebark’s renowned drought tolerance and hardiness. This shrub pops with color. The leaves blaze orange, red, and yellow throughout the season. White blossoms appear in spring and fall foliage turns red and purple.

Winners, Outstanding Plant Awards:

Agapanthus ‘Black Pantha’ (Zones 7-10) – The handsome gray-green strappy leaves of this 1?x2?’agapanthus make it a great candidate for a greenhouseor sunroom in cooler winter climates. The dramatic 3? tall late-summer flowers are the darkest blue-black of all agapanthus.

Hoboellia coriacea ‘Cathedral Gem’ (Zones 7-10) – This 15? to 25? evergreen sausage vine shows off mauve pink blossoms that will perfume your early spring garden with a jasmine scent. Lavender pink fruits give it its common name. Most vines need sun, but here’s one that prefers partial shade.

Vaccinium corybosum
Peach Sorbet™ (Zones 5-10) –Here’s a compact (2?x2?) introduction from the Brazelberries™ Collection. The new leaf growth emerges peachy colored then shifts to emerald green. It seems as if the blueberry is always sporting pale orange flowers. The actual flowers are white, followed by an excellent crop of tasty berries. For more on Brazelberries™ see my last month’s “Rooting for You” column.

Winnner, People’s Choice Award:
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Horwack’ Pistachio Hydrangea (Zones 5-9) –  I heard one of the show visitors sum it up: “You either love it or hate it.” It’s a compact (3?x4?) hydrangea that displays varicolored mopheads in contemporary shades of deep maroon and vivid lime green, with purple floret centers. Bold and brassy—this one is not a little old lady hydrangea. I loved it.