As the gardening season goes into fall, I’m already looking forward to 2015. That’s because I just attended the Far West Show, a national nursery and greenhouse trade show in Portland, Oregon. It features the New Varieties Showcase—the hottest wholesale introductions in ornamentals—and I wanted all fifty-two of the selections.
So gardeners, here’s the start for your 2015 wish list. Contact your favorite retail independent garden center to see when you’ll be able to obtain these newest arrivals. Or go online during the winter to find out which mail order establishments will have them.
What the Judges Liked:
Best in Show – Chionanthus virginicus ‘Spring Fleecing’. This ten to fifteen-foot fringe tree billows with white blooms in spring, but does not produce fruit—a plus near sidewalks. The dark glossy green foliage and upright growth habit make this a winner in home gardens. Grows in sun to part shade, with moist well-drained soil, Zones 4-9.
Award of Merit – Lemon Lace™ Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa ‘SMNSRD4’ PPAF, CBRAF). The unusual chartreuse color of the finely textured leaves—new growth is a contrasting red—makes this five-foot elderberry a standout. Adaptable to a wide range of soil, this shrub gives a lot for a little care. Plant in full sun or in part shade in warm-summer locations. Zones 3-7.
Award of Merit – Mighty Velvet™ Lamb’s Ears (Stachys ‘Bello Grigio’ PPAF). I love touchable plants, and the soft texture of the finely lance-shaped leaves belie the fact that the foliage stands up to whatever the weather throws at it. This drought-tolerant gray-green two-foot accent plant grows sun or shade in Zones 7-9. Or use it as an annual.
What I liked:
Tiny Tortuga Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii ‘Armtipp02’ USPPP). This compact fifteen-inch turtlehead is perfect for the shade garden—you can go with full sun in cool-summer areas— handsome green foliage sets off lovely long-blooming pink flowers. This is one tough, disease- and deer-resistant plant, hardy to Zone 3.
Foxlight™ Ruby Glow Foxglove (Digitalis × hybrida ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF). Foxgloves grow easily in my Oregon garden, but the color and vigor of this one make it exceptional. Frequently marketed as Digiplexis, ‘Ruby Glow’ is aptly named for its outward-facing flowers on two-foot stems. In colder climes, use as an annual—a bit expensive, but the season-long bloom is worth it. Or bring it into your greenhouse to keep the show going. Sun to part shade, Zones 7-10.