Having been in the business of plantspotting since the early 90’s, I’m rarely blown away by what it touted as new. I’m a contrarian. Some might even call me a cynic. If my job is to look for new and be on the look out for cool and new from every aspect of the nursery industry – how could I not be a cynic?
Everyone says their new plant is better, improved, superior– me included. So who do you believe?
I credit my strength to the fact that I’m a true plantweenie, an aloe/agave/dykia/haworthia/
I love plants. I buy way too many. I make way too many mixed containers each year and then I curse them as I’m watering every day. I love rare plant auctions and can’t leave without buying something – they are usually for a good cause, so I justify those purchases.
I can’t help it.
What have I seen this year that makes me want to take out my wallet or tell everyone about it?Here’s a short list of my favorite new plants for 2012.
These will all be available in retail garden centers, mail order and home stores in just a few short months, so start planning your budgets now!
Let’s start with my good buddy, Tony Avent at Plant Delights and Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ (white-centered Mexican Century plant). I am such a sucker for spiney things and the white of this new selection is the whitest I’ve ever seen. I better buy this today before you all hoard it up. Lol!
I also need Delosperma ‘Firespinner‘ (Fire spinner ice plant). Don’t you love it when plant people NEED a plant? hehehe
This plant was brought in from South Africa and trialed at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The color alone is enough to make me drool. It’s pink and orange people …too bad this didn’t come from the pink and orange girls of Plants Nouveau.
I’ve seen many images of this – one is more gorgeous than the other. Get out your wallets now. The only thing that kills ice plants is too much water… they’re pretty much a no-brainer!
How about this super cool, yet incredibly funky coneflower from the breeding program at the Chicago Botanic Garden called ‘Burgundy Fireworks’?
Kudos to them for spelling burgundy with a u – not an “a”. That drives me crazy!
My old boss, Dr. Jim Ault, bred this new selection. I remember when we selected a sister seedling of this one for propagation. We had some donors coming to visit the garden that night and we needed flowers for a vase to make our office area look pretty. We cut some of those and they stayed in that same vase for at least 6 weeks – three of the weeks without water. Just like it’s sister, the ray petals of Burgundy Fireworks are quilled and feel like they’re coated in wax. The flowers in that vase never wilted, so that must mean it’s tough, right?
This one is just as tough and in a much deeper color. What’s not to like?
And then there’s this Little Devil from Bailey’s Nursery in Minnesota. I love physocarpus (ninebark) because it is a native plant, it is the most drought tolerant, sun loving shrub I’ve ever grown and all of the new selections have colorful foliage.
Physocarpus ‘Donna May’ Little Devil is part of the First Editions line at Bailey’s. It is a dwarf selection with smaller leaves and shorter internodes, so the plant looks compact and dense all season. Deep maroon foliage turns to bright orange-yellow in the fall for a stunning display. Little Devil only reaches 3-4 feet tall, so it’s a heck of a lot shorter than the species and most other selections introduced so far. If you have a dry, sunny spot and you are looking for some color – Little Devil is for you.
I have to throw in one of ours once in a while, so I would like to talk about Echinacea ‘Southern Belle’.
This is the first double form of Echinacea tennessensis in cultivation. Bred by Arie Blom in the Netherlands, this long-lived, blooming machine will not disappoint. The more it blooms, the more it buds. Flowers keep coming all summer and into fall. Just a little deadheading and you’ll have two to three full flushes of flowers each summer. Southern Belle grows 30-36” tall and 36” wide, so there will be plenty of blooms. There’s even enough to cut and enjoy inside.
She sure is a beauty and she should technically be super long lived since her parents were. Only time will tell, but I am more impressed with this new selection every time I see it.
All you garden writers out there who took one home in Indianapolis – we’d love to get some feedback as soon as you have some to give. All of the growers loved this one the best of the new selections – hands down – all over the US.
And here’s another new one from Plants Nouveau that I think is a must have. It’s a banana called Mekong Giant.
Brian Williams in Louisville , KY was born in the wrong state. See, he has a love of tropicals that is insatiable and he really should have been born in the deep-south, where tropicals can be grown all year. Brian set out to defy the hardiness zone rules and selected a hardy banana that reaches to 15’ tall in USDA hardiness zone 6 and that’s not all – it sets fruit in zone 6 as well. Musa ‘Mekong Giant’ is no small musa, but bananas in zone 6?
Has he lost his mind?
We’re excited to be working with Brian and his tropical breeding brilliance. We’re looking forward to even more exciting new plants from Brian in the future.
Back to non-Plants Nouveau new things…check out these chicken themed garden wellies from Gardener’s Supply.
OMG…how cute are they and who wouldn’t want them?
These plants – and the boots – are all a little weird. Either in color, shape of their leaves or bloom or in their habit. I like weird. Weird is good. Weird is what makes the world exciting. If there weren’t weirdos and weird things to look at – I’d be bored. Wouldn’t you?
To quote the ever-brilliant Seth Godin,“The weird are now more important than the many, because weird are the many.”
I love that!
Weird are the many…isn’t that what being weird in the world of new plants is all about? Well, it should be.
I think this list will break your budget for this week, so I’ll be nice and stop. I promise to add some more must haves next week after my annual pilgrimage to the largest US winter trade show – The MANTS, in Baltimore, MD. I’ll be back home for a week to see my peeps. It should be a fun-filled, plant geeky, heavenly good time.
Hopefully I’ll see you there while I’m slinking around doing some more market research to see what’s hot, what’s new, what’s weird and what everyone is saying we must have for 2012.
Happy garden catalog reading (drooling) and Happy Weeding,
Partner, Plants Nouveau