11 Top-Notch Perennials

Achillea 'Peachy Seduction'

We take great pride in the trials at the University of Georgia (UGA). We don’t trial for the sake of trialing, to make us look good or to give us something to do. We trial in the steadfast belief that what we do makes a difference.

When we provide real data under real-world conditions, we do so in the belief that someone – breeders, growers, retailers and consumers – will pay attention.

Quality is not limited to fertility standards and spacing; quality is also what consumers, from landscapers to buyers, see when they have a little money to spend.

So, in the belief that what we do does make a difference, here are the Classic City perennial award winners for 2011. These are the very best perennials in the trial gardens, based on year-round performance and/or eye-clutching beauty.

The Perennials

All are winter hardy to at least Zone 5, unless otherwise noted. The companies associated with each plant either bred the plant or supplied it to UGA. However, your broker should be able to obtain all of these winners.

Achillea ‘Peachy Seduction’ (Blooms of Bressingham)

We have been evaluating yarrows for some time and they seem to improve every year, but this one really stood out. One of our students said it reminds them of their grandmother’s antique lace, which we felt was a lovely description of this yarrow. Plants were consistently full of flowers throughout the spring season. A great plant in the garden and one that also works well as a cut flower.

Baptisia ‘Prairie Twilight Blues’ (North Creek Nurseries)

Another plant we seem to talk about too much, waiting for the market to catch up. With the fabulous breeding going on in the genus, there are at least a half dozen that could go on this list. This was one of the best and caught the eyes of commercial and private visitors for its vigor and handsome flowers.

Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’ (Walters Gardens)

A truly green flower! We have loved this coneflower bred by Future Plants for a couple of years. The entire plant is covered in medium-sized single flowers all season long. This year it was about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. We had dozens of different coneflowers, but people invariably chose this one.

Echinacea PowWow (Ball Horticultural Co.)

With so many coneflowers, it is not surprising that there was more than one for this popular list. We loved the compact size, the ease of production and the handsome flowers. Commercial people eyed it greedily, and gardeners loved the habit.

Helleborus ‘Pink Frost’ (Skagit Gardens)

The new hellebores are nothing short of spectacular. Bred by Heuger Trading Co. of Germany, plants provide upright early pinkish flowers that are truly handsome. Their earliness may be a bit of a problem in the landscape but a boon for retailers wanting pot plants for early sales in the store. A number of fine selections are available, including ‘Ruby Glow.’

Hibiscus ‘Cranberry Crush’ (Walters Gardens)

I have mentioned that I believe hardy hibiscus are underused. Now I see a plethora of new cultivars available. This one is moderate in size and could be used in smaller landscapes (but certainly not dwarf). Large, bright deep-red flowers cover the plant. It is a hibiscus and certainly not immune to Japanese beetles. Other great hibiscus include ‘Royal Gems’ (Fleming) and ‘Peppermint Schnapps’ (Blooms).

Nierembergia ‘Summer Splash White’ (Suntory Flowers)

I have already written about this plant, and its cousin ‘Summer Splash Blue.’ They are likely only perennial to Zone 7, but that is sufficient territory for good sales. Easy to grow, early to flower, persistent in flower and eye catching, it was one of our Plants of Distinction for four weeks running.

Phlox ‘Cosmopolitan’ (Darwin Perennials/Ball)

This phlox was stunning all season long. It has an amazing deep-pink color that stands out from across the garden. The blooms come on strong, and they last throughout the balmy summer days here in Athens. Last year, we chose ‘Peacock White,’ and we think this one is just as wonderful. A great standout in the garden!

Rosa ‘Mother of Pearl’ (Conard Pyle) and Rosa ‘Golden Celebration’ (David Austin)

We are trialing dozens of roses in the trial gardens, and oh what joy to see so many performing so well without being overrun by leaf spotting and other diseases. These two were favorites all summer (and last year as well).

Sedum ‘Maestro’ (Walters Gardens/Proven Winners)

Greenish purple foliage frocked with pink flowers throughout the season, this sedum sure was a show stopper. Plants performed without a hitch considering they are located in one of the hottest and driest spots in the garden. Growing to about 1½ feet with a spread of 2 to 3 feet, the beauty was a prize winner at all of our seasonal events.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Florists

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More
Latest Stories
Suntory Blue Rose Applause

October 21, 2017

Suntory’s Blue Rose ‘Applause’ Now Available to U.S. Fl…

‘Applause’ was originally introduced to the U.S. in 2011, and since then it was been successfully tested and selected to meet new market conditions.

Read More

October 17, 2017

14 New Shrubs With Fringe Benefits

What’s popular with shrubs? Consumers want varieties that will give them more return on their investment, in terms of long-lasting blooms and multi-season appeal that lasts from spring until fall and at times stretches into the winter months. Here are 14 new varieties of shrubs and sub-shrubs to consider for your product mix in 2018.

Read More

October 14, 2017

PlantPeddler Hosting Poinsettia Variety Day in December

The event will feature side-by-side comparisons of more than 100 commercial and pre-released varieties from seven breeders.

Read More

October 10, 2017

Coastal Callas Is a Dream Fulfilled for Founder Adrian …

Adrian Espinoza and his family founded Rancho Espinoza Inc. and Coastal Callas in California seven years ago with a mission and purpose to provide consistent quality and reliable supply of calla lilies to the marketplace.

Read More
Azalea Encore Autumn Bonfire

October 4, 2017

Big Changes on the Horizon for Woody Ornamentals

The future looks bright for the woody ornamentals market, with exciting new varieties in the pipeline that will offer greater disease resistance, cold hardiness, bloom capacity, and more.

Read More

October 3, 2017

25 New Blooming Potted Plants for Luxury Sales

Consider these new blooming potted plant varieties that offer full blooms, unique foliage, and a touch of extravagance and easy maintenance for time-strapped customers who want to pamper themselves.

Read More
Hydrangea 'Berry White' (Bailey Nurseries)

October 2, 2017

Woody Ornamentals Market Set for Growth

The woody ornamentals market is looking up. Now, out-of-the box thinking about product offerings and consumer education will keep things moving in the right direction.

Read More

September 27, 2017

New Mum Intros From California Spring Trials 2017

For fall gardening product selection, you can't go wrong with offering mums. Here are a few of the new introductions that we saw at California Spring Trials 2017 that will be making their retail debut in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

September 26, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Enhances Product Development Program, …

Plant Introductions, which Bailey purchased almost three years ago, is being rebranded as Bailey Innovations, an entity that will breed and trial new varieties in Georgia.

Read More
Green Fuse Lupine Staircase Pink

September 24, 2017

How to Effectively Grow Staircase Lupine

The Staircase Lupine series, part of Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials collection, has the potential to put on a great display with solid and bicolor hues.

Read More
Terra Nova 2018 Catalog

September 23, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries’ Latest Plant Catalog is Now Avail…

The new 2017-2018 plant catalog, which features hundreds of varieties, series, and collections from Terra Nova Nurseries, pays homage to the company’s 25th anniversary.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Suntory Grandessa argyranthemum - feature

September 18, 2017

Breeders Open Availability for Unrooted Cuttings; Here&…

With new avenues for buying young plants for vegetative production, growers should have an easier time finding availability and receiving shipments of unrooted cuttings for the coming seasons.

Read More
Ball, Tagawa Succulents Partnership

September 14, 2017

Ball Seed to Partner With Tagawa Greenhouses on New Suc…

The new program includes in-demand retail products that are popular with younger shoppers, allowing growers to easily build a comprehensive succulent program and stay on-trend in the marketplace.

Read More
Strait-Laced Elderberry

September 10, 2017

Check Out the Top Varieties On Display at Farwest 2017

A panel of plant experts, along with show attendees, selected their favorite offerings during the Farwest 2017 New Varieties Showcase.

Read More

September 5, 2017

Hort Couture Announces New Propagation and Broker Partn…

The new grower-propagator partners are deeply vested in the independent garden center channel with propagation expertise, as well as finished production focused on the independent grower.

Read More
Helianthus Sunfinity (Syngenta Flowers)

September 3, 2017

Growing Tips for Helianthus Sunflower ‘Sunfinity…

This annual sunflower is a profuse bloomer with strong branching that produces multiple flowers per plant from spring to fall.

Read More
Ball Seed Field Day 2017

September 2, 2017

Highlights from Ball Seed’s Annual Field Day and Landsc…

Attendees of the one-day event had the opportunity to see new plants in up-close-and-personal trials, and engage with speakers and product experts.

Read More