CAST 2018: Dr. A’s Favorites From Syngenta Flowers, Bailey Nurseries, and More

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer Summer Crush’ (Bailey Nurseries)

I am not the biggest hydrangea fan, and I am the first to admit that perhaps I have not said as many kind words as I should have about mopheads. However, I am really pleased to tell every buyer and garden center owner, large and small, to get you orders in for Summer Crush. Bailey has gotten the genetics right with this one — strong stems, compact but vigorous, and beautiful large pink mopheads. These are going to be in high demand. Order now or forever regret that you are missing the prize.

Gaura Summer Star Series (Histel)

We have seen a number of excellent guaras this trip, but the Summer Star series displayed at Histel was truly outstanding. I loved the colors, the strong habit, and the uniformity across the series. All were outstanding, but the dwarf form Summer Star Baby was the best of all.

Geranium Moxie Series (Syngenta Flowers)

I am a little tired of giving kudos to the breeders at Syngenta for their geraniums. I have lauded Caliente and Calliope so often I should be receiving royalties. However, I am pleased to recommend a shorter Calliope, with all the excellent characteristics we expect for that series. Moxie looked superb! If you like Calliope (and who doesn’t?), take a look at the shorter Moxie.

Aquilegia Kirigami Series (Syngenta Flowers)

Finally, I can gush over an excellent new perennial, one I am sure will take off if growers have the sense to work with it. My friend Todd Perkins bred this fine series, and anything Todd does is guaranteed to be a success. Five colors of plants, each with superb upright bicolor flowers, assure excellent sales. Take a look; for me, this is the first really good columbine in the last 10 years.

Begonia Tophat Series (Syngenta Flowers)

I debated adding this begonia to the Armitage Recommended Plant list, but only for a second or two. Plants are interspecific crosses, although they most look like some of the Big or Whopper series from Benary. The leaves are large and they look more like wax begonias than anything. But, oh my, they are pretty. The best is likely the white, a color unavailable in other large wax forms. Love it, ty it.

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