Classic City Awards For Perennials

Classic City Awards For Perennials

We recently discussed, argued and finally voted on the top 12 perennials in the Trial Gardens at UGA. These plants exemplified the highest performance for the longest period of time in our challenging environment in Athens, Ga. 

We used our own eyeballs but also asked visitors to flag the plants they liked best. On perennials, we collected data on length of flowering (or length of beauty if no flowers), disease and insect problems, and their ability to perform well even in difficult conditions of heat and humidity. The plants that make this list are truly the best of the best. 
 
These are the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys and the Obies all tied in one. If a plant wins a Classic City award, take it to the bank.

And The Winners Are … 

Athyrium nipponica ‘Wildwood Twist.’ This fern performed extraordinarily well during 2009. While it has been a UGA Trial Garden resident for a few years, we placed it in a much more desirable site during the winter earlier in the year. The better soil moisture combined with denser shade gave this fern a reason to shine. We are proud to present this plant to our visitors. Its frond color pattern is eye catching and can serve as a fantastic focal point, border, accent plant or container component.
 
Coreopsis ‘Route 66.’ With flashes of red and yellow in the daisy flowers, the old highway has been resurrected in a compact, spunky form of tickseed. Performing in brilliant form all summer into the early autumn, this coreopsis from ItSaul Plants has an attractive mound form and is floriferous without need for deadheading.

Tiki Torch echinacea

Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch.’ I am a particularly harsh skeptic of many of the new echinaceas, and I had to be talked into this one. However, everyone was more than a little pleased ‘Tiki Torch’ did so well. The orange flower c
olor is vivid and maintains its color over a long period of time. A plant that can hold its own with no need for staking is desirable, and ‘Tiki Torch’ from Terra Nova is just that. Although 2009 was its first year, we expect to see this echinacea reappear next year with even more gusto and even more blooms. This year’s sneak peek has definitely given us reason to believe it will.
 
Erysimum ‘Jenny Brook.’ She wowed us from January until June this year with her delightful color palette of apricot and lavender. ‘Jenny Brook’ from Blooms of Bressingham cascades well down a slope or overhanging a bank. A plant worth getting to know, this erysimum is the best wall flower we have ever trialed, bar none. Lots of flower power, no maintenance. It showed no sign of stress whatsoever, proving to withstand the climate associated with the southeastern piedmont. She is green and healthy in the fall and looking forward to next spring.
 
Georgia Yellow gaillardiaGaillardia ‘Georgia Yellow.’ Not to toot our own horn, but we haven’t witnessed a finer gaillardia in a very long time. ‘Georgia Yellow,’ an Athens Select debut, exhibits a floriferous blooming habit and no sign of legginess that is often seen with other gaillardias. From May to October, plants were never out of bloom, quite different than many of the other gaillardias on trial. Deadheading was not necessary as the rounded fruit added another ornamental dimension to the plant. ‘Georgia Yellow’ asks for little fuss, provides a lot and given room to grow, can liven up any garden space.
 
Heliopsis ‘Tuscan Sun.’ We planted ‘Tuscan Sun’ in a cement container, not knowing exactly how tall it would grow. To our amazement, this compact Proven Winners plant never grew more than 9 inches tall. This is the first year for the plant, so we expect more height next year, but a dwarf heliopsis–well, we are excited. It formed a tight mound that was consistently covered in bright yellow blossoms from June until frost. ‘Tuscan Sun’ tolerated our heat and our humidity without waning.
 
Brownies heucheraHeuchera villosa ‘Brownies.’ This autumn coral bells is, in many ways, the essence of the season. Warmth in the tone of the brown and tan foliage and the softness of the cream puffs of floral decoration both echo the spirit of fall. ‘Brownies’ is outstanding in its ability to withstand intense heat, humidity and drought and still come out looking like a 10.
 
Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel.’ Golden apricot-hued leaves adorned with sprays of white blossoms make this heuchera stand out from the rest. We probably trial two dozen different heucheras, but to me this is the best. Its potential to hold up in our sometimes less-than-tolerable-summers adds even more charm to ‘Caramel.’ We hold this plant in the very highest regard of all the heucheras we are trialing. Plants have been in the gardens for many years and never fail to please.
 
Peacock White phloxPhlox ‘Peacock White.’ We have been very impressed with the Syngenta series of compact summer phlox. While all the colors within the series are impressive, none provided the same oomph ‘Peacock White’ did. The color is a vivid fresh bright white, and the blooms seem to have a noticeable longevity, exhibiting less of a need for deadheading. The pristine white color, together with the robust growing habit of a plant that never was taller than 15 inches, makes this phlox a plant worth admiration.
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch.’
 
‘Dutch’ is by far the most vigorous and hardy lavender at the trial garden. A faithful resident for many years, we have been continually impressed with its bountiful florets and calming rich scent. In an effort to not take this great specimen for granted, we felt it absolutely necessary to include ‘Dutch’ in our 2009 Classic City Awards for being reliably beautiful year after year.
 
Sunny Knockout roseRosa ‘Sunny Knockout.’ One of the best roses we have trialed, ‘Sunny Knockout’ will almost knock you out, not only with its sunny disposition, but also with its beautiful fragrance. This is its first year in the garden and it has been a pleasure to watch this rose grow and blossom. It has proven to be a real showstopper, and we look forward to watching her turn heads next year.
 
/articles/image/200912/a2/sunnyknockout.jpgRudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers.’ Terra Nova’s ‘Henry Eilers’ is a handsome and spirited lad, indeed. We were very much entertained by the scoop-petaled, yellow-orange flowers. This rudbeckia adds a whimsical focal point wherever planted. Flowering time was midsummer, and ‘Henry Eilers’ was still flowering November 1. Another attribute of this plant is the foliage remained healthy and unscathed by any disease or insect pillage throughout the season.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
Latest Stories
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
Syngenta Obsession Cascade

February 15, 2017

Syngenta Introduces Two New Flower Series for 2017

‘Sunfinity’ Sunflower produces multiple branches with numerous flowers that bloom all season long, while ‘Obsession Cascade’ Verbena quickly fills containers with vibrant flower patterns.

Read More
Euphorbia 'Gold Rush'

February 8, 2017

5 Ways to Tie Poinsettias to Lifestyle Trends for Incre…

With poinsettia planning upon us, here are a few ideas to incorporate them into upcoming lifestyle and home décor trends to help increase sales.

Read More
Table setting with begonias for decoration

February 7, 2017

Seasonal Plant Trends for 2017 and Beyond

Aligning your plant sales with popular lifestyle and home décor movements will engage your customers and multiply your profits.

Read More

February 7, 2017

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Presents a First Look at Ne…

The annual event brings breeders, growers, and retailers together to compare new plant varieties and evaluate their performance. Here's a look at some of the new varieties featured in the trial gardens.

Read More
Grateful Heart Rose feature

February 5, 2017

Flower Breeders Making Donations for Heart Disease and …

Companies such as Jackson & Perkins and Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs are donating portions of their sales to groups such as the American Heart Association and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

February 1, 2017

Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship Win…

Beasley, a junior at Oregon State University’s Ecampus who also manages a local community college greenhouse, will join Armitage and a team of Greenhouse Grower editors in attending and reporting on the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Read More
IPM Essen Plant Innovations Winners

January 31, 2017

Top New Plants Recognized at IPM Essen in Germany

Winners were announced in several categories in the Innovations Showcase, from flowering houseplants to cut flowers.

Read More
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

January 25, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes Veggies, Shade Plants, and Cli…

Here's a look at plants that could help you with successful growing in 2017.

Read More
Hibiscus Hollywood Gossip Queen

January 24, 2017

29 New Flowering and Foliage Plants from TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was the place to be Jan. 18-20 to catch a peek at some of the new plant introductions making their first appearance on the market.

Read More
Quick Plug

January 24, 2017

Dümmen Orange Acquires Quick Plug, a Cutting Compost Su…

Quick Plug technology is designed to open up opportunities for automation and robotization of several product groups and add quality to rooted products.

Read More
EPCOT Suntory Princettia Euphorbia

January 23, 2017

Princettia Euphorbias Charm Vacationers at Disney Resor…

Suntory’s Princettia euphorbias have brought a new color palette to the holiday landscapes at Walt Disney World’s resorts and theme parks in central Florida.

Read More
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials…

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

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

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More