With its wide assortment of plants, great presenters and an amazing location atop a hill at a spa/resort, Proven Winners is a can’t-miss stop during California Spring Trials. The Greenhouse Grower team first visited with Proven Winners’ nursery partner, Spring Meadow, where we got to see the new shrub introductions.
Proven Winners has two new hydrangea series. The Let’s Dance series is third generation breeding and boasts strong reblooming and a compact habit. The new mountain hydrangea, ‘Tiny Tuff Stuff,’ is another rebloomer and grows to 1.5- to 2-feet tall. Its leaves take on a purple hue when they encounter cool night temperatures.
The attractive new Gem Box ilex, an ink berry holly, is suggested as a boxwood replacement for those areas being hit with boxwood blight. It grows to 2- to 4-feet tall and takes full to part sun, but cannot take full shade the way boxwoods can.
Spring Meado Nursery is working on mixing in Southern genetics with its current Midwest-friendly plant stock. This effort could be seen in two new shrubs, a loropetalum and a dwarf crape myrtle. The Jazz Hand series has five varieties, including a variegated intro, a true rarity for loropetalums.
The Infiniti dwarf crape myrtle series is truly dwarf, growing only 2- to 4-feet tall. It has three bloom colors, all crape myrtle staples: ‘Magenta,’ ‘Bright Pink’ and ‘Orchid,’ which is a pale purple.Perennials
The Greenhouse Grower team then saw the Walter’s Gardens portion of Proven Winner’s trials. There were not as many perennial introductions as last year, and many of them were color additions to existing series, but a few stood out. The Decadence series of baptisia had ‘Pink Truffles,’ which showed off a pink hue that Walter’s Gardens says is a brand new color for baptisias. The new white veronica has as much appeal as its blue sister did when it debuted with much interest last year. ‘Magic Show White Wands’ is more resistant to disease, a welcome development for white veronicas.
The real buzz for Proven Winners was in its annuals division, with the calibrachoa ‘Holy Moly’ acting as the star attraction.
Hotels near Trials stops are dominated by those attending the stops, and everyone compares notes in the breakfast rooms and parking lots as you cross paths. ‘Holy Moly’ was one of the most talked about varieties we heard about as we made our way north. It’s a sport of ‘Cherry Star,’ which was a big hit not too long ago. It lives up to the hype.
The Hello! gerbera series is designed for landscape use rather than just for pots. Proven Winner’s John Gaydos says the series will bloom steadily even when hit with common gerbera problems like aphids, which will increase homeowners’ likelihood of succeeding with this popular genus.