The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at the University of Georgia. Click here for the lowdown on the top 10 perennials from 2008 for the 2009 market.
Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’
‘Gold Bar’ has exceptional posture, providing a highly useful structure as a border plant. The half inch creamy yellow bars that accent each bright green blade are striking and lure the viewer as they approach the plant. In this, its second year in the garden, plants were two and a half feet tall at the peak of summer.
What an exquisite beauty! The lavender petals gradually fade into a blue center. From the center of the bloom, a light yellow pistil and stamens arise, speckled with burgundy.
Gaura ‘Snow Fountain’
Cascading petals of white resemble falling snow frozen in time without the bite of cold weather. The brightness of the snow-like petals vividly accentuates the surrounding blooms of nearby plants in the garden, creating an effective complementary effect.
The warm colors of this heuchera make it unique indeed–and persistently so, with the foliage remaining in excellent form throughout the entire season. The light pink blooms that hover about a foot and a half above the clump of apricot hued leaves are light pink and have an ethereal presence.
Salvia leucantha ‘Cislano’
‘Cislano’ is flamboyant and a whole lot of fun. A full and robust shrub is well formed by bloom time, reaching an ultimate height of 5 1/2 feet, so it may need staking in order to keep upright and from crowding out nearby smaller plants. The flower texture and color are irresistible to any hands or eyes meandering through our garden.
Aruncus ‘Misty Lace’
‘Misty Lace’ produces an abundance of puffy cream colored panicles in the spring, and the foliage not only remains intact but continues to look presentable for its guests long after the blooms have excused themselves.
Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince’
‘Ivory Prince’ is not the typical Lenten rose we are accustomed to. Rather, this plant adds a deeper purity to the late winter through the early spring, flowering as early as March and into April in our gardens, much like a quiet prelude to the raucous chorus of color yet to come.
Coreopsis ‘Big Bang Full Moon’
‘Big Bang Full Moon’ has been a very happy camper this year, its first at the Gardens. It has consistently bloomed throughout the year, even at the time of this writing in mid November. With fresh lemony petals, one’s nose almost detects a citrus fragrance just from the look of it.
Gaillardia ‘Commotion Tizzy’ and ‘Commotion Frenzy’
This dynamic duo has caused a whirlwind of enthusiasm at the Gardens this year. The pinwheel designed flowers are whimsical and tease the eyes while the bright red and yellow shades cheer up even the cloudiest day. The plants have truly been in constant production this year beginning in late spring and continuing throughout the fall.
Salvia ‘Sensation Blue’
Compact, heavy flowering, deep blue to purple upright inflorescences and early flowering make ‘Sensation Blue’ a great choice for spring programs. They had no problem with the heat and humidity of the summer and we look forward to seeing them again next season.
For more on UGA’s All-Star perennials, check out Allan Armitage’s column in the February 2008 issue of Greenhouse Grower.