Best in Show:
Gomphrena Las Vegas series, Audray series, and Fireworks: This was another great year for gomphrena due to the extreme heat and lack of rain. The Las Vegas series from Benary was outstanding. It was more vigorous than the smaller bedding types like the Buddy series, but was not as large as the Audray series from American Takaii. The Audray series put on a great show due to its inherent size and vigor, another series with excellent performance. Fireworks from PanAmerican is in a class by itself.
Top 5 varieties overall:
Coleus Rebel Rouser: This bright chartreuse yellow leaved wonder from Proven Winners took the heat without leaf burn. It was stunning at the end of the summer when plants with this leaf color have usually browned out. Very little flowering was another plus.
Euphorbia White Manaus: This euphorbia from GroLink is the most vigorous we have grown. It stayed fresh and in flower all season long. It will be promoted as a Texas Superstar® (www.texassuperstar.com ) in spring 2011.
Lantana Bandana White and Lucky Pure Gold: Lantanas always shine in the heat and this year was no exception. I was particularly impressed with the mounding, uniform habit of Bandana White from Syngenta Flowers. And Lucky Pure Gold from Ball FloraPlant put in a second year of outstanding flower power.
Napier Grass Princess Caroline: This Napier Grass from Wayne Hanna’s breeding program at the University of Georgia is a fantastic new addition to our plant palette in this region. This cultivar is improved over Princess with darker foliage and resistance to leaf spot in our climate. This is a great new plant!
Portulaca Duet Rose N’ Yellow: Portulaca do not always thrill me, but this one from Sakata Elite Propagation caught my eye. It still only opens during the day, but flowering remained steady all summer and made a very nice ground cover with a beautiful combination of colors.
Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Overton, Texas
Several hundred entries (about 400 in the field and 50 containers) were planted from late April to late May 2010.
Weather conditions during the trials: Conditions in May were warm and dry. June brought hot temperatures with little rainfall. Late June into early July was hot, rainy, and humid. Late July remained hot and dry. August had record heat with little rain, but high humidities prevailed. This has been one of the toughest trial seasons weather wise in recent memory. Weather details can be found at http://etweather.tamu.edu/datatable/ .