Seven Plant Varieties Selected as Fan Favorites at Farwest 2019

Judges at the 2019 Farwest Show chose Japanese painted fern ‘Crested Surf’ (Athyrium niponicum) as the Best in Show winner in the show’s New Varieties Showcase.

‘Crested Surf’ was one of 83 outstanding new selections on display at the 2019 Farwest Show and available from at least one show exhibitor.


“Year after year, the New Varieties Showcase has interesting and often surprising new plant introductions on display,” says show director Allan Niemi of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “It’s our goal to showcase these plants before industry professionals and be the place where they can see these great introductions first.”

‘Crested Surf’ was hybridized by Hans Hansen at Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, MI, and introduced by Walters Gardens. It is available from Proven Winners.

‘Crested Surf’ looks similar to a traditional Japanese painted fern, but the tips of the fronds are double crested. It is a vigorous, taller variety that can fit the middle of the border, perfect for adding unusual texture and color to moist, shady areas of the garden.

In addition of the Best of Show award, judges gave Awards of Merit:

‘Golden Falls Redbud’: Bred by Dr. Denny Werner in North Carolina and introduced by Star Roses and Plants, the gold leaf weeping form of ‘Golden Falls Redbud’ is a new color for Cercis. Derived from ‘Hearts of Gold’, this Cercis has little to no leaf scorch and is low maintenance. New growth is tinged with orange that eventually turns golden yellow to lime green. It is great for small yards and spaces, and has pink flowers in spring.

Manzanita ‘Panchito’: Selected by Dermod Downs in the Uncompahgre Plateau of Colorado and introduced by Plant Select, ‘Panchito’ is available from Van Essen Nursery. An outstanding selection of a Colorado native, broadleaf evergreen, ‘Panchito’s tiny, waxy, white, urn-shaped flowers are very appealing. Small red berries can be produced on established plants. It is hardy to Zone 4b and can withstand many freeze-thaw cycles in a winter with vigorous growth habit.

Aronia ‘Ground Hog’: Hybridized at the University of Connecticut by Dr. Mark Brand, ‘Ground Hog’ was introduced by Spring Meadow Nursery and Proven Winners ColorChoice. The breeder describes it as an ideal landscape groundcover for filling in difficult spaces such as parking lot beds, slopes, or anywhere mowing would be difficult or undesirable. It naturally grows as a thick, dense mat, eliminating the need for weeding and mulching as well. It has glossy foliage, white spring flowers, and dark-purple berries in late summer, and autumn foliage in hues of brilliant orange-red make this native plant as showy as it is adaptable.

All of the New Varieties Showcase selections are viewable at

More From Farwest: People’s Choice Awards

It’s not just official plant judges that pick their favorite new varieties at the Farwest Show. Attending growers have their input as well, and this year they chose ‘FlameThrower Redbud’ as their People’s Choice Best in Show award winner in the New Varieties Showcase. ‘Flame Thrower’ was bred by Dr. Denny Werner in North Carolina and introduced by Star Roses and Plants, which had it available for ordering at the show as a bare root tree. According to Star, this breakthrough small tree variety has extremely unique foliage color, with four to five different foliage colors (burgundy, red, orange, yellow, lime) on just one branch. New growth is burgundy/red and ages to bright yellow, then green. Leaf scorch is very minimal, and the tree itself is low maintenance. It has a semi-pendulous habit, growing to 15 to 20 feet high and 15 feet wide.

In addition to Flame Thrower, the voters chose three other selections to receive Awards of Merit:

Hydrangea ‘Seaside Serenade Cape Hatteras’: This hydrangea was hybridized by Kolster BV in The Netherlands and introduced by Monrovia. According to Monrovia, the deep burgundy red of this bloom is hard to believe, and photos don’t seem to do it justice. The blooms are offset with fantastic deep-green foliage and the stems are very strong to hold up the 10-inch blooms. As a tetraploid, this plant is stronger and tougher with thick stems and strong, deeply colored, leathery foliage and long-lasting blooms. The shrub flowers in spring and summer, with an ultimate size of 3½ feet tall and 3 feet wide. It makes a statement in the garden or as an entryway accent in a container. The blooms hold their color for an extended period of time and make excellent dried flowers. The compact habit without the use of plant growth regulators fits usefully into a variety of smaller spaces in the landscape.

Sedum ‘Rock n’ Grow Pride and Joy’: This sedum was introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. It was made available for ordering in 72-count plugs and G1 bare root plants from Proven Winners. According to Proven Winners, the dark-pink ‘Pride and Joy’ joins the light pink ‘Pure Joy’ and the white-flowering sport `Bundle of Joy.’ This sport of ‘Pure Joy’ shares the same impeccable habit, excellent flower coverage, serrated leaves, and early bloom time as its parent, but with darker leaves and darker pink flowers. It makes a durable, low maintenance, low water requirement garden plant.

Brunnera ‘Queen of Hearts’: This brunnera was introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. It was made available for ordering in 2-count and 72-count plugs from Proven Winners. According to them, this stunning foliage perennial will be the queen of the shade. Brunnera `Queen of Hearts’ has extremely large, heart-shaped leaves and a pronounced silver overlay with narrower bands of dark green veining. From mid to late spring, baby blue, forget-me-not type blossoms are held in clusters above the foliage. The plant exhibits good anthracnose resistance.