New Varieties Guide 2009: Proven Winners
For those looking for something completely new, Proven Winners did not disappoint. In fact, you could say lobularia ‘Snow Princess’ was the belle of the Pack Trials. Plants produce billowy clouds of white flowers in baskets, combination plantings and beds. Unlike seed alyssum, ‘Snow Princess’ is a breakthrough in heat tolerance and extended season performance.
Another unique introduction is ‘Pretty Much Picasso,’ a petunia with green and magenta bicolor blooms. Plants are vigorous with a trailing habit.
On the retail side, Proven Winners has relaunched its certified garden center program as iGarden Certification. In addition to educating garden center employees about Proven Winners’ products, there will be a series of general gardening knowledge modules addressing the most common consumer problems: watering, fertilizing and soils.
Also new for retailers is the Bloom Box–all a retailer needs to host a container gardening event at retail. The seminar in a box includes a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, two T-shirts and invitation postcards.
Focused On Drought Tolerance
Facing continuous watering restrictions in Southern California, EuroAmerican Propagators’ founder John Rader was inspired by the way Australia has been positioning gardening over the course of a very long, severe drought. His vision through Ecovations is to show consumers they can still enjoy color and conserve water.
“It’s a whole new look and feeling,” Rader says. “You don’t have to feel you have to sacrifice. Usually with the environmental issues, we are told we’ll be losing. They take away your water, gasoline, color or lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can still enjoy color and an enhanced lifestyle.”
In demonstration beds, Rader mixed succulents, grasses and annuals. Turns out many popular annuals, like calibrachoa and sutera (bacopa), like it on the dry side in the ground and don’t have to be watered as often as in baskets. Arctotis is another genus that likes it dry. Rader has been working with Australian breeders to bring drought-tolerant plants to market, like a new landscape ptilotus, ‘Platinum Wallaby.’
–Cyperus ‘King Tut’ and ‘Baby Tut’ in Graceful Grasses
–Diascia ‘Flirtation Orange’
–Illusion ipomoeas in Emerald Lace and Midnight Lace
–Lobelia ‘Lucia Dark Blue’
–Lobularia ‘Snow Princess’
–Nierembergia ‘Augusta Blue Skies’
–Petunia ‘Pretty Much Picasso’
–Phlox ‘Intensia Orchid Blast’
–Superbells calibrachoas–Yellow and Lavender
–Supertunia ‘Lavender Skies’
–Verbena ‘Superbena Pink Parfait’
COLOR CHOICE SHRUBS
–Buddleia ‘Miss Ruby’
–Hibiscuses Azurri Satin and Sugar Tip
–Hydrangeas Incrediball and Invincibelle
–Soft Serve chamaecyparis
–Sunjoy berberis ‘Gold Beret’ and ‘Gold Pillar’
–Vanilla Spice clethra