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Plant Stars on the Rise, Page Two

by Linda Coyner


A valuable source of whats hot comes from people in the industry like John Elsley, Director of Horticulture at Klehm's Song Sparrow Perennial Farm. He shared a long list of future plant stars with a group of garden writers in Chicago last summer. Here are some of my favorites from his list:

Orange Meadowbrite cornflower (the cultivar name is 'Art's Pride' )
While in Chicago, I had the opportunity to see this exciting orange cornflower for myself in the trial fields at the Chicago Botanic Garden and take home a plant. In full sun, it was about 2-3 feet tall. Meadowbrite was created by Dr. Jim Ault from the Chicagoland Grows program, a partnership among the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Morton Arboretum and the Ornamental Association of Growers of Northern Illinois. Zone 4-9; Heat Zone 1-9. I can attest to the fact that its not happy in Zone 10B. Limited distribution will guarantee a waiting line for this plant. Mail-order sources in 2004 are Wayside Gardens, White Flower Farm, Jackson and Perkins, Song Sparrow, and Plant Delights.

Echinacea 'Paranoia' (Paranoid Cone Flower).
According to Plant Delights, this plant came from echinacea crosses of E. paradoxa x purpurea. It has a compact (1 foot wide x 10 inches tall) growth habit and lovely rigid yellow flowers. Zone 7B-10.

Endless summer hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer)
This introduction from Monrovia is going to be hot in 2004. Who could resist a hydrangea that blooms on both old and new wood? That means its guaranteed to bloom and produce more flowers than others of its type. It is reported to be unusually hardy compared to other Hydrangea macrophylla, even in Zone 4 climate. Endless Summer is a mop-head type with flowers up to 8 inches in diameter, with pink blooms in alkaline soils and blue blooms in acidic soil. Since Endless Summer blooms on new wood, removal of spent flowers will encourage rebloom. Height and spread is 3-5 feet. Zone 4-9.

Two variegated forsythias
Foliage variegation adds another dimension to a shrub such as forsythia that brightens spring but is boring the rest of the year. Its potential is huge.

Suwan's Golden Leaf Korean Forsythia (Forsythia viridissima `Suwan Gold')
This forsythia is a small to medium-sized shrub typical of the genus except that it has vivid yellow small leaves with slight serration. Its best color emerges in light shade; in deep shade the leaves turn chartreuse. Zone 5-8.

Kumson Forsythia (F. viridissima Kumson)
Large, dark green leaves are accented with an attractive network of silver veins; stems are reddish. Pale yellow flowers in early spring are often tinged green. Best grown in normal garden soil in full sun to partial shade. Mature height is 6-8 feet. Zone 5-8.

Gaillardia Fanfare
This gaillardia stays nicely compact and has non-stop flowering. A single row of tubular red-and-yellow petals are arranged round a dark reddish center. Each petal starts out red then shifts to yellow at the trumpet-like flared tip. Zone 3-8.

Lirope 'Pee Dee Gold Ingot' (Golden Monkey Grass)
This grass is a 10 inch-tall clumping Monkey Grass with chartreuse golden foliage thats brightest after the new foliage emerges. Its ideal for a golden accent in dark parts of the garden. Small spikes of lilac-lavender flowers typical of the genus appear in late summer. Zone 6-10.

Candy lily (Pardancanda 'Sangria)
Candy lilies are new to me but theyre very similar to the iris-like Belamcanda but with larger flowers. Compact plants produce lovely 3-inch plum flowers. Zone 5-9.

Years ago, Flower Carpet roses got me hooked. I used it as a ground cover in the frontyard of my home in New York. An abundance of blooms covered plants from spring until Christmas. Unfortunately, where I now garden, Zone 10B, pushes them past even their limits of toughness and disease resistance. Still, I dont begrudge those in more moderate climates who can grow carpet roses and Im happy to report that in 2004 yellow is being added to the Anthony Tesselaar Flower series that already includes pink, white, appleblossom, red, and coral.

Blushing, a pale pink rose, joins Red Knock-out, which won an award from the All American Rose Society in 2000. Knock-out is from the Conrad-Pyle Company/Star Roses and if Blushing is anything like Red Knock-Out, itll be another winner. Red is said to be so maintenance free that it rivals the Carpet Series. Im trialing Red in my Zone10B garden and so far its handling the humidity and heat with aplomb, which its supposed to, as well as disease. At maturity, Blushing should be 3-feet tall and wide. The 3-inch flowers are single-petaled and clustered 3-15 together. Zone 4.

'Honey Perfume Rose captured one of the three 2004 All American Rose Societys awards. AARS describes Honey Perfume as apricot-yellow blooms with an attractive spicy scent. The blooms appear in dense clusters. This floribunda also claims to have excellent resistance to rust and powdery mildew.

Golden Zebra Daylily (Hemerocallis x `Malja' PP No. 14221). Beautiful variegated foliage on a dwarf daylily. Who could ask for anything more? In the shade, the variegation is a lovely green and white; in sun, green and yellow. Clear golden-yellow clusters of flowers appear on very short stems in summer. Overall plant height is 1 foot (with flowers a bit more), spreading to 2 feet.

Dwarf bottlebrush 'Little John' (Callistemon citrinus 'Little John') is sized just right for a sunny spot in the border. Similar to its larger relatives, blood-red blooms cover the tips of branches. Leaves are blue green. Reported to grow slowly to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips.' This beauty is a wild selection of the Mexican Salvia microphylla. Its a fast-growing shrubby plant reaching 6 feet and 2 1/2 feet wide. Its delicate flowers are bicolor. When the nights are warm, new flowers are all red with an occasional solid white one. As nights cool, new flowers open bicolor red and white. Zone 7-9a.


Plant Delights:


Blooms of Bressingham:

2004 All-America Selections:


University of Georgia Trials Classic City Garden 2003 Awards:

Klehm's Song Sparrow Perennial Farm:

Conrad-Pyle Company/Star Roses:

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