New plants introductions have gardeners dreaming

Current issues of gardening magazines are full of articles about new introductions. That means new Heuchera, which to me look remarkably like many others already on the market, and new colors of Geum, Monarda and Dahlia, just as there have been every year over the last decade. There’s also a new silver and green Brunnera, ‘Jack of Diamonds,’ that’s a larger version of Brunnera ‘Alexander’s Great,’ which is a larger version of ‘Jack Frost.’ As Americans get bigger so do our plants.

As usual, there are new colors of trailing petunias, Monarda and Geum and a hot new Hydrangea, ‘Haas Halo.’ This is interesting since it is listed as Hydrangea arborescens, a native in the Midwest. I have them in deep shade where they are incredibly dependable because they flower on new wood. The rabbits and critters may gnaw them right to the ground over winter, but they faithfully produce 4-inch round white flower heads in the late summer and autumn.

More interesting to me is the ‘Igloo’ series of mums (now called Dendranthema). I inherited a couple of hardy mums, and while I like the flowers, they sprawl because I never take the time to pinch them back in mid-summer. The new series promises its 18-inch-tall plants need no pinching. The newest, ‘Autumn Spice,’ is paprika color, and there are other gold, yellow and white flowered selections in the series.

There are also a couple of real novelties in this year’s new introduction list. A red-leafed Brussels sprout, ‘Redarling,’ is supposed to keep its color, although it’s not clear if this means after it’s cooked. And shade gardeners will be happy to learn the new ‘Beacon’ impatiens is resistant to downy mildew. That’s ravaged impatiens the last couple of years.

The most interesting introduction may be new redbud (Cercis canadensis) ‘Flamethrower,’which has red foliage that ages to yellow and then green. New growth through the summer means the tree has many shades of all three colors at the same time. The trees mature at 15 to 20 feet. The small trees are vivid and very colorful. It’s certainly different than anything else I’ve seen, but perhaps not quite the thing for a traditional house and garden like ours. But for a more modern house and daring gardener, a mature specimen would be a show stopper.

As usual, the introduction lists show a lot of the same things as last year, but with enough novelties to keep gardeners eager to see what’s new. It’s too early to determine which plants will become tomorrow’s standards, but not too early to dream of what to try in the spring.

Registration is now open for the Port Garden Club’s winter seminar on Feb. 8. The keynote speaker will be Richard Hawke of the Chicago Botanic Garden. There are also sessions on integrating vegetables into borders, gardening for wildlife and garden first aid. Workshops include building a living wall, hands-on fermentation class and learning about orioles and constructing your own feeder. For full details and to sign up, go to the club’s website at Gift certificates are available for the gardeners on your Christmas or Valentine’s Day list.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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