New plants on the block
Nurseries and seed companies unveil improved varieties of everything
(Page 2 of 2)
Low-maintenance is in demand with busy families. This means hybridizers are developing shrubs that are free from insects and diseases and have a compact shape that requires less trimming. Because of the continuing popularity of perennial flowers, shrubs that fit into the perennial border are gaining ground.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Wood also sees a return to shrubs whose branches can be cut to use in floral arrangements. He recommends three new shrubs that are part of those trends.
Itea virginica Little Henry (sweetspire) is a compact shrub with showy, sweet-smelling flowers that appear on the tips of graceful arching stems in June. In autumn, the leaves turn brilliant scarlet and stay on the plant until early December. In my garden, it's right at home along the edge of the perennial border.
Physocarpus opulifolious Diabolo (purple ninebark) is the first ninebark to have deep burgundy-black foliage. It blooms in July, with white, button-like blossoms that seem to jump out in contrast to the dark glossy foliage. It has few pest problems and is adaptable to most soils.
Weigela florida Wine & Roses is also simple to grow, as long as you place it in full sun. Named a Gold Medal Winner by the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society for 2000, it combines dark burgundy foliage with masses of romantic pink spring blooms that attract hummingbirds by the score.
Horticulturists at several Southern botanical gardens are growing and recommending Encore azaleas, broad-leaved
evergreens that flower in fall as well as spring.
Americans are looking for easy-care rosebushes that don't develop black spot or mildew, and that produce an abundance of fragrant, good-looking flowers all summer, say observers of the horticulture scene. Three that fit that description were named All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winners for 2000. When I grew this trio of roses last summer, my favorite was Knock Out, a shrub rose that represents another trend in roses - the old-fashioned look. The almost fluorescent-red blooms are single and complemented by richly hued foliage with a hint of burgundy. Traditionalists will enjoy the blooms' light fragrance, while gardeners with little time will appreciate Knock Out's exceptional pest-resistance.
My second favorite was Gemini, a hybrid tea with cream and deep-coral blooms that are real head-turners. Their sparkling personality attracted the immediate attention of visitors to my garden. Everyone oohed and aahed.
The legions of gardeners who think the perfect rose is big and bright red will be impressed by the four-inch blooms on Crimson Bouquet, a grandiflora rose with such brilliant scarlet flowers that they often looked like they were on fire. This rose's looks were matched by its performance - it was trouble-free in my garden, even when stressed by drought.
Fans of Flower Carpet roses can look for a velvety-red variety this spring to join the pink, white, and apple blossom colors previously introduced.
Red Flower Carpet is a prolific bloomer that cascades over the ground and is ideal for mass plantings.
Ruth Baumgardner, president-elect of the Perennial Plant Association, says that gardeners will see an increasing number of perennials with what she calls "interesting" foliage.
Cascade Dawn heuchera, for instance, has purple leaves with gray veining. And a new viola called Syletta boasts silvery foliage veined with deep green and blushed with purple undertones.
Ms. Baumgardner's favorite new perennial is Japanese aster (Pinnatidida Hortensis).
"It blooms for more than 12 weeks in sun or part shade, if it's kept watered," she says with enthusiasm.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society