Two new flowers in my garden

Courtesy of All-America Selections
CHEERFUL: Asti White Osteospermum (or cape daisy) is an award-winning new flower that's drought-tolerant and attractive.

When applied to plants, the word "new" affects me much the same way red is supposed to attract bulls. If it's new, I can't wait to try it.

Realistically, I know that all new plants can't all be as wonderful as they're supposed to be. (If every rose were as disease-resistant as its hydrizider says, the folks that sell sprays for blackspot and mildew would be out of business!)

But every spring, hope triumphs over common sense, and I try way too many new perennials, annuals, veggies, and shrubs.

Another Wave petunia
I'll confess that I'm not the world's greatest petunia grower. But I've been successful with the Wave series (including Tidal Wave and Easy Wave). So I was pleased to find a new family member this year -- Shock Wave.

If you're a gardener who likes your petunia flowers big, you may not be happy with Shock Wave. The blooms are tiny -- but that's a plus in my book, since small petunias are much less likely to look bedraggled after rain than their bigger brethren.

And a plant that's covered with tiny blossoms is always appealing, I think – especially in pots, hanging baskets, and small flower beds.

Shock Wave comes in ivory, pink (including Pink Vein), purple, rose, and two mixes of colors. Height should be about seven to 10 inches and a spread of 2-1/2 to 3 feet.

A white cape daisy
Some gardeners look down on daisylike flowers as too common-looking. But not me. I love their old-fashioned look.

Debuting this year as an All-America Selections winner is Osteospermum ‘Asti White.’ (The common name for Osteospermum is cape daisy; it originated in South Africa.)

I had the opportunity to grow these last year and especially liked the big blooms (about 2-1/2 inches across). They’re white with an unusual bluish-purple center. And while many cape daisies close their flowers on cloudy days, Asti White didn't.

The plants are supposed to be drought-tolerant (I grew mine in containers and so can’t vouch for that) and are both heat- and cold-tolerant, a nice quality you don’t see often enough.

Asti White grew about 18 inches high in a large container placed in the sun and produced flowers all summers, as long as I kept the faded blooms deadheaded. It was definitely a keeper.

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