Saturday, March 14, 2009

Plants To Buy This Year

Fortunately for me my work involves finding exciting new plants to entice Ontario gardeners. I, being one of these gardeners, want to bring many of these plants home with me. Of course, for no other reason than to give them an objective trial in our particular climate.

I have selected the following 10 for my personal "want" list from the many new varieties we'll be bringing to our Niagara garden centre this spring. That is, if space and budget permit.

The pictures are courtesy of google (this time).

At first I thought this picture of Laburnocytisus adamii was photoshopped, but it really produces different coloured blooms. It is a hybrid graft between Laburnum and Cytissus that retains characteristics of each. Plant in a sunny location. Hardy to zone 5.

Pterostyrax hispida is known as the epaulette tree because its fragrant white flowers grow in panicles up to 25cm long that resemble epaulettes.

Franklinia is a member of the tea family. It is a bit fussy, requiring well-drained, moist and slightly acidic soil. But it flowers in July and August and has bright red fall foliage. It is hardy to zone 5.

Campylotropsis macrocarpa is a rare shrub from Korea that will grow around 4' tall. It bears unusual flowers from mid to late summer and is hardy to zone5.

Calycanthus Venus is a great new form of spicebush with fragrant white flowers in early summer and sporadically through summer. It grows about 4-5' tall and is hardy in zones 5-8.

Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) is a native fruit tree hardy to zone 5. It bears large edible fruits that have the aroma of banana and pineapple. These are not commercially available because they do not ship well, so the only way you will taste it is to grow them yourself.

Agave parryi is the hardiest member of this desert plant family. It will reportedly winter in zone 6 (possibly 5) as long as the soil is dry. Gardeners I know who have tried it suggest covering with a tarp in winter to keep the moisture out.

I know very little about how Abelias will behave in our climate, but this picture of Abelia Kaleidoscope made me want to find out. These compact bushes feature bright yellow margins in spring, pale yellow in summer and bright reds and oranges in fall. Plus it may be evergreen.

Mahonias are not an uncommon sight in Niagara, but I haven't seen any Mahonia repens here. This is a creeping form that only gets about 10" high. The evergeen foliage is best in a partly shaded location protected from mid-day sun. Zone 5.

If I can only bring one plant home this year it will probably be this one. And while Leucothoe Margie Jenkins may not appear that exciting, I have a thing for broad leaved evergreens. They help make winter look...well, less like winter.
Margie Jenkins has thick dark green foliage, and like many broad leaved evergreens prefers protection from mid-day sun.

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