SEEDS OF LOVE
New flowers brighten up the outdoors throughout the year
Creators News Service
There may be nothing new under the sun, but that isn't exactly accurate when it comes to plants. Every new variety of shrub, tree, annual, fruit and vegetable is a new plant -- each highly anticipated and long awaited by gardeners.
"It takes several years to breed and propagate a new plant variety," said Kristin Grilli, spokesperson for Burpee, a 133-year-old seed company headquartered in Warminster, Pa. "Then seeds are sent to growers who grow enough to supply the public. When new plants finally make it to the marketplace, a lot of them may be hard to find."
After reading about these new, hardy, disease and pest-resistant specimens, it's frustrating not to be able to find them in your nursery. But you can always find them online, she said.
Recent newbies include two hydrangeas and a shrub rose, each of which can be planted in the fall, allowing the roots to get established over the winter, according to Grilli.
With white conical blossoms that turn deep red in the autumn and have a long summer bloom season, the new snowflake hydrangea grows 5 feet high and 5 feet wide and is available from Heronswood Nursery at heronswood.com.
"A small quantity of the limelight hydrangea was introduced last year and was also a total winner," Grilli said. It has a soft, lime-green conical bloom and rapid growth from 6 to 8 feet high. "It grows in full sun, is really gorgeous and a great plant for colder climates. This year it should be available in some neighborhood nurseries."
Rosa Eddie's jewel, a relatively new shrub rose, offers all the qualities a gardener looks for. "It's a pretty pink, tall and wide and good for screening outside structures such as an air conditioner," she said. It's also available for fall planting.
Then there's pink teacup lenten rose, a new perennial flower in the hellebore family, so named because it blooms during the Easter season. New for 2009, the perennial is good for climate zones five through nine, takes full shade and the flower looks like a tulip when it blooms.
"While it will take pink tea cup a couple of years to establish itself, it's jaw-droppingly gorgeous and so worth the wait," Grilli said.
New annuals are on parade, too. "The season for growing annuals depends on when the first frost arrives in your area," she said. You may not be able to plant them right away no matter how anxious. But anticipation is part of the joy derived from planning a garden, and several new varieties of annuals that will brighten future summer and fall gardens are available to peruse in catalogues and online now.
One new annual is the tigereye rudbeckia. It looks like the black-eyed susan with yellow petals and a brown plumy center, but is most prized for its vigorous growth and resistance to powdery mildew.
"It really wants to grow and fills up really fast, reaching 16 to 24 inches tall with width the same," she said.
You can also be the first on your block to grow fireworks, a new annual from Burpee, available in seeds. They are worth every penny for their sheer drama.
A member of the gomphrena family, which includes the old-fashioned blue bachelor button, fireworks grow three to four feet tall and one to two feet wide and is filled with one-inch hot pink blooms comprised of spiky petals tipped with bright yellow.