I just got back from a week in Chicago at the Mid-Am nursery tradeshow. Nursery tradeshows are a great place to get a feel for the nursery and gardening industry, to see what’s new and to discover new trends. Here are a few of the highlights of the show and a taste of what’s to come in terms of new plants.
One of the highlights of the show was the appearance of Dutch nurseryman, and My Monet Weigela originator Bert Verhoef. Bert was at the show signing posters of his new 18” tall, green, cream and pink Weigela. It was interesting to see people lining up to get their personally signed poster, and to hear their glowing comments of how the plant has brightened the home garden. I was able to procure some of these beautiful posters and will send a signed copy to the first five people (North America addresses only) that send in a request.
In terms of new plants here are some of my favorites:
Reblooming Hydrangea continue to hit the market. Blushing Bride Hydrangea is a new addition to the ‘Endless Summer’ line. This plant has white flowers that are tinged with pink. Personally I like this plant better than the original Endless Summer. The white flowers combine well with other plants in the garden, and the plants themselves are not as tall as the original.
I am particularly excited about Let’s Dance Hydrangea ‘Moonlight and Let’s Dance ‘Starlight; two new rebloomers with large mop-head and lace-cap blooms respectively. I had better be excited about these plants, because the Let’s Dance series comes out of my personal breeding program (full disclosure). My breeding goal was to develop rebloomers with more intense flower color and improved foliage quality. I think I’ve achieved my goals and this is particularly exciting because Endless Summer is just the starting point in the reinvention of the Hydrangea macrophylla.
Two new yellow leafed Barberry were launched at the Mid-Am; Sunjoy ‘Gold Beret’ is a new dwarf mounded plant that stands less than 12” in height, and Sunjoy ‘Gold Pillar’ is new upright, columnar plant with bright yellow foliage. Both plants are noted for superior sun burn resistance. Gold Beret was developed by Stanley Talago of the US and Gold Pillar is a new introduction out of Poland.
When looking for the best new perennials Dan Heims at Terra Nova is always a must visit during tradeshow season. The plant breeding at Terra Nova goes well beyond Heuchera. I was particularly excited about his new, zone 6 hardy Begonia ‘Metallic Mist’ that looks a lot like a tender Rex Begonia, and his new intense orange coneflower, Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch’. While there are many new Echinacea hybrids on the market this beauty is the result of a wide cross recovered through embryo rescue. In layman’s terms this means it will not set seed and become weedy in the garden like other Echinacea hybrids. I’ve always hated unwanted Echinacea seedlings in my garden and Dan has solved the problem and delivered really exceptional color.
All I can say is thank goodness I’m in the plant business. There is always something new and better each year. And what beautiful products we have; products that make the world a better place, one yard at a time.