Cool, Innovative Plants for 2019

Inspiration / Gardening Advice

Cool, Innovative Plants

Thanks to Tim Kane with Prides Corner Farms for sharing his opinions and expertise on some of the 2019 newly certified Handpicked for You® plants!

In our everyday lives, the pace of innovation and change is unrelenting.  It is easy to forget sometimes that the smart phone revolution did not happen decades ago, it happened only a handful of years ago!   

This unrelenting pace of change and innovation is mirrored in the plant world.  Incredible amounts of new plants are being introduced into the market each year.  Our Syn-RG™ growers have been on the front lines of innovation getting many plants before they hit the open market. We have tested many of these, along with our independent garden center partners, to see exactly how good they really are and whether they meet the criteria for being a Handpicked For You® plant. 

Many of those cool, unique plants have already been judged by both parties to deserve the HPFY tag, adding to the collection of rewarding, easy to grow, easy to love plants that already made up the ranks of HPFY.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the newest and best of those cool, unique Handpicked For You Plants® that will be ready to make your garden shine starting in the spring of 2019.

Echinacea Kismet® Raspberry and Intense Orange.  Let’s face it. It has been a bumpy road traveled by the new and colorful Echinacea over the years. Some of the best, most exciting colors seemed to have been married to the some of the most questionable plants meaning both color and plants tended to be fleeting in the garden.  Persistent breeding has paid off with the Kismet® series of Echinacea especially with Intense Orange and Raspberry.  Dense, full, compact plants really put on a show from late spring through early fall with unrelenting clouds of colorful daisy flowers on each.  Intense Orange is ablaze with brilliant orange bloom while Raspberry sports waves of delicious colored bloom that look good enough to eat.  Best of all, both varieties are outstanding in the garden and will continue to bring that cool factor for years to come.

Echinacea Sombrero® Orange, Lemon Yellow Improved, Salsa Red & Sangrita.  Why are the Sombrero® Echinacea cool enough to list when we have already talked about the Kismet® Echinacea?  Well, there is nothing cooler than having plants that are just as well suited to the garden as they are to growing in a mixed container for a deck, patio or balcony.  The Sombrero® Echinacea thrive in both worlds.  They are outstanding in the garden with compact, well branched plants that beg to be grouped to produce waves of summer garden color until frost.  In a container, they are magical in the way they can mix with other perennials to put on a non-stop show without overpowering their container mates.  Whether it is the brilliance of Sombrero® Orange, the soft, warming glow of Lemon Yellow Improved, the mucho caliente shades of Salsa Red or the richness of the burgundy-red Sangrita, the Sombreros® will make you look like a gardening savant without even trying!

Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’.  There is nothing cooler or more innovative than gardening for a cause.  ‘Jeana’ is a selection of the native Phlox paniculata that has been tested to be the most attractive Garden Phlox to native pollinators according to the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware.  Besides making it the perfect plant to help transform your garden into an oasis of nectar for pollinators, ‘Jeana’ also will make your garden come alive with color in the summer. Rounded towers of lavender pink, sweetly scented flowers stay appear throughout the summer on tall, upright plants that are highly mildew resistant.  Plant a group of these in the back of the garden and watch your garden come alive while feeling good that you are helping save our very crucial pollinators!

SedumLittle Miss Sunshine’.  How can any Sedum be so cool you might ask?  It is true, there seems to be an endless amount of Sedum selections so what makes ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ so special? Let’s start with form.  Many other Sedum varieties spread rampantly, open up or look more than somewhat unkempt making the fact that they are garden survivors seem a little less important.  ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has none of those issues forming the most perfect pincushion of a plant with shiny, deep green foliage.  Even better, when its yellow flowers open in early summer, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is, well, the sunniest, most brilliant plant in your garden!  Perfect in groups in the landscape or adding the warmth of the sun in container, this selection has a very high cool factor.

Berberis WorryFree® Crimson Cutie.  Oh Please!  Can a Barberry ever be considered cool??  WorryFree® Crimson Cutie can along with being one of the most innovative new woody ornamental plants to hit the market in years. Like all Barberry, WorryFree® Crimson Cutie is easy to grow and extremely tolerant of the worst conditions a landscape can offer.  What makes it cool and innovative is purplish-red foliage color that remains brilliant throughout the season and the fact that it is sterile, producing seed that is not viable.  This University of CT bred plant is currently only one of two Barberries that New York has certified non-invasive and accepted to be shipped and sold in the state. WorryFree® Crimson Cutie has made it cool to love Barberry again!

RosaMiracle on the Hudson™’.  People have a love/hate relationship with Roses. People love their bloom and hate the fact that, in the past, they have been poor garden performers that have been disease magnets.  ‘Miracle on the Hudson™’ is the antithesis of that ‘old school’ rose description. Dreamy, deep green, disease free foliage backs a seemingly never ending stream of single, real red flowers from May through frost.  To add to its beauty, a light trim will produce a new flush of nearly red foliage that is almost as colorful as the bloom that appears soon after its flush.  If people looked at ‘Miracle on the Hudson™’ as a flowering shrub instead of a rose they would likely say it was the best performing, most colorful shrub in their garden. How cool is that??