Plant the Best, to Grow the Best!

Inspiration / Gardening Advice

Plant the Best, to Grow the Best!

How Cool New Woody Plants Will Help Your Garden Be the Best!

By David Wilson, Overdevest Nurseries  


A couple of weeks ago while making a visit to one of the Handpicked For You® participating garden centers (Timothy’s Center For Gardening, Robbinsville, NJ.), I ran into a lovely couple (Mr. & Mrs. Topolsky) who accidentally happened to step into a picture I was taking.

After good humored apologies, and when I looked out from behind my camera, I noticed that they had a Rose Cherrytini on their cart. I complimented them on their selection, and proceeded to tell them how this this superb little rose, which is available as a “First Look” selection, was bred by one of America’s up and coming rose breeders Jim Sproul, and how it has (as name suggests) bright cherry-red double flowers, that are borne in tremendous profusion. I explained how in our trials we were impressed by its superior disease resistance, and how I love the way it keeps pushing up new flowering shoots from inside the foliage canopy to produce a continual eye-catching display of breath-taking color.  

Rose Cherrytini


Proud smiles beamed across their faces and in no time, we were talking “gardening” and “plants” and of course, a flood of good questions flowed….  

Clearly, here were two people who enjoyed their garden, they did not necessarily know a lot about the subject, but they knew enough to know that if you start off with the BEST, you are much more likely to obtain the BEST results.

As we talked, they were amazed and delighted to learn about how some of the world’s foremost rose hybridizers are making tremendous strides in developing easy to grow, high performance roses that have outstanding disease resistance. And when I told them about the sterling work by breeders like Jim, Ping Lim, Bill Radler, Alain Meilland, Dr. David Zlesak, and Robert Neil Rippetoe and others, and how we at Handpicked For You® plants, and Timothy’s are right at the forefront of these exciting developments, and how through this innovative approach, it now makes it possible for home owners (like them) to grow and enjoy roses without having to spray them every ten days.

Mrs. Topolsky was interested in finding an orange colored rose, so off we went, to explore the extensive selection of ground breaking new roses that were in stock.

Fortunately, a few days earlier Timothy’s had just got a delivery of Rose True Bloom® True Passion so after hearing how this one is out in a class by its own, how in our trials it has proven to be a truly outstanding performer in our three year-long “no spray” trials). It was soon loaded up on the cart too, and I politely asked if I could take their picture and tell this story.

Mr. & Mrs. Topolsky at Timothy’s Center for Gardening


If True Bloom® True Passion is new to you too, and you haven’t heard about it yet, click on this video link - True Bloom® True Passion - and find out more about it and see why we are convinced it is something very special, in fact possibly, why it could be the World’s BEST New Rose! Then be sure to share the attached information sheet with your friends, so they know about the 12 compelling reasons why Rose True Bloom® True Passion should be the star of gardens across the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States.

Rose True Bloom® True Passion


Speaking of True Bloom® roses, let me tell you about another triumph by the same breeder, Rose True Bloom® True Gratitude is also a brand-new Handpicked For You® ‘First Look” plant for 2019, it is a dual-purpose variety, that can be grown either as a shrub rose or alternatively trained as a mini-climber. It produces beautiful clear pink, semi-double fragrant flowers and the judges at the Biltmore International Rose Trials were so impressed they gave it the “Best Climber Award’ in 2015.

Rose True Bloom® True Gratitude


Now, if you are looking for other colors and types with unparalleled performance characteristics and disease resistance, then here’s a few more to check out:  

Rose Miracle on the Hudson is now well known for its semi-double velvety-red flowers, and   glossy, dark green, disease resistant foliage, this Rippetoe bred compact grower leads the Hand Picked For You® pack… Winner of multiple awards at the 2014 Biltmore International Rose trials, it rapidly achieved HPFY certification status in 2018 and continues to enthrall all who come in contact with it. If you would like to find out more about it here’s a link to a video that will explain why it is proving so popular and why we are so fond of it.   

Rose Miracle on the Hudson


Then let me whisk you away for a moment to a place where they take rose growing (along with wine, cheese, food, a 35-hour work week) pretty seriously… To Southeastern France and the breeding work of Meiland International. For it is from here, that we have sourced (with the help of our good friends at STAR roses), three wonderful new roses:

Rose Color Cocktail - is a multi-colored little rose that also has exceptional disease resistance, it only gets to about 2-3’ high and as you will see in this video on our Facebook page. 

It starts out first as red & yellow buds that open as lemon-yellow rosettes, then gradually change to tints of peach and pink shades, all with a divine intoxicating fragrance that wafts easily on a breeze.  

Rose Color Cocktail


Rose Sweet Spirit for years we’ve been searching for a classic (high centered) red rose, that has good fragrance and disease resistance… Well, at last we may have found it! Rose Sweet Spirit is another “First Look” variety that we think you will really like, it came through our “no spray trials” with flying colors, and the big, high centered blooms have a heavenly fragrance in abundance. It only gets to about 3’-4 high and is even vigorous enough to grow well on its own roots too, so there’s no rootstock suckers to worry about.  


Rose Sweet Spirit 


Rose Sunset Horizon – Now here’s another “First Look” rose that definitely will NOT go unnoticed, for its riot of color, very definitely garbs attention. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you another quick story….

While traveling last summer, I was stopped at a Wawa store in the Philadelphia suburbs eating a sandwich, when a lady walked by, and looked in the window of my car and to my amazement said loudly “Beautiful… Beautiful”! Momentarily forgetting, that I had a Sunset Horizon in full bloom on the floor of the car on the passenger side, I was flummoxed at first, and then looking across, I realized that of course, it is the rose that she was referring to (and not the occupant of the car)!

Pictures are good but this is one rose, you have to see in reality, for it is really eye-catching and if you put it your garden will would make terrific focal plant for it certainly grabs the attention of everyone that sees it!

Now, all of these roses are pretty special, but there’s lots of other Cool New plants in the Handpicked For You® line up too ….

Take for example some of the Cool New Woody plants that are also emerging from the program’s ground breaking trials and introduction procedures.

Space limits me to mention just a few of them, so let me get straight to the highlights, and trust that you’ll be able to research them further and better still, pick some up for your favorite Hand Picked For You® retailer.      

First up is the exciting new Worry Free™ Berberis. From the breakthrough breeding work of Dr. Mark Brand at the University of Connecticut comes this incredible non-invasive series of barberries. Approved for sale in New York State, they are quite simply a godsend to homeowners, retailers and landscape professionals alike. And, to the considerable relief of all concerned, Hand Picked For You® plants are now able to provide an answer to the hitherto,vexed concerns of planting these indispensable garden staples.

Certified in 2019, Berberis WorryFree® Crimson Cutie is, as the name suggests, a cute little beauty with rich, purplish-red leaves that makes a compact, rounded mound. Very hardy (Zone 4) it is easy to grow and is perfect either as a single specimen in tight spaces or grouped in massed displays, and of course makes a superb, easy to look after low hedge or border edger.

WorryFree® Crimson Cutie® Barberry 


Berberis WorryFree® Lemon Cutie - Glowing like a neon-yellow beacon of color, this very easy to grow shrub has all the above qualities of its sister introduction, but in addition it sports distinctive, thickly textured leaves and unmistakable red stems that truly makes your eyes pop with delight.  Amazingly, for leaves this brightly colored it is sun fast and does not burn in the summer sunlight and will make a radiant accent for borders, foundation plantings and massed landscape schemes. Offered as one of this year’s (2019) First Look Plants it is not surprisingly already getting rave reviews and I forecast will be an almost certain “shoo-in” for certification status in 2020.      

WorryFree® Lemon Glow® Barberry


Cornus Scarlet Fire® - Our native Dogwood trees (Cornus florida) are considered to be the aristocrats of small trees, and each spring it is such a pleasure to see them light up the landscape with their brightly colored white and pale pink bracts. But alas, their susceptibility to several pests and diseases has plagued their reliability as trees in our landscapes. On the other hand, a species from Asia (Cornus kousa) is largely immune to these ailments, and is widely grown and enjoyed for its later flowering and all-round dependability. It too has predominantly white flowers and when a few pink selections emerged (over the years) it was tinged with disappointment when they proved unreliable because of inconsistency and their inability to color up well as young plants.  

Now thanks to the important work begun by Dr. Elwin Orton over 40 years ago and carried on by Dr. Tom Molnar, Associate Professor at Rutgers University, NJ we have a new selection that has stunning, brilliant pink flowers. Cornus Scarlet Fire® ('Rutpink', USPP 28,311) as a young tree, flowers earlier in life and with consistently deeper colored bracts than any other “Kousa” that we’ve ever grown. The glowing 4-5” pink flowers just get better and more plentiful as the tree grows and matures. Hardy to Zone 5, and forming a small tree of 20’-25’ high x 15’-20’ spread, we are thrilled to offer it also as a First Look plant to Handpicked For You® participating garden centers. As a “First Look” plant it is still under evaluation for certification, but judging by the reaction that everyone has when they see the glowing pink flowers on young trees, and the way the trees have been performing in trials, it too looks like a likely candidate for the coveted certification accolade.  


Cornus Scarlet Fire®


Hydrangeas continue to command increasing popularity and the big, lacy, porcelain-white flower heads of Hydrangea panniculata Magical® Candle are surely every bit as beautiful as they are reliable, and when they form on strong, sturdy 4-5’ bushes from July onwards, its stand back in amazement time! There’s something about the cool, icy-white color that seems to take even the hottest summer day down a few degrees. Bred in the Netherlands, and brought to us by Plant Nouveau, this along with a spectacular mophead type called Hydrangea Magical®Ruby Red are amongst some of the most remarkable new shrubs to emerge from our trials.  Producing large, round deep ruby-red balls of color on compact 3’ plants, the color is so intense it has to be the deepest, darkest mophead yet introduced.  To learn more about Hydrangea Magical® Ruby Red, check out this video.

Hydrangea Magical® Candle


So now, I hope that you see, like Mr. & Mrs. Topolsky, that behind the scenes there’s a lot of important work going on to bring you the BEST new cutting-edge varieties. Exciting, Cool, New plants with improved characteristics, that are trialed and tested and sourced locally. Selections that are not only beautiful and irresistible, but are superior in their garden performance, and with a little research and consultation with the professionals at participating Hand Picked For You® retail centers, you can obtain the BEST plants and get off to the BEST possible start in your garden.