Thursday, January 6, 2011
New Flowers for 2011 and Upcoming Garden Event!
At this time of the year, I tend to have my nose stuck in seed catalogues pretty much 24/7.. I love to check out the new selections, as well as choose from past favourites. Our garden is 2000 sq feet, which might sounds like a lot, but that space is at a premium and we only have room for our top crops..
I also like to grow herbs and veggies in containers on our back deck, which is extremely sunny and very hot - a few container tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and some pots of herbs. When I'm cooking and realize that I need a few sprigs of thyme (which happens daily!), it's very handy to have a pot just outside the back door! Yet, we use our back deck quite a bit for meals and relaxing and I therefore like to add colour too! We have big containers of flowering annuals, which do double duty - they're pretty and also attract beneficial insects and pollinators to the property.
Over the past few years, my favourite container plant - by far - has been Supertunia 'Pretty Much Picasso' from Proven Winners (top photo).. the large flowers are an intense purple-pink edged in glowing lime green - stunning! They're also vigorous, densely flowered and perfect for pots, hanging baskets or window boxes.
Proven Winner also has some great new releases for 2011.. including Absolutely Amethyst™ Iberis (photo courtesy of Proven Winners). This hardy perennial (zone 4 to 9), also known as candytuft, has soft lavender flowers that carpet the ground in late spring. I love candytuft in a rock garden, but it also looks lovely in front of (or amongst!) spring flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils or other early perennials. Don't forget to tuck a few plants into spring containers and then move them into the garden once the flowers have finished. They'll come back year after year after year..
Last summer, I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek of Superbells® Blackberry Punch (photo courtesy of Proven Winners), a new container plant for 2011. When I first saw the photo on the plant tag, I scoffed, knowing that more often than not, the actual blooms rarely resembled the plant tags.
Well, I'm happy to say that I was wrong! The velvety flowers really are that intensely purple-black with bright magenta edges. The anxiously awaited blooms opened in late spring and continued flowering until mid-October. I paired it with Lobularia Snow Princess for an eye-catching colour contrast.
I also loved GoldDust™ Mecardonia (photo from Proven Winners). I stuck three plants in my huge deck planter and they literally created a low growing mat of colour. The flowers are small, but because the plants produce so many blooms, the impact is huge!
The children loved to pick the tiny flowers and called them 'fairy flowers', making miniature bouquets with them.
Because my back deck is so hot, many annuals succumb by mid-summer, but GoldDust kept going until frost.
Finally, one last standout container plant for 2011 is Superbena® Royale Chambray (Photo from Proven Winners). I love verbena and this is verbena on steroids! I tucked two plants in my big planter among the GoldDust and the rich purple-blue flowers of the Superbena were a knockout against the gold of GoldDust! I love purple and yellow together anyway, so this is a combo I'll be repeating this coming summer.
The compact plants (about 8-inches) bloomed their heads off until frost and also took the heat well. Plus, they attracted butterflies! What more could you ask for?!
Ah.. summer isn't that far away.. just 166 days, as someone kindly pointed out to me today..
Thanks to Proven Winners for supplying the photos!
On a side note, there is an upcoming garden event in Toronto - ideal if you need a little early spring getaway! On Friday, April 15th, Proven Winners will be hosting a day of retreat-styled spring seminars. There will be a lunch, snacks, gift bags, raffles and more!
For more information, check out www.provenwinners.com . The cost to attend the event is $80 per person, and registration is now available online or by calling the main office at 1-877-865-5818. Seating is limited, so those interested will be best served by reserving a space early.