Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fruity New Introductions from Proven Winners

The delicious new 'Grape punch' Superbells
I love growing plants and I love to write about growing plants. So when I’m asked if I would like to trial a new introduction with a view to writing about my findings it’s an easy sell.

This year I have had the honor of testing new varieties of shrubs, perennials and annuals from several growers including one of my favorites – Proven Winners. I’m excited to share a sneak preview with you as well as my own experience with these new annuals, which will be available for sale next year.

Good enough to eat! 'Cherry star' Superbells

‘Cherry Star’ Superbells (Calibrachoa hyb). This was my overall favorite for vibrant color, compact growth and non-stop blooming. Even after being deluged by rain, slithered over by slugs and deprived of sun for weeks it is a real standout in my containers. The vivid yellow star takes it a step above the typical million bells and it made a great partner with Sedum‘Angelina’.

‘Grape punch’ Superbells (Calibrachoa hyb.) At first sight this seems to be just another purple million bells. Look more closely and you’ll see delicately veined lilac petals leading to a rich velvety purple throat and yellow eye. As with ‘Cherry Star' it has handled our Seattle ‘summer’ without missing a beat.

‘Peachy Keene’ Superbena (Verbena hyb). I’m not really a fan of peach colors in the garden so I was a little unsure of this at first. However it won me over as soon as I realized that at any one time it had many shades from pale peach to rich coral. In one container I combined it with the dappled willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki') where the shrubs stems made a perfect color echo with the verbena flower. I also added it to a container with hot pinks and a ‘Kingswood Torch' coleus – an unusual combination to be sure but it really worked!
'Peachy Keene' - shades of apricot through coral

'Royale Iced Cherry' Superbena (Verbena hyb). A full blooded pink if ever there was one. Grab your sunglasses! Masses of flowers and a nice tight habit rather than the open, sprawling shape of some varieties. I partnered this with the zonal geranium 'Americana white splash' whose pink eye is a perfect match for this verbena. The only down side of both these varieties of verbena was that the flowers seemed to come in waves even with regular dead heading. However the lull lasted less than a week before it was in full bloom again and their other qualities makes them a ‘must have’ for next year.

One hot pink Mama! Superbena 'Royal iced cherry'
Watch for future reports on two new Spiraea, a beautiful dwarf hosta and a petite cone flower. You can be sure they will be great if they’re grown by Proven Winners. And here’s the thing – I am one of the many people who does the ‘proving’. We present our feedback to the growers who take our findings into consideration. That’s what I call a reputable company that takes its product seriously.

Live in England? No problem.  Kernock Park Plants sells the Proven Winners varieties and can be mail ordered. Here are the full contact details; Address; Kernock Park Plants, Pillaton, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 6RY Phone: +44 (0)1579 350561, Fax: +44 (0)1579 351151

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