Top Performers of 2014 – What were yours?

Ok, Ok…I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me but it’s been a busy fall so far! A brand new nephew has arrived, a new deck was built (bigger and better for, you know, more plants!!) and of course lots of gardening! So fall is now in full swing which means dismantling of summer containers and digging out all those plants you want to save!  You know me, a self admitted plantaholic, so it’s quite a process for me to winterize, dig out and repot everything I’m trying to save from Jack Frost – which was late this year thank goodness.  I was trying to streamline and not bring in SO much this year…but that didn’t work out too well for me.  Anyway, that’s another post for another time!  Right now I want to share my favorite plants from this year and hear about yours!  Below are just a few of my favorite containers from this summer…


In this pot: Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’, Surfinia Heavenly Blue Petunia, Petunia ‘Suncatcher Pink Lemonade’, ‘Dreams Appleblossom’ Petunia, Lysimachia hybrid ‘Sundew Springs’, Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’, Lantana camera ‘Samantha’


In the Blue pot: Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Mrs. Pollock’ Brocade Geranium,
Gazania rigens ‘Daybreak Mix’, Petunia ‘Potunia Papaya’, Lysimachia procumbens ‘Outback Sunset’
In the Black pot: Abutilon ‘Biltmore Ballgown’ Flowering Maple, Heucherella ‘Brass Lantern,
Cuphea hybrid ‘David Verity’, Solenostemon scuttelarriodes ‘Lava Rose’ Coleus, Petunia ‘Crazytunia Sparky’


In this pot: Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Copperhead’, Abutilon pictum ‘Biltmore Ballgown’ Flowering Maple, Pentas lanceolata ‘Graffiti Red Lace’, Dorotheanthus bellidiformis ‘Mesbicla’ Mezoo Trailing Red, Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Saturn’ Coleus


In this pot: Cassia didymobotrya Fresen Popcorn Cassia
(blooms all summer and foliage actually smells like popcorn!!!),
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ (super for attracting hummingbirds!),
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Inferno’, Surfinia Variegated Baby Purple Petunia,
Portulaca Cupcake ‘Peachy’, Crossandra infundibuliformis ‘Orange Marmalade’

And finally, my fall container on my front porch still going strong!!!


In this pot: Pennisetum glaucum ‘Jester’ Ornamental Millet, Nemesia ‘Sunsatia Lemon’,
Celosia caracus ‘Intenz’, Spilanthes oleracea ‘Peek-a-boo’,
Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline Bewitched’ Sweet Potato Vine

So, who were your superstars this year?

What’s new for 2015?


Here I am at the OSU Trial Gardens in the middle of this rainbow of color!

So, here we are again, summer of 2014 which means another trip to Columbus, Ohio to meet new friends, see old friends and of course check out the new plants for next year! Here are just SOME of the cool new things I saw for next year…check it out!


Digiplexis ‘Berry Canary’ from Walters Gardens. Last year the brand new Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ was introduced to us, which is constantly pushing out new plumes in my container garden this summer. Now we have Digiplexis ‘Berry Canary’ as well as Digiplexis ‘Illumination Raspberry’ to choose from next year!


Petunia Glamouflage Blueberry from Hort Coutoure. Last year we saw Glamouflage Grape which had a brighter, more purple bloom. This year’s introduction features a more muted blue color blossom but still boasting that awesome variegated foliage.


Mimulus Fiesta Marigold (part of the Jelly Bean Series) from Pacific Plug & Liner. I’m super excited to try this new variety. I never have great luck with Mimulus, but this new variety looks to be more upright and maybe a little more sturdy.


Begonia Smitty Red. This was an interesting new Begonia I saw at the OSU Trial Gardens. This will definitely be a fun addition to my container gardens next year!


Spreading Petunia Easy Wave Velour Series: Red, Burgundy and Berry from Ball Seed. I’m usually not a huge fan of Wave Petunias BUT these looked super cool with their velvety looking blooms. I wanted to touch them every time I saw them!


Scaevola Surdiva Variegated Blue from the Suntory Collection. Every year I like Scaevola more and more. It’s a low maintenance trailer that loves full sun and performs all season long. This new variegated variety might add a little more bling to my containers next year!


And because we need MORE petunias! These are just a few of the fun new colors and varieties coming out next spring. From top left going down: Petunia ‘Starlet Salmon’ from Selecta, Petunia ‘Salmon Ray’ from Danziger, Supertunia ‘Black Cherry’ from Proven Winners, Petunia Flashmob ‘Bluerific’ from Ball Seed/Burpee Home Gardens. Middle going down: Perfectunia ‘Orange Morn’ from Westflowers, Petunia Suncatcher ‘Blue Blast’ from Ball Flora, Petunia Hells ‘Fruit Punch’ from Westflowers. Top right going down: Petunia African Sunset from Takii & Co., Ltd., Petunia Cascadias ‘Autumn Mystery’ from Danziger, Petunia Flashmob ‘Pinkceptional’ from Ball Seed/Burpee Home Gardens, Petunia Happy Magic ‘Giant Dijon’ from Cohen.


Geranium Pinto Premium Orange Bicolor and Geranium Pinto Premium Rose Bicolor from Syngenta Goldsmith Seeds. A new twist on an old favorite. Looking delicious – creamcicle and peppermint!!


And of course the new Surfinia Petunia for 2015 from Suntory: SUMO! What a fun introduction!! I’m a fan of the Surfinias – nice trailing habit with just enough volume. From the looks of things in the Trial Gardens at OSU, it seems to be a real performer…shocker!


One of the most exciting developments this year is the introduction of the Bounce and Big Bounce series of New Guinea Impatiens (NGI’s) from Selecta. These guys can grow in more dense shade and are more florific than the current varieties of NGI’s on the market. This should be a more reliable alternative to the regular bedding Impatiens that are still so susceptible to the Impatiens Downy Mildew disease – this has been a major problem here in the Mid Atlantic area, as well as many other areas throughout the country. TL: Bounce Violet, ML: Big Bounce White, LL: Big Bounce Lilac, TR: Big Bounce Red, MR: Bounce Pink, LR: Big Bounce Cherry.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about these (and more!!!) new plants for next spring. Did anyone try any of the new plants for spring of 2014? I’d love to hear your feedback and share my experiences with you too!

Who were your top performers?

I’m STILL in the process of refreshing my containers and gearing up for fall…you know, getting rid of stuff that was looking straggly and rough and replacing them with some fresh beauties.  There were a number of containers I was so impressed with this year…and of course a few that I wasn’t.  Each year I grow a selection of plants that I know and love.  I also trial a number of plants that either I haven’t grown at all or I pick different varieties of a plant that I’m already familiar with…or of course trying out what’s new for the year.

This year there were about five containers that I absolutely fell in love with and hope to recreate again next year. It’s funny because often times when I put together an awesome combo it’s because I really need to declutter my driveway of all the miscellaneous plants I’ve collected and HAVE to do something with!  Maybe it’s the pressure that does it!

Anyways, these are my top five favorite combos for summer 2013:





Begonia Big Red (Green Leaf), Coleus Kong Salmon Pink, Alternanthera Little Ruby (definitely one of my new fave plants of all time!).  This is a great shade/part sun combo.



Browallia Endless Flirtation (2), Bacopa Snowstorm Blue (2), Plectranthus Mona Lavender (2) (another one of my absolute favorite plants), Summer Wave Torenia Large Silver, Alternanthera Little Ruby.  Another great combo for shade/part sun.




Kimberly Queen Fern, Strobilanthus oliganthus ‘Alba’, Skyflower Yellow, Agastache Deluxe Acapulco Dark Blue.  Sun Lover.




Manihot Esculenta Variegata (another one of my faves, and severely under used), Stained Glass Works Coleus Burgundy Wedding Train, Purslane Rio Scarlet.  Sun loving.







And last but not least, my #1 Fave of the year: Sky Flower Tala Blanco ‘Gold Edge’ (2) (a totally under used annual that I’m in love with), Torenia Moon White, Agastache Deluxe Acapulco Pink, Kent Beauty Oregano (Love), Geranium Mrs. Pollock, Petunia Suncatcher Vintage Rose, Coleus ??? – I’m not sure of the variety on this one!!!.  Sun lover.

So these are the combos I loved so much this year and I’m sure you will too if you try ’em. What combos made YOU feel like a potting genius this year?

Cooling off with Fall Annuals

Well, here we are, at my favorite time of year…ALREADY!    As some of my summer annuals are starting to, well, not look quite as nice as they once did, I’m ripping them out of my containers and landscape and replacing with some freshies that can perform a little better in the cooler season.  While my summer annuals could certainly make it through until frost, it’s always nice to mix in some new fall varieties as well so my pots aren’t looking so tired.

So, what plants define fall to you?  Most people say Mums or Pansies, or even Ornamental Cabbage and Kale.  My favorite is the fall blooming Celosia, Celosia Intenz.  I love this plant, and every year we can never keep it in stock at the Garden Center.  It’s not your typical bronze or yellow fall color (which don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that too), but its a bright fuchsia color which adds a nice pop to a fall mix.  It’s also on the taller side so it can give a little height to a container and has a unique bloom shape which adds some awesome texture.

Celosia Intenz

Some of my other favorite fall flowers include the Efanthia Euphorbia and Helena’s Blush Euphorbia (the variegated variety), both of which are actually perennials.  The fall interest is their foliage which turns more burgundy as the temperature drops and their interesting shape also adds some great texture.

Efanthia Euphorbia

I’m also a huge fan of Nemesia, my favorite being Sunsatia Mango.  I’m so in love with this color!  And it performs very well in the cool season.  It definitely pitters out in the heat of the summer but a couple years ago I had it come back for me again in the fall…but I had the patience, or the laziness, to let it do that!  The rest of the Sunsatia Series (by Proven Winners)  is great too, but Mango is the prettiest in my opinion.

Sunsatia Mango Nemesia, Photo Credit: Proven Winners

I also like the Aromatica Scarlet Nemesia and Aromatica Sky Blue Nemesia.  Both are simply beautiful and wonderfully fragrant.

Aromatica Scarlet Nemesia, Photo Credit: Ball Horticulture Company

Aromatica Sky Blue Nemesia

So, like I said before, your summer annuals can most certainly go til frost, and some can even take a light frost too.  But sometimes after a long summer some of those annuals can just look a little tired.  There are some that perform well in the summer heat and can also tolerate those chilly temps that fall can bring.  Calibrachoa and Petunias are great examples of this.

Calibrachoa Superbells Lemon Slice

Petunia Pinstripe

We carry these guys spring, summer and fall…just be sure to watch your watering on those petunias in the heat – they can get thirsty.  I even conducted a small experiment early this spring and sacrificed one 4″ pot of calibrachoa, you know, in the name of science.  Well, the exciting part of this story is that I left this little guy out all by himself in the 28 degree cold of night and he was totally fine!   Now, I don’t think we got a true frost that night but it got darn cold!

OH!  And one more I absolutely cannot leave out is the Kent Beauty Ornamental Oregano.  This is hands down one of my faves and is actually a perennial I often winter over to include in many of my containers.  I keep a stock of these guys in the Annuals Department throughout the growing season because they perform so well in mixed containers.

Kent Beauty Ornamental Oregano

So, what are you doing in YOUR garden to spruce it up for the cool season coming up?  Inquiring minds want to know!