As I plan for the 2011 gardening season I’m looking through my notes and photos from the previous season and remembering those plants that performed especially well. There were many, but the following seven stand out as the stars in my gardens for 2010.
This year I have three annuals, two perennials, a shrub and a biennial on my list of outstanding plants. Of the three annuals, two were new to my gardens last year. Mecardonia GoldDust is a low growing Mecardonia hybrid that was sent to me by the Proven Winners folks.
In general, when I try any new annual I treat it as most of my customers/audiences will: I plant it with some time-release fertilizer and, with the exception of watering if there isn’t enough rain, I ignore the plant. Given this minimal care, GoldDust thrived in my sunny front garden and was covered with small yellow flowers all summer.
I will definitely plant this Mecardonia again; it will be a great annual for under-planting around taller perennials, or cascading over the sides of pots and boxes. Even those who tend to shy away from yellow flowers might like this annual because the blossoms are small and will compliment other colors without stealing the show.
The second annual that was new to me was a coleus sent to me by Ball Horticultural. Redhead coleus (Solenostemon hybrid) is part of their Simply Beautiful line and it is just that: easy and lovely. Once again I planted this annual with some time-release fertilizer and then left it to do its thing. I did not pinch it, and it grew in full sun without fading or burning.
I planted the Redhead coleus in my fragrance garden even though it doesn’t have a scent, and ended up being so glad of this spur-of-the-moment decision. Redhead gave this entire area some drama and excitement and it was the most asked about annual when I had visitors come to my gardens. Normally, I haven’t gone out of my way to find coleus for my gardens, but I certainly will now!
The third annual on my list of faves for 2010 is Supertunia Royal Velvet. This purple petunia has been offered by Proven Winners for several years, and I’ve always loved it for the fragrance of the flowers. This past summer I came to admire this plant because in what was a hot, dry, excessively sunny season this petunia grew and bloomed all summer without complaint. It was the definition of stalwart, not to mention beautiful and fragrant.