Monday, February 21, 2011

Do They Deserve The Honor

Each year we wait with anticipation to see which plant or plants will be awarded the prestigeous honor of "Plant Of The Year."  The 2012 winners have already been chosen with 2011 barely in our garden plans.

Brunnera Jack Frost 2012 Plant of the Year

Panicum Northwind  2012 Winner
I can highly recommend this grass for it's growth habit and ability to stay standing during the winter.

Heuchera Carmel 2012 Winner
My daughter-in-law has several of these and the color is lovely both in sun and shade.

Amsonia Hubrichiti 2011 Plant of the Year (Summer)

Amsonia Hubrichiti 2011 (Fall)
I have seen this plant at the Morton Arboretum and it is stunning!

Baptisia Australis 2010 Plant of the Year

If we go back through the years, many of these winners have become mainstays in our gardens and some have been a mere flash in the pan.

Hakonechloa macra Aureola 2009 Plant of the Year
I have this at the entrance to my shade garden and it has been very slow growing.  I think it is ready for a move this year, maybe too much sun!

Geranium Rozanne 2008 Plant of the Year
This had a slow start in my garden and I had to replace two out of four the first year.  They seem to have taken hold and bloom from spring into fall.

Nepeta Walker's Low 2007 Plant of the Year
I have removed this from a few areas in my garden, not a winner for me.  I have restricted it to the alley garden and my garden in Wisconsin (where it looks like the picture).

Dianthus Firewitch 2006 Plant of the Year
I have these in both my home garden and my garden in Wisconsin.  They do much better in Wisconsin and I have moved them to another location in my home garden.  They did not do well last year with the heat on the south side of my home.

Helleborus xhybridus 2005 Plant of the Year

Japanese Painted Fern 2004 Plant of the Year
I have several plantings of this fern.  It's a winner!

Shasta Daisy Becky 2003 Plant of the Year
This is a beautiful daisy, does not flop but it certainly does spread.  Be prepared to divide this every few years.

Phlox David 2002 Plant of the Year
This is a wonderful phlox and grows quite tall and wide under the proper conditions.

Karl Foerster Grass 2001 Plant of the Year
I have this grass up in Wisconsin, tends to flop and does not stand up well during the winter.

It is fun watching what is picked each year as the "Plant of the Year," not always what we would choose for our specific garden.  I would have chosen Blue Parsdise Phlox for it's ability to rebloom all summer and fall, and Heuchera Southern Comfort for its large showy leaves and great color into the fall and winter (it's still beautiful laying on the frozen ground).

Phlox Blue Paradise with Shasta Daisy Becky

Heuchera Southern Comfort

There are many more years of winners and going back through them, there are only a few that I would continue to grow in my garden.  So, be choosy, evaluate and only keep what works in your garden.


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, Wise advice indeed about being wary of these so called 'plants of the year' as they can, sadly often disappoint in one's own garden. I am somewhat suspicious that garden centres seduce us with these varieties only to have us replace them the following year with a better, improved version....or so they say!!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I often wonder how they judge them to be the plants of the year. Not what would be some of my choices either.
Jack Frost Brunnera has been around for years and I love mine by is it just now catching on or what? I wonder why now it is just being picked?
I pulled up all of my Geranium Rozanne because it just stopped blooming.My Nepeta Walkers Low is just two years old but so fair I am not impressed and it surely does not have the mass blooms as it showed in advertisements. I agree the Japanese Painted fern is a winner in a shade bed. I dig up Shasta Daisies and move them around every year so it is a very big spreader.LOL!

scottweberpdx said...

It's always kind of exciting to see what plant will get the far, all the "winners" I've used have been pretty good. I've been trying to decide which Panicum to use in my garden this year...maybe I'll give 'Northwind' a try!

garden girl said...

Most of these have been grown either here or in previous gardens, and in some cases both. With so much shade here we're much more limited, but still find several of these do very well even with not much sun. I'm not a big fan of Walker's Low - my favorite nepeta is the much shorter, neater, less floppy variety 'Blue Wonder.'

I love when natives like the baptisia and amsonia get the Perennial Plant of the Year designation. Both of them are fabulous plants I've grown in previous gardens and now have seedlings of them growing here too. Among the many benefits of growing natives, since they can be started from seed, they can be much more economical for (patient) gardeners on a budget.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

You are correct they use their awards and advertising to get us to try the newest thing.

Sometimes, the plant of the year has been around for years.


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Titles and awards may not be necessary for us, the seasoned gardener, but they are helpful in guiding neophyte gardeners to make successful choices. After all, not everyone has a mentor to lean on.

I am in favor of these awards also because they create renewed interest in some forgotten plants.

I am happy to support any marketing strategy that contributes to creating a positive experience for consumers. It's good for the gardening business and ultimately good for us, as well.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

Supposedly they pick the plants based on adaptation to various regions, disease resistance, longevity of bloom. However, we have both probably had better luck with plants that have never received an award.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Scott,

I think you will like Northwind, good color and stability.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi GG,

I am going to try the Amsonia, especially for the fall color. I don't have a lot of room but I need to find a place for it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

I see your point Allan! I am always willing to try something that sounds interesting especially if it has won an award.

Many think that the award winners are new introductions. To the contrary, Brunnera Jack Frost has been around since 2000, so the criteria is not that it is new but that it has proved itself in a variety of areas.

Some award winners do better than others depending where and how we garden.


Jim Groble said...

Brunnera Jack Frost, have it and love it. jim

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Jim,

I looked for this last year and it was sold out. I will buy it early this year.


Dave@TheHomeGarden said...

I've had several of these and by and large they have done great for me. It does seem rather early to make selections for next year but Northwind is a winner with or without recognition. I've been wanting Brunnera Jack Frost for a while but don't have many good shady areas for it. I love nepeta though, I have lots of sun and it seems to thrive for me.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I am going to buy the Brunnera Jack Frost this spring. The Walker's Low does not look great in my home garden but looks great at hour Wisconsin home. It is obviously that little difference in the weather or soil.


Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Eileen, It is interesting to see the progression of choices for Plant of the Year. I have wanted a Brunnera for a few years now, but gosh they are expensive!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Jennifer, you are right. Brunnera is over $20 per plant around here. I passed it up last year and then they were all gone when I tried to buy one in the fall.

I really do want to try Jack Frost. I had tons of the standard Brunnera at my old old house and I guess I didn't appreciate it.


joey said...

Brunnera Jack Frost, so lovely, Eileen. I'm enamored by Heuchera that all do very well in my at home garden as do several varieties of geraniums that are almost too happy. Ferns are me ... all varieties ... Japanese Painted Fern, a signature plant in both of my gardens.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen I have 9 out of these plants and they have really worked their socks off .. I love Jack Frost so much I have three of them now .. I caught on to one (I don't have) that goes by two names .. Diane's Gold and also called "Green Gold" I don't know why they can call it two names but it caught my attention.
I thought they would be nominating a totally new plant each year .. it does seem a bit backwards but perhaps it is that gardeners truly love certain plants and it shows up that way to the judges.
In any case .. we love what we love in our gardens right ? LOL