May 21, 2018

A few of what's new in Annuals & Veg-edibles...

Why waste words when there are new plants to consider? It’s always fun to have fresh choices for your containers, beds, borders and veggie gardens. A few new ones at Chalet to preview…

Purple Prince’ alternanthera (aka Joseph’s Coat) fills a niche that is now most closely filled by the much shorter ‘Black Scallop’ Ajuga. ‘Purple Prince’ is a spreading, mounding, front-of border ground cover foliage plant with rich ruby-burgundy foliage. Does that say it all? Almost, growing 10-15” tall and 18-20” wide, there’s really nothing else quite like it. It’s tropical so plant later in May when soils have warmed and danger of frost has passed. Tolerates light shade, but foliage color maxes out in full sun. Very drought and heat tolerant. To see it is to want it!

Trifolium (alias Dutch clover) is a Zone 5 hardy clover. Plants are only 2-4” tall, 5-7” wide, so they’re pretty tight little mounds. They can certainly be used in the ground, but containers place them nearer eye level and therefore may increase your enjoyment factor. Pot or not, they must have consistent moisture and at least a half day (morning or PM, doesn’t matter) of sun for best coloration and contrast. If you’re going to do them as perennials make sure they’re well-drained over the winter. How can clover be ornamental? See for yourself…

‘Sunpatiens’ are a series of large–flowered impatiens that are resistant to the current scourge, Impatiens Downy Mildew. The uniqueness of the ‘Sunpatiens’ is that they will grow in full sun (with adequate moisture) to part shade, and are heat and humidity-tolerant. Their counterparts, the New Guinea impatiens, also disease-resistant, will perform best in part shade to shade! The “compact” form of ‘Sunpatiens’ can be 15-24” tall and equally wide by late summer. The new shade for 2018 is orchid.

‘Kiragami’ oregano is an “improved” selection of non-culinary oregano. Growing 8-10” tall and 12-14” wide, the purplish-green bracts (just a term for modified leaves) and rose-purple flowers are unique and stunning as a contrast to the light green leaves. Its slightly trailing habit shows well in a basket or any container, although it could be planted in beds, too.  Heat and drought tolerant, more sun means stronger purple coloration. The nice fragrance is a pollinator beacon!

‘Mysty’ salvia reminds me how few and far between great blue annual flower options are. ‘Mysty’ is a true blue, densely-spiked flower on a compact, but well-branched plant growing 15-18” tall and equally wide. Sun, sun, sun is a must. The flowers last and last. Versatile for containers and certainly in the ground.

And now a veg-edible tease for those looking forward to those first tomatoes and peppers from your own garden. ‘Juliet Grape’ tomato actually resembles a 1-2 oz. mini-‘Roma’. It’s sweet, juicy and has a longer shelf life than most cherry tomatoes. 60 days from planting (of a plant, rather than seed) to the expected first harvest of tomatoes. Be prepared, ‘Juliet Grape’ is indeterminate, meaning it grows continuously all season, potentially 6-8’ tall, but producing up to the first killing frost.

 

‘Flavorburst Yellow’ bell pepper has a lot to brag about, too. The fruits are 3-lobed (as opposed to 4) and somewhat elongated. They progress from green to yellow, finishing a beautiful yellow-orange for harvest. They’re medium-large, crisp and juicy, the latter not something usually associated with a pepper. Tomato yes, pepper no. The other significant attribute is the plant continues to fruit late in the season long after other peppers have finished. Nice.     

With the introduction of these great plants “new” does mean better.        






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