Saturday, January 30, 2010

Georgia's 2010 Gold Medal Plants

Since 1994, the Georgia Plant Selection Committee, comprised of green industry professionals and faculty from the University of Georgia, selects "winners" for our coming season's gardens.

This is the list for 2010:

Summer Annual:
Diamond Frost (R) Euphorbia.
My opinion: Pretty, but not spectacular. I may try it, if I happen to stumble across it in a garden center in the spring, but I won't go out of my way looking for it.

Herbaceous Perennial:
Butterfly Weed.
My opinion: I tried it once before, but it did not take. By coincidence I just bought two packets of seeds from Mary Wenger at last Saturday's Master Gardener conference, because anything that attracts butterflies is welcome in my garden, but now I am distressed to learn that "it can take 2 to 3 years to produce a flowering plant". Oh, well!

Evergreen Groundcover:
Angelina (R) Stonecrop.
My opinion: If I ever get rid of large swaths of Bermuda, this is what I will want to plant in at least part of my landscape. Or, at least something like it. This particular variety is patented, and thus only licensed growers have permission to propagate and sell it.

Deciduous Shrub:
Limelight (R) Panicle Hydrangea.
My opinion: Pretty (I saw it last summer in the UGA trial gardens), but a bit overrated and I've got enough hydrangeas in my garden, so will pass on this one.

Deciduous Tree:
Ogon Dawn Redwood.
My opinion: Fabulous, but not for me. A conifer that grows 70 to 100 feet tall and 25 wide will not work on my 1/3 acre.

Meanwhile, my garden contains or has contained lots of earlier Gold Medals, among them Bath's Pink Dianthus (1994), Wild Indigo (1996), Blue Fan Flower and Pink Chinese Loropetalum (1997), Japanese Aster (1998), Lenten Rose (1999), Ornamental Sweet Potato and Chastetree (2001), Purple Beauty Berry (2003), Chartreuse Joseph's Coat (2004), and Swamp Hibiscus (2007). If I had to pick out a favorite from among them, I would choose two (a gardener is always entitled to "one extra" . . .): the Wild Indigo and the Japanese Aster.

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