Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More New & Recent Plant Introductions

Dahlia 'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'

Yesterday I stopped into the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and I almost fainted from shock when I found myself looking down at an eight dollar cauliflower.

At this time of year most of our fresh fruit and vegetables are imported from the States. With the record low value of our dollar, we Canadians are taking a beating in the produce aisle this winter.

Eight dollars for a humble cauliflower! It's enough to make me think about tearing out some flowers in the spring and switching to vegetables.

But for now, it's been snowing and it is super cold here. I don't know about you, but pretty pictures of flowers always seems to cheer me up.

There is still plenty of time to get more practical before spring arrives.

Today I am returning to Landscape Ontario's trial gardens to take a look at some of the newer introductions they have been testing. 

We'll start here with this mixed planting.

This is Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' and 'Senorita White Blush' from Proven Winners. 

They are a bit more compact (24-48 inches) than many older varieties of Cleome and also have the advantage of having odourless foliage, no thorns and sterile flowers.

You'll notice that "compact" is a recurring notation in this post. Most suburban lots are small these days. Perhaps that is why growers seem to think we gardeners are looking for compact plants. 

You may also notice that many of these newer cultivars are also sterile. That's a great advantage if a plant tends to be a problem self-seeder, but it also means that you can only reproduce a plant by cloning it (i.e. make new plants from cuttings). 

And if the plant is an annual, like the ones I am showing here, you'll have to buy a whole new plant each spring. 

Pretty smart retail strategy, eh!

Here is a perfect example.  This is a new, more compact version (only 20-30 inches) of a plant that seems to have grown in popularity in recent years. 

Verbena bonarienses has a reputation for being a prolific self-seeder. Verbena bonarienses 'Meteor Shower' on the other hand, sets little seed.  This is a denser, more vigorous plant that is heat and drought tolerant. Full sun.

Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum', Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket'

Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket' is an annual grass in most areas (hardy in USDA Zones 10a-11b only)

It has green leaves with white stripes and smoky-pink plumes that turn cream as they age. The plumes are sterile, so this plant can be counted on to bloom from mid-summer into fall. Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket' is recommended for both containers and flowerbeds.

Supertunia 'Vista Strawberry' and Supertunia 'Vista Bubblegum' (pink flowers in the foreground)

Supertunia 'Pink Star Charm' and 'Sangria Charm'

Call me a plant snob. Petunias don't exactly set my horticultural world on fire.

They do however, serve a useful function in container plantings and hanging baskets. And I have to say that some of the newer introductions are quite attractive.

Supertunia 'Violet Star Charm' (top left) Supertunia 'Pink Star Charm' (right) and Supertunia 'Rose Blast Charm' (on the bottom)

These Petunias (above) are all recent Supertunias introductions from Proven Winners. 

Altogether there are over thirty old and new Supertunia cultivars to choose from. They come in a range of colors and some varieties have this nice striping. 

Supertunias are reputed to be vigorous and are quite drought tolerant once established. They also don't need deadheading. Full sun of course. 

Petunia 'Sanguna Light Blue Improved' (top left) and 'Sanguna Radiant Blue' (right) are semi-trailing Petunias bred by Syngenta. 

With the sun peaking through rain clouds, there was something about the color of these flowers that arrested your attention and made you pause for a second look.

Dahlia Hypnotica Sangria (left) and Dahlia 'Hypnotica Lavender'

A few compact Dahlias to end off with. 

These are Dahlias from the Hypnotica Series from Fides. Hypnotica Dahlias flower abundantly and consistently throughout the summer on short stems that don't need staking. Full sun. They are recommended for both gardens and containers.

Dahlia 'Hypnotica Bellini'

'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'

Grandahlia series plants are also form neat mounds (12-14 inches) and have large flowers all summer. 

There are seven colors in the series including this very pretty 'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'. Again, full sun.

'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'

I'll end here with the same pretty face I began with.

Tonight there will be no eight dollar cauliflower gracing our dinner plates. I bought a less glamorous butternut squash for two dollars instead. 

I happen to like squash, but the men in the family aren't super fond of it. Too bad, I say! I told both hubby and my son they'd better acquire a taste for squash and other less expensive veggies. I'll be damned if I will spend eight dollars on a single cauliflower!


  1. Cauliflower is one of the most nutrient dense foods but yeah, I wouldn't pay eight dollars for one either. We've been eating a lot of asparagus lately. I also do not like petunias. The dahlias look so pretty. I received a gift cert. for dahlias this Christmas and I hope I have better luck this year. Dahlias need a deep watering in high heat and I don't think mine got more than a 30 second drink from the garden hose last summer. Now I know better. Thank you for this informative post! Can't wait for things to warm up and dry out.

  2. Eight dollars for a cauliflower? I should not know one vegetable so expensive here. Well I suppose there are many, many cheaper vegetables, also in winter. I love those dahlias but petunias are not my favorite annuals either. Squash is not eaten very much here in our country, we do make soup of it.

  3. Time to turn to eating cabbages and winter squash, as you're doing until the farmer's markets are bringing in their homegrown goodies.
    I love those semi-trailing petunias those most people these days seem to prefer the supertunias. Being a huge fan of grasses, especially the shorter ones, that pennisetum has caught my eye.

  4. Our vegetable crispers are going to be rather empty if these prices keep up! But our gardens will look beautiful with these new additions. Love the verbena!!!

  5. Wow, that is expensive!
    I don't like petunias either, can't explain why, but I've never bought any for my pots and hanging baskets.
    Butternut squash makes gorgeous soup, just right for a freezing day like today!

  6. Oh I can't wait for spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. That is a high price for cauliflower, I'll have to check the price at the store tomorrow, now you've got me curious. I did almost buy some grapes the other day until I noticed the price was per pound, ooops, back they went to their shelf. Very interesting to see the new varieties of Supertunias (hanging head in shame) since they form the backbone of many of my mass plantings. :-( I know many people detest them, but to each their own, right? I have many visitors who absolutely adore them and others who want to run screaming from my garden every year. It's kinda fun to see their reactions.

  8. Good grief....that's a scandalous price for a bit of veg, I'd definitely start growing my own. How lovely to see such an array of flowers, it's certainly cheered me up! Retailers certainly have it all boxed off in terms of how they keep selling...xxx

  9. I wouldn't have bought it, either. That's insane! The dahlia 'Bellini' is so divine. So pretty!!

  10. Wow that first photo of "Dahlia'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'" just knocked me out (as the saying goes) it is beautiful, just beautiful.

    Yes, we had read that cauliflowers in your part of the world have reached an all-time high price. Cauliflowers here in the UK are always more expensive than say cabbage or broccoli... but Butternut Squash is good, and there are some lovely recipes you can try!

    All the best Jan

  11. I love Verbena and petunia. Petunia is the best for hanging baskets. These dahlias are amazing, Jennifer.
    Have a nice weekend!

  12. Such a wonderful range of flowers. Very inspiring. I just sow Verbena. Hope they`ll grow this year. Last year was a disaster.
    Have a happy weekend.

  13. I can't get past the cauliflower. Insanity.

  14. You made me laugh out loud. Petunias don't exactly set my world on fire, either!! They are so, well, common. I doubt there is a single garden in my area where petunias don't dominate. They are in every hanging basket, every pot on every porch, and in every window box. Come on! Marigolds have the same effect on me. I have to admit, however, I have used both in a pinch. The Grandahlia Rose Swirl is GORGEOUS. I hope I can find it here.

  15. I love all these new introductions especially the petunias....they are a bit old fashioned with great color.


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