Annually, the garden industry recognizes outstanding new edibles, ornamentals, and products for the home gardener. Entries are evaluated by an independent panel of industry professionals on uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and overall appeal to gardeners. This year’s plant winners are introduced below.
As a young plant Capsicum annuum ‘Candy Cane Chocolate Cherry’ mini sweet bell pepper has eye-catching variegated green and white foliage. As the plant matures to 18-24 inches tall, the green fruit with distinctive white stripe changes color to chocolate and cherry red stripes. The ornamental edible F1 hybrid from Pan American Seed is best grown in full sun in containers or raised beds. The crisp texture, thin walls, and deliciously sweet flavor allow for fresh eating at any stage of ripening. The small fruits (2.5 inches wide x 3.5 inches long) are most nutritious if allowed to ripen on the plant and are used for snacking, grilling, or roasting whole. Add this beauty to your home, school, children’s, and botanic garden.
Do you desire hummingbirds in the garden or at the window without continuously cleaning and refilling of the feeder? Try a natural feeder! Salvia x. guaranitica ‘Hummingbird Falls’ is the first trailing salvia of anise sages. The heat and humidity tolerant salvia with bicolor purple/ blue flowers grows to a height of 12-18 inches and cascades over hanging baskets, containers, and garden walls. Or let it spread to carpet the ground in a profusion of dazzling blue blooms. Use ‘Hummingbird Falls’ as a natural feeder at the window, on deck or patio. Delight guests at outdoor gatherings in summer by surrounding them with hummingbirds sipping at your salvias. Seek the new introduction in hanging baskets at garden centers in time for ruby-throated hummingbird spring migration.
Calycanthus floridus ‘Sweetshrub Simply Scentsational ®’ is the result of 18 years of sniffing by Spring Meadow Nursery breeder Tim Wood. The North American 6 feet tall native understory shrub in southern regions has deep maroon velvety blooms in spring through summer. Bloom fragrance is reminiscent of bubblegum and pineapple. The deciduous shrub adapts to most moist well-drained soils. Landscape uses are as a specimen plant, a sensory garden shrub, or clustered in a native plant or wildlife garden. The deer resistant shrub offers food for wintering birds and nesting sites in breeding season. Find the new sweetshrub introduction in Proven Winners® pots at local garden centers in spring.
Sedum Rock ‘N Grow® ‘Back in Black’ hybrid from Walter’s Gardens, Inc. is a fall blooming perennial. While black leaves are enjoyed all summer, creamy petaled flowers with red centers bloom in fall. The plant performs best in full sun and poor to average well-drained soil. The heat, drought, and salt tolerant sedum does not require fertilizer or supplemental water. ‘Back in Black’ is used in borders, containers, and mass plantings. As a groundcover ‘Back in Black’ spreads 26-30 inches. The flowers make indoor cut flowers and dried flower arrangements. ‘Back in Black’ is a Proven Winners® Perennial.
For more information on the Green Thumb Award Program, visit ngb.org/ green- thumb-award-details/
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