Picking the very best plants displayed in the 2011 New Varieties Showcase at the Farwest Show was a tough task falling to no single group. Show judges handed out the official awards, while show attendees voted separately on the People’s Choice awards. As things turned out, however, the two groups agreed more often than not.
Flutterby Grandé™ Peach Cobbler Nectar Bush (Buddleia x ‘Podaras #5’ PPAF) from Ball Ornamentals won Best of Show. “I think this choice reflects the importance of Buddleia as part of the sales mix for Oregon nurseries,” said Ann Murphy, director of marketing for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the Farwest Show. “It is certified by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as sterile, which means our nurseries can add Buddleia back into their growing inventory. The wonderful fragrance, full-sized inflorescences and silvery leaf color would be welcome in any garden. The fact that the plant also attracts pollinators, a popular gardening trend, is an added bonus.”
Other official selections included the following:
- Best Annual/Tender Perennial — Georgie Red Monkey-Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus ‘Georgie Red’ PPAF, pictured) from Ball Ornamentals.
- Best Tree — Street Keeper® Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Draves’ USPP #21698) from J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
- Best Shrub — Little Rascal® Improved Holly (Ilex x meserveae ‘MonNieves’ PPAF) from Monrovia Growers.
- Best Perennial/Grass — Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ PPAF) grown by Blooming Nursery Inc.
- Best Edible (new category for 2011) — Bountiful Blue™ Blueberry (Vaccinium corybosum ‘FLX-2’ PPAF) from Monrovia Growers.
Perennials took the top three spots for the People’s Choice favorites, ranking Darwin Perennial’s Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower (Echinacea hybrida ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ PPAF) as the hands down favorite. Misaka™ Itoh Peony (Paeonia x ‘Smith Opus 1’ PPAF) from Monrovia was ranked number two, followed closely by Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ PPAF).
Show visitors agreed on People’s Choice, Annual/Tender Perennial (Georgie Red Monkey-Flower) and People’s Choice, Edible (Bountiful Blue™ Blueberry) but parted ways with official judges on the following:
- People’s Choice, Tree or Conifer — Green Penguin Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris ‘Green Penguin’) from J Farms LLC.
- People’s Choice, Shrub — Little Lime™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’ PPAF, CBRAF #3914) from Spring Meadow Nursery Inc.
- People’s Choice, Perennial/Grass — Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower (Echinacea hybrida ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ PPAF) from Darwin Perennials.
The New Varieties Showcase grows in popularity each year as a special feature of the Farwest Show. “Many growers are looking for new plants to add to their growing mix, and retailers want new plants for their customers with strong performance for the home landscape,” Murphy said. “The New Varieties Showcase provides easy access to new plant material for show guests and points them to exhibitors growing the plants for fall or next year’s spring sales.”
To find out more about the varieties in this year’s New Varieties Showcase at Farwest Show, visit www.FarwestShow.com/nvs.
— From the official OAN press release