Nursery professionals attending the 2019 Farwest Show chose Flame Thrower™ Redbud (Cercis ‘NC2016-2’ PPTBS) as their People’s Choice Best in Show award winner in the New Varieties Showcase. The show was held August 21–23 in Portland, Oregon.
Flame Thrower was bred by Dr. Denny Werner in North Carolina and introduced by Farwest Show exhibitor Star Roses and Plants, which had it available for ordering at the show as a bare root tree. According to Star, this breakthrough small tree variety has extremely unique foliage color, with four to five different foliage colors (burgundy, red, orange, yellow, lime) on just one branch. New growth is burgundy/red and ages to bright yellow, then green. Leaf scorch is very minimal, and the tree itself is low maintenance. It has a semi-pendulous habit, growing to 15–20 feet high and 15 feet wide.
Farwest Show attendees were able to experience a remarkable 83 different new plant introductions at the New Varieties Showcase, where they could then vote for their favorites. In addition to Flame Thrower, the voters chose three other selections to receive Awards of Merit. They were as follows:
- Seaside Serenade® Cape Hatteras Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘HORTHART’ PPAF) — This hydrangea was hybridized by Kolster BV in The Netherlands and introduced by Farwest Show exhibitor Monrovia, which had it available for ordering at the show in #2 and #5 containers. According to Monrovia, the deep burgundy red of this bloom is hard to believe, and photos don’t seem to do it justice. The blooms are offset with fantastic deep-green foliage and the stems are very strong to hold up the 10-inch blooms. As a tetraploid, this plant is stronger and tougher with thick stems and strong, deeply colored, leathery foliage and long-lasting blooms. The shrub flowers in spring and summer, with an ultimate size of 3½ feet tall and 3 feet wide. It makes a statement in the garden or as an entryway accent in a container. The blooms hold their color for an extended period of time and make excellent dried flowers. The compact habit without the use of plant growth regulators fits usefully into a variety of smaller spaces in the landscape.
- ROCK N’ GROW® ‘Pride and Joy’ Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Pride and Joy’ PPAF CPBRAF) — This sedum was discovered by Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan, and introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. It was made available for ordering in 72-count plugs and G1 bare root plants from exhibitor Proven Winners at the Farwest Show. According to them, the dark pink ‘Pride and Joy’ joins the light pink ‘Pure Joy’ and the white-flowering sport `Bundle of Joy’. This sport of ‘Pure Joy’ shares the same impeccable habit, excellent flower coverage, serrated leaves, and early bloom time as its parent, but with darker leaves and darker pink flowers. It makes a durable, low maintenance, low water requirement garden plant.
- Heartleaf Brunnera ‘Queen of Hearts’ (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Queen of Hearts’) — This brunnera was hybridized by Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan, and introduced by Walters Gardens Inc. It was made available for ordering in 2-count and 72-count plugs from exhibitor Proven Winners at the Farwest Show. According to them, this stunning foliage perennial will be the queen of the shade. Brunnera `Queen of Hearts’ has extremely large, heart-shaped leaves and a pronounced silver overlay with narrower bands of dark green veining. From mid to late spring, baby blue, forget-me-not type blossoms are held in clusters above the foliage. The plant exhibits good anthracnose resistance.
The New Varieties Showcase People’s Choice Awards were announced on the final day of the 2019 Farwest Show, August 23. Announced earlier, on the first day of the show (August 21), were the Judges’ Choice awards. Japanese painted fern ‘Crested Surf’ (Athyrium niponicum ‘Crested Surf’ PPAF CPBRAF) won the judges’ Best in Show honors, while Golden Falls™ Redbud (Cercis Golden Falls™ ‘NC2015-12’ PPAF), Manzanita ‘Panchito’ (Arctostaphylos x coloradensis ‘Panchito’), and GROUND HOG™ Aronia (Aronia melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM012’ PPAF) were chosen for judges’ Awards of Merit.
Although the 2019 Farwest Show is come and gone, all of this year’s New Varieties Showcase selections still can be viewed online at www.farwestshow.com/new-varieties-showcase. The 2020 Farwest Show will include a whole new batch of selections at the New Varieties Showcase, and will take place August 26–28 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Watch for information at www.farwestshow.com.