All the exciting new 2015 flowers from seed are now available on parkseed.com, but as you plan your garden, you might take a look at a few special varieties from 2014 that have proven very popular with gardeners, and are worth a place at the top of your list for spring.
“I will never bother planting another Marigold,” a Park customer in Pennsylvania wrote us at the end of July, “as long as Garland is available.” She is referring to our new tall, bushy Marigold with long, flexible stems. Garland was bred to be braided into — you guessed it — garlands, but it has proven to be the best landscaping Marigold we’ve ever seen. It turned heads and stopped traffic in our 2013 trial gardens, so we knew we had to get the seed. And the response has been terrific! “Everyone stops to admire these,” our Pennsylvania gardener reports; “these flowers are the star this summer.” As well they should — the faster you cut the stems, the quicker new buds arise on this prolific, generous performer. If you live in a warm climate, Garland can reach up to 4 feet high and possibly even taller. In short-summer areas, it may be closer to 2 1/2 feet. But wherever it is grown, it will be dense, bushy, and attractive from spring through fall. There’s never been a Marigold like Garland!
Now, Celosia Arrabona hasn’t flown under the radar the way Marigold Garland has. It won a 2014 Fleuroselect Gold Medal — the royalty of European plant awards — and it has been heavily marketed. But if you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll be amazed by its bushy habit and big, BIG plumes of rich red. This is the plant you see out of the corner of your eye from way down the street, a showstopper in any sunny setting.
And then there are two more flowers from seed that deserve your attention. If you love cut-flowers, chances are you’re growing Lisianthus already, but there has never been a Lizzie like Charisma Blue. The blooms are fully double, and you get more than twice as many as on any other Lizzie. Filled with rich royal blue tones, they are magnificent . . . and very long-lasting.
If bedding and mass planting is more your style, an old favorite has a new look: Zinnia Profusion Double Yellow has arrived! The Profusions all live up to their name, but Double Yellow offers larger flowers and more of them than any other color in the family. All summer long, it’s simply an undulating carpet of buttery yellow. The flowers drop neatly to the ground when spent — no deadheading — and new ones keep coming over a season that usually lasts more than 3 months, and in warmer climates closer to 6. And you know how easy Zinnia is to direct-sow or start early in the Bio Dome. A no-fail, no-kidding variety you must, must have!
This was also a banner year for surprise-hit vegetables. We’ll post about them next time!