Plant Picks 2007
This is my site Written by Geoff on April 7, 2007 – 5:47 pm

It is once again when we select Martin’s Yard & Garden’s Plants of the Year. Each year we take time out to make a list of those plants which have really out performed all others in our gardens. This growing season was a tough one for any type of plant, cool, wet, and cloudy from Spring until Fall and then very hot and dry for several weeks before turning cold and wet again. About the only thing that did well was the Kentucky Bluegrass in the lawn! 

It is by no means easy for a plant to make our list, with over 600 varieties of plants to choose from, a plant must really stand out. A plant must not only be attractive but also require low maintenance and be exceptionally hardy. As always, a few are like old friends, that just keep popping up. Since we are mostly shade gardeners, a good percentage of shade tolerant plants find there way into our lists. Also, you will note, a few plants which made our list have a Southern flavor. 

2006 Fern of the Year – Athyrium niponicum ‘Pewter Lace’
It is a very stunning silver fern to go with Bradford’s Beauty and Ghost. With arresting metallic pewter foliage, it is exciting in combination with hosta or lungworts. 

2006 Grass of the Year – Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’
It has very narrow foliage with a subtle white stripe causes this plant to shimmer and glow in the landscape. This choice ornamental grass that sets off any sunny area. 

2006 Shade Plant of the Year – Polygonatum odoratum thunbergii Variegatum ‘Variegated Japanese Solomon’s Seal’ 
They are graceful shade plants that provide nice form and structure to the garden. These plants have long arching unbranched stems, they have nice clean, veined leaves with clusters of bell like greenish yellow to whitish yellow flowers hanging down from the stems at the leaf axis. In late summer and fall showy berries are produced that are blue to dark blue in color. 

2006 Bog Plant of the Year – Asclepias incarnata ‘Pink Swamp Milkweed’
It is once again our selection as bog plant of the year. If you wish to attract butterflies to your gardens, be sure to plant some Pink Swamp Milkweed. It is the favorite food for the caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly. Beautiful and unique, bicolored flowers of white and dark pink appear midsummer in clusters. As the name implies, Swamp Milkweed grows best in moist locations. 

2006 Groundcover of the Year – Tiarella hybrid ‘Spring Symphony’
It may well be the best clumping tiarella that we have seen. The jagged, fuzzy green leaves are each highlighted by a black central blotch. In May, the compact clumps are topped with light pink bottlebrush-like flowers. 

2006 Conifer of the Year – Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’
The Vanderwolf pine grows to 15 to 40 feet, in the most perfect shape. The color is superb, and unusually blue for a pine. This tree stands out splendidly in an evergreen border. Pyramidal form with soft, blue-green needles. We only wish we had planted more of this evergreen. 

2006 New Introduction of the Year – Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’
It is truly a sight to behold with its deeply cut foliage of bright gold. The masses of creamy flowers develop into clusters of red fruit that the birds love. 

2006 Butterfly Plant of the Year – Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
It has round flat flower heads rising above bold, flat-leaved foliage. Flowers then transform to pale pink and gradually change to dark pink. We use this plant everywhere, probably more than we should, but it is one of those plants that just has four season appeal. A must for the beginning gardener. 

2006 Tree of the Year – Cinnamomum camphora ‘Camphor Laurel’
It is a dense broadleaved evergreen that is capable of growing 50-150 feet tall and spreading twice that wide with a trunk up to 15 feet in diameter. Camphor is widely planted as a shade tree, screen, or windbreak and is a sturdy storm resistant tree. 

2006 Hosta of the Year – Hosta hybrid ‘Inniswood’
It has rounded gold corrugated foliage and a wide, deep green edge has become a hosta world favorite. The fast growing 4 foot wide clump is topped with medium lavender flowers in late spring. 

2006 Vegetable of the Year – Lycopersicon lycopersicum ‘Burpee’s Big Boy Hybrid’
The greatest tomatoes of all time and still a best seller. When it was released in 1949, enormous productivity and gorgeous, perfect, extra-large scarlet fruit made it an instant hit. What has kept it popular all these years is its wonderful aroma and rich flavour. The only tomato that produced in our garden with our cool wet weather in 2004. 

2006 Fruit Tree of the Year – Malus Hybrid ‘Donald’
A small flowering tree with buds, which are deep red at first, then turn pink, then finally white when they fully open. Its flowers are very showy, and the “snowstorm” that comes when the petals drop is something out of a fairy tale. The show continues into fall, as the glossy red crabapples that form persist into winter, and provide a beautiful feature. 

2006 Bulb of the Year – Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Childsiana’
It is an old fashioned, but very rewarding garden plant. Childsiana – a compact, pure white, fragrant miniature that is perfect for growing in pots and for the landscape in zones 6-10. 

2006 Herb of the Year – Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’
It is a little known dwarf species of Joe Pye, native in moist soils from Maine south to South Carolina. The tall stems are clothed with whorls of green leaves and topped in midsummer with dome-shaped heads of lavender flowers. 

2006 Shrub of the Year – Buxus glenco ‘Chicagoland Green’
It has glossy evergreen leaves all year with very little or no Winter burn. Ideal for edging or borders along pathways or for year round color in the mixed border. This Boxwood retains its nice green color in winter better than others and is faster growing than the popular ‘Green Velvet’. This cultivar is a Chicago Botanical Garden selection and was chosen for its cold tolerance. 

2006 Rose of the Year – Rosa hybrid ‘St. Patrick’
One of the few yellows that performs best in hot weather, when the characteristic green undertones are most evident. This unique flower color is brilliantly displayed against rich grey-green foliage. Extremely long lasting when used in bouquets. 

2006 Tropical Plant of the Year – Phoenix roebeleuii ‘Pygmy Date Palm’
A small to medium sized palm to about 3 feet, although older plants can be quite tall. Has very attractive dark green feather leaves, and spined petioles. Not self cleaning, so old fronds need to be manually removed. Houseplant in bright light, container plant, or a palm for shady outdoor areas. Moderate growth rate, single trunk. 

Many of the choices were very hard to make as there are a lot of good plants out there with more being introduced each season. Dan Hinkley atHeronswood and Tony Avent at Plants Delight have done much in the way of introducing plants we would have never thought about using. If it had not been for Darrell Probst of Garden Vision we would have never experienced many of the epimediums now found in our gardens. To these plantsmen and many others, we owe a round of thanks. We hope that many of their introductions make next years Plants of the Year.

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