Sensational® Lavender (Lavandula intermedia ‘Tesseract’ PP31786, left) and Kimono™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hokomareki’ USPPAF, right) stood out among the 74 selections presented in the New Varieties Showcase at the 2021 Farwest Show.
Sensational Lavender, discovered by Lloyd Traven and Richard Grazzini and introduced by Peace Tree Farms based in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, was selected by the show’s judging panel of industry professionals as Best in Show and announced on day one of the show.
Kimono Hydrangea, hybridized in the Netherlands by Kolster BV and introduced by Curoplant Co., was chosen by voting attendees as the People’s Choice winner and announced on the final day of the show.
The New Varieties Showcase was sponsored by Hip Labels. All selections had to be new to the market for 2021 or 2022, deemed significantly different and improved from prior choices on the market, and available from at least one Farwest Show exhibitor.
“There’s no substitute for seeing the industry’s best new plant introductions in person, where they shine the brightest, and we did have some great ones in the show this year,” said Allan Niemi, director of events for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, which produces the show. “Voter interest in the new selections was strong, as it always is. People were excited to see what’s new on the market and can give them better performance or new design options.”
Sensational Lavender is available from Farwest Show exhibitors Walla Walla Nursery Co. It is described as “the next generation of Lavender Phenomenal.” The plant boasts “incredibly large and thick flowers and sturdy stems,” along with “broad silver foliage that is “thick and tough” and a “thick floral aroma.” Other attributes include a dense habit, heat tolerance, humidity tolerance and cold tolerance.
Kimono Hydrangea offers a unique combination of heavy reblooming, compact size, dark foliage and flower coloration. It has dazzling blooms of white and pink florets with red margins sitting atop dark green foliage, all wrapped into a compact 2–3-foot package, suitable for the modern outdoor space. It prefers part sun and is suitable for USDA Hardiness Zones 5–8. It is available from Farwest Show exhibitors Van Belle Nursery, Walla Walla Nursery Co., and GardenScape Nursery Inc.
In addition to the Best in Show winner chosen by judges, and the People’s Choice winner chosen by voters, there were runners up in the judge-chosen and voter-chosen categories. These were given Awards of Merit.
The Awards of Merit as chosen by the judges were as follows:
Heart to Heart® ‘Burning Heart’ Sun Caladium (Caladium × hortulanum ‘Burning Heart’ PP27071), introduced by Proven Winners North America LLC. It is a bronze, fancy leaf variety with pink to orange spots, representing “a completely new color for caladiums,” according to the company. It is intermediate-to-tall in height, and works well in combinations, patio planters and landscapes, either in full sun or shade. The color is best expressed in the sun. The plant is available in quart, 6½-inch and 8 ½-inch containers from Farwest exhibitors Proven Winners.
NewGen Independence® Boxwood (Buxus ‘SB108’ PP28888), discovered by a boxwood enthusiast in the Williamsburg, Virginia area and introduced by NewGen Boxwood®, Saunders Genetics LLC. Independence was chosen for the NewGen brand based on very high tolerance to boxwood blight and strong performance in boxwood leafminer trials. It has a habit similar to Buxus microphylla ‘Green Beauty’, but with more elongated leaves. It has a rounded habit, deep green color and medium-sized plant, and can be used in formal plantings where a medium sized round plant is desired. The branching structure is very strong, so it withstands snow loads. It is also deer resistant. The plant is available from Farwest exhibitors Bountiful Farms, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc. and Sidhu & Sons Nursery.
SunFern™ Olympia Russian Wormwood (Artemisia gmellinii ‘Balfernlym’ PPAF), hybridized by Christa Klevit in the Netherlands and introduced by Darwin Perennials. This novelty evergreen shrub with fern-like textures can be used as an accent plant in containers or as a groundcover in the landscape. It is low maintenance, tolerates drought, and does well in full sun. The plant is available as 50, 72, 102, 128, URC and URC AutoStix from Farwest exhibitors Ball Seed.
The voter-chosen Awards of Merit were as follows:
ColorBlaze® El Brighto Coleus (Plectranthus scutellaroides ‘El Brighto’), introduced by Proven Winners North America LLC. This fiery, frilled coleus has purple and red centers with yellow margins and works well in containers. It works as a houseplant as well. It prefers sun or shade and will perform outdoors in Zones 10–11, growing to 24–40 inches tall by 18–36 inches wide. It is available from Proven Winners.
Cascade Sunburst Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum ‘Vacbri2’), discovered by Briggs Nursery in Elma, Washington, and introduced by Briggs. This huckleberry offers distinctive, variegated foliage. The finely serrated leaves are vivid coral when they emerge, gradually turning green with creamy variegations. Its racemes of pale pink, urn-shaped flowers bloom in spring, followed by glossy purple-black, edible berries in the summer, providing multiple seasons of interest. The plant does well in shade or sun and tolerates most soil types but prefers acidic soil. It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and is deer resistant. It grows to four feet wide and tall and is suited for Zones 7–9. It’s available from Briggs Nursery.
Serendipity Ornamental Onion (Allium ‘Serendipity’ PP32023 CPBRAF), discovered by Eric Sal at Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan and introduced by Walla Walla Nursery Co. and Proven Winners. This new selection is a sport of the popular A. ‘Millenium’, and has similar qualities, but with attractive blue foliage. It has globe-like, rosy-purple flowers that appear profusely in mid to late summer. It likes sun exposure best and grows well in Zones 4-8, reaching a size of 15–20 inches tall by 10–15 inches wide. It’s available from Walla Walla Nursery Co.