What Worked and What Didn’t? – Part I

Our company is surrounded by garden beds where we do our best to plant as many of the new flower introductions as possible. This spring additional beds were created so we can trial even more material than in the past. We planted a few bedding varieties, but concentrated more on direct sown cut flower varieties due to some logistical issues.

With October now fully behind us and a few frosts under our belt, we’ve finished pulling up the flowers and have finalized our notes on what worked and what didn’t.

What worked:
We ran a full sunflower trial for both dwarf potted plant types and tall cutting types. I was very impressed with some of the newer pollenless sunflower varieties that have been coming out of Israel. Most breeding these days is focused on sunflowers that are single stemmed (one flower per stem vs. multi-branched) and that do not produce pollen. Polleness flowers keep the flower disks very clean making for a neater, sharper looking flower. One in particular, Helios Flame, really caught our attention. In the dwarf pot and garden types, we really liked Micro Sun (pictured). It had darker leaves than most, was really well branched, and was chock full of flowers. I’ll keep you posted as to when we pick them up and have them available.

An interesting cosmos also caught our eye in these trials. While most cosmos are tall (4-5 feet) and bushy, this one is shorter (only 3 ft. tall) but still has a nice bushy plant habit. The color made us really take notice, as I haven’t seen this particular shade in cosmos before. I’m not sure if the color will translate well in this blog, but it was a nice deep carmine-red, almost bordering on maroon. Very striking. Stay tuned on this one tool!

For some reason I’ve steered away from Amaranthus in the past - can’t say exactly why. So this year we grew a few in our trials and now I’m an Amaranthus groupie! Although none of these are new, I really loved the drooping types (Love-Lies-Bleeding) in both a dark red (A. caudatus red) and a chartreuse green (A. viridus green). You’ll find both of these newly listed in our catalogs and website. I’ll also be picking up the very popular ‘Dreadlocks’ variety (pictured) in the near future. All will create an intriguing, funky look to gardens, and also make great cut flowers to use in arrangements and wreaths. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Not every trial is successful. My next post will address some of those ‘less than successful’ plantings. Stay tuned!


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