What Worked and What Didn’t? – Part II

In my previous post I talked about the parts of our flower trials this summer that were pretty successful, and what we liked.

What didn’t work:
One of the reasons we trial varieties is to make sure they grow and perform well. Inevitably, we’re bound to run into a couple of boo boo’s. For years we’ve been offering a couple of ornamental millets, Purple Majesty and Jester. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, as the saying goes. But they ARE pretty intriguing, and very popular. So this year we decided to trial some ornamental corn that is being promoted not so much for the cob, but for the colorful or variegated foliage. You may have heard of Stars and Stripes as one of these varieties. I can tell you with absolute certainty that these types did not look good in our trials at all! The plants grew with green foliage and didn’t produce any other color (they were supposed to be white, pink, purple and green stripes and streaks!) until they were about 6 feet tall and ¾ of the way through the summer. Needless to say, we will not be picking this type up - sorry.

We trialed a new variety called Rumex Bloody Dock. It’s in the sorrel family, looks a lot like beet leaves, but leafier, and has a really striking network of blood red veins running through the leaves. We grew it as a border in one of our large circular beds, and that was clearly a poor decision. We had high heat and humidity this summer and they just didn’t care for that too much. The color contrast faded, leaving us with plants that looked rather washed out. I think a better use for something like this is as a foliage component in a combination planter. The young plants form a really pretty rosette of leaves where the veining will stand out more, and will complement other flowering annuals.

There is still more to tell you about what we came away with from our flower trials this summer. Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

I had the same disappointing result with Stars and Stripes ornamental corn. Of the 12 plants I grew from seed, only one had a hint of color other than green, and that was a very thin pencil line of purple. You have to wonder how much trial time this variety was given before being sold and promoted as an ornamental.

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