Dahlia 'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'
Yesterday I stopped into the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and I almost fainted from shock when I found myself looking down at an eight dollar cauliflower.
At this time of year most of our fresh fruit and vegetables are imported from the States. With the record low value of our dollar, we Canadians are taking a beating in the produce aisle this winter.
Eight dollars for a humble cauliflower! It's enough to make me think about tearing out some flowers in the spring and switching to vegetables.
But for now, it's been snowing and it is super cold here. I don't know about you, but pretty pictures of flowers always seems to cheer me up.
There is still plenty of time to get more practical before spring arrives.
Today I am returning to Landscape Ontario's trial gardens to take a look at some of the newer introductions they have been testing.
We'll start here with this mixed planting.
This is Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' and 'Senorita White Blush' from Proven Winners.
They are a bit more compact (24-48 inches) than many older varieties of Cleome and also have the advantage of having odourless foliage, no thorns and sterile flowers.
You'll notice that "compact" is a recurring notation in this post. Most suburban lots are small these days. Perhaps that is why growers seem to think we gardeners are looking for compact plants.
You may also notice that many of these newer cultivars are also sterile. That's a great advantage if a plant tends to be a problem self-seeder, but it also means that you can only reproduce a plant by cloning it (i.e. make new plants from cuttings).
And if the plant is an annual, like the ones I am showing here, you'll have to buy a whole new plant each spring.
Pretty smart retail strategy, eh!
Here is a perfect example. This is a new, more compact version (only 20-30 inches) of a plant that seems to have grown in popularity in recent years.
Verbena bonarienses has a reputation for being a prolific self-seeder. Verbena bonarienses 'Meteor Shower' on the other hand, sets little seed. This is a denser, more vigorous plant that is heat and drought tolerant. Full sun.
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum', Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket'
Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket' is an annual grass in most areas (hardy in USDA Zones 10a-11b only).
It has green leaves with white stripes and smoky-pink plumes that turn cream as they age. The plumes are sterile, so this plant can be counted on to bloom from mid-summer into fall. Graceful Grasses 'Sky Rocket' is recommended for both containers and flowerbeds.
Supertunia 'Vista Strawberry' and Supertunia 'Vista Bubblegum' (pink flowers in the foreground)
Supertunia 'Pink Star Charm' and 'Sangria Charm'
Call me a plant snob. Petunias don't exactly set my horticultural world on fire.
They do however, serve a useful function in container plantings and hanging baskets. And I have to say that some of the newer introductions are quite attractive.
Supertunia 'Violet Star Charm' (top left) Supertunia 'Pink Star Charm' (right) and Supertunia 'Rose Blast Charm' (on the bottom)
These Petunias (above) are all recent Supertunias introductions from Proven Winners.
Altogether there are over thirty old and new Supertunia cultivars to choose from. They come in a range of colors and some varieties have this nice striping.
Supertunias are reputed to be vigorous and are quite drought tolerant once established. They also don't need deadheading. Full sun of course.
Petunia 'Sanguna Light Blue Improved' (top left) and 'Sanguna Radiant Blue' (right) are semi-trailing Petunias bred by Syngenta.
With the sun peaking through rain clouds, there was something about the color of these flowers that arrested your attention and made you pause for a second look.
Dahlia Hypnotica Sangria (left) and Dahlia 'Hypnotica Lavender'
A few compact Dahlias to end off with.
These are Dahlias from the Hypnotica Series from Fides. Hypnotica Dahlias flower abundantly and consistently throughout the summer on short stems that don't need staking. Full sun. They are recommended for both gardens and containers.
Dahlia 'Hypnotica Bellini'
'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'
Grandahlia series plants are also form neat mounds (12-14 inches) and have large flowers all summer.
There are seven colors in the series including this very pretty 'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'. Again, full sun.
'Grandahlia Rose Swirl'
I'll end here with the same pretty face I began with.
Tonight there will be no eight dollar cauliflower gracing our dinner plates. I bought a less glamorous butternut squash for two dollars instead.
I happen to like squash, but the men in the family aren't super fond of it. Too bad, I say! I told both hubby and my son they'd better acquire a taste for squash and other less expensive veggies. I'll be damned if I will spend eight dollars on a single cauliflower!