Spring 2015


The Skyscraper Salvias

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Salvia ‘Skyscraper Orange’ with its unusual hood

Salvia is a complex family, so Salvia hybrids tend to have complicated backstories. However, if we had to guess, we’d say the Skyscraper series blends the vibrant colors and season-long bloom cycle of the Vistas, the growing habit of ‘May Night’, and the showy blooms of ‘Black & Blue’ into a single package. As a series, it doesn’t fit onto one of the standard pegs we assign to the Salvias.

If you haven’t seen anything quite like the Skyscrapers, that’s because the series is brand new to the market, just released by Selecta One in 2019. It comes in three colors: Dark Purple, Orange, and Pink, but the breeding team hopes to add more colors to the list.

Skyscrapers have traits fround in each of the three types of Salvia: annual, perennial, and decor. To understand the series, it’s best to sit in the middle of the triangle rather than at one of the corners to grasp how each of those traits contributes to the sum total of the plant. Let’s take a look.


Bronze Fennel

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Major parts of Bronze Fennel: flower, stalk, stem, and leaves

Fennel is an exotic herb by American standards, and Bronze Fennel is even more rare. In the landscape we could call it an Ornamental Carrot, since it belongs to that family. Dill is a cousin—perhaps you recognize the ferny fronds. Yellow Queen Anne’s Lace is another relative. One whiff of Bronze Fennel and the familiar anise-like scent transports us from the garden to the spice rack in the kitchen.

Surprisingly, a popular use of the herb has nothing to do with any of that. Bronze Fennel provides home and food for the caterpillars of Swallowtail butterflies and a number of other pollinators, so it is a frequent addition to wildlife gardens. From any angle, Bronze Fennel brings a number of interesting stories to the garden bed.


Working with Nemesia

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Nemesia ‘Sunglow’ provides an extra 4 weeks of early summer performance

Opening early is a strategic move. Retailers, landscapers, gardeners, and other early birds often look to work the soil as soon as it signals that it is ready. For the professional there is the added benefit of re-starting the revenue stream a little earlier.

Behind that decision lays the question: “What do I have to work with?” One obvious answer is Pansies and Violas; a not-so-obvious one is Nemesia. Let’s take a look at how you might start the season with a different look, plus a few dos-and-don’ts. Whether you bother with Nemesia depends on whether you like what you see.


Geranium ‘Super Moon Red’

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The new muscle car among Geraniums—‘Super Moon Red’

In the world of Geraniums the zonals are muscle cars—they are the BIG ones: big blossoms, big stance, big leaves, and big attitude—right down to that signature zonal brand mark they flash on the fenders of the plants. There is a reason why Geraniums are divided into zonal and non-zonal—it’s the difference between zoom and vrooom.

Currently the field is dominated by classic names like Rocky Mountain and Fantasia and sports names like Calliope and Caliente, but there is a new ride in town: Geranium ‘Super Moon Red’. This is a large red Geranium with subtle chocolate highlights, developed by the folks at Selecta One. You probably haven’t walked past it yet because this Geranium is brand new to the market. It’s so new that the market is still trying to decipher the plant.

We’ve actually taken 'Super Moon Red' out for an extended test drive, so we can say this one pulls ahead of the competition. We can tell you three reasons why this cultivar is important to you. Let’s break out our tools and take a look at the ride Selecta brings to the muscle car geraniums.


Hibiscus Mahogany Splendor

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Beautiful maple-like leaves of Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’

Every now and then, when rummaging through an attic, old cabinet, or boxes in the basement, we find a treasure. This is how we came across Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’, a cultivar from the PanAmerican Catalog. This cultivar is modern, but we’re not certain how long it has been kicking around the industry, nor do we know if it was bred or found.

What we do know is that we love the Japanese maple vibe. This surprisingly fun plant worked its way into several design scenarios we didn’t expect. It turns out that what’s old is new again, so let’s take a fresh look at Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’.