Exciting plants to try in 2010

The plant catalogues have started to arrive and the timing couldn’t be better.

Even the hardiest of gardeners admit that with the temperature hovering in the 20 to 30 degree range, sitting by a roaring fire or under a warm blanket and planning ahead for next spring and summer is the best way to spend garden time. I already have a list of plants that I want to order from Plant Delights, some new to me and others that I have admired but never grown like Lycoris traubii, Traub's surprise lily which produces golden orange spidery flowers in October.

Many of the new introductions that appeal to me are compact, offer more than one season of interest and are adapted to grow well in hot, humid climates. Of the All-America Selections winners for 2010, I look forward to growing Zinnia 'Double Zahara Fire' with scarlet orange flowers and Zinnia 'Double Zahara Cherry.' Both of these sun loving, heat tolerant annuals bloom for weeks from summer until frost and are perfect for the garden or in pots. They are also resistant to leaf spot and mildew diseases.

To find out what other plant lovers are excited about growing in 2010 I decided to consult with Jamie Blackburn, curator of the Woodland Gardens at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Bobby Saul of ItSaul Nurseries in Atlanta to hear what they recommend as far as new and favorite plants for our gardens. What follows are some of their picks and a few of my own.


Acer palmatum 'Bihou' – with golden bark

Acer palmatum 'Ryusen'- a strict weeping Japanese maple with outstanding fall color

Acer palmatum 'Tsukasa Silhouette'- a fastigiate cultivar


Abelia 'Kaleidoscope'- a compact selection with colorful foliage that changes with the seasons.

Buddleia 'Blue Chip': A dwarf butterfly bush I admired at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raliegh, NC; easy to incorporate into the garden.

Hydrangea paniculata cultivars including 'Dharuma': A dwarf selection with potential for smaller gardens and containers. Other selections they have planted recently at the Atlanta Botanical Garden include 'Big Ben', 'Early Sensation' and 'White Lady.'

Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine': chartreuse golden foliage in spring and summer, bright yellow in fall and winter, upper stems take on a bright red cast


Ceratostigma griffithii: Great red foliage in fall with blue blooms

Coreopsis verticillata 'Route 66': This hardy yellow coreopsis has a red eye that bleeds to the tips of the petals

Chasmanthium latifolium 'River Mist': variegated Northern sea oats

Echinacea 'Crazy Pink': A 2' by 2' clump covered with pink blooms beginning in early summer

Heuchera villosa hybrids: Great foliage color and they take the heat, including 'Caramel', 'Citronelle', 'Mocha', 'Pistache'

Sources for Good Plants including some featured here: (call for hours of operation)

Mail Order: Plant Delights,9241 Sauls Rd, Raliegh, NC 27603, www.plantdelights.com


Ashe-Simpson Garden Center

4961 Peachtree Industrial Blvd.

Atlanta, GA 30341 770-458-3224

Full Bloom Nursery

6662 Holly Springs St.

Clermont, GA 30527 770-842-2345


353 Boulevard SE

Atlanta, GA 30312 404-880-9848

Habersham Gardens

2067 Manchester St. NE

Atlanta, GA 30324 404-873-2484

Land Arts

809 North Broad St. (Hwy 11 at 78)

Monroe, GA 30656 770-267-4500

McMahan’s Nursery

5727 Cleveland Hwy.

Clermont, GA 30527 770-983-3666

Scottsdale Farms

15639 Birmingham Hwy

(Hwy 372)

Alpharetta, GA 30004 770-777-5875

Erica Glasener is a horticulturist and host of "A Gardener's Diary" which is currently on hiatus. Fridays on HGTV. For questions, visit Erica Glasener's Web site.