It has also acted as a "heads up" when it came to new plant introductions I should be aware of. I always seem to savor the excitement of seeing a new plant, but over the years, I've become immediately critical of anything new that I see. Suddenly, the serious plantsman in me begins to question its origins, its market potential, its trial process, how it could be utilized in the landscape and if I'm infatuated enough, I find ways to somehow secure a sample so I can grow it myself or often times, I immediately seek out a "plug source" so I can be one of the first in the region to offer a plant.
Plant market can be very competitive and nurseries are always striving to have something new and exclusive. As a small hobby nursery, it's impossible to keep up with the surge of new plants if you don't have the resources to grow them on. However, being the plant nut that I am trying to stay on top of everything I'm exposed to in terms of plants, I can't help going through these catalogs and almost predicting what people might be after (both beginners and seasoned avid gardeners).
Many of you know that I'm a big fan of lilies and Hostas. Upon recent web searches, here are some must haves on my list:
B & D Lilies
I've known Bob and Dianna since I was 13 years old and I've worked with them at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show for a few years. They bring a wide assortment of exciting lily hybrids and some of the best bulbs in the industry. Over the years, they've started to diversify and offer other plants such as peonies and Eucomis, but the lily hybrids are their specialty and they have some notable selections I'm eager to try:
Now, I'm completely enamored by these, but I've yet to grow them successfully. I tried a wide selection last spring, but with the terrible heat and poor irrigation, not one flowered for me, but I'm still eager to try!
The problems I've had with doubles is their inability to open properly under my garden conditions. I've yet to figure out why, but I have my suspicions: not enough water, too much sun, poorly amended soil, but the fact that I've struggled with a variety called 'Miss Lucy' (the first of the double Orientals to be introduced) for years now, I'm hesitant about recommending these other doubles, but they're so irresistibly different and exotic.
Here's one I HIGHLY recommend that I got last year and was most impressed with. It is an Asiatic hybrid called 'Netty's Pride'
Gary and Jack have also known me for years and their hostas and shade plants are almost unparalleled in terms of variety and quality. Here are some plants I'm being tempted by:
I'm a fan of the classic blue hosta cultivar called, 'Halcyon'. It has produced one of my most favorite varieties called 'June' which has a gold/chartreuse center and now comes 'Blue Ivory'.
Nice wide margins on what I hope is a strong plant that doesn't burn at the edges.
I'm a sucker for fragrance and this looks to be very promising. Excellent foliage and consistent fragrant blooms in late summer.
The red-petiole cultivars are much sought after by collectors and even novice gardeners are beginning to take notice and even wonder if a "RED HOSTA" will ever be bred. Here's an attempted with one called 'The Razor's Edge'.