Plant Select announces 2012 selections for innovative home gardens

With spring comes a familiar gardening dilemma: What to plant that will be beautiful and unique, while also flourishing in area landscapes?

Plant Select comes to the rescue with six notable plant picks for the 2012 growing season: a tree, a shrub and four flowering perennials. All the plants have been grown and have proved their hardiness at trial-garden locations around Colorado.

Plant Select is a non-profit organization involving Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and regional and national horticultural professionals. The non-profit’s mission is to seek out and distribute the best plants for landscapes from the High Plains to the Intermountain region and beyond, with an emphasis on horticultural innovation. To be included, selected plants:

• thrive in a broad range of garden situations in the Rocky Mountain region;
• are resilient to the region’s challenging climate;
• exemplify the unique;
• demonstrate disease and insect resistance;
• flourish in low water conditions;
• display a long season of beauty in the garden; and
• ensure noninvasiveness.

The selections for the 2012 growing season are:

Cape-forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis) has trim evergreen rosettes producing a bounty of dazzling, cobalt-blue flowers with fetching white eyes throughout the garden season. This perennial will naturalize with moderate self-sowing in many situations, filling blank corners of the border with luminous twilight blue. 8-15 inches tall and 4-8 inches wide, it grows well in a wide range of soils in full sun to partial shade. Hardy to USDA zones 5-10.

Filigree Daisy (Anthemis marschalliana) produces a lacy mat of silvery foliage, which is beautiful through much of the year. In May and June, the chrome-yellow daisies glow for weeks on end. Grows 4-10 inches tall (in bloom), and 15-24 inches wide, preferring sandy or clay soils that dry well between waterings. This tough, mat-forming perennial from West Asia will become a centerpiece of a xeriscape or dry border. Hardy to USDA zones 4-10.

Fire Spinner ice plant (Delosperma “P001S”), a new plant to horticulture, represents a dramatic color breakthrough for the hardy ice plants. The green-apple foliage makes a glistening, fast-spreading carpet that keeps its shiny presence through winter. The two-toned, orange and purple flowers are massed in spring, but reappear periodically through the summer. This unique cultivar traces its ancestry to high mountains near the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Grows 1-2 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide in full sun to partial shade, and in moderate to dry conditions. Hardy to USDA zones 5-10.

Weeping white spruce (Picea glauca “Pendula”), the first Plant Select conifer recommendation, is a living sculpture for the landscape. It is a very hardy form of the boreal spruce that also thrives in summer heat. The graceful foliage shimmers, and the weeping form adds drama and texture to any setting. With its compact footprint, this distinctive specimen enhances tight landscape and garden settings. Grows 20-30 feet tall, and only 6 feet wide in full sun to partial shade conditions. Tolerates a wide range of soils, and is hardy to USDA zones 3-8.

Ruby Voodoo rose (Rosa “Ruby Voodoo”), a new plant to horticulture, produces spectacular, multi-toned, purple-pink double blossoms late spring blooms which are repeated moderately through the summer. Intensely fragrant, its attractive habit and vigor will ensure that this John Starnes hybrid becomes a staple in the new American rose garden. Annual pruning encourages a more compact habit. Grows 5-6 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide in full sun to partial shade, requiring moderate water in sandy, clay or loam soils. Hardy to USDA zones 4-10.

Dalmatian daisy (Tanacetum cinerariifolium). The silvery, ferny foliage of this plant is decorative at all times, but much of the year it is obscured under a dome of shimmering white daisies. It grows 16-20 inches tall by 24-30 inches wide, blooming May to July. Aromatic and pest-free, this is the perfect perennial white daisy for drier gardens and landscapes. Hardy to USDA zones 4-10.

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