Greenhouse Canada

On the road again: first trials reports

November 15, 2010  By Dave Harrison


On the road again: first trials reports
This is the first in a series of photo
features covering plant trials I toured this year throughout
southwestern Ontario.

Nov. 15, 2010, Grimsby, Ont. – This is the first in a series of photo features covering plant trials I toured this year throughout southwestern Ontario. This series does not cover all the trials, and hopefully we can expand our coverage next year. I approached the trials from the viewpoint of a consumer or gardener. What caught my eye? What would easily find a home in my landscape and planters?


Proven Winners varieties were highlighted in the Garden Sensations Summer 2010 open house hosted by Ed Sobkowich Greenhouses Ltd. of Grimsby, just a short jog from the Lake Ontario shoreline and about halfway between Hamilton and St. Catharines. Catching my eye at this year’s event were:

Rising as tall as six feet, ‘King Tutt’ remains quite the
attention-getter, standing head-and-shoulders above other plants in any
presentation. It is a centerpiece plant that gently sways with any
breeze. It is part of the Graceful Grasses lineup. It works well in
containers or in normal garden beds, adding a “second tier” to any

New Proven Winners introductions this year included, left to right,
‘Intensia Blueberry,”Goldilocks Rocks’ and ‘Supertunia Sangria
Charm.”Intensia Blueberry’ flowers continuously in the heat. The
trailing habit of ‘Goldilocks Rocks’ makes it ideal in hanging baskets
and combos. ‘Supertunia Sangria Charm’ is ideal for small pot production
and in containers.

‘Vanilla Butterfly’ argyranthemum is a top Proven Winners seller.
‘Butterfly’ has won 25 awards throughout the U.S. It has excellent bloom
performance and heat-tolerance.

Several new sweet potato varieties have been introduced this year by Proven Winners, and all are heat and humidity tolerant.
Cleome is clearly the definition of a “thriller” combo container plant.
The flowers look like small fireworks bursts, and the plants rock gently
in the mildest breeze. Two of the better varieties are ‘Spirit
Appleblossom’ and ‘Spirit Frost.’ Both are heat and drought tolerant.
They also work well in larger flowerbeds. Cleome also attracts birds,
butterflies and hummingbirds – perfect guests for any garden!
‘Persian Shield’ is an attention-getter in any garden. This is a
low-maintenance plant with gleaming, colourful leaves of purple, green
and silver throughout the season. Though it can be used as a houseplant,
it’s usually used in landscapes and containers.
The mounded habit of ‘Dolce Peach Melba’ makes it an ideal candidate to
fill in the middle of most combinations; however, it also looks great on
its own. It can also be used in landscapes. The foliage changes colour
with the seasons, and it’s quite cold tolerant.
‘Charmed Wine’ oxalis offers an interesting contrast in colours with its
pink flowers and richly purple leaves. It’s drought tolerant and
deadheading is not necessary – clearly a low-maintenance plant. It can
be used in hanging baskets, combinations (as a filler plant), window
boxes and landscapes.
‘Marinka’ fuchsia flowers from spring through to the fall. Deadheading
is not necessary with this low-maintenance performer. It attracts birds,
butterflies and hummingbirds. It can be used in flowerbeds, borders,
window boxes and patio planters. ‘Marinka’ has a mounded habit.

A perfect planter recipe? Try Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Yellow,’ Petunia
‘Supertunia Royal Velvet,’ Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost,’ Coleus ‘Pineapple’
and ornamental grass ‘Juncus Blue Arrows.’

‘Freckles’ coleus has yellow leaves accented by bronze and orange
splotches throughout the season. It’s an ideal “thriller” plant in any
mixed combo, but works equally well in the landscape. It’s heat tolerant
and can be used as a houseplant.

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