Saturday, September 02, 2006
Put to the test
All those for whom the mere mention of bedding annuals is enough to bring on a shudder of nausea: stop reading here.
For the rest of you, here’s my annual report on the test gardens at the Erie Basin Marina. With lovely surroundings that include this—
—the test gardens are always worth a visit toward the end of the summer. They are maintained by a very nice gentleman, Stan Swisher, who supervises test beds of annuals being introduced by various companies, such as Ball, Proven Winners, Goldsmith, and others. I’ve had the pleasure of pouring Stan a glass of wine or two at the Garden Walk rally (the gardens are cited on the map) and he’s tried to explain to me how the testing works and why I never seem to see any of these plants in local nurseries the next spring. I’m still not sure I understand, but no matter. It’s fun to check them out, even if I can’t actually have any of the plants.
This is a heliotrope, Scentropia Silver (Proven Winners). It has a similar habit to my white heliotrope, which I find to be much more successful that the dark blue ones.
There are always fabulous coleus here—well, when are coleus not fabulous? These are Pistachio Nightmare and Florida Sun Lava (Proven Winners).
And this is Wine Country.
I’m always surprised by the annual vincas—I have never seen these for sale and they ‘d be so useful if they take shade, as the perennial vinca does. Are they real vinca? Gecko, would you know? These are from Goldsmith—very eye-catching, I thought.
Always a sucker for diascia, I hope I can order this red variety, shown here with Roseglow lantana.
It was a lovely walk down there, and I also took note of some splendid front perennial gardens, which I’ll save for another blog. Sadly, all the zinnias at the test gardens were well and truly mildewed.