I had the chance to run in to the Southeastern Nursery Show late Friday afternoon as things were wrapping up, but was glad that I did! Probably as a result of the economy and the ongoing drought, the show was definitely smaller than in previous years, but there were some special plants to be found in many of the displays. I got to spend some time chatting with Mike Sikes from McCorkle Nurseries, and really fell in love with some of their new introductions.
The Heaven Scent Gardenia is new for this year, and is pretty fabulous! Reblooming, covered with blooms (that were forced for the show), nice fragrance, and a great form. The interesting twist to this little gardenia (matures at 3 to 4 feet) are the great seed pods that turn from yellow to orange to red through the winter, when most gardenias aren't at their most attractive.
Carolina Moonlight Lorapetalum is on my "gotta have it" list for this year. White blooms rather than the usual pink-red, with an olive green leaf. I'm never 100% convinced when I'm told what the mature size will be on a lorapetalum, but this one is supposed to max out at 7 to 8 feet. I have the perfect place to put an informal hedge of five plants!
The "Little Rose Dawn" Lorapetalum isn't new for 2009, but still relatively new on the market (I actually won mine as a doorprize at the GMGA Conference in Athens in January 0f 2008). It has done beautifully at my house, even with this roller coaster weather of the past year, and is starting to show the unusual branching pattern that this cultivar is noted for. One of my favorite plants is the Doublefile Viburnum because of its beautiful "layered branching," and this particular lorapetalum seems to be doing the same thing. It grows wide rather than tall (it's supposed to become pretty massive at 7 feet tall and 15 feet wide)...sort of loose and fluffy looking like a Van Houteii Spirea....picture above.
There is a new hydrangea that will most definitely make it into my garden this season. "Twist-n-Shout" is the newest in the Endless Summer series. My plant snob side always pooh-poohs things like Endless Summer, but this is a pretty awesome plant, and it's a reblooming lace cap....will let you know in August if I'm still so smitten with it!
Lastly, the "Amber" Flower Carpet Rose is just beautiful! Can't wait to use it in hanging baskets off the side of the bridge that goes over the creek! Blooms late spring through late fall, and I'm going to mix it in those baskets with Diamond Frost Euphorbia and Marguerite Sweet Potato Vine....it's going to be like a perpetual bouquet of roses, I hope! (Check out the photo above)
McCorkle doesn't sell retail, but I know Buck Jones carries most of their lines, and I'm sure many retailers will have them this season. It's the rose in the pink pot and the hydrangea in the blue one.