New Varieties for 1999

Gardeners are looking for new plants every year. Here are new flowers and vegetables that will be featured in 1999 mail order seed catalogs, seed packets or as bedding plants at garden centers. The varieties are listed alphabetically by class, with the seed source listed in parentheses after the description. The designation ‘R’ means a retail seed company from which gardeners may purchase seed directly by mail order or also in stores that carry the variety in seed packets. A’W’ designation indicates a wholesale seed company which does not sell directly to home gardeners, but these varieties should be available in catalogs or as bedding plants at garden centers next spring.

Begonia F1 Hybrid ‘Pinup® Flame’ * The first Begonia to earn the AAS Award, ‘Pin-up® Flame’ is an unique yellow flower with orange petal edge. The single bloom can be 2-4 inches. Desirous of shade, this tuberous rooted begonia will attain a height of only 10-12 inches, plant it in front of your garden for maximum visibility. (Benary) W

Marigold ‘Bonanza Bolero’ * 1999 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner, is an improved dwarf, french marigold, distinct because of its irregular gold and red bicolor pattern. The large 2 ¼” double flowers are primarily gold with red petal tips. Plants will attain a height 8-12 inches and spread 12-24 inches when given adequate moisture and nutrients. (PanAmerican) W

Osteospermum ‘Passion Mix’ * 1999 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner. The most attractive feature is the single, daisy-like flowers with azure blue centers. Flowers are pink, rose, purple or pure white. The branching plants will reach 12- inches and are relatively pest free. Grow in the full sun garden. Once plants are established, ‘Passion Mix’ is drought tolerant, perfect for and climates. (American Takii) W

Petunia Celebrity Series ‘Carmine’ * A deep crimson flower with a beautiful white throat. Flowers are larger than a typical multiflora, but Celebrity varieties still boast excellent garden performance. (Bodger) W

Petunia ‘Misty Lilac Wave’ * has large light lavender blooms and is extremely free flowering. Spreading habit makes them ideal for ground covers and baskets. Easy to grow and maintain in the garden, these weather-tolerant petunias bloom freely all season without being cut back. (PanAmerican) W

Petunia ‘Trailblazer’ * is a vivid violet. Plants are fuller and less flat, reaching 12-14 inches in height and covered in blooms all along the stem. The plants spread to 4 feet in the garden by midsummer. (Novartis) W

Phlox ’21st Century’ * Vigorous lateral branches make fuller plants in containers. Trials show exceptional weather tolerance and superior ‘flower power.’ Vividly colored flowers through the season. The unique color mix includes bright solid crimson, scarlet, coral, blue and white, complimentary eyed and bicolor blooms. (Ball) W

Portulaca F1 Hybrid ‘Sundial Peach’ * This is the first portulaca to win an AAS Award. The unique, glowing peach color is unmatched and the flower size is improved to 2 inches. ‘Sundial Peach’ flowers resist closing and so provide more garden color. The small plant spreads 8-12 inches and is recommended for containers. (Bodger) W

Snapdragon ‘Crown Pink Appleblossom’ * Plants are medium-tall, reaching 12-16 inches, with a distinctly different habit. Instead of one or two tall central flowers, the plants have many shorter spikes at once. The plants have much more color in the garden, and excellent fragrance. (Novartis) W Sunflower ‘Monet’s Palette’ * Stunning combination of single-colored, pollen-free, flowers in shades of yellow, with red, orange and yellow bicolored beauties. The six-foot tall plants have a strong branching habit for continuous blooms throughout the summer. (NK Lawn & Garden) R

Sunflower ‘Sundance Kid’ * A unique sunflower with 4-6″ semi-double flowers in shades of bronze to pure yellow. Multi-branching plants are very showy for pots or garden. Excellent cut flower with strong stems and long vase life. Almost no pollen drop. Height 15-17″ in containers. 20-28″ in ground. Blooms in about 60 days. (Vesey’s) R

Tritoma ‘Flamenco’ * A 1999 AAS Flower Winner, this perennial, (Zones 5-9), Kniphofia uvaria, also called Red-Hot-Poker, offers gardeners the advantage of each plant flowering the first year. The flowers are tubular and layered on a spike. The flowers are creamy white, orange, yellow, or red. The spikes are excellent cut flowers with stems up to 30 inches. (Benary) W

Verbena ‘Quartz Burgundy’ * A 1999 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner. A deep wine red color with small white eye is a new feature of this verbena. Flowering will continue throughout the growing season. Mature plants can be about 6 to 8 inches tall and spread about 15 inches. A full sun annual. (PanAmerican) W

Verbena ‘Romance Lavender Rose’ * Luminous purple-toned rose blooms bring unique color to ‘Romance’ series. Produces 8 to 10 inch (20 to 25% cm) plants that spread 10 to 12 inches (215% to 30% cm). (Ball) W

Viola ‘Four Seasons’ * These nonstop bloomers provide golden yellow color throughout spring, summer and fall in cold climates, or through fall, winter and spring in warm climates. Low, spreading plants quickly form a solid mat of color. Blooms just 10 weeks from sowing. Sun or shade. (Park) R

Zinnia ‘Profusion Cherry’ * 1999 Gold Medal Winner. Two-inch single blooms dress up these disease tolerant, heat tolerant plants. Free flowering all summer, plants will grow about 12-18 inches tall in the full sun garden. Sets a new standard for mid size garden Zinnias. (Sakata) W

Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’ * 1999 Gold Medal Winner. Sister line to ‘Profusion Cherry’, with the same disease tolerance and free flowering qualities. These Zinnias are absolutely carefree in the garden. No pinching or staking needed, only water when needed! (Sakata) W

Pumpkin Wee-B-Little’ * AAS Winner. This true miniature orange pumpkin is a totally unique size weighing about 8-16 ounces. It is a round pumpkin shape, perfect for interior fall decorations. Easy to grow from seed, ‘Wee-B-Little’ plants are a bush habit spreading only 6-8 feet. (Novartis) W

Squash F1 Hybrid ‘Eight Ball’ * AAS Winner. ‘Eight Ball’ tastes great and is the first round summer squash with dark zucchini green skin. Improved for earliness, gardeners can harvest round baby squash in about 5-6 weeks. Plants grow about 3 feet wide. This may be the first squash that you can’t have too many of. (Hollar) W

Sweet Corn ‘Brilliance’ * For white sweet corn enthusiasts, this new sugary enhanced, 79 day hybrid rates high. Elevated sugars for sweetness and the shiny white kernels have a wonderful texture. Excellent disease resistance. Requires no isolation from other corns to prevent cross-pollination. (Harris) R

Sweet Corn ‘Sweet Riser’ * A unique combination of genetics that puts 3 different types of sweet corn all in one ear. This breakthrough in plant breeding allows for good germination and plant and husk quality, combined with sweeter tasting ears that hold their sugars longer. Maturing in 65 days ‘Sweet Riser’ will meet the high standards of home gardeners. (Harris) R

Tomato Hybrid ‘Sweet Cluster’ * A vine-on tomato like the Dutch varieties you’ve seen in stores for $4.00/lb. Sweet fruits average about 4 ounces, and extended shelf-life allows the entire truss to ripen without a reduction in quality of the first fruits in the cluster. (Seminis) W

Tomato Hybrid ‘Bucks County’ * 74 days. An 8-oz, deep red beefsteak with same great flavor and succulent texture, but gorgeous crack-free skin and much higher yield potential. We also added VFAS disease resistance. (Burpee) R

Tomato F1 Hybrid ‘Juliet’ * AAS Winner. The red, one ounce tomatoes are produced in clusters like grapes on the long vigorous indeterminate vines. The fruit shape is unusual, an elongated cherry type. The most important quality is the crack resistance. ‘Juliet tomatoes hold on the vine so gardeners can harvest and eat more ‘Juliet’ tomatoes. (Known-You) W

Watermelon F1 Hybrid ‘Now Queen’ * AAS Winner. ‘New Queen’ is a unique, gourmet watermelon with bright orange, sweet flesh. The melons are icebox size, 5-6% lbs. Easy to grow from seed or plants, ‘New Queen’ is early to mature in about 75 days from seed. The strong vigorous vines grow up to 9 feet. (Known-You) W

Disease Resistance Codes
V – Verticillium
F – Fusarium
A – Altemaria Stem Canker
S – Gray Leaf Spot

Integrated Pest Management

Juniper webworms attack several different kinds of ground cover and shrub junipers. Shore junipers are particularly relished by these caterpillars. The adult moth lays eggs in early summer and the young larvae begin feeding on the inner foliage. By autumn they have formed small groups containing three to five caterpillars in a mass of webbing. They overwinter and resume feeding in early spring. Look for yellowing needles and pull apart branches to check for silk webbing, plant debris, and the tan caterpillars with brown stripes. Prune out any webs and brown foliage. If caterpillars are numerous you may want to apply a pesticide containing acephate.

Bring houseplants inside when night temperatures drop to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray plants with a 1% horticultural oil solution to prevent any insects or eggs from making their way into your home.

As temperatures drop, plants move carbohydrates from their leaves to their roots. Apply a herbicide now to the foliage of weeds and it will also be moved to the roots. An application of glyphosate will control woody and perennial weeds. Be sure to follow the directions on the label.

If you have magnolia scale, October is a good time to apply a 2% horticultural oil solution. Check your magnolias for the large adult females. They protrude from the twigs and may be up to one-half inch long and are yellow or brown. A moderate to heavy infestation produces honeydew which often results in the growth of black sooty mold. Uncontrolled infestations can reduce foliage and flower production. If you see a tube of dense webbing over the scales it is evidence of predation by a scale-eating caterpillar and spraying may not be necessary.

Making your own compost is a good way to recycle your organic yard waste. It also saves you money when it’s time to amend your soil. Good compost needs water, nutrients, and oxygen. Nature provides the water through rain and the waste itself provides the nutrients. All you have to do is chop or shred the pieces into digestible bits and occasionally turn your compost to give it enough oxygen.

Fall is a good time to divide and replant your perennials that have become over crowded. Carefully remove clumps of perennials and separate them into smaller plants. Be sure to leave each new plant with viable roots and at least one healthy growing tip. While you are replanting them, you can amend your soil with compost. Dividing your perennials and planting them in soil revitalized by rich organic matter encourages vigorous new growth. Less crowded conditions and healthy plants make pest and disease problems less likely.

Fall is an important time for deciduous trees. Most of their root growth occurs during this cool season. Because of this it is very important to water any drought stressed trees. The soil should be moist even after the trees have lost their leaves. Many trees, especially broad-leafed evergreens like holly and magnolia, are more likely to be injured in the winter if they go into it dry. If October weather is cool, you may only have to water once. It won’t cost you much in time and effort, but it will mean a world of difference to your trees.

Be sure to clean up autumn leaves often. It only takes a week’s worth of leaves to kill patches of your lawn. Chop leaves and use them as mulch or add them to your compost. Compost any leaves that may have diseases or insect pests.

Junk Style

… Eclectic, but selective — this author explains how to find pieces of exceptional quality. The book examines various categories of “junk”, then provides ‘before’ & ‘after’ photos depicting creative displays for your finds. Junk Style includes an exclusive national source guide. Of course those of us who are scavengers already know the local circuit but this will help provide a reason to travel to Anchorage, Alaska to attend their “Saturday Market”, open every Sunday from mid-May thru September!

The Herb Garden

Turn your borders, containers, fences into beds filled with rich scents, opulent colors, and fabulous flowers. Discover how to assess your site, then choose herbs for their color, textures, shape and form, growing conditions, maintenance, harvesting, and propagation.

What Plant Where

This practical planner suggests ‘what plant where’ for more than 60 different sites, and decorative effects in the garden. Includes a ‘Plant Finder’, ‘Soil Guide’ and ‘Sunlight Guide’. Written by the internationally renowned plantsman and gardening author, Roy Lancaster.

Time for a Lesson About Moss

While a few unique gardeners actually work to collect and cultivate moss most of us view moss as an undesirable part of the landscape. However, we should recognize that moss is an opportunist; it fills the spaces vacated by other plants. For example, moss does not kill grass, a very common misconception, instead, it fills in the open spaces as the grass dies out.

In essence, moss grows because it can tolerate the kinds of poor growing conditions other plants fail to survive. The key to dealing with moss is in “fixing” those growing conditions in order that more desirable plants will grow and the moss will have no place to get started.

In general, mosses are more tolerant of shade than other garden plants, especially grass. A common problem involving moss occurs in yards where there are lots of old trees. As these trees have grown they’ve blocked out more of the sun and slowly but surely the grass has died out. Once the grass is gone the moss is free to move in. If this seems to be the cause of your moss you have two alternatives: (1) Have the trees thinned out to allow in more sun, or (2) Instead of grass, plant shade-tolerant ground cover such as pachysandra or myrtle.

Grass can also fail because its roots have difficulty penetrating compacted soil. Heavy clay soils restrict grass root growth and the grass usually fails during the dry summer weather. Once again, once the grass has vacated the moss moves in. Moss is very shallow rooted and can easily grow in heavy, compacted clay soils. Soil compaction can be improved by annually having the lawn core aerated. This usually requires that you hire a lawn service.

Going hand-in-hand with soil compaction is poor soil drainage. Soils that stay wet for long periods of time and are low in oxygen restrict the growth of grass roots. The grass dies out and the moss, which doesn’t mind poorly drained soils, takes over. The soil core aeration will also help improve soil drainage. In small areas the soil can be dug up to a depth of 12 inches or more and liberal amounts of organic matter added to improve the drainage.

Even if your lawn has plenty of sun and the soil is in good condition you can still encourage a poor grass root system by practicing “social” watering. Watering lightly each evening encourages a shallow grass root system and grass failure during the hot, dry summer weather. Better is to only water once a week or less, but put on enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 4 inches. Remember that moss doesn’t kill grass and take over a yard. The grass fails first and the moss simply moves in and takes over the vacant spaces. Therefore, just killing the moss will usually not solve the problem. The answer lies in figuring out why the grass failed *in the first place and taking care of that problem(s). Once you’ve got the grass growing well you’ll not see another patch of moss.

Endless Variety Among Evergreens

Boxwoods offer the gardener a rich variety from which to choose. There are nearly 100 naturally occurring species of this evergreen landscape plant. Most are native to the Caribbean Islands, East Asia, and central Europe. There are also about 300 different boxwood cultivars that grow in the northern Temperate Zone. The National Boxwood collection at the U.S. National Arboretum contains nearly 140 different species and cultivars of boxwood. It is one of the most comprehensive living collections of boxwood in the world.

Boxwood (Buxus sp.) is an ornamental, broad-leaved, evergreen shrub that has enriched gardens for centuries. The name derives from the elegant boxes made of boxwood that ladies in ancient Rome and Greece used to store jewelry. Because of its density, strength, and uniformity, the wood of boxwood was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to make writing tablets, musical instruments, spinning tops, combs, jewelry cases, carved ornaments, inlays and veneers.

Today there are many landscape uses for boxwood. Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’ and B. microphylla var. japonica ‘Morris Dwarf’ are used in bonsai. B. sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ is often referred to as edging boxwood because of its extensive use as a border in parterre gardens. Boxwood has long been used as topiary in North America. Europe (France in particular) has great enthusiasm for boxwood topiary.

Highly Recommended Boxwood Cultivars
The highly recommended boxwood cultivars are:

1. Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’ – Grown since 1912, it is occasionally misnamed “Kingsville Dwarf from the Kingsville Nursery where this plant was first distributed. Annual growth averages ¼” to ½” which makes it the slowest growing boxwood. The small leaves average ½” long and less than ¼” wide. The plant has a tight low mounding habit and grows best in full shade. Twenty-five-vear-old plants average 10″ in height and 18″ in width. Hardy to Zone 5.

2. Buxus microphylla ‘Grace Hendrick Phillips’ – A handsome, broadly conical, dwarf growing plant with small dark green leaves throughout the year. At 21 years of age it will grow to 23″ tall and 35″ wide. Hardy to Zone 5.

3. Buxus microphylla ‘Green Pillow’ – This plant is similar to ‘Compacta’ except the leaves are about twice as large. The dense and compact habit makes it a good border or edging plant. At 30 years of age this plant can be 30″ high and 40″ wide. Hardy to Zone 5.

4. Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Morris Midget’ – A unique, dense boxwood, low mound with a smooth outline. It is very slow growing and at 40 years of age will be only 1 ½’ tall and 3 to 4′ wide. Hardy to Zone 6.

5. Buxus sempervirens ‘Arborescens’ – A very common landscape plant, its large size is best suited as a large hedge or in screen plantings. Specimens can live 175 years. Growth of 20′ tall and 15′ wide is rather typical for a mature 40-year-old plant. Hardy to Zone 5 or 6.

6. Buxus sempervirens ‘Elegantissima’ – The best of the variegated boxwoods, its leaves have a bright, irregular creamy-white margin with a green center. Both the leaves and plant are small in size. The mature size is 7′ tall and 7′ wide. Hardy to Zone 6.

7. Buxus sempervirens ‘Graham Blandy’ – This striking plant has straight sides that form a very narrow, upright plant. Spring growth is occasionally pulled down by spring rains and should be pruned to maintain the parallel sides. A 20-year-old plant will be about 9′ tall and only 1′ – 1 ½’ wide. Mature height is 15′-18′. Probably hardy to Zone 5.

8. Buxus sempervirens ‘Pendula’ – It has a unique J, L, or even K shape. A small plant at 30 years of age will be only 5 ½’ tall and averages about 5′ wide if not permitted to layer. Hardy to Zone 5 or 6.

9. Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ – The most popular and widely grown boxwood, it is usually referred to as English boxwood or true dwarf boxwood. A rounded plant with tufts of growth resembling a cloud, it has small, rounded leaves giving the plant a dense habit. Noted for its slow growth rate, averaging ¾” to 1 ¼” per year. Hardy to Zone 5.

10. Buxus sempervirens ‘Vardar Valley’ – Originated in the Vardar River Valley of Macedonia and was selected for its cold-hardy characteristic. It retains its dark green color throughout the winter. Spring growth has a prominent bluish cast that slowly weathers off by late summer or fall. Hardy to Zone 4.

11. Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Justin Brouwers’ – A very superior, coldhardy Korean boxwood. Growing in a handsome conical shape, the pointy, dark green leaves make this a dependable plant. Hardy to Zone 4.

12. Buxus ‘Green Mountain’ – The carefree foliage remains dark green throughout the winter. Has a good, dense pyramidal habit. A 10-year-old is 3′ 6″ high and 18″ wide. The mature size is unknown. Hardy to Zone 4.

English Boxwood Culture
The single most important maintenance activity for keeping English boxwood healthy is thinning. Ibis improves the air and sun circulation through the interior of the plant, reducing the chance for infection by diseases such as Macrophoma and Volutella. First, thin the plant to reduce the dense foliage and prune out dead twigs. A vigorous shaking of the branches will then force the debris to fall to the ground. Finally, a leaf rake can be used to collect the debris, which should then be removed from the site.

The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.2 for English boxwood. Boxwood should therefore not be planted near acid-loving plants such as azaleas or hollies. If the pH is below the recommended range, add dolomitic lime.

Early fall is the best time to plant or transplant. This allows the boxwood to produce new roots before the new foliage appears. The root ball ought to be at least as wide as the drip line. The depth of the ball is usually determined by the height of the plant. A 3 to 1 ratio provides a general guideline. For example, a 6′ tall boxwood should have a root ball 1 ½’ to 2′ deep. When planting consider how large it will be at maturity. Future problems of overcrowding can be avoided by properly spacing the plant to account for its ultimate size.

English boxwood does best with partial sun during the growing season. The site should offer protection from sunshine and wind during the winter. Plants exposed to continual, direct sun in winter will have reddish-brown or yellow leaves due to rapid temperature changes. Boxwoods planted with exposure to the south or west sun in the winter often experience winter bronzing.

Apply and maintain mulch to a depth of one inch. Avoid mounding mulch under branches, which encourages adventitious rooting, or next to the trunk, which may attract moles.

Tying string around English boxwood will protect it from snow and ice damage. First, tie the string securely to the main trunk at the base of the shrub. Then wrap the string in an upward spiral pressing the branches upwards and inwards. Work up to the top of the plant then back down and tie the string onto the trunk again. The rows of string should be about 8″-10″ apart to provide the best support.

Propagation by stem cuttings can be successfully accomplished from July to December. Cuttings are taken from one or two-year-old branchlets. Remove the leaves from the bottom 1″ of the cutting. Treat this bottom portion with a rooting hormone, then place the cutting in a container with a media mix. Successful mixes have an equal portion by volume of pine bark and perlite, or coarse, sharp builder’s sand and perlite. Rooting usually occurs in two to three months. During this time, the cuttings benefit from high humidity. The plants can be planted outside in a protected area the following spring.

This article is derived from materials written by Lynn R. Batdorf, curator of boxwood, perennials, and crabapples at the National Arboretum. He also serves as the International Boxwood Registrar and is the author of Boxwood Handbook: A Practical Guide to Knowing and Growing Boxwood, the second edition of which was recently published.