Thursday, January 21, 2016

This 'n That Thursdays: Picks of the Year 2016 (Part 2A)

From DIY Network

This week I am focusing on some top 2016 garden selections.  Gardeners seem to be dedicated to finding the best plants every year, and there are a lot from which to choose, so I have divided this post into Parts 2A (this week) and 2B (next week).  First up, 2016 has been deemed the Year of the Cosmos by Thompson & Morgan, and Cosmos 'Xanthos' was picked as the Flower of the Year (even though Thompson & Morgan is a UK-based plant company, Cosmos species are actually native to the New World and thrive in gardens here):

From Fleuroselect

Cosmos spp. are attractive and easy-to-grow annuals that produce abundant blooms throughout the summer.  They come in a variety of colors, such as pink, white, yellow, and orange.  Cosmos bipinnatus 'Xanthos' is a compact variety with pale yellow flowers, well suited for pots or garden borders.


From Dirt Simple

The Perennial Plant Association has selected Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' as its 2016 Perennial Plant of the Year.  This garden favorite is a vigorous, white-flowered heirloom variety.  Anemone spp., or windflowers, are in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and come in a wide range of colors.  They grow well in full sun in cool climates, but need partial shade in warmer locations.  They prefer rich, moist soil with some wind protection, and will quickly fill an area when planted in suitable conditions.


From Herb Society of Central Indiana

The International Herb Association's choice for 2016 Herb of the Year is the pepper (Capsicum spp.). The Capsicum spp. are members of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and are native to the Americas.  The genus includes both spicy chile peppers and mild bell peppers.  They are popular garden plants and are used extensively for cooking and even medicinal purposes.


From Eco Terra Landscape Consultants

The Herb Society of America's Notable Native 2016 is the Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum spp.).  Like most herbs, the genus is drought-tolerant and prefers well-drained soil, and can do well in part shade as long as the soil is not too wet.  This perennial plant is a favorite with pollinators such as bees, who need all the survival help they can get these days.  Although Mountain Mint can be used for culinary purposes, it is important to select the right species, as some contain an essential oil called pulegone, which can be used as an insect repellent but is undesirable for cooking.  The more fragrant types can be dried and used in potpourris and sachets.


From County Line Landscape Nursery

For its 2016 Urban Tree of the Year, the Society of Municipal Arborists have chosen Zelkova serrata 'Musashino', a relatively low maintenance tree with a columnar growth habit and beautiful coppery brown fall color.

From JC Raulston Arboretum


The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association has two categories for Plant of the Year.  Their 2016 Woody Ornamental Plant of the Year is the Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika), a tough, drought-resistant conifer that grows quickly and retains a relatively slender shape:

The WNLA Perennial Plant of the Year for 2016 is the 'Hot Lips' Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips'), a deer-resistant mounding perennial with bronze green foliage and rosy pink hooded flowers which prefers moist partial shade and attracts pollinators such as butterflies and bees.  A member of the plantain family (Plantaginaceae), Chelone spp. are native to eastern North America:


January is a great month to put together a wish list of new plants for your garden.  This week's post should help to get you started, and next week I will describe even more selections for 2016.  It never hurts to start planning early!

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