It turns out, my most frequently read blog post for 2015 was ‘The best new plant releases: 2014’. So, despite having many gardens stacking up, willing me to write about them, I thought I’d better bring you the 2015 plant releases, before we finish the year.
I’ll take you through the biggies that have come on to the market and my very favourites that fill much needed gaps. But before I do that, it’s probably a good time to ask for a favour. I’d really appreciate your feedback as to what you’d like to see more of. Was the 2014 plant release post your favourite, too? What would you like to see more or less of? Do you prefer sticking to garden reviews or would you like more specific, topical discussions? Do the less garden-related posts bore you senseless or is it fun to see a bit of my travels? It would be great to know what you think. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
So, without further ado, here is my pick of 2015.
1. Adenanthos ‘Silver Lining’
I can’t get enough of Adenanthos. The colour, texture, form, little red flowers and the inability to walk past it without stretching out my hand to feel it’s unrivalled softness, make me want to plant it in every garden. Its common name is Woolly Bush, but I’ve never felt wool this soft. And whilst I’ve got the dwarf form at home, ‘Silver Lining’ is now even shorter, at just 40cm tall. Growing to 1.5m wide it makes a fabulous ground cover, extremely well suited to raised planters, where it will spread to soft the edges, positively thrive in the dry soil and of course, be at perfect stroke-able height! It’s only been available in South Australia up to now, but watch out for it more broadly during 2016.
2. Ligustrum ‘Sunny’
Who could resist a plant named ‘Sunny’? Even one that’s a privet? This privet is sterile, so won’t cause any of the problems we are so familiar with in Australia. And just look at that colour. It will add great contrast to the garden, without any of the brashness that so often comes with yellow, variegated cultivars. And whilst it will reach 2m tall, it can be pruned to any shape or size, even as topiary, with its dense, neat form and small leaf size.
3. Summerina ‘Sunflare’, ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Twilight’
The Summerina collection is a new range of plants that have been bred by crossing the bright flowers of Rudbeckia with the hardiness of Echinacea. You might find them labelled as Rudbeckia, Summerina or even Echibeckia, but you’ll not mistake them if you see them. Growing to just 60cm, their sturdy stems will flower from spring until autumn and hold their form well in a pot. The photo above is of ‘Sunshine’ (are you noticing a pattern?!) but there are other shades ranging from sunset reds to oranges and they look simply marvellous planted en masse.
4. Acacia ‘Fettuccini’ standard
I’ve been using Acacia ‘Fettuccini’ in my designs for many years; it’s probably my favourite Acacia of all, with its slightly mad, curly leaves; dense, compact form; and the brightest, most sparkly shade of green. Now, we have Acacia ‘Fettuccini’ in standard form, with a tall stem. Not the easiest to position – quite an informal plant, propagated with a formal look – but it does help us to bridge the current gap between native and formal gardens. Some imagination and this could be a used to wonderful effect as a feature plant.
5. Syzygium ‘Little Pilly’
Another plant for filling a gap in the market, this lilly pilly grows to about 1.5m tall and is perfect as a hedging plant. Lilly pillies are my preferred choice of Sydney hedge in most situations, due to their hardiness, seasonal colour and the flavour of Australia they bring, but they are generally very big or very small. Well, no longer; this is an excellent height for front boundaries or unimposing screens and it shows strong resistance to the dreaded psyllid bug. It even grows well in a pot, lending itself to more formal shapes and coping well with hot sun or partial shade. I can see this being a very popular plant.
Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’
Finally, whilst being launched in 2014 in Australia, Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ has really made it big across the world this year, winning awards in numerous countries including at the RHS Chelsea flower show. Bred by John Fisher in Orange, NSW, and with proceeds of each sale going to the Make-A-Wish Australia charity, this really is something for us to be proud of. It’s popularity is due to its very long flowering period, its wonderful dark plum and claret colourings and its neat, naturally domed shape. Possibly the very best Salvia of all. I love it.
Which leaves me to just wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a healthy, joyous 2016, filled with plants and gardens in abundance! Thanks so much for your interest in my gardening mutterings, and I look forward to seeing you again early in the new year. Until then….
With thanks to Plants Management Australia for the photographs in this post.