Friday, March 16, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coincidence, Marketing or Just Great Plants?

Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

The several years now that I have been back in the green industry, I can't help but notice how time and again many people talk about the same plants. Whether it's myself, plants growers, garden experts, garden writers or just plant enthusiasts, we will often gravitate to the same plants. This morning I was reading an article in the Chicago Tribune highlighting the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, where a Chicago Park District floriculturist Neil Gilbert stated "One of the exhibit's fashion-forward plants is Yucca 'Color Guard.' "It looks totally tropical and it has a great spiky form," Other trendsetters include Brunnera "Jack Frost," and the double-flowered, fragrant tulip called 'Foxtrot,' which Gilbert calls a showstopper. "You can't have a spring garden without tulips, and this tulip is exceptional". 

Although I am not a big fan of Yucca's (can't get the darn things out of my mother-in-laws garden), I wholeheartedly agree with his other two suggestions. A few years ago the great plantsman, writer and educator Allen Armitage said to me that Brunnera 'Jack Frost' was the most popular Brunnera on the market. I have Brunnera 'Mr. Morse', Brunnera 'King's Ransom' and 'Jack Frost' in my garden and of the three 'Jack Frost' is the strongest and best looking. I do like the 'Mr. Morse' for it's white flower, but it's foliage is not quite as silvery as 'JF'. 'King's Ransom', although a sport of 'JF', hasn't shown the strength in my garden as the others. All three are close to each other in the same shaded bed.

I first saw Tulip 'Foxtrot' at "Nelis' Dutch Village" in Holland, MI. I loved it from the minute I saw it. Although tulip 'Angelique' (said to be one of the world's most popular tulips) is similiar, 'Foxtrot' is an early double where 'Angelique' is a late bloomer and 'Foxtrot has richer more vibrant colors.