I thought you might like a few suggestions for adding some outstanding annuals to your garden this spring.
These Best Of plants were evaluated last season at Colorado State University’s Annual Flower Trial Garden. As you head out to your favorite garden center, take along a list of these four beautiful varieties that graduated at the top of their class. Photos and descriptions provided by the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at CSU.
The Best of Show, Bracteantha ‘Strawburst Yellow’ from Syngenta Flowers, was selected for its outstanding appearance all summer long. Large, bright yellow flowers are extremely prolific and created a long-lasting show. It was the only vegetative variety that remained in good shape after a devastating hail storm decimated the garden in June. The strawflower loved the heat and looked great in both the ground and containers.
The Best New Variety is this Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ from PanAmerican Seed. It’s appropriately named because this plant reached for the sky. With impressive, yet uniform vigor, this plant makes a nice temporary hedge. The hot pink-purple flowers also fit the ‘Fireworks’ name because the blooms start out fairly round and then develop a multi-dimensional look by turning into a cluster of small globes that stretch outward as they grow. Bright yellow anthers add to the name as they create the appearance of small explosions leaping from the flowers.
The Best of in the Novelty category is Alternathera ‘Red Thread’ from Grolink. This plant was a standout even though it doesn’t have flowers. Grown for its dense, colorful foliage, ‘Red Thread’ created a very uniform overall appearance. The bi-color leaf is dark red underneath and a dark green on top. It’s a great addition for mixed containers or mounding over the edge of a wall planting.
The Best Geranium (interspecific) is ‘Caliente Orange’ from Syngenta Flowers. This is another plant with impressive flower power. It had abundant orange blooms covering the top of each plant. The great orange color combined very well with the dark green foliage. Both plants and blooms had excellent uniformity.