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GardenSMART :: Innovative Breeding Leads to Consumer-driven Plants

Innovative Breeding Leads to Consumer-driven Plants

By Terra Nova Nurseries
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

Terra Nova Nurseries has worked diligently over the years to breed quality perennials and annuals for the horticulture industry. This has translated to more than 1,000 plant introductions known for eye-catching foliage and beautiful flowers. These botanical beauties are currently being used in gardens around the globe.

Each Terra Nova plant is born out of a specific breeding goal; for example, pulmonaria that doesn't grow mildew and coleus that branches heavily with so much vigor that it's a "hands-off" maintenance proposition. For plants like heuchera, the breeding goals involve easy-care plants across a variety of foliage colors that fill landscapes in showy style. The company's geums boast early blooming flowers and a leafy habit, ultimately prompting an industry expert to exclaim, "I would have this plant in my garden for the foliage alone!"

These genera can be used for edging, borders and mixed beds. Some plants, such as select Terra Nova heucherella, grow vigorously with compact habits. Additionally, there are begonias of various colors, shapes and sizes, one of which displays gently sloping, silver leaves in a dense, shrubby habit. These can fill a unique niche in the current houseplant boom. This sneak peek offers a look at a few of Terra Nova's newest varieties available for home gardeners across the country and beyond.

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Silver-leaved plants are uncommon in areas of high humidity, and Artemisia MAKANA™ Silver, hailing from Maui, fills the bill. It displays soft, lacy foliage for use in the landscape or container. It can act as a silvery foil for bold, darker plants like colocasia and bronze-colored begonias. With pruning, this plant can be trained into a specimen tree-form, and its flowers are also silvery and non-obtrusive. This fast-growing annual requires good drainage and an occasional pinch to maintain bushiness. In full sun, a plug can grow to 24" tall and 36" wide. It blooms in late summer and its U.S.D.A. hardiness zones are 9-11. Learn more:

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Geum PRETTICOATS™ Peach shows reblooming masses of ruffled peach-toned flowers over beautifully scalloped, dark-green foliage. Using new genetics, buyers will appreciate the length of bloom-time, the profusion of flowers and the much-improved foliage, compared to other geum varieties. The variety's mature plant height is 10" tall, with a width of 20" and an extended flower height of 12". Geum PRETTICOATS Peach's U.S.D.A. hardiness zones are 5-9. This plant prefers to grow in full sun, and they are dynamite at the front of the border, providing onlookers a show from spring to summer. Learn more:

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Heuchera GRANDE™ Black was bred big to fill landscapes. Large mounds of black, shiny, ruby-ruffled leaves create a significant presence in the landscape or in a large container. Pale-white flowers on medium-height stalks adorn the plant in late spring. Heuchera GRANDE Black performs extremely well in the Pacific Northwest, and should perform just as well in the East, Midwest and the South, due to its strong heuchera villosa heritage (a native to the Gulf coast). This variety is a hummingbird attractor, a treat for pollinators and can add great winter color to a garden. Its U.S.D.A. hardiness zones are 4-9, and it has a mature plant height of 18", width of 20" and an extended flower height of 22". Learn more:

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Penstemon DAKOTA™ Burgundy is ablaze with scads of hummingbird-magnetic flowers in lavender to violet. The foliage color, masses of flowers and extreme hardiness (U.S.D.A. zone 3!) make this plant a must. When compared to Penstemon 'Dark Towers', Penstemon DAKOTA Burgundy is more compact, averaging 24" in height when flowering. The flowers produced by Penstemon DAKOTA Burgundy are intense in color, large and range from lavender to violet.  Pollinators like bumblebees and native bees pay special attention to these nectar-filled blooms.  Buyers will find the foliage thicker and more resistant to foliar diseases. After flowering, the seed heads are quite attractive and can be used in live or dry arrangements. Happy in the middle of the border, this beauty will prove to be quite perennial and tough in the garden. Learn more:

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Sedum 'Double Martini' has quite the unusual appearance, like a mess of martini glasses with dark stems. Succulent olive leaves produce a pleasing contrast to the wine-red stems. Naturally drought-resistant, this selection is extremely well-branched and reaches a height of 18", making it perfect to edge a path or place at the front of the border. Loving full sun, 'Double Martini' fills a special late-summer niche for pollinators in July and August. Honeybees and butterflies adore the nectar-laden blooms. Its hardiness runs from U.S.D.A. zone 4 to zone 9 in well-drained garden soil. Learn more:

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photos courtesy of Suntory Flowers

As summer heats up, the garden party is just beginning for gorgeous, tropical mandevillas. To learn more click here for an interesting article.

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