Sutera Copa ‘Double Blue’
Early, big, and double—you can’t ask for more than that. Frilly double flowers of pale lavender show up early on this variety and last through the season. Full or part sun. Grows 6 inches tall. Source: Local garden centers.
Begonia Mandalay ‘Pearl’
One of two new tuberous begonias in the Mandalay series. Shimmering white ‘Pearl’ and bright pink ‘Flamingo’ join orange ‘Mandarin’. Exceptionally heat-tolerant with a graceful, cascading habit that’s perfect in hanging baskets or containers. Grows 12 inches. Source: See store locator at www.provenwinners.com.
Dahlia ‘Rebecca’s World’
Extraordinary semi-cactus-form flowers open deep red, then gradually fade to white from mid- to late summer. Very floriferous: one plant will have blooms in all stages of color. Grows 30 to 36 inches tall. Perennial in Zones 8 to 10; in colder zones, store tubers inside over winter. Source: Dutch Gardens, 888-821-0448, www.dutchgardens.com.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Zinfandel’
The These extra early, ruffled blossoms offer rich shades of burgundy and the scent of orange blossoms and honey. Excellent for cut flowers. Grows 72 to 84 inches tall. Source: Renee’s Garden Seeds, 888-880-7228, www.reneesgarden.com.
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’
The first red-flowered rudbeckia from seed. Terrific planted in drifts or used as cut flowers. The dense, bushy plants produce masses of stems topped by cherry red, daisy-like flowers with chocolate centers. Grows 24 inches tall. Perennial in Zones 7 to 9. Source: Thompson and Morgan, 800-274-7333, www.thompson-morgan.com.
Viola cornuta ‘Rain Blue and Purple’
The cheery blooms on this pretty annual change color as they mature. At any one time you’ll have a pool of blue, purple, and white cascading over your pot or basket. All-America Selections winner for 2009. Grows 6 inches tall and 10 to 14 inches wide. Source: Local garden centers.
Arisaema peninsulae ‘Uulong Treasure’
This handsome jack-in-the-pulpit was discovered in Korea. Dark purple stems, variegated leaves, and flowers with black and light stripes combine in an irresistible package. Grows 3 feet tall. Zones 5 to 8. Source: Plant Delights Nursery, 919-772-4794, www.plantdelights.com.
Paeonia ‘Julia Rose’
Vigorous and disease resistant like a tree peony, with the long life of an herbaceous peony. Peach-pink ‘Julia Rose’ adds her spicy scent and prodigious blooming to the famous Toichi Itoh collection. Grows to 36 inches. Zones 4 to 8. Sources: See store locator at www.monrovia.com.
Symphiotrichum ‘Pink Henry III’
Chase away the autumn blues with these bright pink asters. Double 1½-inch blooms open in early fall. Grows 15 to 22 inches tall. Zones 5 to 6. Source: Local garden centers.
Lavandula angustifolia ‘White Ice’
All the good things about lavender—the sweet scent, the soft green-gray leaves, the tidy shape—are here, along with a dramatic twist: white flower bracts. Needs good drainage; dislikes high humidity. Grows 12 to 14 inches tall. Zones 5 to 9. Source: Renee’s Garden Seeds, 888-880-7228, www.reneesgarden.com.
Rosa ‘JACmearo’ Sweetness
2009 Rose of the Year winner! Soft lavender color and intoxicating, sweet-lemon fragrance make this grandiflora tea rose the belle of the garden. Upright and well-branched, it grows 60 inches tall. Zones 5 to 9. Source: Jackson and Perkins, 800-929-4769, www.jacksonandperkins.com.
Rosa ‘BAIage’ High Voltage
Electrifying medium yellow double flowers on disease-free foliage make a shockingly beautiful addition to the garden or in a container. This low-maintenance shrub rose, part of the Easy Elegance series, grows 36 to 60 inches tall. Zones 4 to 9. Source: See store locator at www.easyelegancerose.com.
Beet ‘Chioggia Guardsmark’
Bull’s eye! The colorful red and white rings and peppery-sweet taste of these unique roots will get the kids to eat their beets. Harvest in 60 days. Source: Local garden centers.
Spinach ‘El Grinta’
Rich, deep green color; thick, robust leaves; and quick maturity make this slow-bolting spinach an excellent addition to cool spring and summer salads. Harvest in 25 to 30 days. Source: Local garden centers.
Corn ‘Oaxacan Green’
Intriguing green kernels on this dent corn add something special to fall decorations. Stalks grow 7 feet tall; ears are 6 to 10 inches. Harvest in 95 days. Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 877-564-6697, www.johnnyseeds.com.
Pumpkin pies start here: on 12-foot vines that produce lots of 7- to 8-pound sugar pie pumpkins. And they’re cute, too! Harvest in 95 days. Source: Local garden centers.
Take the shape of a strawberry and the taste and color of a cherry tomato, and you’ve got this fantastic little fruit. Collect handfuls of 1-inch bright red fruits from tall, high-yielding vines. Harvest in 80 days. Source: Local garden centers.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailday’ Light-O-Day
Now Zone 5 gardeners can have the show-stopping brilliance of a smaller variegated hydrangea. With its large pink or blue lacecap blossoms ringed in pure white, this compact attention grabber is perfect for borders and containers. It does well in part shade, and in full sun it’s stunning. Grows 36 to 60 inches tall. Zones 5 to 9. Source: See store locator at www.baileynurseries.com.
Prunus serrulata ‘Taizo’ Angel’s Blush
If flowering cherry trees are spring’s way of throwing a party in your yard, Angel’s Blush is the best party you’ve ever been to. Branches are covered with pink buds, which open to double white flowers with up to 30 petals each. Grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5 to 9. Source: See Monrovia store locator at www.monrovia.com.
Buddleia Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’
Shrub lovers stuck in postage-stamp yards will cheer for this miniature butterfly bush, which grows only 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It’s fragrant, it’s not invasive, and it needs no pruning. Zones 5 to 9. Source: See Proven Winners store locator at www.provenwinners.com.