The University of Georgia has announced the Classic City Award Winners from its Trial Gardens. The winners are:
Begonia ‘Canary Wings’ — Ball Ingenuity
Calibrachoa Superbells ‘Holy Smokes!’ — Proven Winners
Calibrachoa Lia ‘White’ — Danziger
Echinacea Sombrero ‘Tres Amigos’ — Darwin Perennials
Euphorbia Crystal White — Green Fuse Botanicals
Gaillardia SpinTop ‘Red Starburst’ — Dümmen Orange
Impatiens New Guinea Harmony Radiance ‘Hot Pink’ — Danziger
Pelargonium Calliope ‘Large Rose Mega Splash’ — Syngenta Flowers
Petunia Dekko ‘Star Coral’ — Syngenta Flowers
Portulaca Hot Shots ‘Tangerine Glow’ — Green Fuse Botanicals
Salvia Skyscraper ‘Pink’ — Selecta
Solenostemon ColorBlaze ‘Torchlight’ — Proven Winners
Begonia ‘Canary Wings’
It’s refreshing to relax in the shade with a nice glass of sweet tea here in Georgia…then you spot Begonia ‘Canary Wings’ from Ball Ingenuity and all of the sudden you have the excitement and vigor to go forth and conquer the world! Well, the plant world, that is. We have been watching this novel shade begonia in the garden since day one. To our satisfaction shady areas become bright and vibrant with ‘Canary Wings’ chartreuse leaves and bright red flowers. An exceptional plant for both containers and in-ground plantings.
Calibrachoa Superbells ‘Holy Smokes!’
‘Holy Smokes!’ is what you say when you lay your eyes on this beauty from Proven Winners Superbells Calibrachoa collection. Summer longevity is a must for the Southeast as we have a growing season that can be stretched out over 25 weeks. So for any plant to maintain interest over such a period of time it’s got to be a stunner and ‘Holy Smokes!’ did it like a champ. White petals with what seems to be watercolor-like purple/blue swatches and yellow centers. It maintained a mounding habit throughout spring and summer that made it without doubt one of the showiest flowering plants in the garden.
Calibrachoa Lia ‘White’
Hanging baskets bring brilliant color to eye level and are a staple form of growing plants around the country. Calibrachoa Lia ‘White’ from Danziger sets the bar for other calibrachoas with its nearly perfect shape as it has been in full bloom for months. Medium-sized pure white petals with yellow throats are anything but just another white flower in the garden. Anybody wanting to have constant color needs Lia ‘White’ added to their hanging baskets or mixed planters, as white is an essential color to make all other colors pop.
Echinacea Sombrero ‘Tres Amigos’
Showstoppers are a must for every garden but they can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look, but look no more. Echinaca Sombrero ‘Tres Amigos’ is going to be your new favorite perennial. Flowers transition through three distinct colors that emerge from peachy-coral to rose and finish with a hint of burgundy. You would think these kinds of colors are only found in books and movies, but they are real and this selection is a must for any perennial garden. The plants perform well in full sun and can take drier soil conditions. Leave the flowers for the goldfinches to enjoy late in the season.
Euphorbia Crystal White
Green Fuse Botanicals
Euphorbia is a well-known landscape plant, especially in hot parts of the country where it thrives. Crystal White from Green Fuse Botanicals has a desirable shape that’s about half the size of other popular varieties on the market. Only about a foot tall, it packs a punch with flower production and has very tight branching. The plant was blooming in April when it was planted and is still in full bloom going into September — very nice!
Gaillardia SpinTop ‘Red Starburst’
Gaillardia SpinTop ‘Red Starburst’ from Dümmen Orange just makes people smile. The flowers on this plant exude color with their red centers that burst into a red/orange and finish with bright yellow tips. This plant would make an excellent border plant or container planting. This selection needs to be beside your front door so you can get a little burst of happiness whenever you walk by!
Impatiens New Guinea Harmony Radiance ‘Hot Pink’
Hot Pink is a vast understatement; something more like ‘Hot Hot Hot Pink’ is better suited to Danziger’s Impatiens New Guinea Harmony Radiance ‘Hot Pink’! We are growing this plant in a location getting no more than 4 hours of sun in the morning and it is thriving. Three uninterrupted months of blooming is what separates the good plants from the stellar plants. In the south, where so many of our mature landscapes need color under mature trees, this plant will light up those dark corners with exceptional color.
Pelargonium Calliope ‘Large Rose Mega Splash’
Geraniums tend to do either great or not so good here in the south. Calliope ‘Large Rose Mega Splash’ from Syngenta Flowers tops the list in the great category. Super showy pink petals with rose starbursts from the center of the flowers are sure to please in containers, hanging baskets, or in- ground plantings. Production of flowers has been non-stop. This cultivar has been the best of all our Geraniums this year and it has maintained excellent disease resistance even with a wetter than usual summer in Athens, Georgia.
Petunia Dekko ‘Star Coral’
Picking the best petunia each year is a challenge because petunias produce vibrant colors and make bold statements in containers here in the South. The Dekko series from Syngenta Flowers had several stellar performers this year and we have chosen ‘Star Coral’ to top the list simply because it has bloomed the longest and had the best overall shape. The hot pink coral-colored blooms have a touch of white in the petals that gives them a dramatic coloration. This cultivar would lend itself well to just about any other range of colors as companion plants, not to mention how well it performed in a standalone planter.
Portulaca Hot Shots ‘Tangerine Glow’
Green Fuse Botanicals
The winner column this year at the UGA Trial Gardens is packed is superior plants each excelling in a particular way. Portulaca Hot Shots ‘Tangerine Glow’ from Green Fuse Botanicals is in a league of its own in terms of overall interest. Our planting of ‘Tangerine Glow’ took over an area 6’ long by 3’ wide and is just simply beautiful. The added interest of a flower that opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon is just too cool. Bright tangerine petals with scorching yellow centers bloom abundantly like a carpet of wonderfulness that deserves to be in every garden with full sun.
Salvia Skyscraper ‘Pink’
We all know and love salvia and who wouldn’t? They attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and are just down right beautiful with a plethora of colors and sizes to choose from. Selecta struck a vein with Salvia Skyscraper ‘Pink’ and the plant speaks for itself. We are in the business of novel plants and we are all used to blue, purple, and red salvias, but pink? The flowers burst forth with a pale magenta calyx followed by a bright pink corolla that emerges to tower over the lush dark green foliage on this unique cultivar.
Solenostemon ColorBlaze ‘Torchlight’
The ColorBlaze Series of Coleus from Proven Winners has been nothing short of spectacular this year so the top pick from this category had to be nearly perfect. ‘Torchlight’ has superior qualities in every way, from its lush storybook-like green with red- and hot pink-veined leaves to its seemingly indestructible growth habit. This plant is also very responsive to trimming. Every time we pruned the plants the new leaves came back with increased color. When 2019 comes around get this plant first and use it in multiple plantings.
John is the director and Brandon is the garden manager at the University of Georgia Trial Gardens.