In the six days of the California Spring Trials, there’s always more to share than we can fit into one issue. In the May edition of Garden Center, we published a roundup of new plants, marketing ideas and more we encountered during the event (See it at bit.ly/2tpOoMW). While the trials typically showcase annuals, many breeders take the opportunity to also put their best perennials in the limelight. “Perennials are rapidly becoming a very interesting product class for growers, retailers, landscapers,” Mike Klopmeyer of Darwin Perennials told us. This month, we hone in on some of the new perennials we saw this year.

Sweet Dreams
COURTESY OF BALL HORTICULTURAL
Rose Marvel
KAREN E. VARGA

Darwin Perennials

Darwin Perennials introduced 19 new perennials this year, including two new armerias in the Dreameria series. Sweet Dreams (pictured above) and Daydream flower through the summer and fall, and will overwinter to Zone 6. Rose Marvel (pictured above), a new Salvia nemorosa in the Marvel family, boasts large flowers, hardiness to zone 4, and a longer flowering window than other Salvia nemorosas on the market. Its dark bracts make it an attractive plant even when after flowering. Learn more about these and other new introductions in this video: bit.ly/2u2Ia3x

Primo ‘Wild Rose’
COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS

Proven Winners

The most popular perennial at the Proven Winners stop this year was Primo ‘Wild Rose’ heuchera, due to its vigorous habit, large size and vibrant, eye-catching color that stays through the seasons. Christa Steenwyk shows off this variety and two other popular perennial introductions in this video: bit.ly/2tpPk3U

Coreopsis Moonswirl
KAREN E. VARGA

Dümmen Orange

Last year, Dümmen Orange debuted a new perennial combination program, with plants that are bred to time together, are daylength neutral and early flowering. This year, the company added several new varieties to the program, including coreopsis Moonswirl (pictured above), that can be mixed and matched for a dynamic combination. Find out more here: bit.ly/2u2s5uM

‘Black Scallop'
KAREN E. VARGA
‘Porcelain Blue’
MICHELLE SIMAKIS

PlantHaven

At the GroLink stop, PlantHaven thought outside of the pot for its display of Aguja ‘Black Scallop,” which is usually seen as a groundcover. At Spring Trials, ‘Black Scallop’ was turned into ball-shaped topiaries, which Robert Bett, president of PlantHaven, said looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. This variety was a new addition to PlantHaven’s Icon program, a collection of older industry favorites. Attendees were also excited about a Corydalis on display, Hillier ‘Porcelain Blue.’ Its vibrant and fragrant aqua-blue flowers bloom nonstop throughout the summer and fall. Check out more from PlantHaven here: bit.ly/2toiXmL

At the Windmill Nursery stop, Terra Nova took a consumer approach to grouping and displaying its perennials.
KAREN E. VARGA

Terra Nova Nurseries

At the Windmill Nursery stop, Terra Nova took a consumer approach to grouping and displaying its perennials. New and previous introductions with similar characteristics were set up in displays that highlighted their respective qualities and solutions like water-wise, ease for landscaping use and attractiveness to pollinators. To see some of the highlights from each area, watch this video: bit.ly/2un209l

“Camp Perennial”
KAREN E. VARGA
KAREN E. VARGA
KAREN E. VARGA

Pacific Plug & Liner

At Pacific Plug & Liner, we were actually surrounded by perennials at “Camp Perennial,” PP&L’s name for its stop this year. Attendees were “campers” and could collect merit badges as they visited each “campsite” where different perennials were showcased.