Most gardeners are interested in "what's new" as far as plant varieties are concerned. It provides us with an opportunity to be different than our friends, and to learn about and appreciate something that is, at the very least different from what we're use to, but also hopefully better or improved, than what most are used to.
These three plants are relatively new, but also tried and tested for a couple of years in trial gardens here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The pictures were taken May 14, 2007.
The first is Geum 'Mango Lassi', which was introduced by Blooming Nursery of Oregon a few years back. It's origin or parentage is, as far as I can tell, unknown. In any case, it performed admirably and made a tremendous display of colour for several weeks in our trial garden last year. Try it with something that has silver foliage like Stachys 'Big Ears' (Lambs Ears) and/or a plant with similar colour like Physocarpus Coppertina.
The second is Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire', a new introduction a few years back via Blooms of Bressingham. It is a definite improvement upon older selections of the Cushion Spurge that had dark foliage but faded quickly to the usual grey-green. In any case, this one is a beauty with dark foliage that contrasts nicely with the chartreuse flowers in spring, and holds its colour nicely into the summer.
Finally, new varieties of Pulmonaria (Lungwort, Lords and Ladies) have been plentiful in recent years, but some have been prone to mildew and otherwise less than stellar. Pulmonaria 'Samurai' however (P. 'Majeste' × P. longifolia cevennsis) has performed like a star with clean silver foliage and brilliant near-blue flowers.
If you'd like to try something new this year, try one of these -- plants that have been tried and tested.
Here's to dirt under your nails.