Here's another sampling of new plants for 2009 -- and why I think they will be worth at least a try.
Brunnera 'King's Ransom' is a very cool variegated sport of the now classic 'Jack Frost' -- so just take those wonderfully silver leaves and add a creamy edge to each, and you've got the new 'King's Ransom'. It should be a pleasant addition to the shade garden, making an effective neighbour to something plain and dark such as a Heuchera.
The "parent" 'Jack Frost' is such a great and easy plant, that this new form should at least be decent. My realistic expectation however, is that 'King's Ransom' will be somewhat less vigorous, but hopefully this is not a problem. Another potential concern is the stability of the variegated characteristic -- hopefully it's not anything like the dreaded form 'Variegata'. In any case, I'm still looking forward to trying 'King's Ransom' -- hopefully I don't have pay one to obtain it.
Geranium 'Sandrine' is from Thierry Delabroye of France (the same breeder that has brought us all the wonderful new Heuchera villosa hybrids), and is being described as "'Ann Folkard' on steroids". I always found 'Ann Folkard' to be such a useful "design" plant (I'm no designer), with it's subtle golden foliage and weaving/sprawling habit, but that it still lacked something. The flowers of the newer 'Sandrine' are twice as large as the ones on 'Ann Folkard', and that could make all the difference.
Hemerocallis 'Fooled Me' has brilliant golden-yellow flowers with striking red eye-zone and matching picotee edge. It won the American Hemerocallis Society's Silver Stout Medal (the highest honour) award in 2005, and is known for its prolific flower production.
Here's to dirt under your nails.