With the new and fresh planting season, our thoughts turn to new explosions of color and resurrection. Marching into spring, Mother Nature delights us with bulbs’ noses emerging, buds swelling on branches and the occasional warm breeze. Oh yes, the spring flowers, they’re coming.

Spring Flowers = Spring Fashion

The flower world is a lot like the fashion world. Trends abound. There are new styles, new colors and new textures. What was old, is now revamped and new again.

Lafayette Florist Gift Shop & Garden CenterWe are blessed in our flower world with hundreds, more likely thousands of new cultivars and varieties introduced every year. The Internet allows us to search out the newest plants for our unique locations, styles and tastes.  All-American Selections (AAS) is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties and introduces only the best-proven garden performers as AAS Winners. Test and trial gardens from across the country are there to help the gardener get informed and earn trust of the AAS Winners. My favorite trial gardens, which I visit annually, are at Welby Gardens in Denver, and at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

So to wet your whistle for the gardening season, I’d like to introduce you to a few new flowers and a vegetable.

Petunia “African Sunset”-2014 AAS Winner! Wow! The shades of bright orange flowers cover the entire plant. A great color, it has it all: excellent mounding habit, strong stems, exceptional vigor, tons of flowers and humidity tolerant. It grows 7”-12” tall and spreads up to 20” wide in full sun with average to dry watering.

Celosia "Intenz"Celosia “Intenz” is the No. 1 choice at the Welby Garden Trials. Intenz got the most votes because of its unique flowers. Interesting, two-tone, bold purple flower spikes standing above the foliage and blooming all summer. A nice upright plant will add tall texture to the garden. It will reach 18” in height and 12” wide. Best in full sun. Flowers can be dried and used in arrangements.

Rudbeckia “Gold Rush”- a top choice for its beautiful large, double blooms from early to late summer. This Black-eyed Susan is great in landscape beds or large containers. A popular choice for gardens that are in hot, dry climates. Grows 18-24” tall and wide in full sun. Average to dry watering is best.

Verbena “Wicked series” is a prolific bloomer with interesting bicolor flowers in hot pink, purple and blue. The uniform trailing habit is perfect for spilling out of containers or as a groundcover in beds. Great for water-wise areas. Grows 8-10” tall and 24-28” wide in full sun.

Pepper “Lunchbox Mix” is a wonderful edible pepper. It produces red, yellow and orange snack-sized fruits that are remarkably sweet and favorable. Great fresh or sautéed. Lunchbox peppers are the perfect healthy snack. The tall strong plants yield well. Fruits mature in 55-63 days green, 75-83 days in full color. Peppers prefer to be grown in full sun and warm spaces with average watering.

So, check out your local garden center/greenhouses for the best selections of flowers, plants and vegetables.

What new varieties of flowers are you excited about this season?

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