In Colorado we live in two worlds. The world of the growing season that is vibrant – and the world of the dormant season, which in contrast, is almost lackluster. Both have their allure.
Yet when we’re steeped in snow and the growing season is still months away, admit it. Some bright color would be a nice pick-me-up.
We can’t do a thing to materialize spring any sooner than it wants to show up. But there is spring color to anticipate. And thanks to the Annual Flower Trials hosted by Colorado State University, we and the rest of the country will have wonderful color to enjoy outdoors in the near future.
Here are a couple luscious examples selected from last year’s trials to help ease your seasonal color deficiency until spring.
Sun New Guinea Impatiens has a vigorous, taller growth habit and abundant orange flowers with variegated leaves. It reaches 15 inches in both height and width. Because there is a steady stream of new flowers appearing, declining and fading flowers are not very visible. Unlike traditional impatiens, this variety can be planted in full sun and is great for containers.
Verbena – ‘Lasca Mango Orange’ – is a new and vigorous variety that judges described
as having “outstanding color.” Initially, these flowers have an orange center and reddish edge which will fade into a more pinkish color. Plant in containers placed in full sun.
At the 2015 trials held at CSU last summer, more than 800 flowering varieties were planted, grown and evaluated. Faculty, students, volunteers and 33 plant and seed growers worked hard to fill more than 500 containers and plant in-ground beds. Then the plants were carefully nurtured to the peak of the growing season.
When flowers hit their prime, more than 100 green industry pros, master gardeners and others judged the plants. Which plants are most hardy? Which ones bloom the longest, have the showiest and most profuse flowers and stop you dead in your tracks because of their beauty?
At the end of the evaluations, the winners go on to be propagated and you will see them in garden centers as early as this spring. Also be impressed that if a flower can grow well in Colorado – even our growing season has its challenges – that flower will likely grow well in less challenging climates. Chances are, Colorado’s top picks will be available coast to coast.