Pnterest: New Plants 2012

2012 Year in Review

by Andrew Keys on February 5, 2013

January’s over, but the dust is still settling on 2012. Lots of new plants are braving their first winter outdoors here, and I’m getting ready to do a string of six speaking gigs in five weeks in support of my 2012 book. It’s around this time I start dreaming of new plants and post some Wishlist posts, but you know what? Too often, when I actually plant a Wishlist plant I’ve posted? It dies. I’m going to be superstitious and suggest that we look back at the year that was instead. In 2012…

I added over 50 new plants to the garden, some additions to existing stock, but most brand new. You can see them on Pinterest. I hate to play favorites, but:

  • Favorite new tree: I’m still in love with my pink Chinese toon tree, but my new favorite is a blue Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’) I bought from a guy who seemed to have started a nursery out of… His house? A neighboring house that was sort of abandoned? Whatever, he was legit enough to be on a Groupon-type thing. Proof that you never know where you’re going to find cool plants, and you never know what you’re going to get with Groupon.
  • Favorite new shrub: All the shrubs I planted were small, so the jury’s still out on this one. The one with the most promise is a scandent (fancy word for “viney”) shrub called Chinese wingnut (Tripterygium regelii).
  • Favorite new perennial: It’s a tough call, but I’m excited about ‘Mekong Giant’ hardy banana, which I got last spring as a tiny plug from Plants Nouveau, planted out but dug and brought inside for its first winter JUST TO BE SAFE. It grew from a few inches to a few feet tall in this one season, and just this week I thought it was getting ready to keel over and die, but it spat out a new leaf instead. I can’t wait to plant this in my front garden for good next year and see if it really does get 15 feet tall.
  • Favorite new grass: Elliott’s love grass (Eragrostis elliottii) was a big wow. My three ethereal blue clumps of excellence are getting moved to a more prominent spot next year. Runner-up: snowy wood rush (Luzula nivea) is a breath of fresh air in dry shade.
  • Favorite succulent: Schott’s yucca (Yucca schottii), which I lugged two huge specimens of back from a trip to Arizona this fall. Potted those up for the winter too, not because I don’t think they’re hardy, but so I can plant them out with a whole a growing season to get settled.

Here’s to a year of new favorite plants in 2013!

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