What’s New in ’22
Top left – Amazing Daisies® ‘Marshmallow’ Shasta Daisy
Bottom left – Blue My Mind® XL Dwarf Morning Glory
Bottom middle -Little Lime Punch® Panicle Hydrangea
Bottom right – Be My® Main Squeeze™ Calla Lily
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners
When I embarked upon writing this article, I did some reading to see what other designers envision as the major landscaping trends for 2022. What I uncovered was nothing more than a rehash of good garden design advice with Covid-related overtones. I even found a piece in House Beautiful that outlined 23 trends for this year. Twenty-three? Why not 22 in ‘22? Not to mention the fact that a trend is defined as, “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.” It is impossible to move in 23 directions at the same time!
So, I called my contact at Proven Winners who was happy to send me information on their new plant releases for 2022—all 189 of them! Oy. After an exhaustive review and a conversation with Monrovia, a few things became perfectly clear:
1. The industry is booming with no end in sight
The ripple effects of COVID are profound and some are quite surprising. Not being allowed to go to the office equaled more time at home. People not only decided to renovate the interior of their houses, but they also invested in improving their landscapes, resulting in thousands of new gardeners and a banner year for the industry as a whole.
2. People are tired and need to relax
Today’s gardens are much more thoughtful as people have had the time to read, research and learn. People are creating spaces that are personal sanctuaries. Just ask anyone in the pool-building industry. The wait list to build one is two years in some parts of the country. People have also been afraid to travel. So, they are escaping to their own tropical paradises. Exotic looking plants like hibiscus, cannas, and caladiums are playing an important role in building these backyard oases.
3. People want to be in control again
Bare grocery shelves combined with the fear of getting sick resulted in a dramatic increase of people starting to grow their own food. It’s all about controlling the food source—availability, quality, safety, lack of chemicals, and genetic engineering. Seed companies actually ran out of some varieties. People are also tired of being told what to do. Gardening provides a freedom of expression not found elsewhere.
4. Nature is providing a much-needed respite
There is something very grounding (no pun intended) about putting your hands in the soil. Interest in growing native varieties and plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies continues to gain momentum.
5.People want to be happy and have fun again
This year’s plant introductions are jam-packed with color and whimsy. It is also interesting to note that we are now spending more time in interior spaces dominated by grey, black, beige, and white—even windows and faucets are black. Maybe that partially explains the explosion of color in the landscape – our eyes are hungry for it!
Here are some of my new favorites for ’22. Look for them in your local garden centers. If you can’t find them, many are available online. Happy hunting!
For Your Tropical Paradise
Calla Lilies have long been associated with weddings and Easter, but they can also be an elegant addition to your perennial or cutting garden. They are easy to grow, but here in Zone 7 you must treat them as an annual or be willing to dig them up in the fall and replant in the spring. Proven Winners Be My® Series produces larger flowers, blooms in nine to 12 weeks, is available in hot pink, deep red, orange, dark purple, princess pink, and yellow and would be perfect in your tropical paradise.Unlike ordinary caladiums, admired for their large green, white, and deep pink leaves, the new Heart to Heart® caladiums will set your landscape on fire. ‘Hot 2 Trot’ has wavy deep red leaves with dark green edges. You can spot ‘Hot Flash’ from mile away with its extremely glossy, almost mirror-like intense red leaves. Both of these varieties will grow in sun or shade, while ‘Burning Heart’ prefers full sun. It represents a whole new color category for caladiums sporting dark orange/brick-red leaves that are speckled with dots of pink and coral. All three are spectacular in mass plantings, as a border and in containers. Like all caladiums, don’t plant them too early. They prefer temperatures above 65 degrees and don’t like to dry out. You will love them for the constant pop of color they provide all summer and into the fall.
Bees, Birds, and Butterflies
Butterflies and hummingbirds adore Monardas (Bee Balm). Here are five new varieties that (like the previous cultivars in these series), have improved mildew resistance and prefer full sun but will grow in light shade. Talk about color! Amethyst, bright pink, raspberry, lavender, and coral—take your pick: ‘Leading Lady Amethyst’, ‘Leading Lady Pink, ‘Leading Lady Razzberry’, ‘Pardon My Lavender II,’ and ‘Pardon My Rose.’
Sunflowers are perennial favorites, but this one is an annual! Joining Suncredible® Yellow from 2021 is Suncredible® Saturn™, a bicolor version with the same desirable characteristics. Its bush-like structure supports four-inch blossoms that appear a bit earlier and last several weeks longer than other sunflowers. It makes a great cut flower, and no dead heading is necessary to keep it blooming right into the fall. It is a perfect plant for your butterfly garden.
As many of you know by now, I am a petal lover. So, flat flowers like daisies are not on my hit parade. However, double varieties are a whole different story. Take for instance, Amazing Daisies® ‘Marshmallow’ Shasta Daisy – PW’s first true double daisy. I think it will hit the mark for all you daisy lovers out there, but I must admit it looks a little more like a mum that blooms in summer.
The 2022 Pantone color of the year is a shade of periwinkle blue named Veri Peri. It was chosen because, “It displays a joyous attitude and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit, as we emerge from an intense period of isolation and move into a world of unprecedented change.” True blue flowers are rare, but 2022 brings us three new stunners.
The first annual, Laguna® Sky Blue Lobelia, is almost Very Peri. It is an improved variety that shouldn’t peter out during the dog days of summer. Blue My Mind® XL Dwarf Morning Glory is one of only a few true-blue annuals. It is just like the original but 30 to 50 percent larger – hence the XL. Its longer stems (spreading twelve to twenty inches) make it perfect for massing and containers. It is impressive in high heat and drought conditions. Lastly, ‘String Theory’ Blue Star Amsonia will delight you with its delicate light blue flowers in the spring, provide texture with its medium green threadlike foliage during the summer and impress you in the fall when it turns bright gold! This easy-care perennial likes the sun and is 18 to 22 inches tall and three feet wide at maturity.
While we’re on the subject of blue plants, Shadowland® ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ Hosta is a ruffled shade lover with heart-shaped leaves that have creamy white margins. Unlike many hostas that bloom purple, this one produces near white flowers that hummingbirds love.
Salvias are heat loving annuals that have been around a long time. We tend to think of them as red, white, and blue. But Unplugged® Pink is an unexpected explosion of fuchsia due to its abundance of florets. Proven Winners says, “It gives other plants an inferiority complex!” Topping out at two feet, it makes a great middle of the border plant, or use it as a thriller in containers.
And now for all you hydrangea lovers out there – and I know there are a lot of you – new for ‘22 is Let’s Dance ¡Arriba!® Reblooming Hydrangea. Like many improved varieties, it is a cross between macrophylla and serrata that exhibits the best attributes of each; the hardiness of serrata combined with the voluptuous blossoms of macrophylla. iArriba is a salt tolerant, fast growing, prolific bloomer that is perfect for smaller spaces at two to three feet tall and wide. It is one of those hydrangeas that changes color depending upon soil pH. This improved cultivar serves as a replacement for Big Easy, Rave, and Rhythmic Blue.
Dark foliage is great for adding contrast in the landscape and has been growing in popularity and availability. Many of these plants also produce colorful blossoms. This year Proven Winners is adding six new selections to this category: Dressed Up™ ‘Evening Gown’ Coral Bells, Summerific® ‘Edge of Night’ Hibiscus, Rock ‘N Grow® ‘Back in Black’ Sedum, ColorBlaze® Newly Noir™ Coleus, Center Stage® Pink Crapemyrtle, and Very Fine Wine® Weigela.
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners
Just for Fun
I must admit I have never grown Texas Primrose, but these two new varieties are beckoning me to seek them out. Ladybird® Lemonade and Sunglow love the heat and are drought tolerant. Plant them well-drained soil and don’t overwater – they like to be somewhat neglected. Even in 100-degree heat, they only need water every other day! Their slender delicate leaves and sunny yellow petals (that age to shades of peach and pink) simply make you smile. Growing only 4-8” tall, these fun plants have a mounding/trailing habit so they, too, are good for containers. Bees, birds, and butterflies love them. P.S. If they get a little scraggly, just cut them back and they will fill out nicely for you again.
Cake Pops® Pink and Purple Tuberous Verbenas look like a basket of lollipops! They won’t take a break from blooming in the extreme heat of summer, are drought tolerant and can take humidity, too. This semi-upright spreader (ten to eighteen inches tall and wide) will be a delightful filler in your pots this summer.
And now for some real fun. Do you love Little Lime® but secretly long for more excitement? Little Lime Punch® Panicle Hydrangea starts out with the same light green blossoms but the similarity ends there. Flowers change progressively from the bottom up to white, light pink and the most delicious shade of Hawaiian punch you’ve ever seen—all on one plant! It has a compact habit and sturdy stems and although the word little is in its name, it is still three to five feet tall and wide – after all it is a panicle hydrangea. You will be drinking in its beauty all summer long
Angelface® Cascade Snow Angelonia is tough as nails like all Angelonia. This sun lover is unique because of its cascading habit that makes it a great filler for hanging baskets and container plantings. It blooms one to two weeks earlier than other Angelonia and is eight to 14 inches tall and 12 to 30 inches wide.
Happy Spring! n