Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Inspired by last night's Oscars, I thought it might be nice to give a shout-out to the stars of my garden last year.  Overall, it turned out to be one of the best seasons (even though Hurricane Irene stormed the stage during Act III).  Stellar performances were made by both established plants and young, rising stars.

My first award goes to the best "comeback".  After several seasons of lackluster presentatons, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nikko Blue' came back this past season with the most blooms ever.  Following a spectacular opening in June, this hydrangea returned to the stage periodically all summer with fresh, blue flowers.

Nikko Blue hydrangea
Best overall performance last year was from the June blooming Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa). Huge, creamy blooms covered every branch.  Unfortunately, this woody star always needs a season off following such a packed performance.  2012 will predictably be a less inspiring show.

Kousa dogwood
The award for best plant in a supporting role goes to my Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris). They are so easy to grow.   I use them all over the garden to help frame other plants, fill in large shaded areas and add low-maintenance drama.

Ostrich fern
The best new performer of the season was the Echinacea purpurea 'B's Knees'.  I discovered this new star at a local nursery last year.  Its deep magenta color and lower height made this coneflower perfect for the expanded bed behind the pool.

B's Knees coneflower
Best visual effects goes to my favorite autumn performer, Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite', which took on a more important role after being divided to fill a much larger stage.  The huge drift of blueish-purple asters seem to echo the fall sky.

Raydon's Favorite aster
And I have to give a lifetime achievement award to Hemerocallis 'Hyperion'.  Like Meryl Streep, this icon continues to give strong performances every season.  Tall, bold and fragrant, Hyperion daylilies put on a show not to be missed in my Hamptons Garden.

Hyperion daylily
 I thought we should have one award for a foreign production.  One standout from my trip to Italy last year was this purple bearded iris.  I have always loved this type of iris, but have yet to plant any. Maybe this will be the year to put one to work in my show.

Purple bearded iris in Florence, Italy
With the wacky weather we've had so far this year, it's anyone's guess which plant will steal the spotlight in 2012.  So stay tuned.


Brenda said...

Great post - beautiful photos of your garden too!

Jeff, Gardener in Chief said...

It was hard to choose between all the stellar performers from last season. Hope 2012 will be another amazing year in the garden.