I joined about 300 enthusiastic gardeners (a sell-out crowd) at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center today for Spring at the Inn, a spring fashion show for plant geeks put together by the folks at the Minnesota State Horticulture Society. Walking the runway were hydrangeas, roses, ninebarks, phlox and an array of soon-to-be introduced plants developed by Minnesota-based Bailey Nurseries Inc. A who’s-who of Minnesota garden types were in attendance including representatives of Linders, Bachman’s, Wagners and Gertens greenhouses.
I’ll be writing a bit more about the plants that were shown later this week. You also can tune into Grow with KARE over the next two weeks. Bobby Jensen and Belinda Jensen were emcees at the event and will be highlighting some of their favorite plants on TV.
Here are two that may make it into my garden this year. Vanilla Strawberry™ hydrangea is an upright 6 to 7 foot tall hydrangea that has huge multicolored blooms. The flowers start out a creamy white but slowly change to pink, then red. The blooms are gorgeous, but what sold me on this plant was that it has red stems, which gives it winter as well as summer interest.
I’m also considering a wisteria for the North. Called ‘Summer Cascade’, this hybrid of Kentucky wisteria is hardy to USDA Zone 3 and is covered with blooms. It can grow 20 feet and cover a trellis or pergola with beautiful, pendulous blooms. (I’ve seen the plant in trial gardens and it’s a wow!) The folks from Bailey said the plant may be in nurseries later this summer — although it is listed in other sources as not being widely available until 2013. This is one to watch for.