The first frost marks the time to cut down the garden and take stock of how this year's plants performed.
Here's some of the winners from my garden this year:
Shrubs: Kolkwizia amabillis maradco, the Dream Catcher Beautybush, from the Arnold Arboretum's 2007 is coming into its own now as a striking bloomer with tons of June peach/honey floral tubes. It's a faster grower than other beautybushes. The Arboretum's annual sales are always a place to find something special.
Annuals: Pink Lemonade Suncatcher petunia garnered admiration.
Harmony scarlet begonia grew 8 inches in shade and looks festive, especially in the heat of summer.
I like the giant zinnias for cutting, especially since deer don't eat them and they are good for long lasting bouquets.State Fair is an old strain, but I still buy it.
Angelonia Serena Blue provided consistent blue flowers throughout the season.
I continue to be enamoured of Dahlias, especially the Karma strain from the Netherlands. I bought Karma Bon Bini, a very bright small yellow red cactus form from Brent & Becky's Bulbs which produced lots of cutting flowers.
I also liked Karma Lagoon, a violet color with larger but fewer flowers.
Eventually I'll try all the Karmas I'm sure.
I also liked Porcupine, a new beige/pink/peach dahlia sport with unique folded backward folded petals that is literally in a class by itself. It was beautiful, had long stems for cutting, and outproduced all my other dahlias.
- CAROL STOCKER