Along the Garden Path: Some ‘17 proven winners are outstanding plants


By now most of us have settled into the New Year and things have gotten back to the normal routine. This is the time of year when winter starts to feel way too long and gardeners begin to lean towards spring, which generally means starting to make our plant lists and planning garden beds.

If you are anything like we are at our house, the list of plants we want to use usually ends up being twice as long as the space we have! We can’t wait for spring and a new planting season.

We always search the Proven Winner website at for the new plants they will be offering.

New and in garden centers this year are several we will be looking for. Foliage plants are a favorite in our gardens and then we accent with color.

Prairie Winds ‘Blue Paradise’ grass is an upright ornamental grass that withstands adverse weather conditions. In summer, striking silvery blue stems form a columnar habit. In the fall it turns to a deep wine. It tolerates heat, drought, and humidity well and grows about 36 to 42 inches in height. Blue Paradise prefers the sun which will give you a blue color but if grown in the shade it will be a silvery blue grass. It is excellent to grow in containers and gives you a nice thriller look. It is a perennial so cut it back in early winter and enjoy it year after year.

We love the Heuchrea’s and Proven Winners will be offering Fun and Games ‘Hopscotch’ Heucherella hybrid this year. This easy perennial is grown mainly for its bronze red, lobed foliage. The leaves emerge dark red in spring and mellow to a deep green in summer. It has creamy, bottlebrush-like flowers. Its garden height is 10-12 inches and has a mound habit. It can be grown as a border plant, in containers and as an edging plant in the landscape. Hopscotch performs best in part shade but grows in sun or shade.

The Storm Cloud ‘Blue Star’ Amsonia tabernaemontana is new to Proven Winners but we have had it in our garden for two years. It is low maintenance shrub that appears in spring with incredibly dark stems that emerge from the ground, growing into olive green leaves with silver veins. The bloom is a star shaped, periwinkle blue in color that appears at the top of the wide, mounding, shrub-like habit. It does grow large as we have already split it and made two plants from it. But, the colors are great growing with other annuals by its side such as coleus, petunias, etc. It grows best in full sun to part shade and is moderately drought tolerant once established. It does thrive in most gardens with little care.

Proven Winners will offer ‘Graceful Grasses Prince Tut’ which is a nicely dwarf compact form of Egyptian Papyrus, about half the height of King Tut, but with some large poms on the ends of the stem. It is fun and interesting, without being so overwhelmingly huge. The shorter stem is quite sturdy and less likely to have stems flop. It is a foliage plant, heat tolerant, can be a bog or a water plant, as well. It grows tall with 18 to 30 inches, a bright grass green upright plant that, if planted in a container, would be a thriller.

Cyperus Papyrus, ornamental grass, is not hardy enough to survive winters with freezing temperatures and is not a candidate to overwinter inside. It is a very fast grower and will quickly grow to impressive size when replanted in the spring.

The plant can be planted in pots, along the water’s edge of a pond, or even in a pond. The crown of the plant should never be covered in water. The purpose is to keep the bulk of the soil or root mass wet. The root ball can be submerged but it isn’t necessary. If the plant is put into a pot, I would suggest plugging the hole or holes in the bottom of the pot to keep as much water as possible in the pot.

These are just a few of the Proven Winners to be offered in 2017. Check out their website – it gets you in the mood to ‘think spring.’

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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