Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Plants from Loblaw

On Tuesday, I got to go to the Toronto Botanical Gardens to see the new plants offered by Loblaw.  This large grocery chain has taken the grocery-parking lot-garden centre to a whole new level.  From the years that I worked there as a Horticultural Specialist at the old Oakville Trafalgar store until now, I get excited when I see the big tent go up.  I know that there are surprises, good deals and beautiful plants lurking close at hand.

It would appear that this year continues with that wonderful tradition.   Here are some of the highlights I discovered:

(Photo courtesy of Loblaw)

A tropical planter for $24.99 - nice pot, good selection of hard to murder plants.  If you have a small balcony this no-brainer will provide you with green and a bit of colour all summer long.  And, should you decide to not sacrifice it to the cold winter, you can bring it inside and enjoy it.

Wasabi coleus $3.99 - (pictured above) This marvellous little beacon of a plant was selected as one of the top plants at the University of Guelph and Landscape Ontario Trial gardens at open house day.  I must admit it looks rather unimportant at the moment in a 4" pot, but once planted in the garden, it positively glows.  Good for either full sun or shade.

Honey Bee Petunias $2.99 - I've never been a huge fan of the all black petunia - it makes the garden look like it's missing teeth.   However, this bloomer combines just the right amount of dark and light to make me want to find a little spot for it.  This is Diane Surette Cournoyer, GM of Dummen Canada who I met in the gift shop purchasing the little stuffed bee on top of the Dummen sign.  She's holding a sample of Honey Bee.

Dahlia Dahlinova Hypnotica Cotton Candy $6.99 is a new Dahlia from the Hypnotica series.  I did really well with the varieties I grew last year (pictured below).  The key to success with these Dahlias is to remove the flower heads once they're done.  You'll be rewarded with flowers all summer long.

(Photo courtesy of Loblaw)


Suncatcher Pink Lemonade Petunia is a gorgeous new petunia.  The ones we saw were presented in hanging baskets, and looked beautiful.  I was told that they will also be available in 4" pots and think that either alone or with Honey Bee, they'll make a great addition to the garden.

There is a good selection of vegetables this year too.  The one you may want to fight to get your hands on is the orange Turkish eggplant.   If you've got sunshine and an empty spot, this is the one fun plant to grow.  It is the size of a medium tomato - orange with green stripes - and as tasty as it is pretty.  We ate it raw in the trial gardens at Stokes last year and I took these fellows home for dinner.  It was unanimous - we all wanted a plant for our garden.  They're being offered in caged pots for $15.00.

Continuing on with the new, is the Haskap Berry developed by the University of Saskatchewan.  It looks like a deformed blueberry and is hardy to Zone 1 or 0.  It arrives early and tastes like a cross between a raspberry and blueberry.  Even though it doesn't say so in the Insider Report, know that you'll need 2 different varieties to get berries. The plants will be in two different coloured pots to make things easy.  The price for 2 is $35.00.

(Photo courtesy of Loblaw)

Raymond Evison, the king of all things Clematis, was there to show off new 2012 selections:  Hyde Hall has masses of white flowers and Chevalier is a good purple.  Raymond said that both can be maintained with the pony tail cut.  Grab the plant at about the 10" point in the very early spring before they start to sprout and cut straight across.   Say goodbye to worrying about types one/two/three and just give these plants a good whack and you're good to go.  I think of how much enjoyment I've had from Josephine, an earlier introduction, and think that $15.99 is an excellent price for so many years of beauty.

(Photo courtesy of Loblaw)

As you can see, I was able to take home a mountain of product to trial, and will be writing about my progress throughout the gardening season.  There were a few plants I wasn't able to get my hands on, but will be first in line at the store to purchase.  Of special interest is the Haskap  - I'm really curious to see how this cold-lover does in my Zone 6A garden.

In the interim, I'm just chomping at the bit, waiting for that last day of frost to get everything planted.  I just can't wait!


Kim and Victoria said...

That is a mountain of stuff! Good for you!
I love the pink lemonade petunias and the pony tail hair cut for the clematis is great.
As for the wasabi coleus, I'm warming up to yellow in my garden bit by bit.

Barbarapc said...

Apparently there was an audible gasp from the Royal Horticultural Society when he made the comment - but if it works, why not!

Knatolee said...

I would love to try growing those haskap berries! Fascinating.