Happy new year! Thank you for your business, and despite the challenges of COVID, for making 2020 a great year for gardening. We hope you’re satisfied with your plants and that we will see you again this spring. We have a lot of exciting plans in the works: a new greenhouse, expansion in our perennial and ornamental grass areas, more native plants, a revamped layout of the garden center, and more.
Another subject we are expanding focus in are plants from the Proven Winners (PW) brand. We’ve been carrying Proven Winner plants for years but this year we’re going to carry a lot more.
What’s special about Proven Winners plants, you ask? Proven Winners is a brand of plants selected, bred, propagated, and grown for desirable and superior traits. Some of these traits include better hardiness, increased flower show, prolonged flower time, sterility, smaller size, and colorful foliage.
Take Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) sometimes known for its popular cultivar “Annabelle.” Proven Winners has taken this hydrangea and bred it for various desirable traits. You can now find this hydrangea in large and small forms, and with green, white, or pink flowers. I really like Invincibelle® Spirit, which is a medium-sized pink flowering cultivar. Smooth hydrangeas tend to be a little floppy in nursery containers so don’t be too judgmental as they’ll fill out nicely in the landscape.
Another example is Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). Older forms of Rose of Sharon tend to be borderline invasive in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic state. If you have one of them, you may have noticed how they seed prolifically. All Proven Winners’ cultivated varieties, however, are sterile or nearly sterile. That means that the seeds produced have little viability. I really like White Pillar® which is an upright, vase-shaped form with pristine white flowers.
The same goes for butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). Most of Proven Winners’ butterfly bush are listed as “non-invasive” which means their seed vitality is much lower than older forms. They’re also smaller and more compact which is a plus for most gardeners.
Also consider the ninebark. (Physocarpus opulifolius). This native species is a medium to large-sized shrub with green leaves and white flowers. While the straight species is a fine plant on its own, with work of horticultural breeders (notably Proven Winners) you can also purchase red, burgundy, and gold forms and in a variety of sizes. Ninebarks are excellent shrubs for durability, flower power, and color.
Proven Winners is most recognized by their line of ColorChoice flowering shrubs, which includes the ones I named above. That said, they also grow broadleaf evergreens, conifers, grasses, perennials, and of course, a lot of annuals. All of these are important groups of plants that bring different strengths to the landscape.
One of my favorite Proven Winner perennials is Pardon My Purple Bee Balm (Monarda didyma ‘Pardon My Purple’). This compact, floriferous, perennial is excellent at the front of a border. It’s also more resistant to powdery mildew than many other cultivars. Additionally, Bee balm is a pollinator magnet. This native species typically grows 4′ tall so it’s wonderful to have smaller forms available for those with limited space – especially for those of us who enjoy gardening for wildlife.
Proven Winner plants are great but that doesn’t mean that they’ll look the way they do in pictures if you neglect or prune them too aggressively. Plants need occasional but proper care to look their best. Feed your roses, water your hydrangeas during hot spells, don’t prune lilacs in the fall, and so on. An attractive landscape involves some occasional work so keep in mind that “low maintenance” does not mean “no maintenance.” But, as the Proven Winners slogan says, “A better garden starts with a better plant.” A better plant will be less fussy, more forgiving, and demand less from you.
In addition to bringing in #3 gallon containerized Proven Winner plants, we also grow some #2 gallon plants ourselves. Because of our stock selection and growing efforts, we are proud to be a Proven Winners certified retailer.
As a Proven Winners certified retailer, we have also decided to donate $1 from every Proven Winners plant purchase to the local charity Toys for Pittsburgh Tikes. To check out this great organization, go here: Toys for Pittsburgh Tikes | Collecting Toys for Needy ChildrenToys for Pittsburgh Tikes | Collecting Toys for Needy Children
And last, but certainly not least, those white pots are recyclable! Unlike many black pots which are difficult for a lot of facilities to process and recycle, Proven Winner pots are a “number 2” so you can toss them in your blue bin – AFTER you rinse them of course. Be sure to rinse any recyclable items before putting them in the blue bin or you may risk contaminating batches of material at the facility.
While I could write more, perhaps it would be better for you to spend some time on Proven Winner’s website instead. Besides listing their plants, they have great articles. I’ll share some great links below.
We look forward to seeing you this spring!
Why Didn’t my Hydrangea Bloom? Hydrangeas Demystified | Proven Winners
Inviting Wildlife into the Garden. Wildlife in the Garden | Proven Winners
North American Native Shrub Cultivars. Plant Search | Proven Winners
Low Maintenance Roses for Everyone. The Easy Way to Grow Roses | Proven Winners
Some Native PW Perennials. An In-Depth Look at Proven Winners Native Perennials | Proven Winners
Shrub Care Library. Shrub Care | Proven Winners