Happy new year, readers! Thank you for your business and, despite the challenges of COVID, for making 2020 a great year for us. 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 grass areas, more native plants, a revamped layout of the garden center, and more.
Another area we are expanding focus on in greater measure are plants from the Proven Winners (PW) brand. Those are those plants in the white pots! We’ve been carrying PW plants for years but this year we are going to grow and carry more!
You may be asking, “what’s so special about Proven Winners plants?” That’s a fair question.
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 presence, prolonged flower time, sterility, smaller size, and colorful foliage.
Take the Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), for example, often called “Annabelle” hydrangea. Proven Winners has taken this hydrangea and bred them for various desirable traits. You can find both large and small forms, some with white blooms, some with green, and now some with pink blooms. I really like Invincibelle® Spirit, which is a medium-sized pink flowering cultivar. Smooth hydrangeas tend to be a little floppy in a nursery pot, but they sure do fill out nicely in the landscape!
Another example is the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). The older forms of Rose of Sharon tend to be invasive in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. If you have one of them, you might have noticed how they seed prolifically. All Proven Winners’ cultivated varieties, however, are sterile or nearly sterile. That means that any seeds produced have little to no viability. I really like White Pillar® which is an upright, vase-shaped form with pristine white flowers. Since these sterile and near sterile forms are so considerate, perhaps we can call these gals Rose of Carin!’
The same goes for butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). Proven Winners’ butterfly bush are sterile or nearly sterile. They also are smaller and more compact than many older forms. My grandma’s old butterfly bush in California was probably 10 feet tall and half as wide! And while large cultivars still exist, smaller ones are more manageable for most landscapes. One of my favorites is Pugster® Periwinkle, which likes to mature around a couple feet high and wide, and sports larger-than-normal blooms.
Let’s also look at the ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius). This east coast native is medium to large-sized shrub with green leaves and white flowers. But from the work of horticultural breeders, notably Proven Winners in this case, you can purchase red, burgundy, and gold-foliaged forms! And I must add, a ninebark is an excellent shrub – beautiful and tough as nails. A ninebark is almost always a good plant for the landscape – and they come in various sizes too!
Proven Winners is most recognized by their line of ColorChoice flowering shrubs, which includes the ones named above. But they also grow a number of broadleaf evergreens, some conifers, grasses, and a lot of flowering perennials and annuals. Those who know me know I’m a sucker for flowers – so, don’t skimp on the perennials and annuals in your landscapes!
One of my favorite PW perennials is Pardon My Purple Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). This compact, floriferous, native perennial is excellent at the front of a border, and man is it a pollinator magnet! It’s also more resistant to powdery mildew than many other cultivars. This is the result of horticulturists selecting and growing plants for desirable traits – hardiness and disease resistance.
PW plants are great but that doesn’t mean that they’ll look the way they are in the pictures if you neglect them or mutilate the with pruning shears. Plants need occasional, proper care to look their best. Feed your roses, water your hydrangeas, don’t prune your lilacs in the fall, and so on. A grade A+ landscape involves some occasional work. But, as the PW slogan says, “A better garden starts with a better plant.” A better plant will be less fussy, more forgiving, and demand less from you. And if that doesn’t say “low maintenance”, I’m not sure what does!
Not only do we bring in finished #3 gallon containerized Proven Winner plants, we also grow a lot of #2 gallon plants ourselves. Because of our stock selection and growing efforts, we are proud to be a Proven Winners certified retailer.
As a PW certified retailer, we have also decided to donate $1 from every PW 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 of those black pots which are difficult for a lot of facilities to process and recycle, PW pots are a “number 2” so you can toss them right in your blue can – AFTER you rinse them. Please, be sure to rinse any recyclable items before putting them in the blue can 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