The 2004 Way Hot 100: Shrubs & Such

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The 2004 Way Hot 100: Shrubs & Such

April 15, 2004
12:00am

Minor miracles, flower factories and leafy wonders. And the Grass Age continues.

[72] Abies Koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke'. Actually a tree, but easy to appreciate when young and small — purple cones, needles that reveal silver undersides. "A self-trimming Christmas tree." (Druse) Zones 5-6.

[73] Almond Bush (Aloysia Virgata). Deciduous shrub to 10 feet. Fragrance of white flowers, from spring to frost reminiscent of marzipan. Zones 8-10.

[74] Brugmansia 'Snowbank'  Among many wonderful angel's trumpets — never failing to evoke the tropics — this stands out. "Awesome in a container, huge, fragrant, dangling apricot flowers in amazing profusion. The most beautiful variegated foliage." (Heims) Zones 8-9. Annual in cold climates.
[75] Buxus Microphylla 'Faulkner' Faulkner boxwood is bright green, shiny, dome-shaped without much pruning. Also look for B. sempervirens 'Jensen', bluish green, dense, rounded, "like a blown-glass sculpture." (Rudy) Zones 6-9.
[76] 'Nuccio's Bella Rossa' Camellia. Fire-engine red, 4-inch flowers in a formal form. Heavy bloomer. Zones 8-10.
[77] Forsythia Viridissima var. Koreana 'Kumson' Each leaf is deep green with creamy yellow, changing to silver netted pattern. Needs part to full shade. Zones 5-8.
[78] Red Hybrid Hollies (Ilex) Hybrids such as Oakleaf, Robin, Little Red, Cardinal are manageable in smaller gardens. Compact habit, great new leaf color, bountiful berries. Zones 6-9.
[79] Loropetalum Chinense 'Sizzling Pink' Should we dismiss all new loropetalums because they ruled the '90s? Only if you would say Nirvana was a flash in the pan. This one's burgundy new growth stays purple all year. Frizzy pink flowers. Other winners include 'Burgundy'. Zones 7-9.
[80] Spiraea Betulifolia 'Tor'. White flowers, compact habit, crinkled leaves. "This is the clincher: bright purple foliage in autumn." (Martin) Zones 4-6.
[81] Weigela Midnight Wine?. Dwarf with dark burgundy foliage. "Looks like a chocolate muffin in a pot." (Wood) Zones 5-8.

HYDRANGEAS: Growers have been sharing some exciting developments.

[82] Endless Summer The first to market in a line of "mophead" hydrangeas that bloom on new wood, which keeps blooms coming. Pink or blue, depending on soil pH. Zones 4-9.
[83] H. Paniculata 'Limelight' Conical blooms start out creamy, turn chartreuse. "Stands tough in cold Chicago winters." (Rudy) Zones 3-8.
[84] 'Little Honey' Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) breakthrough. Compact growth (3 to 4 feet), chartreuse leaves, white flowers. Zones 6-8. New varieties flood the market every year. Some endure. Check on local adaptability.
[85] Knock Out Lived up to the hype — which is saying a lot for a rose. Relatively disease-free, drought resistant, heavy blooming. "A rose that can behave like other garden plants. Neon-cherry color is a real eye-catcher. Imagine it with Russian sage and fountain grass." (McNish)
[86 Golden Celebration? Rich yellow, very fragrant blooms, arching shrub with dense foliage, easy to grow.
[87] Flower Carpet® See them everywhere, an ongoing success story. Shiny foliage, repeating blooms, compact growth — ground cover nonpareil. Sixth in series, yellow is new this year.

GRASSES AND GRASSLIKE PLANTS

[88] Carex Comans 'Frosted Curls' "I love its swirly gesture and luminous quality. It contrasts beautifully with so many plants." (Bussolini) Zones 7-9.
[89] Carex Pansa "Great Western lawn substitute." (Frohan) Zones 8-9.
[90] Carex Siderosticha 'Lemon Zest' "Perfect for that yellow zing spot needed in containers or plopped next to my favorite purple heuchera in part shade." (Davis) Zones 6-9.
[91] Chondropetalum Tectorum "So great in a container, modern, architectural, low maintenance." (Frohan) Zones 8-9.
[92] Hakonechloa Macra 'All Gold' An all-yellow form of hakone grass. Graceful arching habit forms a mound 3 feet across, 12 to 18 inches tall. "I lusted for it for years. Finally it is in tissue culture and will be widely available this year." (Steffen) Zones 5-9
[93] Fiber Optic Grass (Isolepis Cernua). "So weird and wonderful." (Walheim) Mainly for wet spots. Zones 8-10.
[94] Juncus Effusus F. Spiralis 'Blonde Ambition'. Bright gold, twisted leaves. "It displays nature's sense of humor at its most quirky and makes me smile." (Chivers) Zones 5-9
[95] Miscanthus 'Giganteus' Sturdy and towering — to 9 or 10 feet or more. Zones 4-9.
[96] Panicum Virgatum 'Northwind' Selection of native prairie grass. Bright green, then golden yellow in fall, 5 or 6 feet tall. Zones 4-9.
[97] Paspalum Quadrifarium Looks like a silver pincushion with 3-foot leaves. Tolerates high heat and humidity — and Southern theme parks, where it's ubiquitous. Zones 7-10.
[98] Pennisetum Alopecuroides 'Hameln'. Just 3 feet tall. "Incredible sandy color in fall." (Nievera) Zones 6-9.
[99] Pennisetum Setaceum 'Red Riding Hood' Pint-sized habit (only 18 inches). "Perfect in combinations in small containers or compact gardens." (Strobe). Zone 9-10.
[100] Schizachyrium Scoparium 'The Blues'. True blue foliage, autumn color. Well behaved. Looks outstanding in drifts. Zones 3-9.