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Stars of Spring 2002

The gardening world rejoices as this year's Stars of Spring are announced.

Each year a stringent 'Stars of Spring' selection process identifies a quantity of exceptional plants chosen for their innovative characteristics and their ‘x-factor´. Check out this year's six Stars of Spring.

Colourwave Petunia 'Sunbells Peach'

Colourwave Petunia 'Sunbells Peach'Masses of dainty, peach-pink flowers cover this easy-care plant from spring to autumn and even into winter in warmer, sheltered areas. A delightful new addition to the 'Sunbells' series, 'Peach' is slightly more compact than others but still manages to produce cascades of flowers, from baskets or window boxes, in sun or even part shade. The leaves are small and disease resistant and the plant grows up to 30 cm tall. Being the high performance plants that they are, 'Sunbells Peach' respond well to a cut back after flowering and will perform best if fed three times (using high nitrogen formula) during its flowering period. This will ensure longer flowering. Grow in a sunny, well-drained position, but be prepared to water through the summer to give best results. Only lightly cold hardy, plants have nevertheless, in trials, tolerated temperatures from -3C to +32C.

Marguerite daisy 'Sunjay'

Marguerite daisy 'Sunjay'Fresh lemon-yellow flowers are fully double and held well above the foliage for a long flowering period during spring and summer. The bush has a slight upright habit, growing to around 60 cm tall, with fine, grey-green foliage. As the bush grows, new growth overtakes old flower heads and new flowers form over the top - the net effect being that older flowers are virtually hidden by fresh growth and masses on new lemon-yellow flowers. There is little need for dead-heading. Best grown in full sun and a well drained soil, Sunjay is a very low maintenance plant. Feed at the beginning of spring, and during the year the odd trim to shape will keep it tidy and invigorate new growth. Tolerant of very light frosts for short periods only.

Painted fern

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum Ursulas RedThere couldn't be a more apt name for the painted fern. These vigorous growing ferns are ideal for a lightly shaded situation in almost any garden. The foliage intensifies in colour with the onset of summer and each plant will rapidly fill a gap in the garden or make a feature as a group. Easy to grow, they are relatively pest and disease resistant and will tolerate some frost before coming away strongly again in the spring. Easy to grow, the painted fern is relatively pest and disease resistant and will tolerate some frost before coming away strongly again in the spring.

Geranium 'Pink Spice'

Geranium sessiliforum x traversiiIn full flower in summer, the 'Pink Spice' geranium is a sight to behold, with a mass of small, but clearly defined, pink flowers contrasted against the deep bronze foliage. It will flower from September to May and grows well in a range of climates from sea level up to 1,700 metres. On average it will reach about 60 cm across. 'Pink Spice' is cold hardy and will grow well in poorer soils as long as a reasonable moisture level is maintained, especially through the summer months. It is a relatively easy plant to grow requiring no special treatment, and has a wide variety of uses including pots, excellent for covering banks and falling over retaining walls.

Clematis 'Sweet Hart'

Clematis 'Sweet Hart'A lovely free-flowering climber and groundcover, Clematis 'Sweet Hart' has tough ferny-type foliage that will withstand full sun. It also grows well in both temperate and moderate climatic zones, where its scrambling form gives it more versatility than many other clematis varieties. Its spring flowers literally smother the foliage. Will reach 1 m unaided and up to 2 m when trained. While it will withstand tough conditions, 'Sweet Hart', like any other clematis, will perform best in a sheltered aspect with a cool, free-draining root run. It is fabulous for hanging baskets or for trailing over walls as well as for under-planting, where it can provide a good contrast of textures. It can even be used for topiary and is easily trained to most shapes.

Verbena Patio Series

Verbena Patio SeriesThis brand new range of hot-coloured verbenas will flower for months whether they're in containers or planted as a garden border. Small, but sturdy, reaching 35 cm in height, these plants come in a range of colours which will brighten any patio or garden: soft sky blue, deep purple, fire engine red and deep rose pink. Above all, their disease resistance will keep them looking their best. The excellent all round performance of Verbena Patio Series will be greatly enhanced with a light trim and a feed between flowering. They're ideally suited for pots, window boxes, or for mass planting and will perform equally well in sun or part shade.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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