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Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 71: Better Versions of Old Favorites

Video by Danielle Sherry and Steve Aitken, Edited by Kara Demos

Why would you ever want the shinier version of a beloved plant? In this episode, Steve and Danielle talk about all the reasons, including better disease resistance, better habits, or perhaps a more exciting foliage color. Disclaimer: we’re not dissing the classic favorites, just recommending some improvements if you’re in the market for new plants. Author Andy Keys is our expert, who is the perfect choice, given that he wrote the popular Fine Gardening article “Improved Varieties of Classic Favorites,” which you can read here.

Expert testimony: Andrew Keys is a Massachusetts-based horticulturist and author of several gardening books, including Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? and Growing the Northeast Garden.

 

 

DANIELLE’S PLANTS

Matcha Ball® ash leaf spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Levgreen’, Zones 3–7)

Invincibelle Wee White® smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHA5’, Zones 3–8)

The Rising Sun™ Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘JN2’, Zones 5–9)

Cabernet Splash™ highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum ‘VacBri1’, Zones 5–8)

 

STEVE’S PLANTS

‘Sea Heart’ brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Sea Heart’, Zones 4–8a)

‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’, Zones 3–9)

‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’, Zones 3–9)

‘Blackbeard’ penstemon (Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’, Zones 3–8)


EXPERT PLANTS—Andrew Keys

Shadblow (Amelanchier spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8)

  • ‘Robin Hill’ cultivar mentioned

Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Redbud (Cercis spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9)

Invincibelle® Spirit smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHA1′, Zones 3–8)

‘Haas’ Halo’ smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea aborescens ‘Haas’ Halo’, Zones 3–8)

‘Blue Billow’ mountain hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Billow’, Zones 5–9)

‘Onondaga’ sargent viburnum (Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’, Zones 4–7)

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum and cvs., Zones 4–9)

‘Blue Fortune’ and ‘Black Adder’ cultivars mentioned


‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem
‘Standing Ovation’ little bluestem
Shadblow
Shadblow
'Onondaga' sargent viburnum
‘Onondaga’ sargent viburnum
‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan (credit: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)
‘American Gold Rush’ black-eyed Susan. Photo: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens
The Rising Sun™ Eastern redbud (credit: JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University)
The Rising Sun™ Eastern redbud. Photo: JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
‘Blackbeard’ penstemon (credit: Walters Gardens, Inc.)
‘Blackbeard’ penstemon. Photo: Walters Gardens Inc.
‘Northwind’ switchgrass
Matcha Ball® ash leaf spirea
Matcha Ball® ashleaf spirea
Invincibelle Wee White® smooth hydrangea
Invincibelle Wee White® smooth hydrangea
Invincibelle® Spirit smooth hydrangea
Invincibelle® Spirit smooth hydrangea
‘Haas’ Halo’ smooth hydrangea (credit: Plants Nouveau)
‘Haas’ Halo’ smooth hydrangea. Photo: Plants Nouveau
Fringe tree
Fringe tree
The Rising Sun™ Eastern redbud (credit: JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University)
The Rising Sun™ Eastern redbud. Photo: JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University
Cabernet Splash™ highbush blueberry
Cabernet Splash™ highbush blueberry
'Amistad' salvia
‘Amistad’ salvia
Anise hyssop
Anise hyssop
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