Episode 98: Upgraded Classics

Garden Design

Everyone likes an upgrade. Whether it’s a faster car or a more efficient cell phone, it’s hard to turn down a better version of something you already like. Plants are much the same. If you already love that gorgeous catmint that flowers all season long, what not try one that not only has all the same great attributes but also has an improved habit.  Today we’re talking about plants we have a great affinity for, but that plant breeders have made just that much better. Perhaps it’s a longer bloom time, or stronger winter hardiness, or even a different color to the foliage. Whatever the change may be, it’s an improvement that has made us fall even more in love with these classic plants.

Expert testimony: Irvin Etienne is Curator of Herbaceous Plants and Seasonal Garden Design for The Garden at Newfields in Indianapolis.

Danielle’s Plants

Classic: Persian ironwood
Classic: Persian ironwood
Upgrade: ‘Lamplighter’ Persian ironwood
Upgrade: ‘Lamplighter’ Persian ironwood

Classic: Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica, Zones 4-8)

Upgrade: ‘Lamplighter’ Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica ‘Lamplighter’, Zones 5-9)

Classic: Holly-leaved mahonia
Classic: Holly-leaved mahonia
Upgrade: 'Charity' mahonia
Upgrade: ‘Charity’ mahonia

Classic: Holly-leaved mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium syn. Berberis aquifolium, Zones 5-8)

Upgrade: ‘Charity’ mahonia (Mahonia x media ‘Charity’, Zones 7-9)

Classic: Bowles' golden sedge
Classic: Bowles’ golden sedge
Upgrade: ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass
Upgrade: ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass

Classic: Bowles’ golden sedge (Carex elata ‘Aurea’, Zones 5-9)

Upgrade:  ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, Zones 5-9)

Carol’s Plants

Variegated weigela
Classic: Variegated weigela
MY MONET® weigela
Upgrade: MY MONET® weigela

Classic: Variegated weigela (Weigela florida ‘Variegata’, Zones 4-8)

Upgrade: MY MONET® weigela (Weigela florida ‘Verweig’, Zones 4-6)​

Classic: Langsdorff's flowering tobacco
Classic: Langsdorff’s flowering tobacco
Upgrade: ‘Bronze Queen’ flowering tobacco
Upgrade: ‘Bronze Queen’ flowering tobacco

Classic: Langsdorff’s flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorffii, Zones 10-11)

Upgrade: ‘Bronze Queen’ flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorffii ‘Bronze Queen’, Zones 10-11)

Classic: 'Walker's Low' catmint
Classic: ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint
Upgrade: ‘Kitten Around’ catmint (credit: Walters Gardens, Inc).
Upgrade: ‘Kitten Around’ catmint (credit: Walters Gardens, Inc).

Classic: ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’, Zones 4-8)

Upgrade: ‘Kitten Around’ catmint (Nepeta faassenii ‘Kitten Around’, Zones 3-8)

Expert’s Plants

Irvin Etienne is Curator of Herbaceous Plants and Seasonal Garden Design for The Garden at Newfields in Indianapolis.

Classic: ‘Flamenco’ red-hot poker (credit: David J. Stang, via Wikimedia Commons)
Classic: ‘Flamenco’ red-hot poker (credit: David J. Stang, via Wikimedia Commons)
Upgrade: ‘Mango Popsicle’ red-hot poker (credit: Irvin Etienne)
Upgrade: ‘Mango Popsicle’ red-hot poker (credit: Irvin Etienne)

Classic: ‘Flamenco’ red-hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria ‘Flamenco’, Zones 5-9)

Upgrade: ‘Mango Popsicle’ red-hot poker (Kniphofia ‘Mango Popsicle’, Zones 6-9)

Classic: ‘Fireball’ hardy hibiscus, photo courtesy of David J. Stang, via Wikimedia Commons
Classic: ‘Fireball’ hardy hibiscus, photo courtesy of David J. Stang, via Wikimedia Commons
Upgrade: 'Holy Grail' hardy hibiscus
Upgrade: ‘Holy Grail’ hardy hibiscus

Classic: ‘Fireball’ hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus ‘Fireball’, Zones 5-9)

Upgrade: ‘Holy Grail’ hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus ‘Holy Grail’, Zones 4-9)

Classic: ‘Storm Cloud’ lily of the Nile (credit: © Armitage/Hip Labels, LLC)
Classic: ‘Storm Cloud’ lily of the Nile (credit: © Armitage/Hip Labels, LLC)
Upgrade: ‘Galaxy Blue’ lily of the Nile (credit: Irvin Etienne)
Upgrade: ‘Galaxy Blue’ lily of the Nile (credit: Irvin Etienne)

Classic: ‘Storm Cloud’ lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’, Zones 7b-10)

Upgrade: ‘Galaxy Blue’ lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Galaxy Blue’, Zones 6-10)

Classic: ‘Black Knight’ butterfly bush
Classic: ‘Black Knight’ butterfly bush
Upgrade: ‘Grand Cascade’ butterfly bush (credit: Irvin Etienne)
Upgrade: ‘Grand Cascade’ butterfly bush (credit: Irvin Etienne)

Classic: ‘Black Knight’ butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii ‘Black Knight’, Zones 5-9)

Upgrade: ‘Grand Cascade’ butterfly bush (Buddleia ‘Grand Cascade’, Zones 5-10)

Classic: Mimosa (credit: Simon Garbutt, via Wikimedia Commons_
Classic: Mimosa (credit: Simon Garbutt, via Wikimedia Commons_
Upgrade: ‘Summer Chocolate’ mimosa
Upgrade: ‘Summer Chocolate’ mimosa

Classic: Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin, Zones 6-9)

Upgrade: ‘Summer Chocolate’ mimosa (Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’, Zones 6-9)

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