Vail Landscape Logic column: Look forward to spring with highights from Flower Trials |

Vail Landscape Logic column: Look forward to spring with highights from Flower Trials

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
Sun New Guinea Impatiens.
Colorado State University | Special to the Daily |

In Colorado, we live in two worlds: the world of the growing season that is vibrant and the world of the dormant season, which, in contrast, is almost lackluster. Both have their allure.

Yet when we’re steeped in snow and the growing season is still months away, some bright color would be a nice pick-me-up.

We can’t do a thing to make spring come sooner. But there is spring color to anticipate. And thanks to the annual flower trials hosted by Colorado State University, we and the rest of the country will have wonderful color to enjoy outdoors in the near future.

Here are a couple of luscious examples selected from last year’s trials to help ease your seasonal color deficiency until spring.

Sun New Guinea impatiens have a vigorous, taller growth habit and abundant orange flowers with variegated leaves. It reaches 15 inches in both height and width. Because there is a steady stream of new flowers appearing, declining and fading flowers are not very visible. Unlike traditional impatiens, this variety can be planted in full sun and is great for containers.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Lascar mango orange verbena is a new and vigorous variety that judges described as having “outstanding color.” Initially, these flowers have an orange center and reddish edge, which will fade into a more pinkish color. Plant in containers placed in full sun.

At the trials held at Colorado State University last summer, more than 800 flowering varieties were planted, grown and evaluated. Faculty, students, volunteers and 33 plant and seed growers worked hard to fill more than 500 containers and plant in-ground beds. Then the plants were carefully nurtured throughout the growing season.

When the flowers hit their prime, more than 100 green industry pros, master gardeners and others judged the plants. Which plants are most hardy? Which ones bloom the longest, have the showiest and most profuse flowers and stop you dead in your tracks because of their beauty?

At the end of the evaluations, the winners go on to be propagated and you will see them in garden centers as early as this spring. Also, be impressed that if a flower can grow well in Colorado — even our growing season has its challenges — that flower will likely grow well in less challenging climates. Chances are, Colorado’s top picks will be available coast to coast.

Need help planning spring landscape projects? Find a pro from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, with members in six chapters statewide.

Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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