Another year and another line up of new flowers we just can’t wait to bring out of the greenhouses! 2021 will see us introducing some truly new and exciting varieties for you to try in your gardens and containers. We’ve got all the new Proven Winner annuals, perennials and shrubs of course, but we are most excited about some of the new varieties of some of our favorite old cultivars! Yes, we are total plant geeks and we know it!
Before we share our favorites with all of you, we wanted to take a moment to thank you again for your support during a very unexpected and difficult year. We are thankful for our customers, old and new. We will continue to upgrade and update our website to provide you with an easy no contact way to order all of your favorite plants.
We are probably most excited about the new Beacon Impatiens. Why would we be excited about Impatiens you might ask? Because this new variety is resistant to Impatiens Downy Mildew! For the past nine years we’ve reduced our Impatiens offerings by almost 90% and when you do bring one to our register, we feel so bad knowing it will most likely succumb to Downy Mildew that we try to talk you into a begonia instead. Even casual gardeners had heard rumors that there was something out there killing Impatiens and every spring we get countless questions from our customers asking either “Where did all the Impatiens go?”, or “When will Impatiens be back?”.
Not all Impatiens were victims of this plant “Flu”. New Guinea Impatiens were largely immune but the shade loving, super popular Busy Lizzy (Impatiens walleriana) fell victim en-mass. There’s been a lot of mis-information floating around regarding Impatiens Downy Mildew so here’s some of the basics.
It isn’t a virus, it is a fungal disease called downy mildew (oomycete Plasmopara obducens). According to the University of Massachusetts Extension Service the disease had been sporadically reported since 2004 but it wasn’t until 2011 that widespread death occurred in garden beds all around Massachusetts.
How do you know if plants are infected? Plants will start to lose their lower leaves and when you turn the leaf over and look at the bottom it will be dusted with what looks like white flour.
Why does it reoccur every year? UMass Extension explains that long-lived spores called oospores are produced inside infected plant tissues and are released into the soil when infected plant debris degrades. Oospores can survive and potentially initiate new infections on Impatiens walleriana planted into the same garden beds for many years. It is not known how long oospores of Plasmopara obducens will survive in the soil. Oospores of other species of Plasmopara are known to be viable for 5-10 years. Research has shown no evidence of seed-borne transmission. This means that even if you only had Impatiens with Downy Mildew once, say 5 years ago and since then have planted begonias, the spores could still be alive in your soils.
That long dormancy of the spores is why we are so excited about the new Beacon Impatiens! For nine years we’ve had to recommend alternatives for shade color: Begonia, Torenia, Coleus, as well as New Guinea Impatiens, all of which are not susceptible to the disease. But nothing could take the place of the traditional Impatiens walleriana garden fill, color range and performance!
We weren’t the only ones missing Impatiens. A team at PanAmerican Seed began searching for a disease-resistant Impatiens soon after IDM took hold. Collaborating on the project was a team in The Netherlands, led by breeder Ruud Brinkkemper, and a crew in the United States consisting of product manager Lisa Lacy, plant pathologist Dr. Colleen Warfield, and many others. During numerous plant trials and tests, a selection of Impatiens that displayed high resistance to Plasmopara obducens was discovered and Beacon Impatiens was born!
So now you can fill your gardens once again with bright, long-lasting color! NEW Beacon Impatiens will be available in 6 colours and 2 mixes, you can fill baskets, window boxes, and shade landscapes with confidence!
What else have we got up our sleeves this Spring? The two most commented and asked for plants in our display gardens every year are the new varieties of Coleus and New Guinea Impatiens. Coleus became cool about five years ago when the sun loving varieties with brilliant foliage were first introduced. We’ve planted bright reds, pinks and last year’s yellow was truly stunning. Coleus are so much color with so little work – What’s not to love?
We are really excited about this year’s new Main Street series Beale Street Coleus! It’s a sun loving deep red. Beale Street is an outstanding variety with deep red foliage that holds its color extremely well in the garden. The rich color doesn’t fade, bleach or get spotty as the season moves into late summer. Be sure to ask Alec or I to point it out to you, it’s new and we were only able to get a few hundred cuttings to grow.
Another bright new star in our line up this year is a New Guinea Impatiens Roller Coaster Hot Pink! NG Impatiens thrive in our area and we can prove it by just pointing to the amazing swaths of color in all our display gardens! This new variety has frilly, double hot pink flowers! Gorgeous!
We’ve transplanted the seedlings and cuttings for the 2021 display garden. We are going to trial a new reblooming dwarf sunflower called Suntastic and a Zinnia called Queeny Lime Orange with huge blossoms! We’ve added in a whole bunch of pollinator plants like Cosmos, Nicotiana and Nemesia too. I try to use often overlooked plants so I can show you just what you are missing when you bypass them to get to the wave petunias!
Keep watching our Facebook and Instagram as we post pictures and videos of all the new varieties we are growing this year! We can’t wait for you to see them all!
From your total plant geek crew!
Michelle and Team Lakeview