It is that time of year again -- time to mention all the plants selected as winners for 2005. And the winners are .
Herb of the Year
Oregano is the winner of this prize from the International Herb Association. There are several species of perennial and annual herbs in the genus Origanum and all are celebrated this year. The true Oregano (Origanum vulgare) has pungent dark green leaves that are commonly used to flavor pizza sauces and other dishes. The white, pink, or purplish flowers that appear in summer make this an attractive ornamental plant as well. For more information, check out the International Herb Association .
Perennial of the Year
The Perennial Plant Association has selected Lenten Rose or Helleborus xhybrids for the 2005 Perennial Plant of the Year. The extensive hybridization of several species of Hellebores has created an enormous flower variety of this early blooming perennial. Single and double flowers of pale green, yellow, white, pale pink, rosy pink, and dark plum purple begin blooming in March and April and often continue the display for several months. Plants prefer partial shade, with fertile, well-drained soils and protection from our harsh winter winds. For more information on Hellebores check out the Perennial Plant Association .
Tree of the Year
The Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association selected White Fir (Abies concolor) for the 2005 Tree of the Year. This stately blue/gray evergreen slowly reaches at least 50 feet tall. White or Concolor Fir is considered one of the finest firs for the Midwest due to its adaptability. Plants prefer full sun with fertile, loose, moist, well-drained soils. Heavy, compacted, clay soils are generally not tolerated. It is also considerably less susceptible to pests and disease compared to Blue Spruce. For more information on White Fir, contact the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association .
Roses for 2005
The All American Rose Selections for 2005 offer a wide variety of roses for Iowa gardens. This year's selections have compact or upright, spreading habits; pink or yellow flowers; and many are disease resistant with fragrant flowers.
Lady Elsie May is as regal as it's name implies. This vigorous, upright, shrub rose has 3-4 inch diameter coral pink flowers that open fully to reveal the showy yellow centers. The flowers are also lightly scented and complemented by waxy dark green leaves that have excellent disease resistance. No bowing necessary!
About Face is a grandiflora rose with what the experts are calling a "backwards bicolor" flower. Each flower petal is a deep golden yellow on the inside with bronzy orange on the outside. With 5-inch diameter flowers that resemble the roses of yesterday and excellent disease resistance, who cares what the experts call this rose I call it a good one!
Elle , a hybrid tea rose, is the supermodel of this bunch. It has shell pink flowers that resist fading. Each blossom is 4-5 inches across and packed with a whopping 50 plus petals per blossom. Elle also has a strong-spicy fragrance and better than average disease resistance especially blackspot and mildew. Picture-perfect!
Day Dream is a compact landscape shrub rose that has it all. It matures to about 2 feet tall and is crown hardy to USDA zone 4. The lightly scented, single fuchsia pink flowers repeat bloom for most of the summer and the glossy dark green leaves have excellent disease resistance. This dream exists!
For more information on these and other past winners from the All American Rose Selections check out their website .
That's a wrap until next year!
This article originally appeared in the 3/9/2005 issue.