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First Editions® New Garden Plant Introductions

Posted by Ann Tosovsky

First Editions® New Garden Plant Introductions

In 2012 Bailey Nurseries and Plant Introductions, Inc. joined forces and merged PII’s breeding with Bailey Nurseries’ marketing program, creating a broader pallet of the First Edition plant series.   There have been many plants introduced to the market under the First Editions® brand that carry a multi-season interest, a very popular trend in gardening. Each introduction is hand-selected for its unique qualities, beauty and color in the garden. First Editions® plants will only be found in independent garden centers during the first year helping to create a stronger relationship with garden centers and growers.  Three of the exciting First Editions® introductions include Hydrangea ‘Vanilla Strawberry’™, Diervilla ‘Cool Splash’®, and Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac.

First Editions® Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’ PP20,670)

Vanilla Strawberry®, a relative of Pee Gee Hydrangea, was bred in France by Mr. Renault then introduced by Bailey Nurseries in 2009.  It was 2010 winner of ANLA’s “Garden Idol” contest and has been a very popular hydrangea choice since its introduction to the market. It is a fastHydrangea vanilla strawberry growing hydrangea reaching 6-9’ tall and 4-5’ wide with an upright habit.  It is hardy in zones 4-8 and tolerates heat and humidity.  It prefers a moist, well-drained soil with full sun although it will tolerate some shade, but possibly at the expense of bloom color or bloom quantity.

Features of Vanilla Strawberry™ Hydrangea

Vanilla Strawberry™ has several characteristics that make it a great selection for the garden. This hydrangea has extremely large panicles with a progressive wave of changing colors throughout the season.  As the foliage flushes out in the spring the panicles emerge as a light green color and after a couple weeks transform into a creamy white.  As the season progresses the creamy white panicles begin turning a blushing pink then to a rich strawberry-pink. New flower heads are continually emerging throughout the 3-4 week blooming season displaying a full range of color all over the plant.  As the panicles get bigger the stems begin to cascade giving this hydrangea another look.  Butterflies like this hydrangea and it is also an excellent flower choice for fresh cutting or using in dried arrangements.  This hydrangea provides winter interest by baring its red/purple colored stems.

Pruning Hydrangea Vanilla Strawberry™

Hydrangea Vanilla Strawberry™ is a paniculata variety that blooms on new wood.  Avoid pruning once flower buds are set in the spring to escape not having flowers during the season.  Light pruning can be done after the plant is finished flowering while heavy pruning should be done in late winter to early spring.  A general rule of them is to prune no more than 1/3 of the plant during the season. 

First Editions®Cool Splash® Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia 'LPDC Podaras' PP19,391)

Diervilla Cool splashDiervilla sessilifolia Cool Splash® is a southern bush honeysuckle and the first variegated Diervilla having green leaves with yellow to creamy-white margins.  It grows slowly reaching 3-4’ tall and 3-4’ wide.  Fragrant blooms emerge in late spring to early summer (June-July) with bright yellow, trumpet shaped flowers and red stamens.  The plant is a dense, low growing, deciduous shrub that grows best in full sun but will tolerate part shade and an average, medium moisture soil that is well drained.  It is somewhat drought tolerant and adaptable to different soil conditions once established.  Although Cool Splash® is not considered to be invasive it is known to produce suckers and is probably considered a higher maintenance plant due to the fact that it spreads underground by runners and may require pruning of suckers that pop up in the landscape. Diervilla Cool Splash® is a good plant to use for erosion control, as a hedge or on a hillside.  If used as a foundation planting just be sure to plan for more maintenance to address any suckering issues. 

Diervilla Cool Splash®  Features

Cool Splash® attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and has good seasonal interest with its variegated foliage and summer flowers.  It is a good source of nectar for bumble bees and it is noted as being deer resistant.

Pruning Diervilla Cool Splash®

Pruning can be done after flowering for light shaping of the plant.  Heavy pruning should be done in late winter after or early spring while plant is still dormant to remove unsightly or winter damaged stems.  A general rule of thumb is to prune no more than 1/3 of the plant in one season.

First Editions® Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina 'Bailtiger' PP16,185)

This introduction to the First Editions® line is an award winning sumac winning the 2007 Pennsylvania Gold Medal Plant Award as well as the Southern Nursery Association’s Retailer’s Choice Award in 2009.  It was introduced into the line by Bailey Nurseries in 2005.  It is commonly used as a specimen plant, in groupings as well as mass plantings.

Features of First Editions® Tiger Eyes®

Tiger Eyes® is a smaller variety of staghorn sumac only reaching 6’ tall and 6’ wide.  It has anTiger eyes sumac upright and rounded growth habit and is considered to be easy to grow as it is drought tolerant once it’s established. It can tolerate poor soils but will not perform well if the soil is not well drained.  It performs best in full sun and is hardy in zones 4-8.  Although it is said to be sterile, the plant will send up suckers, but is not considered to be very aggressive. Tiger Eyes® has a striking appearance of yellow foliage during the spring and summer and is said to be one of the only shrubs with yellow foliage that doesn’t burn in the hot summer sun.  The lacy, frilly leaves emerge in the spring with a soft chartreuse color then transform into a sunny yellow.  The stems are not to be forgotten either as they hide beneath the foliage in a rosy/pink shade.  Fall color on this plant is spectacular as yellow, orange and intense scarlet foliage cover the plant making it a good choice for multi-season interest in spring summer and fall as well as attracting birds in the winter.

Pruning Tiger Eyes® Cutleaf Staghorn Sumac

Prune in late winter or early spring while there are no leaves on the shrub.  It is not a plant that requires heavy pruning, but it is ok to remove branches and stems that are growing beyond the desired shape and size as well as cutting out any dead branches. A general rule of thumb is to prune no more than 1/3 of the plant at any given time.

Fertilizing Shrubs

Fertilizing shrubs requires some research as to the condition of the soil where the shrub will be planted and the specific needs of the plant.  Before using any fertilizer, whether chemical or organic, check with a local independent garden center to determine the best solution for the plant’s needs.

Tags: Plants, Branded Plants, Shrubs