Plants of the Year – 2014
Lots of organizations designate special plants of the year to highlight plants with great features and help gardeners choose plants to add to their landscape. Here are some of the choices for 2014.
The Delaware Nursery and Landscape Association (DNLA) has been choosing a woody plant (tree or shrub) and a herbaceous plant (one that dies back to the ground each year) yearly to promote to Delaware gardeners. A selection committee that includes industry members, garden writers, university professors, local landscape designers, and local landscape consultants comes up with a list of plants that meet the criteria each year. The plants must be available in the nursery trade (nothing is more frustrating than reading about a plant and then not being able to find it to buy and plant in your garden). They must also grow well in our region, have few pest and disease problems, provide an interesting or showy element to the garden and be somewhat underused in the Delaware landscape. What is the point in promoting a plant that is already overused! Then the DNLA board of directors’ votes on the plants they think best meet the criteria from those nominated plants. Everyone has their favorites and the discussion can get sticky at times, but the process routinely churns out great plants that Delaware gardeners will enjoy in their home landscapers. The two choices for 2014 are:
Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) – This small tree grows in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It has an oval to oval-rounded habit and is known for its peeling, cinnamon to reddish brown bark. Trifoliate leaves are dark green, but turn red in the fall. Its seed is a two winged samara. It has no serious disease or pest problems. Paperbark maple is a slow grower (6 inches – 12 inches per year) and makes an excellent tree specimen tree for small properties. It is appropriate as an understory tree in a woodland garden or as a specimen in many locations around the home.