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Fall’s soggy start has likely pushed back your list of fall chores. It’s hard to plant bulbs when the soil needs a good wringing out. So, settle in and let’s daydream about our 2019 must-have plant list through a new program from Proven Winners.

The National Plants of the Year program highlights the best-of-the-best PW annuals, perennials and shrubs.The plants must meet a strict set of criteria, including being easy to grow, easily recognizable at a glance and readily available.

“Lemon Coral” sedum was chosen as the 2019 annual of the year. This glowing yellow to chartreuse little sedum is spiky, similar to coral, with a rubbery texture. Described as a vigorous, drought-tolerant grower in both containers and garden beds, “Lemon Coral” shows its best yellow color in full sun, but looks more chartreuse in part sun. It is striking when planted solo or as a mounding trailer in a container.

“Autumn Frost,” a medium-sized hosta, is a best seller for good reason — its striking blue leaves with broad yellow margins that turn creamy white. Lavender flowers attract hummingbirds in the summer. The plant grows 10 to 12 inches high in part shade to shade and is easy to grow. Plant it as your “thriller” or foliage in a container, and then transplant it in late summer into the landscape.

“At Last” is the perfect name for this fragrant, disease-resistant rose. The sunset-orange landscape rose produces large, sweetly scented blooms on new wood from late spring through frost. Foliage is glossy on a rounded, upright shrub. No spraying or fussy pruning is required. The easy-care shrub rose is hardy to USDA Zone 5A and thrives in average soil in a sunny location with good drainage. “At Last” also performs well in a container.

Summerific “Berry Awesome” hibiscus is PW’s choice for perennial of the year. These ruffled pink flowers have a cherry eye and can reach 7 to 8 inches across. A sun-loving plant that can grow to 48 inches tall, “Berry Awesome” needs well-drained but moist soil for larger blooms and lush foliage.

“Fire Light” is a best-selling PW panicle hydrangea that is easy to grow, exceptionally hardy and praised for huge, full flower heads and sturdy, strong stems. Blooms emerge creamy-white and age to vivid red. “Sonic Bloom” is the shrub of the year, a reblooming weigela available in pearl, pure pink, pink and red. I have both “Fire Light” and “Sonic Bloom Pearl” in my garden, and both do well.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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