of the Pack Annuals
plants provide a bright splash of color for seasonal accent in
the landscape. They are best planted by the dozens with color
concentrated in drifts and beds where they will make a big show.
They also are good to use as Band-Aid plants to quickly fill in
trouble spots where woody ornamentals aren't performing well.
Although peak bloom is the highlight, it is a joy to observe new
growth, bud development and fading of the blooms as well.
NC State University Bedding Annual Trial Area at the JC Raulston
Arboretum (JCRA) contains more than 500 bedding plant cultivars.
It is an All-America Selections test site and display garden to
help you select top-performing annuals and tender perennials.
The winners, losers and true breakthroughs in landscape color
were showcased at the Landscape Bedding Plant Field Day at the
end of July. This year's top performers, designated as "Leaders
of the Pack" by the JCRA, are plants you will want to put
on your garden list for next year.
top "Leaders of the Pack" for summer 2002 were all petunias.
'Explorer Rose Pink', 'Explorer Lavender', 'Suncatcher Pink Vein'
and 'Double Wave Purple' bloom all summer and have outstanding
of the Pack" in the early season included a much more diverse
group. Cuphea 'Twinkle Pink' has moderate to good drought
tolerance and does well in full sun to light shade. An unusual
and hard-to-find Cuphea Ilavea was also displayed with
the wonderful common name: Bat-face Cuphea. How could you not
love that one? Seven dahlias stood out in the crowd, including
'Melody Dixie' and 'Mick's Peppermint'. Cleome 'Sparkler Blush'
stood tall and sturdy. Angelonia 'Angelmist Light Pink' and alyssum
'Wonderland Purple' were among the many variations of pink and
purple in the garden. Geraniums such as 'Designer Bright Red'
did well, albeit with constant deadheading. Marigolds cannot go
unmentioned: 'Perfection Mix' and 'Inca II Gold' were among the
best of our smelly nematode-fighting favorite! Visit the JCRA
Web site at www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum
for past evaluation reports.