Adapted by Deryn Davidson from the CO-Horts blog originally authored by Deana Wise, Broomfield County
Plant Select, created in 1997, is a cooperative work between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens, and many participants from the Nursery and Landscape communities. This popular program trials new plant varieties to determine their suitability for Colorado gardens. If the plants are deemed fit, they are actively cultivated and sold through local nurseries and greenhouses with the Plant Select label. New plants are introduced every year so it pays to check back every spring.
The web site lists: plant type, height, width, flowering season, flower color, sun, water needs, hardiness zone, soil type, deer resistance, good for pollinators, winter interest, and year introduced in Plant Select.
One excellent Plant Select inductees is the SILVER BLADE® Evening Primrose – Oenothera macrocarpa subsp. incana. This plant blooms all season long, is perennial, not terribly invasive and drought tolerant; but does prefer well-drained soil. A perfect plant for our area. This plant will thrive if it is not overwatered.
Another favorite is the ORANGE CARPET® Hummingbird Trumpet-Zauschneria garrettii ‘PWWG01S’. It blooms later in the season when other plants have given up and gone home. It is a ground cover that spreads rapidly and has masses of orange-scarlet flowers summer to fall. The hummers love it too!
The favorite of many gardeners is Chocolate Flower-Berlandiera lyrata. According to the website, Chocolate flower is an “Ever blooming native wildflower from the Southwest that produces a continuous succession of dark-eyed, yellow daisies over a compact rosette of foliage. The flowers exude a rich chocolate aroma in the morning hours. Best with minimal water once established. Can reseed. Perennial. Xeriscape”. Who can resist the smell of chocolate every day throughout the summer? This is one of the easiest plants to grow if you ignore it once it’s established. Just worship it from afar and you will both be happy.
The Plant Select website is a great place to find ideas and try out new plants that have been tested in this area. It could save money and frustration in the future, as well as water now.