New plant varieties surprise even seasoned gardeners

One of the delights of owning a nursery, as Cheryl and I do, is the continual discovery of new plants or plants we never before knew existed.
Just when we think we must have seen it all, botanists and horticulturists surprise us with new varieties that still make us say, "Wow!" after all these years.
Often, these new varieties are developed under a cloak of secrecy with as high a regard for security as, say, an automobile company designing and testing a new car. It might surprise you to know that botanists submit their new varieties to the U.S. Patent Office, along with lengthy descriptions and illustrations of their "inventions." Highly precise detail is required in order to demonstrate that the plant in question really is a new variety, developed by the horticulturists who are submitting it.
If you would like to see what a plant patent submission looks like, you can find one for a peach tree named Corinthian Rose at http://www.freepatentsonline.com/PP11564.html You can click on a direct link when you find this column at my Web site, www.landsteward.org
The Corinthian Rose (Prunus persica Corinthian Rose to be precise) really is a spectacular flowering tree judging from the pictures I've seen. We have planted some already and we are looking forward to watching them develop, as we do with all of our new "discoveries."
If you're looking to start a peach orchard, this isn't the tree for you. Corinthian Rose bears little or no fruit. This new cultivar is intended for ornamental use in the home landscape.
One of its most distinct characteristics is its narrowly columnar growth habit. The tree will reach a height of 20 to 30 feet at maturity with a spread of only 10 to 15 feet.
So why is "rose" part of its name?
Around May and June, it bursts forth with double pink rose-colored blooms, giving the appearance of an unusually large and impressive rose bush, rather than an ornamental peach tree. When the blooms are gone, Corinthian Rose can still be enjoyed for its distinctive dark purple leaves.
I think this would be the ideal tree to enhance a patio area for any sunny spot in the garden that could become a focal point of its surrounding landscape. It has a vigorous growth pattern, reaching 14 to 16 feet in about four years. You would need to follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season in order to establish a deep and extensive root system. Before new growth begins in spring, feed it with a general purpose fertilizer.
You can find more information and where to buy Corinthian Rose peach trees by going to Google and simply typing in the words Corinthian Rose.
Horticulturists develop new varieties to create plants that are beautiful and esthetically pleasing to the eye. However, they will also develop cultivars for more practical reasons.
Take, for example, Wintercreeper. It is an attractive family of plants but some varieties are known for their spreading characteristics.
As a result, a relatively new variety was developed that has a much- reduced spread pattern. Known as Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper or Euonymus Emerald Gaiety, this variety is a versatile and undemanding shrub that does fine in full sun or fairly deep shade and even in quite dry soil.
Emerald Gaiety has green and cream variegated foliage that turns to pinkish red in winter. It can reach 4 to 5 feet in height and a width of about 3 feet with a dense, erect branching habit that makes it a good choice for a hedge or screen.
Of course there are times when a spreading or climbing plant is exactly what you need. For example, Emerald Gaiety's smaller cousin, Purple Wintercreeper, is an ideal choice if you're looking for a low- growing groundcover for a hard-to-mow slope with the added benefit that it can help to control soil erosion.
New varieties can please the senses and serve practical purposes. There's always something new to grow in the garden! The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org
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