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Panicum virgata ‘Northwind’ – Plant of the Year

Panicum virgata ‘Northwind’ courtesy Perennial Plant Association

For only the third time since the Perennial Plant Association‘s Plant of the Year program was instituted an ornamental grass, Panicum virgata ‘Northwind‘  has been given this designation. ‘Northwind’, is a 5 foot tall blue green switchgrass that turns golden in the fall. The fine flower panicles rise another foot or so above the foliage. ‘Northwind’ has a very erect and upright growth which makes it ideal for narrow sites. It needs sun, but is tolerant of most soils. It spreads slowly and should be divided in the spring.

The PPA is an organization comprised of a range of professionals whose mission is to educate the public about outstanding, easy care perennials and promote them. The Plant of the Year program began in 1990 and the list of previous winners like (2009) Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ , (2008) Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ and (2002) Phlox ‘David,’ will be familiar to many gardeners.

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ courtesy of Perennial Plant Association

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ is a hardy perennial that is so easy to care for that the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) chose it as their Plant of the Year in 2012.  ‘Jack Frost’ is one of the earliest spring bloomers at the Shelburne side entry to the Bridge of Flowers.  The forget-me-not-like flowers confuse a lot of people, but the frosted foliage is what makes this plant such a delight in the shady garden.

The Plant of the Year designation means that these dependable perennials are easy to find in nurseries and garden centers.

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