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Susan Banks
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A bouquet of Penn State select plants

Saturday, January 27, 2001

By Susan Banks, Post-Gazette Garden Editor

Penn State Master Gardeners have selected two plants for the Pennsylvania Gardener Selects Plants of the Year for 2001.

The winners are 'Tidal Wave Cherry' petunia and 'Angel Mist Purple Stripe' Angelonia.

The plants won by having consistently high marks in tests at Penn State's Horticultural Trial Gardens and in the university's Gardener Selects program, a series of growing trials at 38 Penn State-sponsored gardens in 32 counties across the state.

'Tidal Wave Cherry' petunia is a spreading petunia with a vigorous upright growth habit, forming a dense mounding hedge of bright flowers that can grow 2 to 3 feet high.

'Angel Mist Purple Stripe' Angelonia has purple-and-white flowers on tall, upright spikes. It does best in full sun but can tolerate heat and dry or wet conditions. Cut flowers can last two or three weeks in a vase.

According to Robert Berghage, associate professor of horticulture, gardeners can ask for any of the winners by name at Pennsylvania garden centers, greenhouses or nurseries.

Fifteen other plants were named Gardener Selects varieties:

'Misty Lilac Wave' petunia: An outstanding spreading-type petunia with light lilac flowers. They do well in garden beds and containers and recover from rain more rapidly than other petunia varieties.

'Purple Wave' petunia: The first 'Wave' cultivar, this one grows to lower heights than other winning petunias.

'Pink Wave' petunia: This pink cultivar has all the qualities of the other 'Wave' varieties.

'Kahuna Violet' petunia: This upright spreading petunia grows in a dense hedge and is well suited for large plantings.

'Butterfly' Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum): This bright yellow daisy flowers all summer and has few insect problems. Berghage says they improve when deadheaded, but the appearance remains acceptable even if old flowers are not removed.

'Indian Summer' Rudbeckia hirta: This cultivar has huge, bright yellow flowers. Berghage says it flowers from seed in one season and will be one of the most spectacular plants in the garden in August. Although some Rudbeckia are perennials, this should be treated as an annual.

'Bonanza Bolero' marigold: A bicolor French marigold, this cultivar is uniform, compact and vigorous. Good for bedding or border.

'Super Chili' ornamental pepper: The colorful red, orange and yellow fruit gives gardens superb color in August and September.

'Signum' salvia: This vigorous variety blooms profusely and can attain its best appearance in July and August. It has blue flowers that can reach 16 to 18 inches in height.

'Aztec Dark Lavender' verbena: This is a superior verbena cultivar that blooms well all summer.

'Tapien Blue Violet' verbena: This verbena is a superior groundcover with very dense growth and brilliant purple flowers.

'Profusion Orange' zinnia: A robust zinnia that produces lots of bright orange flowers and is resistant to mildew. Berghage says the flowers do not fade and don't need to be removed.

Atlas Travel Service, in Kaufmann's Downtown store, has put together a Historic Garden Week in Virginia Tour, scheduled for April 22-26.

Participants will depart Pittsburgh in a motor coach and visit places such as Monticello, Morven Gardens, Lewis Ginger Botanical Gardens, the Berkeley Plantation, and Mirador, the childhood home of Viscountess Nancy Langhorne Astor.

The tour costs $739 based on double occupancy and includes transportation, four nights in a hotel, daily buffet breakfast, three special lunches and one dinner in Charlottesville with special entertainment. For more information, or to make reservations, call Atlas Travel at 412-261-0248.

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