Pretty plant picks

This summer, I've been testing some Proven Winners plants that will be released in spring 2013. They sent me some sample annuals and perennials to trial in my garden and I'm really impressed with how everything has been growing so far.

In the top photo, you can see Cleome 'Senorita Blanca (in the foreground) which is a particularly cool plant. If you've ever wandered through Duncan Gardens in Manito Park, you have probably seen the Cleomes they grow there. I've always admired them and have been wanting to add some to my flower beds each year.

Cleome, also known as Spider Flower, is an annual that will reach 2 to 4 feet in height. They love the sun and are virtually maintenance-free. I like the fact that I don't have to deadhead them. I have so many plants to tend, any time saved on that tedious task is very much appreciated! The flowers attract both hummingbirds and butterflies.

The bottom photo is of Lobularia 'Blushing Princess', commonly known as Alyssum. What you are looking at is ONE plant, believe it or not. It has been growing beautifully and is another annual that does not require deadheading. It has a nice fragrance that attracts butterflies. Even though the plant is only about 5 inches tall, it has spread to about 24 inches in diameter. The pale lavender color coordinates with just about any other flower color you could imagine.

If you are curious what that bright pink daisy-like flower is next to the Alyssum, that is one of my very favorite annuals that I always plant each spring: Zinnia 'Profusion Cherry.' They look stunning and the flowers last a long time. The plants are 10 to 12 inches tall.

To look at either photo in more detail, just click on it.