Gerbera Daisies, with their familiar petals and bright luminous colors, make them irresistible favourites of artists. Gerbera is an extensive genus and a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). There are approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia. In the floral language these flowers mean innocence and purity. They are also a classic symbol of beauty and cheerfulness.
Wildflowers are the second pick of the organization. This group can be used in the home landscape for creating colorful beds and borders, as well as offering a lower-maintenance alternative for large areas or replacing turf grass. Wildflowers can be planted to cover large, open areas or assist in the recovery of a landscape that has been damaged or destroyed by the actions of people, a natural disaster, or the spread of invasive plants.
The last NGB choice for 2013 is watermelons, one of the largest edible fruits grown. They are also one of the most useful fruits, as every part is edible: the flesh can be eaten as is, the rind can be pickled and the seed can be roasted or ground into other ingredients.
Every year the Perennial Plant Association sends each member a ballot to select a perennial plant of the year. It needs to be suitable for a wide range of climatic zones, low maintenance, relatively pest free, and disease resistant. It must have multiple seasons of ornamental interest and be readily available for the year of promotion. This year’s winner is Variegated Solomon’s Seal, a close relative to the Lily-of-the-Valley.
This beautiful woodland plant loves to grow in dappled light and moist soil. It has burgundy stems that support narrow, oval leaves of green that are streaked with pure white. Standing two to three feet tall, this plant gives tremendous foliage appeal and delivers unique architectural flair to the shady garden.
Lastly, the Herb of the Year, chosen by the International Herb Association, is Elder.
Elder has been revered since antiquity as a virtual medicine chest. Prominent in folklore, its virtues are used in numerous ways: to protect and heal, create tasty beverages and foods, and even entertain.