(BPT) - Do the cold winter months have you dreaming of flowers blooming and digging in warm soil? Get ready for spring with National Garden Bureau's (NGB) newest Green Thumb Award Winners for your garden. NGB, the 102-year-old nonprofit organization that promotes and inspires gardeners, recognizes the most innovative plants and helpful gardening products to assist and encourage gardeners everywhere.
Here are this year’s Green Thumb Award winners in six different categories:
1. Flowering shrub
Rose Eau De Parfum™ Bubbly: This rose delivers big fragrant blooms with a high petal count, offering the classic rose look with disease resistance provided by modern breeding. Bubbly features champagne-colored blooms that form lovely buds which slowly unfurl to their full glory. Their lush foliage makes these excellent shrubs to grace any garden with blooms from early spring until the first frost. This rose is hardy to USDA Zone 5 and grows 3-4 feet tall.
Astilbe Dark Side of the Moon: A new instant classic for any landscape, Dark Side of the Moon is the only dark-leafed astilbe with purple flowers available for your garden. Its rich, deep chocolate burgundy leaves form an incredibly attractive 18- to 24-inch mound of foliage. Emerging leaves are yellow, with a dark margin and glossy sheen that becomes completely dark as they age. Dark stems hold raspberry buds that burst forth with rosy, purple flowers. The pollinator-friendly astilbe can be grown in beds or containers, and is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
3. Annual (a tie resulted in two winners for this category)
Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta) Royal Hawaiian® Waikiki: Veteran plant pros and new gardeners alike are talking about the exciting new colors on this colocasia. Royal Hawaiian® Waikiki offers glossy green foliage with flamboyant white and flamingo pink veining, and is bred to be happy in full sun. Disease resistant and compact, its clumping habit — 3 feet tall and wide — is ideal for patio containers, poolside plantings and color-packed garden beds. Waikiki is also a 2023 All-America Selections National Winner, making it a dual award winner!
Starflower Paper Moon: The novelty of this annual is what makes it a 2023 Green Thumb Award winner. Small, pale blue blossoms on wiry stems transform into highly decorative, bronze-colored geometric and globe-shaped seed heads. These plants are grown primarily for their papery seed pods, which are useful for both fresh and dried bouquets. These plants grow 2-3 feet tall and attract many beneficial insects.
Tomato Sun Dipper: Sun Dipper’s unique elongated fruit can easily be held between your fingers for easy use with dips and sauces. No more accidental finger-dips in the ranch sauce! Its orange fleshed fruit looks great on a vegetable platter and tastes even better. They grow well in a sunny area with the support of a trellis or cage, and have great resistance to in-ground diseases, so you’ll harvest trusses of 2-3" long Sun Dipper tomatoes until the first frost.
Tradescantia Pistachio White: A breeding breakthrough allows this all-new Tradescantia to maintain heavy white variegation while still supporting vigorous growth. An excellent selection for small pots as well as hanging baskets, Pistachio White also makes an eye-popping item for combination plantings. You can bring them indoors for fantastic performance as a houseplant in winter months, and it grows to only 12” tall, but can get up to 18-24” wide. For warmer climates, this plant is hardy to Zone 8a when left outdoors.
6. Garden products (a tie resulted in two winners)
TruDrop Flex: This self-watering planter from Crescent Garden provides phenomenal results, helping make successful gardening accessible to everyone. The innovative insert has a 10-year warranty and can be easily removed so you can change the design, change out plants and/or easily maintain your plants. The outer shell serves as a great water reservoir that allows it to go weeks without watering, delivering phenomenal results by watering through the roots, while at the same time saving water and fertilizer usage for a truly sustainable container garden. TruDrop Flex can be used indoors or out.
Dibby XL Dual-Purpose Gardening Tool: No more sowing seeds with pencils, sticks, spoons or chopsticks! The Dibby XL from Spoken Garden helps all gardeners, of any skill level, consistently plant vegetable and flower seeds at the correct depth for germination. This means more plants with less time and less effort. It also makes thinning and transplanting seedlings easier. While other tools are hard to maneuver around tender seedlings, this new tool helps easily transplant and thin seedlings, giving them more room to develop. Made in the USA.
Excited to explore some of these award-winners? Ask about all of these plants and products at your favorite garden retailer or on the NGB website.