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Published: Friday, 7/17/2009

Garden Superstars for 2009

(ARA) - From picture-perfect roses to containers that are works of art, 2009 promises wonderful color and exciting new products for garden lovers everywhere.

"People want shrubs and plants that look great, are easy to grow, are good for the environment and perform well in their gardens," says Susan McCoy, garden writer and trend spotter. "That's just what the new products promise to deliver."

Sunny Knock Out blooms continuously with little or no effort. Sunny Knock Out blooms continuously with little or no effort.

McCoy reveals a few of her favorite garden superstars for 2009.

Let the Sun Shine

McCoy loves "Sunny Knock Out," the newest addition to the Knock Out Family of Roses. It blooms continuously with little to no effort, and is naturally resistant to rust, mildew, blackspot, Japanese beetles and rose midge, making it easy to avoid harsh chemicals. It is bright yellow, the latest trendy color, and has a mild, sweet fragrance. From Canada to the Gulf States, you can expect a profusion of sunny blooms on this compact shrub that grows up to 4.5 feet tall, making it perfect for flower beds, mass plantings, or as a specimen plant.

Tropicals Sizzle in Your Garden

Add lots of color right up until first frost with the new Sun Parasol Crimson mandevilla. This easy tropical has huge crimson red, bell-shaped velvety blooms that cover the 12- to 15-foot vines, making it perfect for hanging baskets, containers, climbing up a trellis or in a landscape. Available in "Pretty" and "Giant" sizes, Sun Parasol Crimson comes in a 10-inch hanging basket or a 6-inch pot with or without a trellis. Either way, the saucer-sized blooms will add some tropical zest to your garden landscape, decks, patios and apartment balconies. Plant these beauties in six to eight hours of sun each day.

The saucer-sized blooms of Sun Parasol Crimson mandevilla add tropical zest to your garden.

The saucer-sized blooms of Sun Parasol Crimson mandevilla add tropical zest to your garden.

Go Native, Go Local

Be a star in the garden this spring with American Beauties native plants, and the wildlife will thank you for providing food and shelter. Plus you'll be making a contribution to the National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat program. But don't get these natives confused with roadside "wild" flowers. These shrubs, trees, vines, grasses and perennials were hand-picked for their beauty, and their minimal need for fertilizer, water and pest control. The newest is "Iron Butterfly" Vernonia lettermannii, from Dr. Alan Armitage. This brilliant purple ironweed attracts butterflies in a wide range of soils and conditions.

Tickled Pink

This first-ever pink blueberry -- "Pink Lemonade" -- is a sweet new introduction and one of the most exciting new plants McCoy has seen in years. The pink blueberry bush provides delicious fruit rich in antioxidants plus four seasons of color -- white flowers in spring, bright pink fruit in summer, great fall color and finally dusky auburn stems in winter. Growing about five feet around, this ornamental shrub looks great as a hedge border or stand-alone shrub with the added benefit of tasting great in cereal and pies, or to feed the wildlife. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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