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Gulf States Horticultural Expo-WOW!

I spent yesterday feeding my soul at the Gulf States Horticultural Expo in Mobile, Al.  My colleague, Ellis Bullock of [1]Outerspaces Landscapes, [1] and an old college friend, David Ellis, with Woerner’s [2] said it is a “must see and do” , and they were so right. Especially after the two weeks of below freezing weather we had, which killed almost my entire back yard!! The Mobile Outlaw Convention Center was filled with over 430 horticultural companies in 700 booths displaying with green pride the best and newest in plants and landscape products. Sweet heavenly bliss!! Booth after booth of massive trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers warmed my heart and fed me with the hope that my backyard, and yours, will come back to life this spring!

Here are a few pictures of some new cultivars I saw at the expo that I’d like to try in my garden. How about you?


Harbor Belle Nandina

This dwarf nandina is going to be a big hit with its beautiful green and wine hued foliage, and vivid vermilion berries. Keeping a compact form Harbor Belle is maintenance free. Use as specimen or in mass, you cannot go wrong with the new Nandina domestica ‘Jaytee’. Developed by Ralph Rushing from Rushing Nursery in Semmes, Al., and named for his daughter.

I’m enamored with the Callistemon viminilis ‘Little John’, a dwarf bottle brush shrub. I’ve seen it planted in mass, and it is spectacular when blooming. It is drought tolerant and attracts hummingbirds. Plant in full sun for a big splash of bright red color this summer.


Little John dwarf bottlebrush

Looking for a shade loving, low growing shrub? Check out the spreading yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonii ‘Prostrata’ –


dwarf spreading yew


Crytomeria 'Black Dragon'

A couple of cryptomerias have my attention, too: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Black Dragon’ and ‘Globosa Nana’. Their texture and form are so interesting. The ‘Black Dragon’  grows to be about twenty feet tall while the ‘Globosa Nana’ is a dwarf with a mounding form that can grow to four to six feet.


Cryptomeria 'Globosa Nana'

Be on the look out for these plants and more at your local garden store.