Sunday, September 6, 2009
'Pink Frost' Illicium
Last week while I was working in Georgia, I had the chance to visit Plant Introductions, Inc. in Watkinsville, Georgia. This nursery is using open-pollination and controlled crosses to develop superior cultivars of plants like Crape Myrtle, Hydrangea, Lantana and beyond. Owned by seasoned horticulturalists Jeff Beasley, Mark Griffith and Mike Dirr, this nursery is committed to developing "superior garden plants that perform as promised".
While I saw a lot of exciting plants that are currently being evaluated, I saw one selection in particular that I would like to see more of right now- Illicium floridanum 'Pink Frost'.
First off, the variegation is subtle and refined- I love how the sage-green leaves are narrowly edged in cream-white. I'm not a fan of all things variegated, but 'Pink Frost' does it right. It would provide just the right amount of contrast and light in a shaded garden.
Growing six to ten feet tall, this plant is a possible substitute for Pittosporum and Evergreen Viburnum (like V. suspensum and V. odoratissimum). 'Pink Frost' is tolerant of wet soils and shade. And if it is like other Florida Anise, it is deer-proof. Perfect for Kiawah Island? Maybe so.
Flowers, occurring in spring, are deep burgundy. Cool temperatures cause the leaves to turn a beautiful rose-pink, hence the name 'Pink Frost'.
I can see this plant in a shady border massed behind Giant Ligularia, Ferns, Ajuga and and and Iris or two. Or as the focal plant in a large container.
This evergreen shrub has multi-season interest, vigor and natural pest resistance. In other words, it is a superior garden plant.
If you are a wholesale nursery interested in growing this cultivar, contact Plant Introductions, Inc. to become a licensed grower.
And if you are an architect, designer, landscaper or consumer, tell the people you buy from- retailers and wholesalers- that you want this plant. If you don't ask for it, they won't have it available.