In the online environment of the Spirit of Four Oaks, visitors voted for the top 12 best new introductions of 2020. Echinacea Pretty Parasols ('JSEngeltje'PBR) was the favourite and received the most public votes.
Plantipp said: "This rating is certainly not misplaced, for Echinacea Pretty Parasols is a beautiful perennial with flowers that do indeed resemble little umbrellas. Pretty Parasols is easy to maintain. This Echinacea requires little maintenance and holds up well in wind, cold, heat and sun. Pretty Parasols has strong stems and does not fall open. It has a long and rich flowering period from July to November. The flowers appear one after the other so that they do not open all at once. They also appear at different heights which gives a 'wild' appearance. There are several flowers on a stem. Echinacea Pretty Parasols becomes about 90 cm high and 50 cm wide and is great for landscaping, perennial borders and for in a pot on balcony or terrace. Pretty Parasols is hardy to -25 ºC. A deserved winner!"
Echinacea Pretty Parasols is protected by European Plants Breeders’ Rights and was found by Spruyt Select GCV from Buggenhout, Belgium and is being represented by Plantipp BV from IJsselstein, the Netherlands. Fairweather's is growing the plant in the UK.
Plantipp is representing breeders for EU market, and Concept Plants for North American market. In North America it is now also in introduction mode.
Plantipp's Peter van Rijssen said: "Echinacea is a crowded market - too many varieties and many are short-lived which is a disappointment by growers.
"Since this plant has been observed for over six years prior to introduction, the breeder wanted to make sure it is performance year after year without any leaf-spot issues together with flower power all summer long by those unique flower colour and size."
In eighth place is Hydrangea arborescens Candybelle® Bubblegum ('GRHYAR1407'PBR), also a protected variety represented by Plantipp. Plantipp said: "This is also no small achievement and a nice appreciation for breeder Guido Rouwette from Valkenburg. Hydrangea Candybelle Bubblegum has large flower heads with pink flowers. The flowering time is from July to September. The foliage has a healthy green colour and a bronze hue. This Candybelle Bubblegum has very firm branches and a compact growth. Candybelle Bubblegum becomes about 90 cm high and 80 cm wide. Candybelle Bubblegum is hardy to -25 ºC."
Van Rijssen said for 2020: "There has been crazy interest in Chick Charms, Poppin’Purple Agapanthus and Mad about Mangave programme."
Spirit of Four Oaks top 12 visitor vote:
1. Echinacea ‘Pretty Parasols’ (Fairweather’s Nursery)
2. Salvia ‘Caradonna Pink Inspiration’ (Fairweather’s Nursery)
3. Verbena ‘Margaret’s Memory’ (Kernock Park Plants)
4. Osteospermum ‘Serenity Sunshine Beauty’ (Ball Colegrave)
5. Salvia Rockin’ ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ (Kernock Park Plants)
6. Evolvulus ‘Blue My Mind’ (Kernock Park Plants)
7. Calibrachoa Can-can Orange Punch (Ball Colegrave)
9. Dahlia Dahlightful (Botanics International)
10. Gomphrena ‘Truffula Pink’ (Kernock Park Plants)
11. Nemesia ‘Lady Lisa’ (Ball Colegrave)
12. Geranium ‘Azure Skies’ (Seiont Nurseries)
Spirit of Four Oaks virtual show website — see www.hortweek.com/four-oaks.
Horticulture Week will feature the winners of the Spirit of Four Oaks new product competition, as well as further new plants, in next month’s print issue.
Spirit of Four Oaks exhibitors include Fargro, Fillingham Christmas Trees, Floramedia, Hortec, Hortifeeds, ICL, Jiffy, Joy of Plants, Le Pepinieres de France, Modiform, Southern Trident, Teal International and Yara.