Tagawa Gardens Blog

It’s never too early to start planning – take a sneak peak at new 2017 flowers

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Take a sneak peek at some of the new and improved flowers Tagawa Gardens may have next spring!

Thousands of bright, beautiful flowers seem to appear magically in our Annuals Department every spring.  But there’s a lot of thought, work and research that goes into choosing specifically which flowers we bring in.

Jere and Deborah, Tagawa’s Production Co-Supervisors, spend countless hours deciding which annuals will perform well along the Front Range and which flowers our customers will be anxious to grow in their own gardens.

Late summer is the time to look ahead and see what new or improved plants might be on Jere and Deborah’s shopping list.  So let’s tag along and see what they’re seeing as they investigate their options for next season!

CSU trial gardens tagawa gardens denver

The C.S.U. Trial Gardens are huge… in size and importance

Every August, Tagawa Gardens sends several members of our Annuals Department (and me!) to the nearly three-acre Trial Gardens in Fort Collins, just off of the C.S.U. campus.  The Trial Gardens are part of the C.S.U. Horticulture Department.  The thousands of plants growing there are being tested for appearance and durability in the real-life setting of our challenging Colorado climate.

The site is free and open to the public.  A late-summer visit to the gardens is a great way to spend a day, and perhaps get ideas for your own yard.

So let’s take a look at some of the plants, both new and improved, that caught the eye of our Tagawa crew.

petunia night sky at tagawa gardens denver

Back again after its big debut this year:  Petunia “Night Sky”

This streaked and polka-dotted purple and white beauty scored high marks with Tagawa customers this season, and will no doubt be a hit again next summer.  It was voted the most popular plant at the Welby Gardens/Hardy Boy flowers trials in early August.  (The voting on the C.S.U. trials hasn’t been released yet.)

If it’s something you just have to have in your flower garden next year, be advised:  plants that are this new to the market often come in limited supplies, so don’t put off picking up the flowers you want once you see them at Tagawa’s next spring.

petunia beating heart at tagawa gardens denver

A new petunia that will make you saw “awwwww….”

A brand new petunia called “Beating Heart” is bound to find a devoted following next spring.  Jere, Deborah and I first saw it during our week-long trip to the California Flower Trials in April.

This white petunia has a lovely pink “blotch” that appears as a circle of hearts when the blossom opens.  It’s so sweet!  What’s not to love?

canna cannasol wilma at tagawa gardens denver

Big, bold Cannas for a tropical look

More and more Tagawa customers tell us they want a tropical look in their Colorado gardens.  Cannas are a great way to achieve that.

A Canna called “CannaSol Wilma” was getting a lot of attention from the Tagawa Annuals Staff during our field trip to the C.S.U. trials.  Cannas won’t winter over here, but they make a stunning addition as the “thriller” in a large container garden of annual flowers.

Scarlet and orange Cannas seem to be the most popular, and scored well at the Welby/Hardy Boy trials, too.  It’s all about making a statement, don’t ya know.

phlox gisele hot pink at tagawa gardens denver

Lots and lots of fuchsia flowers

Phlox “Gisele Hot Pink” grabs your eye with its color and its shape.  This mounding plant is covered with fuchsia flowers that are stunning against a glossy background of emerald green leaves.

Each flower has a bit of white in the center that creates a tiny star.  The ladies of the Tagawa crew were quite smitten with “Gisele” during out visit to the C.S.U. trials.  It would be lovely to see it on our plant benches next spring.

begonia oh so orange at tagawa gardens denver

The Welby/Hardy Boy trials had plenty of winners, too!

The recent Welby/Hardy Boy trials tested more than 900 plants.  Out of all those varieties, shapes and colors, a couple of beautiful begonias scored in the top ten.

Begonia “Rhine Oh So Orange” is well-named.  The big flowers of “Oh So” are so orange, they almost glow.  Several members of the Tagawa Annuals staff gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up!  Others visiting the trials agreed.  “Oh So” came in second among the huge array of flowering annuals.

Begonia “Evi Bright Pink” was only a few steps behind, scoring eighth place in the voting. “Evi” is as boldly pink as “Oh So” is orange.  I would gladly find a place for both of these in a morning-sun-only spot on my deck.

bidens golden empire at tagawa gardens denver

Consider a big show of yellow

Deborah, one of Tagawa Gardens Production Co-supervisors, is a big fan of a sassy yellow flower she found at the Hardy Boy trials.  Bidens “Golden Empire” will make an eye-popping statement in any container garden or hanging basket.

Masses of bright yellow flowers concentrate into a rich yellowish-orange in the center of each blossom.  Bidens are great little flowers that deserve more attention.  Maybe “Golden Empire” will win a whole new following.

coreopsis uptick at tagawa gardens denver

One of my personal favorites…

When you’re trying to choose from among more than 900 plants at the Hardy Boy trials, picking your favorites is a challenge, but I’d gladly give a nod to Coreopsis “”UpTick.”  Coreopsis, also known as “Tickseed,” comes in a lot of varieties.  I grow several of them as perennials.

But this perky upright full-of-flowers annual won me over at first glance.  With its creamy yellow, ruffled edges and pollen-packed eye, “UpTick” is about as cheerful as a flower can be.

I can’t wait to see if it shows up in the Tagawa Gardens Annuals Department next spring.

Behind the Scenes: How Does Tagawa Gardens Grow Your Plants

Watch how Tagawa Gardens grows your plants from seedlings to full grown and ready for your garden! Get a behind the scenes tour of the growing area of Tagawa’s greenhouses from Luan Akin, Tagawa’s Garden Ambassador, and Deborah, Tagawa’s Annuals Supervisor

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Luan Akin
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2008, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a beekeeper and a proud mom to four dogs who have trained her well.


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