Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ has been named the Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association, a trade organization established to promote the use and sale of herbaceous perennials. The outstanding characteristics of “Jack Frost” include its large silvery white leaves accented with green veins and a green rim on the leaf edges, and its baby blue flowers that are produced in spring on slender stems and resemble forget-me-nots. “Jack Frost’ grows 12-15” tall and is hardy in USDA zones 3-8. The perennial plant of the year is chosen by a committee of the Perennial Plant Association, a trade association that promotes the use of herbaceous perennials. Members of the association nominate perennials for consideration, the committee selects four perennials from those nominated, and the members cast their vote for one of the four selected plants. The attributes evaluated in the selection process are:

1. Suitability for a wide range of climate types
2. Low maintenance
3. Ease of propagation
4. Multiple seasonal interest

The three other top contenders for the 2012 Perennial of the year were:

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) ‘Northwind’, a clump forming ornamental grass with olive-green to bluish foliage. Standing 4-5’ it has fine textured yellow flower heads that arise a foot above the foliage. It thrives in full sun and moist soil in but tolerates considerably less. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9.

Coral Bells (Heuchera) ‘Carmel’, tolerates heat and humidity and forms a vigorous clump of apricot colored foliage with light pink flowers. Growing 15” tall and 20” wide, ‘Carmel’ thrives in rich humusy, moderately moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade and is hardy in USDA zones 4-8.

Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) ‘Hot Lips’ boasts bronze-green showy foliage, short spikes of rose-pink flowers in late summer, and red stems. Hardy in USDA zones 4-7, it likes moist conditions.

Other perennials of the year are:

2011 Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Blue Star)
2010 Baptisia australis (Blue Wild Indigo)
2009 Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese Forest Grass)
2008 Geranium ‘Rozane’
2007 Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)
2006 Dianthus ‘Feuerhexe’ (Firewitch)
2005 Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
2004 Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ (Japanese Painted Fern)
2003 Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ (Shasta daisy ‘Becky’)
2002 Phlox ‘David’ (Garden Phlox ‘David’)
2001 Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass)
2000 Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ (Pincushion Flower)
1999 Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ (Black Eyed Susan)
1998 Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ (Purple Cone Flower)
1997 Salvia ‘Mainacht’ (May Night) (Violet Sage)
1996 Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Foxtail Penstemon)
1995 Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
1994 Astilbe ‘Sprite’ (Star Astilbe)
1993 Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’ (Speedwell)
1992 Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (Threadleaf Coreopsis)
1991 Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ (Coral Bells)

Perennial of the year pointer

By Karen

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