California grower Monrovia won two out of the six big awards at Farwest, the national nursery and greenhouse trade show, held in Portland last week.
In the "Best Shrub" category, Monrovia's exclusive introduction of a dwarf holly called "Little Rascal" took top honors. Its name is bigger than the plant itself and sounds more like a racehorse or show dog than a plant: "Ilex x meservae 'Monnieves' Little Rascal Improved PP#21941", and I'm leaving out some symbols that aren't available on my keyboard. If you can get past that moniker, this little evergreen is disease resistant, with dark green foliage that turns shades of purple and burgundy in winter.
Monrovia also took top honors in the prized category of "Best Edible' with a plant as ornamental as its fruit is delicious; Bountiful Blue blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum). This little shrub has blue foliage and works in the landscape, as hedging, or is pretty enough to carry the show in a container. The berries are large and sweet, and the plant is a semi-dwarf, growing three to four feet tall and wide.
The top prize of "Best in Show" was won by a plant whose name drives me crazy - "Flutterby Grande (TM) Peach Cobbler Nectar Bush". Really, this is getting ridiculous - who has any idea what kind of plant this even is?? Turns out it's a heat and drought tolerant butterfly bush (Buddleia) from Ball Horticulture with silvery foliage and peach-colored flower cones that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.