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Wisconsin Plants of the Year named

1/2/2013

The Wisconsin Nursery Association (WNA) announces its 2013 Plants of the Year.  They were selected as the Plants of the Year at the Wisconsin Nursery Association's annual membership meeting and workshop.
 
Pinus cembra cultivars (Swiss stone pine-any cultivar) have been selected as the Woody Ornamental Plant of the Year.  The Swiss stone pine is a handsome medium-sized evergreen tree with a narrow, dense, and upright to oval form and adds a beautiful deep blue-green to any landscape any time of the year.  Because of its slow growth rate and neat habit, it is perfect as a specimen plant or in mass plantings for sites with limited space. 
 
The Perennial Plant of the Year is Sisyrinchium angustifolium 'Lucerne' (Lucerne blue-eyed grass).  A native to Wisconsin prairies, this long bloomer makes a great edging or accent plant and looks wonderful in rock gardens and meadows as well.  With a bright yellow eye centered in its blue-violet star-shaped flowers, hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies find it irresistible, but deer and pests are not interested.  It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. 
 
The Wisconsin Nursery Association's Plant of the Year Program was initiated in 2002 to promote quality - and underused - plants to the public.  Two categories were created to consider all plants:  the Woody Ornamental category, which includes deciduous trees, evergreens, vines, deciduous shrubs and shade trees, and the Perennial category, which includes herbaceous perennials, subshrubs, grasses, and ferns.
 



Each year, members of the WNA Plant of the Year committee convene to discuss and analyze a collection of plants, narrowing down a field of top notch contenders to just four in each of the two categories.  The outstanding characteristics of those eight plants are then presented to all who attend the Wisconsin Nursery Association's Winter Workshop, every February.  Attendees consider the candidates and vote for their favorites.  The winners are voted on and selected two years before they are presented to the public, to ensure that growers have enough time to acquire the plants.