Five new plant varieties got their much-deserved 15 minutes — or three days! — of fame last month in Portland, Ore. Three judges representing garden centers, garden media/gardeners and landscape designers awarded five coveted ribbons at the New Varieties Showcase, a 20- by 50-foot, professionally designed display garden on the Farwest Show exhibit floor.
To be part of the New Varieties Showcase, plants must be either brand new to the market or previously available only in limited quantities. They must offer unique characteristics that distinguish it from other new introductions and be offered for sale by a Farwest Show exhibitor. A selection committee of garden center managers, garden media, growers and landscape designers vet each variety. Here are the winners in each category:
- Best in show: 'Golden Ruby' variegated dwarf pygmy barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Goruzam'), introduced through Lake County New Plants and discovered by Jim Zampini
- Best tree or conifer: 'Little Twist' flowering cherry (Prunus incisa 'Little Twist'), introduced and grown by Carlton Plants LLC
- Best shrub: 'Pink Lemonade' blueberry (Vaccinium 'Pink Lemonade'), offered by Briggs Nursery
- Best perennial or grass: 'River Mist' northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium 'River Mist'), introduced by ItSaul Plants and grown by Skagit Gardens
- Best annual or tender perennial: 'Breathless Blush' euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Balbreblus'), from a controlled breeding program at Ball Horticultural Company
Click here  to see all 39 plants accepted into the Showcase; to be considered for next year's display, submit your entry by March 1, 2010. Next year's show dates are Aug. 26 to 28, 2010. For more information, visit Farwestshow.com .