Plants of the year 2019

Originally published in the Kenosha News

By Horticulture Educator, Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen

While many are preparing for the holidays, the National Garden Bureau is planning for the 2019 gardening season. Each year, the NGB selects plants: one annual, one perennial, one bulb and one edible, to promote in their “Year of the Crops” program. The chosen plants are considered easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, versatile and genetically diverse.

For 2019, the cream of the crops are: in the annual plant category — snapdragon; in the perennial category — Salvia nemorosa ; in bulbs — dahlia; and in edibles — pumpkin.

Other horticulture related organizations select plants to promote each year, too. The Perennial Plant Association will be showcasing Stachys monieri ‘Hummelo’, common name betony, as their 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year. For an informative article from the UW-Extension Master Gardener program on S. ‘Hummelo’, visit this link:

Hosta ‘Lakeside Paisley Print’, a medium sized hosta with heart-shaped wavy green foliage accented by cream-colored variegation in a feathery pattern, is the American Hosta Growers Association’s 2019 Hosta of the Year.

Closer to home, members of the Wisconsin Nursery & Landscape Association have named Larix laricina, common name Larch, as their 2019 woody ornamental plant of the year, and Polygonatum biflorum nanum ‘Prince Charming’, common name Prince Charming Solomon’s Seal, as their 2019 herbaceous perennial plant of the year.

Make it a resolution to add an award winning plant or two to your landscape in 2019!

Master Gardeners

Speaking of awards … congratulations to four local Master Gardener Volunteers for compiling 1,000 hours of volunteer service in the UW-Extension Master Gardener Program since becoming certified Master Gardeners! They are: Jill Anderson, Wilmot; Carol Wargo, Racine; Henry Wellner, Racine; and Judy Wilson, Sturtevant.

Master Gardeners accumulating 750 hours include: Diane Levis, Kenosha, and Maggie Smerchek, Racine. Their contributions, along with those of all Master Gardener Volunteers, are truly appreciated by UW-Extension and our local communities.

While many of the Master Gardener approved projects go dormant over the winter, a few continue in a limited capacity, such as the Plant Health Advisers. Master Gardener Volunteers who have been trained as Plant Health Advisers assist the UW-Extension horticulture educator with answering plant related inquiries and with sharing sound horticultural information.

During the growing season, the Plant Health Advisers have office hours at the Kenosha County Center in Bristol on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 to noon. At this time of year, office hours are reduced to when a Master Gardener or two stop in to check phone and email messages.

If you are planning to visit the Plant Health Advisers in person during the winter, consider calling first to be sure they are available. They can be contacted at 262-857-1942 or