Spring is in the air and soon will arrive in Chicago! The vernal equinox is March 20th. This is the official start of spring; it is usually heralded by small fragrant but very showy flowers of the Vernal Witchazel.  Little white snowdrops and bright yellow eranthus bulbs are peeking out of the ground. Hang in there… SPRING is coming!

Each year we evaluate new plant varieties and select our favorites to bring in for use in the gardens we plant. Here are a just few of the exciting plants we will have available for 2011. Some are old favorites and some are new cultivars but they all will make your garden a favorite destination.

Samaritan Chinese Dogwood Cornus kousa ‘Samzam’

A vigorous and cold-hardy dogwood, with variegated cream and green leaves that turn radiant pink and burgundy in the fall.  20-25′. Full sun.

Parrotia Parrotia persica

A beautiful tree with red, tassel-like flowers in early spring, shiny leaves that turn yellow-orange in the fall and exfoliating bark. A small tree with all season interest. 20’. Full sun.

Vanderwolf’s Pine Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’

An unusual and compact pyramidal evergreen with twisted, silver-blue green needles. Vigorous and pest and disease resistant. Makes a nice screen or specimen. 20’ Full sun.

Kimberly’s Double Pink Azalaea Azalea yedoense poukhanense ‘Kimberly’s Double Pink’

A lovely selection with full, double pink flowers (typically in groups of four) appearing early to mid season. 3-4’. Part shade-shade.

Sweet Sixteen Azalea Azalea yedoense poukhanense ‘Sweet Sixteen’

A hardy azalea that blooms with sweetly colored blooms of soft pearl pink in early spring. Plentiful, dark evergreen foliage persists all winter. 3-4’. Part shade-shade.

Early Amethyst Beautyberry Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’

A small shrub that blooms in the summer with small pinkish-lavender blooms on slender-arching branches that give way to large clusters of small lilac-colored, inedible fruits. 3-4’. Full sun.

Bella Anna Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens ‘Bella Anna’

Move over, Annabelle! This hydrangea offers dark green foliage and rich magenta-pink mophead flowers all summer long. 3-4’ Partial shade.

Incrediball Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’

Flowers the size of basketballs appear on sturdy stalks in summer, opening a key lime color maturing to a creamy white. 3-4’ Partial shade-shade.

Little Lime Hydrangea Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’

This hardy, dwarf hydrangea fits easily into smaller landscapes. Green summer flowers appear on new wood and turn pink and burgundy in fall. Soil pH does not affect bloom color. 3-5’. Partial shade-full sun.

White Diamonds Hydrangea Hydrangea paniculata ‘HYPMAD1’

A smaller hydrangea bursting with bright white panicles in the summer and fall. Dark-green, leathery foliage displays increased heat and drought tolerance. 3-5’. Partial shade-full sun.

Tiny Dancer Lilac Syringa vulgaris ‘Tiny Dancer’

A beautiful new variety with fragrant purple blooms that reach 4-5 inches in length. 4-5’. Full sun.

Bloomerang Lilac Syringa hybrida x ‘Penda’

Fragrant purple flowers that explode in spring, again in mid-summer and right up til frost. Its compact, full growth habit and small leaves make it perfect for small gardens. 4-5’. Full sun.

Black Lace Elderberry Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’

Intense purple black foliage is finely cut, giving this lovely shrub an effect similar to that of Japanese Maple. Creamy pink flowers in spring contrast nicely with the dark leaves. 7-9’. Full sun.

Cherokee Clematis Clematis ‘Cherokee’

A flowering vine with dramatic, dusky pink blooms with dark red bars and anthers. This plant can take sun, but keep roots cool by planting deep and mulching. 8-10’. Full sun.

Clumping Bamboo Fargesia Rufa

This non-invasive bamboo makes an attractive specimen or, in groups, creates an excellent hedge. Pretty orange-red cane sheaths add interest to this very vigorous, cold hardy selection. 8-10’. Full sun-partial shade.