I love to try different plants every year — sometimes it's trial plants sent to me by plant companies, and other times it's something I picked up at my local IGC (Independent Garden Center). This year, however, it was simply a new variety of one of my favorite plants, sedum. It's Sedum mexicanum 'Lemon Ball.'
'Lemon Ball' is a stunning chartreuse color with fine needle-looking foliage with yellow bloom spikes in late spring. It grows 6-8" tall, but has a wonderful spreading habit to 18" or so. It's drought resistant, deer and rabbit resistant, takes full sun to part shade, is evergreen and hardy to -40 degrees (not that we'd ever see that kind of temperature here in Austin!). It's the bright color that attracted me at first — it looks incredible when paired with darker foliage like purply-browns or burgundy. But it performed so well in both my garden (above) and my clients' gardens this summer that it quickly became my go-to plant addition in nearly every garden I designed. In our area of extreme heat and severe drought, 'Lemon Ball' works well in areas of the garden that get some afternoon shade, although it took some full sun conditions fairly well, too. A few of my friends thought it would be fun to write about our favorite new plants for the year — these friends are gardeners, garden writers and garden designers from all over the country, so their plant pics may work for you, too — wherever you are! Simply click on the image to learn about each of my friends' favorite new plant on their own blogs. Steve Asbell is a garden writer and illustrator who blogs about tropicals, houseplants and cooking with food from your garden — check out his site at The Rainforest Garden. Steve lives in the Jacksonville, FL area and will be releasing his first book, "Plant By Numbers: 50 Houseplant Combinations to Decorate Your Space" (Cool Springs Press), due out next March. Steve is a newer friend, and is kind of like a younger brother whom I am so proud of. His favorite new plant is a basil variety called 'Siam Queen,' and you can read about it on his blog today. Our Little Acre. The Daily South. I started reading Steve's articles in Southern Living years ago as a young mother and inexperienced gardener, and he is one of my biggest influences as a garden writer, so it seems almost surreal that he is a good friend of mine today! Except for when he's grumpy, and then I'm kind of over him. Steve's favorite new plant this year is a coleus, Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Kong Jr.' which did great in his Hoover, Alabama garden. Personal Garden Coach. Christina was one of the first people I met in the garden writing world several years ago, and I am delighted to call her a good friend. She and her co-author Karen Chapman just released their first book, "Fine Foliage" (St. Lynn's Press), this past winter. Christina's favorite pick of the season is Stokesia laevis 'Peachie's Pick.' Gardening With Confidence. From The Soil in Champaign, IL— click on the photo below and learn about his new favorite plant this year, Gazania 'New Day Bronze.' Shawna Coronado and she'll tell you about the plant that did the best for her this season, Tropaeolum majus 'Alaska Variegated' in her suburban Chicago garden. Cowlick Cottage Farm in Monticello FL, and her new plant love is Gardenia jasminoides 'Jubilation.'