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SuperElfin [left] succumbed to impatiens powdery mildew at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Beacon [middle] and Imara XDR [right] continued without symptoms. All photos: R. Tschanz Multiple open houses for the public and the horticultural industry were held at the trial sites in Guelph, Milton and Burlington, Ont. during the first two weeks of August 2019. Grown in either containers or ground beds, the annual plants described here attracted the most attention from visitors to the gardens during those weeks. They also exhibited exceptional performance during the growing season. Cool weather and extremely wet spring conditions ultimately delayed planting of the 2019 trial beds by approximately two weeks from what normally would have been expected. That said, as the growing season progressed, the growing conditions improved and allowed plant growth to catch up, providing a terrific floral display in August. Top trial selections [1] Pink Zebra Ornamental Corn: With its unique texture and tri-colour leaves, this ornamental corn by PanAmerican Seed was one of the most popular landscape annuals last year. Although introduced to the industry over a year ago, this was the first time Pink Zebra appeared in the Guelph trials. As it grew, it produced lots of tillers giving it a compact, bushy appearance with plant height reaching only 105-136 cm and spreading 70-87 cm at the end of the season. Dark brown-purple tassels started to appear in mid-August, and plants in the trial maintained ornamental quality up until early September before starting to senesce. This plant performed well in both containers and in the ground. Pink Zebra was grown successfully in one-gallon pots for use in garden displays for the Canada Blooms garden show in 2019. [2] Superbena Sparkling Amethyst Verbena: This trailing verbena from Proven Winners was the most popular “crossover” annual for 2019, demonstrating exceptional ornamental performance in both containers and landscape. This purple-amethyst and white-bicoloured selection had great heat tolerance with summer-long bloom and appeared resistant to powdery mildew. By the end of the summer, the trial’s plants had spread to approximately 1 meter in diameter and mounded to a height of 22 cm. […]