Coming Soon to a Seed Packet Near You


Underwood Gardens offers no photo of their newly reintroduced heirloom basil ‘Pepper’, but use your imagination:  it is described as a "handsome, peppery-tasting basic with small, lavender blossoms, leathery dark-green leaves, and the distinct aroma of green pepper."  But here’s the kicker: it grows to 3 feet tall, 1-2 feet wide.  A basil shrub!  I’ll take a dozen.

Botanical Interests offers a new blend of old sweet peas called ‘Moroccan Spice’ that includes four varieties of wine and chocolate-colored flowers.  Mmmmmmmm….

Isolepis And here’s this silly thing:  a "unique grasslike plant" (it’s a sedge) called Isolepis ‘Live Wire’ that will be distributed wholesale by PanAmerican Seed, which means that it will probably show up in nurseries under another name or another company’s label.  I like a plant with a sense of humor, so why not?

Also from Botanical Interests is the ‘Jelly Bean Red and Yellow’ grape tomato.  Sweet red and yellow tomatoes grow over a long season, making them the ultimate garden snack. (No, the red and yellow fruits don’t grown on the same plant, but you can fool people by planting two vines in the same hole and letting them grow together.)

Anybody else see anything interesting on their list?


  1. The Wonderland Mulberry alyssum would be welcome here if it looks the same in person as in the photo… my experiences with flowers from photos is too much like computer-dating.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. Isolepis ‘Live Wire’ is also known as Fiber optic grass and has been sold as a water plant for years. This is the first time I have seen it from seed, but unless this variety “Live Wire” is new the plant has been around for years.

    The Jelly Bean Tomato’s sure look like they are growing on the same plant in the picture, and the description really never tells you they are two plants. I like Botanical Interest and we have carried them in the past. They have great descriptions and drawings of the vegetables and flowers. This seems just a little sly. They do the same thing with the sweet peas, a mix of varieties called “Moroccan Spice.” Not new varieties, but new combinations of old varieties remarketed.

    I never pay much attention to all the new varieties offered as there are just too many and some of them will fade away due to lack of interest. Still it gives gardeners something to think (dream) about during the winter.

  3. I’m with Trey on not paying much attention to marketing trends… and their descriptions are a bit over the top. That said, what’s not to love about new varieties and new combos of old varieties?

    I’ll take the following:

    ‘Dreadlocks’ Amaranthus
    ‘Sunset Hyssop’ Agastache
    ‘Yellow Buttercup’ watermelon

    Btw, I planted red ‘Jelly Bean’ tomatoes last year and felt duped because they were not anywhere close to jelly bean size; they were just big old dumb grape tomatoes.

  4. Red flag, opening statement on NGB site: “Gardeners love new varieties.”

    Gah. Okay, so they need to spark interest, but please, don’t tell me what I love.

    Usually I blip right over the new varieties because I’m looking for something specific. I’m not tempted to plant sedge grass, but I have to admit, that plant really reminds me of “Sideshow Bob” on The Simpsons.

    Also liked the “dreadlocks” amaranthus.

    (Do plants have bad hair days?)

  5. I liked the agastache rupestris ‘Sunset Hyssop’ but it doesn’t look much different from the ‘Apache Sunset’ for which I already have seeds.

    What in the heck are “annualized astilbe” that are hardy to zone 4? Does that just mean you should see flowers if you start them early enough?

    I liked the pentas. And I would probably plant ‘Lolita’ lettuce at least once for the name. 🙂

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