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Van Belle Nursery is great Canadian success story with exciting future

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Next came two Weigelas (Zone 4): ‘Tuxedo’, a compact variety with dark foliage and white flowers (a great new color combination for the garden), and compact ‘Maroon Swoon’, a rich deep green with blooming auburn flowers a long Time in early spring and into summer.

Color-changing foliage makes 'Rainbow Fizz' an outstanding spirit.The color-changing foliage makes Rainbow Fizz an excellent spirea. Photo by Van Belle Nursery /.jpg

It was unfair, but I asked Friesen to pick his favorites from the other 23 new strains. Without hesitation, he said, “Lonicera ‘Thunderbolt.’ “It’s an evergreen honeysuckle (zone 5) with bright yellow flowers, and it’s fantastic, especially when used as a garden accent, in border plantings or in containers. Compact, a boxwood alternative and disease-resistant, is a star all year round.

‘Electric Love’ (Zone 4), another Weigela, was named Plant of the Year by Canada Blooms in Ontario. A low hilly variety with rich chestnut brown foliage and long-blooming red flowers that does not require maintenance.

Spirea ‘Pop Rocks Petite’ (Zone 3) with its long-lasting pink flowers is another very compact, deer-resistant and easy-care variety. The foliage starts out deep maroon, turns greenish in summer, and returns to a deep maroon in autumn.

The compact 'flare' hydrangea has the best red flowers.The compact flare hydrangea has the best red flowers. Photo by Van Belle Nursery /.jpg

Spirea ‘Rainbow Fizz’ (Zone 3) receives the ‘Color Change’ award. Starting in spring with bright red foliage, it transforms to dramatic gold and chartreuse in summer before returning to bright red leaves in autumn. Its pink flowers emphasize this changing leaf color. ‘Rainbow Fizz’ is a kind of garden show.

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Robert Dunfee