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Paul's New Plants

Master gardener Paul James shares his new plants with us: what they are, if they are good for your zone and where in your garden they would be happiest to grow.

Known botanically as Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler', this new grassy selection is more commonly called Sparkler sedge. Its white-tinged foliage helps brighten up a shady garden. Hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 10, it tolerates temperatures down to about 0 degrees F. While it does best in shade — even full shade — it can tolerate at least a half day of sun provided the soil remains evenly moist. Sparkler sedge grows to about 2 feet tall and wide, with the foliage branching out from a central point.

Holly (Ilex) 'Little Rascal' grows to only about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, making it ideal for small gardens. It's also evergreen and grows well in full to partial sun. 'Little Rascal' is a male selection, which means it won't produce berries. However, if you have any female hollies in your landscape that may need a little help producing berries, 'Little Rascal' is a willing and able pollenizer. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9.

A new introduction of nandina is 'Sienna Sunrise'. This beautiful plant grows to about 4 feet tall and just over 2 feet wide. It's also evergreen and very easy to grow. Hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 11.

'Golden Spirit' smoke tree replaces the usual purple foliage of Cotinus with golden leaves. If you leave the plant in the shade for awhile, the foliage will fade. But once planted in a sunny spot, it will go for the gold and slowly grow to about 8 feet. 'Golden Spirit' changes colors in the fall: coral, orange and then red. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8.

A new addition to the sumac family is 'Tiger's Eye'. Its foliage is a gorgeous gold which turns orange and then red in the fall. As a bonus, it's tolerant of poor soils and hardy to Zone 4.

Many camellias, the trademark shrub of the south, don't like frosty temperatures. But this new cold-tolerant variety can be grown in USDA Zone 6 (Zone 5 with protection). 'Winter's Snowman' or 'Ice Angels' produce white blooms in the middle of winter. Ultimately, this evergreen will reach a height of about 12 feet, but will remain only 4 to 5 feet wide.

Though hardly new, this next plant is at least new to Paul's landscape. Adam's needle, or yucca, is commonly associated with desert gardens because of their hardiness. This one does well all the way north to USDA Zone 4, and it's evergreen everywhere. Its sword-like foliage adds architectural interest to the landscape. Adam's needle grows about 4 feet tall and wide and will be capped by dozens of white blooms.

While this last item isn't a plant, it's a neat addition to any garden: a bamboo trellis.

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