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Need-to-have garden picks for 2014 from Southern Living® Plant Collection

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Here are the top picks for 2014 southern gardens from the Southern Living® Plant Collection picked by Southern Living 'Grumpy Gardener' Steve Bender.

First introduced in Spring 2008, the Southern Living® Plant Collection is a partnership between PDSI® and Southern Living® magazine.

Plants are tested by plant breeders, wholesale growers, garden professionals and home gardeners to meet the special growing conditions of southern gardens. PDSI continually evaluates growers and breeders in all categories for their ongoing research program.

'Big Daddy' Hydrangea
'Big Daddy' Hydrangea gracefulgardener.com

'Big Daddy' Hydrangea

The search for better ever-blooming hydrangeas continues with 'Big Daddy.'  Blossoms are as huge as balloons, and will be pink in acidic soil but blue in alkaline (limey) soil.

Elephant Ears 'Puckered Up'
Elephant Ears 'Puckered Up' Southern Living Plant Collection

Elephant Ears 'Puckered Up'

A new purple-hued elephant ears plant for in-ground or container arrangements.  Unique because of the 'puckering' effect on the foliage that not only creates texture interest, but reflects light as well.  This elephant ears grows as wide as tll, between three- to-four feet.

'Queen Mum' Agapanthus
'Queen Mum' Agapanthus Southern Living Plant Collection

'Queen Mum' Agapanthus

a two-toned beauty that's perfect for pots, beds and borders.  This bulbous plant sports White/violet blooms in late spring and summer . Warning:  these bulbs do not overwinter in areas colder than zone 8.

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