The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) selects plants each year that are easy to grow, pest free, and add beauty to the landscape for many seasons.  Plants are nominated from submissions by home gardeners, garden designers, horticulturists, landscape architects, nursery owners and propagators.  Once nominated, plants are reviewed by a committee of horticulturists.  This year’s winners were chosen for hardiness, ecological benefits, and beauty.

If you are thinking about adding a new plant to your garden this spring, you might want to consider adding a Gold Medal Plant award winner.  PHS has done all the homework for you, and you can trust their selections for being great performers.

This year’s winners include a large tree, 2 great shrubs and 3 lovely perennials.  All of the past winners who made the cut exhibit standards of excellence for pest and disease resistance, as well as ease of growing when planted and maintained properly.

Gold Medal Plant Winners


Carpinus caroliniana American Hornbeam (aka Ironwood, Musclewood) –  This is a small, slow-growing tree and is ideal for residential sites.  It’s one of the few landscape trees that does well in full shade and adapts to a range of soil textures, moisture levels, drainage patterns and pH levels.  Catkins in March give way to yellow nutlets in late summer.  Yellow-orange fall foliate.  Steel gray bark provides winter interest.  Plant in combination with native viburnums, grasses and/or sedges.  Height 20-30’.


Coreopsis verticillata  ‘Zagreb’ Threadleaf Coreopsis –  This is a native perennial that grows in dense bushy clumps.    It may grow 2-3 feet tall with a similar spread.  They have bright yellow flowers, compact and upright, and easy to grow in-ground or containers.  Re-blooms if sheared mid-summer.  Looks great in mass plantings, a naturalized area and appears airy in a summer border.  Great in combination with evergreen shrubs, Little Bluestem ornamentalkkkk grass, native butterfly weed, and/or veronica.

Geranium x cantabriglense ‘Biokovo’ Cranesbill Geranium –  A shorter, upright selection that does not flop over in the landscape as is common with Russian Sage.  Striking light blue to violet color flowers.  Great in combination with purple coneflowers, phlox ‘Jeana’, sneezeweed, betony, and/or Forerster’s feather read grass.  Use also in a mass planting, border, or as an accent.  Once established, water occasionally, more in extreme heat or containers.  Height 10-12”.

Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’ Russian Sage, Little Spire – This plant will make a huge splash in your landscape.  The lavender purple spikes are butterfly magnets and the leaves are very aromatic when you brush against them.  If you’ve have problems growing lavender, this plant is a nice alternative.  Looks great next to a wall or fence combined with pink or yellow flowers.  Black-eyed Susans would make a great eye-catching companion plant, as well as phlox “Jeana’, sneezeweed and/or Foerster’s feather reed grass.  It doesn’t get very bi g(2-3’), but is the perfect size to fill in spots in your sunny border or foundation planting.


Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’ Black Chokeberry –  Flowers bloom in spring, followed by showy black fruits and red fall foliage.  Upright growing, native shrub and a very attractive ornamental plant.  Likes full sun to part shade but full sun produces more fruit.  Group or mass in shrub borders, small gardens or open woodland areas.  Height: 3-6’.

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Haas’ Halo’ Smooth Hydrangea – This beautiful native selection stands tall and never flops, even with its massive blooms.  It has deep-bluish-green, glossy foliage, and huge, 14”, pure white, lace-cap blooms all summer into fall.  Spent flowers provide winter interest.  Drought resistant once established.  Plant in combination with the ninebark shrubs, leadwort, Jacob’s laddr, smooth aster and/or reed grass.  Height: approx. 4’.

There are some very exciting selections this year and we hope to incorporate some of them in our landscaping plans this year.  You can never go wrong with their choices.

Thinking about some new landscaping this spring?  Whitehouse Landscaping has the horticultural knowledge in landscaping to make sure the right plants are chosen for the right place insuring your landscape thrives and can be properly maintained.  Our design experience can create an outdoor space that is beautiful, distinctive, livable and truly sustainable.

Contact Whitehouse Landscaping or call 484-300-4290 to learn more about our services.