Last Week’s New England Grows Introduced Me to a New Coleus

Every year I look forward to the nursery trade show in the Northeast called New England Grows.

The show attracts thousands.  It was held last week, only Wednesday and Thursday, cut short a day because of the snow storm.

What I like about New England Grows besides the lectures which always bring me new ideas, is the trade show component. Dozens of vendors line the rows of the Boston Exhibition hall.  It takes hours to move through them all.

Several nurseries display their new plants.

In the nineteenth century novelty plants played a key role in each seed and nursery catalog.

Coleus 'Neptune's Net' which I saw last week at New England Grows in Boston.

Coleus ‘Neptune’s Net’ which I saw last week at New England Grows in Boston.

For example the Childs Seed Company catalog said in 1890, “Customers will look every year for a lot of sterling novelties, which you must provide, and each must prove as worthy as you recommend.”

The company had to provide novelties because the gardener expected it.

At New England Grows several nurseries showcased many newer varieites of their plants.

A Proven Winners variety of coleus called ‘Neptune’s Net’ caught my attention on entering the  Pleasant View Garden exhibit. I knew immediately I wanted to grow this plant in my summer garden.

Like the gardeners of the nineteenth century, today we too search out newer varieties.

Why do you think we like the newest?

And, of course, we know that the seed and plant companies provide the latest variety that could be from any place in the world to plant in our gardens.



  1. ruth rogers clausen says:

    I would have loved to have met you at NE Grows last week. I love going to these shows and seeing the new offerings. PW’s ‘Neptune’s Net’ I thought looked like a variation on ‘Inky Fingers’ and “Fishnet Stockings’- maybe a sport of either.

    Hope to be able to get a copy of your new book when it comes out. I was trained in horticulture in England in the 50’s and remember so much from that time. Best

    • thomasmickey says:

      Ruth, I am sorry i did not meet you at NE Grows. You are right that ‘Neptune’s Net’ is quite similar to ‘Fishnet Stockings’. Maybe that’s why I like it.

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