Stewartia pseudocamellia, Japanese Stewartia - 2000

Stewartia pseudocamellia, Japanese Stewartia - 2000

Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle - 2010

Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle - 2010

Abelia x grandiflora ‘Rose Creek’, Dwarf Glossy Abelia - 2009

Abelia x grandiflora ‘Rose Creek’, Dwarf Glossy Abelia - 2009

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’, Variegated Evergreen Sedge - 2009

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’, Variegated Evergreen Sedge - 2009

Long Island Gold Medal Plant Program

The Long Island Gold Medal Plant Program began in 1999 and is administered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. The mission of the Gold Medal Plant Program is to identify and promote exceptional ornamental plants that will thrive in the Long Island home landscape. Increased public education and awareness of sustainable plant selections are the main goals of the Program.

Four award-winning plants are selected each year, which may be trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, groundcovers, grasses, or annuals. Gold Medal Plant Winners are identified by the Plant Selection Committee, which is a volunteer group of horticulture professionals.

What is a Gold Medal Plant?

The Long Island Gold Medal Plant Program began in 1999 in an effort to promote exceptional under-utilized plants for Long Island gardens and landscapes. The selection committee represents a wide cross-section of the local nursery and landscape industry.

Why are Gold Medal Plants special?

  • Proven performance in Long Island garden settings
  • Pest-free with multi-season ornamental appeal
  • Adaptable to challenging landscape conditions
  • Easily grown by those of any skill level
  • Widely available from local wholesale/retail sources

2016 Award Winners


Cleome x Senorita Rosalita® (Senorita Rosalita Spider Flower)

This lovely, colorful annual offers rounded clusters of rosy pink flowers all summer with dark green, palm shaped leaves. The bushy, upright growth can reach 2 to 3 feet in height and 2 feet in spread. Unlike other spider flowers, it is more compact, thornless, and sterile–no seedlings to weed next season! Spider flower is also deer resistant, drought and heat tolerant and easy to grow. It prefers full sun or partial shade and well-drained soils. Senorita Rosalita spider flower will provide seasonal interest from mid spring until the first hard frost in fall.

Paeonia Itoh Hybrids (Itoh Hybrid Peony)

Itoh peonies are named for Toichi Itoh, the first person to successfully cross an herbaceous peony with a tree peony in the 1940s. Beginning in June and continuing into early July, Itohs give a stunningly beautiful floral display with multiple flowers supported by strong stems. Handsome foliage remains after blooming. Plant Itohs in full sun, and fertile well-drained soils. Choose the right site the first time as Itohs do not like to be transplanted!

Pinus flexilis (Limber Pine)

In an urban landscape dominated by oversized conifers, limber pine fits easily with its modest mature height of 30’-40’. Becoming pyramidal in habit, this western U.S. native may be utilized as a garden accent, specimen focal point or informal screen. Cultivars such as ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’ offer steely blue foliage with four-season ornamental appeal. Limber pine only requires full sun and well-drained soil to thrive, plus the species’ excellent salt tolerance is far greater than the commonly grown, much larger eastern white pine (Pinus strobus).

Begonia x benariensis (Whopper® and Big® Begonias)

Although these robust growers look like the traditional annual wax begonias, they are actually much improved hybrids. Both the Whopper® and Big® begonias feature exceptionally large, showy flowers reaching 2 to 3 inches across and dense, bushy growth from 24 to 30 inches tall. Flowers are vivid red or rosy pink and waxy foliage can be green or bronze depending on the cultivars. Moist, well-drained soils are preferred, but once established are low maintenance. Whether planted en masse, in a mixed border or container, these begonias are a real show stopper in the summer landscape!



Mina Vescera
Nursery and Landscape Specialist
631-727-7850 x 213

Last updated July 6, 2016