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

2017 Award Winners


Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’
(Goshiki Holly Olive or False Holly)

Holly olive is a broadleaf evergreen shrub native to Japan and Taiwan and is sometimes mistaken for holly because of its similar leaf shape. Its compact form makes it a great border plant, and come fall small yet fragrant flowers bloom on female plants. ‘Goshiki’ is an outstanding cultivar growing to 5 feet high and 4 feet wide at maturity. It has striking soft swirls of rose, cream, white and other colors against the light green leaf, especially vivid on new growth. Tolerates drought and clay soils. Plant in full sun to part shade. Tolerates drought and clay soils.

Nyssa sylvatica
(Tupelo, Sour Gum, Black Gum)

This Long Island native deciduous tree offers toughness, adaptability, longevity and stunning fall interest. Lustrous dark green foliage begins to turn brilliant shades of reddish maroon or orange beginning in September. In fall, some plants will exhibit blackish blue berries that attract birds. Slowly reaching a mature height of 40-60’, tupelo has a statuesque pyramidal growth habit, and an interesting blocky bark pattern at maturity. Though generally found growing near swampy coastline areas, tupelo readily adapts to a wide range of growing and soil conditions, and is equally trouble-free.

Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’
(Amethyst Falls Wisteria)

Unlike the invasive Asian species, this cultivar of our native wisteria is more garden friendly and still offers beautiful flowers but with a dense growth habit. In May and June, ‘Amethyst Falls’ gives an abundant display of 6-inch purple flowers, and sporadically blooms into mid-summer. Our native wisteria flowers on new wood so pruning is not as critical or needed. Pruning after the majority of flowering finishes will keep plants neat and orderly. Amethyst Falls wisteria is adaptable to most soils, and will grow on a trellis, arbor or fence post in full sun or partial shade.

Catharanthus roseus
(Madagascar periwinkle)

Many of our favorite flowering annuals are wilting as Long Island summers grow hotter and drier. Madagascar periwinkle bucks this trend as a tropical bedding plant that actually grows more floriferous as the heat builds through the season. Given full sun and excellent drainage its brilliant pinwheel flowers in shades of white, pink, lavender and red will enliven borders, containers and window boxes from May until frost. Most cultivar series form upright rounded plants 8”-12” tall, though some newer types trail elegantly. Give Madagascar periwinkle a try if you are tired of annuals that burn out by July.



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

Last updated March 21, 2017