DID YOU KNOW gardeners are potential planetary superheroes in this age of climate crisis? It’s true. The world needs more gardens — big gardens, little gardens, tidy gardens, wild gardens. And just as important, our world needs more thoughtful gardeners committed to tending in sync with nature.

Readers of this special Outdoor Living issue of Pacific NW magazine get the first glimpse of the new 2020 Great Plant Picks poster and plant listings featuring “Plants for a Better Planet.” Read more about which plants are doing the heavy lifting, environmentally speaking, beginning on page 8.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, this year’s Great Plant Picks focus on ‘Plants for a Better Planet’

True story: Back in late 2000, I was a part of the GPP selection committee for perennials. I remember feeling awed and abashed in equal measure as I sat in on meetings in which the region’s best and brightest horticulturists (how I got there I’ll never know) volleyed plant nominations (so many plants!) and debated their relative merits against the newly established Great Plant Picks selection criteria.

Much friendly, if sometimes heated, debate ensued. I don’t think I’m betraying any secrets when I say plantspeople have passionate opinions.

You’ll find a comprehensive list of Great Plant Picks selection criteria on the GPP website, but the upshot is this: GPP is dedicated to fostering successful gardeners and cultivating beautiful gardens that thrive in our growing region. And, oh, what a lovely region it is — the envy of gardeners the world over.

If you’d like a full-size, colorful (free) copy of this year’s “Plants for a Better Planet” poster, stop by the Great Plant Picks booth at next week’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, or order a copy through the GPP website.