There's so much that changes in the MG landscape throughout the year...we thought a plant trial and garden blog was the best way to start sharing "what's new" and "what's happening with all those new varieties" with you! Visit often for updates on how trial plants are performing in the gardens and to see photos throughout the season as we grow and change!

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog
Astilbe 'Vision in Red' with Hosta 'Patriot' and Carex 'Ice Dance'

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Last Days of Summer

Here it is September 21, and only two days are left in summer! The sad part for some, is that winter is coming. The great part is that Autumn is here! Autumn is my favorite time of the year. Fall colors galore, the weather gets a little cooler, open windows in the house. What else can you ask for? So without further adieu, here are some plants and combos that are doing very well at this time of the year.

This combination has many talents! First you see the yellow flowers of Solidago 'Fireworks'. This plant will get 3' tall with it's airy blooms reminiscent of....you guessed it! Fireworks. These plants started blooming a couple weeks ago. Before they do, they have great texture and structure which helps lend itself as a support for floppy plants in the garden. Alongside this goldenrod, lies Rosa Flower Carpet(TM) Scarlet. This new and unique rose has surprisingly clean and glossy foliage. It looks like a real winner. The flowers are double, opening with a hint of orange, and aging to a nice red. In our rose trials, we planted this late last year from a small container and they all lived. So it is proven hardy!

Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies'

I remember the first time I realized that the picture below is only 5 plants. "Wow!" I think I said. Or something like it. October Skies is one of the last Asters to fully bloom. This plant should be in flower for at least another month. It is just starting now, and already looks glorious. A couple things to note before planting October Skies. a) it is an aster and will reseed here and there. b) It gets enormous. 36" wide by 24" tall, and c) it smells like patchouli. If you like the smell of patchouli than this is for you. If not, don't brush up against it! If you don't know what patchouli is or smells like, you should buy one to find out.

Actaea 'Brunette'
One of the reasons I like fall so much is the sweet smell of Bugbane. Sweetly scented spikes of white, rise above the dark purplish green foliage. This plant is very deserving of a place in nearly every one's home. The problem is, that it likes to be consistently moist. Without the moisture, they will not grow as fast or as large, and occasionally will have some browning on the leaves. Otherwise, quite the plant. I know that I would not be able to go without one. Other Actaea on the market that are of interest include, Hillside Black Beauty, James Compton, and Pink Spike.
-These are all great plants to know. Something to give your late summer garden a kick start into fall. Until next time, have a great day!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Roses you should know

Now that roses have firmly entrenched themselves into our landscapes, the demand for new colors, greater hardiness and disease resistance has been turned up a notch. Marketing is where the real success lies. Roses are showing up in popular home magazines. Even commercials on HGTV for Flower Carpet(TM) roses exist. The people from Proven Winners are even getting their hands into the rose race. Our trials are here to weed out those that don't perform. Here at Midwest Groundcovers we are trialing 72 roses in the landscape as we speak. The trial, which is three years old and still maturing is helping us determine which are the best and which are the dogs. A lot of the time, these roses are bred in Oregon, or areas not very similar to the Chicagoland area. Our area can be one of the most difficult areas for roses. Little snow cover, humidity, and lots of wind just to name a few stresses that can occur. At this time, I'll go over some of the best, most exciting plants we have in our trials. I'd rather focus on the good than the bad. Here we go!

Rosa 'My Girl'
This is part of the Easy Elegance series from Bailey's Nursery. New flower buds are reminiscent of hybrid tea roses. More of the traditional form. Interesting color, with no hints of red like with most of the new roses. Bright pink, with large flowers and many petals, it boasts great disease resistance in the ground and in the containers. This one has a lot of potential!

Rosa 'All the Rage'
My personal favorite. I shouldn't post biases, I know, but I can't help it with this one. The bloom is nice, yes. What makes this rose great to me, is the shiny green foliage. I have seen very little leaf spot on this. The question last year was whether or not it was hardy. It looked very tropical, with it's glossy green leaves. After a year where so many roses did die, this one made it here. Keep an eye out for this Easy Elegance introduction.

Rosa Mystic Fairy
This one we've been selling for some time. Did I already tell you that one of these was my favorite. Darn. While it does get leaf spot, and can lose some leaves in the summer, it has such a nice bloom. So I can say that it is my favorite rose flower, just not my favorite rose plant. Also part of the Easy Elegance program. Smaller flowers similar in size to Scarlet Meidiland. In my home garden, it stays clean and blooms for quite some time.

There are so many more that look and perform well for us. You'll have to stay tuned for the other winners such as, Home Run, Pink Knock Out and more. Have a great day, and thanks for reading.