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'

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Simply Salvia!

Hello again!

Here we are on a beautiful day in June. Wind is blowing through the window, making me hope that Spring will stick around a little longer. And it looks like next week, we are headed to low 80's. Please be right weather.com!!! Today, I'll show a little bit in the diversity of Salvia. We sell eight different kinds and to most, you know East Friesland, May Night, and Blue Hill. Though all are nice, I want to show you what else there is.

Wesuwe vs. May Night
On the left we have 'May Night' and on the right is 'Wesuwe' Both have very similar color to the flowers, but the 'Wesuwe' is clearly shorter. Is that a trait we want? The reblooming capabilities of both are excellent. These are plants to "Prune to Promote" to quote Roy Diblik. Prune these babies and they will rebloom for you!

Not that I play favorites or anything, but this is my favorite of the purple salvias! The features of this plant are too long to list, but the greatest attribute that separates it from the rest is its' dark stems. The stems contrast very well with the dark purple flowers. In the gardens here, it is the perkiest year round and will rebloom if pruned back.

I had to be careful with my words above, telling you of favorites, because I knew that I was going to put something in here about 'Amethyst'. I did qualify 'Caradonna' as my favorite purple Salvia.
'Amethyst' is my favorite Salvia. It's pink blooms come just once a year, but the color is magnificent. This plant is in dire need of your help! We need people to buy it otherwise, it will no longer make the product line. Please buy! Please buy!

'Marcus' is a little guy! He likes to mosey around with the little Alliums, and hang out next to paths to greet you. Quite a friendly little guy. The unfortunate thing about 'Marcus' is that he gets a little crabby in mid summer, often not looking so well after bloom. Pruning helps, but he is not the "Best of Show". For an area where height is an issue though, it's a good option.

Baptisia World!

What's happening in the world of Baptisia today is very exciting. To the left is the Twilite Prairieblues(TM) Baptisia from the Chicago Botanic Garden. This was the first introduction of Baptisia from breeder, Jim Ault. His work here is fabulous. Why isn't this plant used more often? It has a great color, and better structure. Should these be marketed more as an herbaceous shrub? Would people be more apt to put them in their landscape?

The next question is how many can this industry support? To the left here is a very interesting color. Some suggested that Cinnamon would be a good descriptor. I agree. For the plant geeks looking at these plants, this was clearly one of the favorites. However, the question loomed, "Will the end consumer be interested?"

Another wild and crazy hybrid was the one to the left here. The color was interesting, but what really excited the audience was the habit and flower power. "It doesn't even look like a Baptisia", Richard Hawke said. And to be honest, he is right. But with the incredible amount of flowers, and the way they are set into the plant, it deserves a closer look.

Not as wild and crazy as the last two, but interesting nonetheless. This was a creamy white selection that I really enjoyed. I love the habit and the flower color is very marketable. The size wasn't too outlandish, offering itself better to the mixed perennial border.
What do you think of these four Baptisias? Email me at mailto:kmcgowen@midwestgroundcovers.com and let me know what you think.

Iris 'Temper Tantrum'
Quite the Iris this is! Never before have I gotten the comments about an Iris in the landscape as I have with this one. People are screaming and kicking the floor to get them. I thought that plants typically are named for the plant itself and not the reaction to those who can't obtain it yet. The good news is that we'll have it sometime next month! The bad news is that it will be done blooming.

Visitors to the Garden
On Monday and Tuesday this week, this turtle could be seen strolling the gardens looking for somewhere to lay her eggs. Hopefully she found a good spot. There is a lot of traffic around here. She was quite the beauty, but a little shy about it. I think she was embarrased by her long neck, so she was hinding it in her shell most the time. She is a Three Clawed Painted Turtle and is a form of the western Painted Turtle. A nice surprise she was, and she is always welcome back.

Sorry for the delay in between posts. It's definately spring!!! If you have a chance to come out and see the gardens soon, please do. They are looking great, and the start of trial planting has begun! More and more will be introduced during the next month. Exciting stuff!!! Until next time, have a great day!

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