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'

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Teasing the Rain

Hello All,
It's hard to believe that after all the rain we had this spring that we'd be sitting here wondering if the rain would come back. We pride ourselves on the garden designed by Piet Oudolf being sustainable, but as I look out at it, I see a lot of plants suffering from drought. It's dry out there! I've never once seen Agastache foliage so stressed. So we are teasing the rain. In the past, in order to get it to rain, all you had to do is wash your car. I tried that and it didn't work. Now, with rain supposedly in our near future, we have decided to water some of our gardens. The thinking being that if we didn't water the garden and waited for the rain, there is no chance we'll see the rain. If we water well, the rain is surely to come. You can't tell me that you haven't used that logic before, can you? Anyways, on to the pictures. A lot is happening here this week in the landscape. The crews are working full force to get some great looking projects done so that when you come for your next visit, lots of new stuff will win over your senses. We're also removing some garden thugs such as Vernonia glauca. While this is a terribly nice looking plant, they have reseeded to the point where some pulling was neccesary. A few have been spared, but most are gone.

This is just to prove that we did water the gardens today. I should have taken a picture when it started to rain over the sprinklers. It has since stopped, so the next picture you might see is me doing a rain dance. But that would be a difficult picture for me to take, and it's not likely that I'll be dancing in front of a camera any time soon, so you'll just have to imagine that.

Aster 'Blue Autumn'
When I first saw this plant I thought it wasn't that much different that any of the asters I had seen before. I wasn't that interested to say the least. But now that it has been in the landscape for some time, I've changed my mind. This may just be the answer to the naked legs of A. 'Purple Dome'. 'Blue Autumn' has very little browning on the bottom and is very full of bloom. Nice plant!
Two of my favorite grasses in flower next to each other. This is Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue' with Sorghastrum nutans 'Sioux Blue'. 'Sioux Blue' has become terribly difficult to find liners for. Most people have lost their plants. While terrific once established, it is difficult to propagate. This is why we've had difficulty supplying you. In the future we will have a variety similar to this called 'Indian Steel.' Look for this in the coming years!

Before we took the garden thug out. Please note, that I do not call the plant invasive because it is not. This is a plant native to the United States, though not Illinois. But this is a reseeder just like the native species and it has to be treated like one. If used properly and maintained like we just did, it is not invasive. Aggressive, sure. But invasive, not quite.

After Vernonia glauca was removed. Notice one remains. The birds like it too much to take all of it out.

Solidago 'Fireworks'
This is a plant that I love to wax poetic about. Cari Dale from Drescher once told me that it reminded her of Sideshow Bob from 'The Simpsons' cartoon. I've never heard a more accurate description. That's not why I love it though. It just holds up so well and does not become a reseeding mess like other Solidago's do. It's quite behaved actually. Truly an underused plant.

One more before picture that you'll have to come back next week to see the after. In this picture, Sedum kamtchaticum and 'Bailey's Gold' are being removed. A couple minutes later the rugosa roses and Karl Foerster will be removed. In it's place will be Corylus americana and Hydrangea 'Limelight'. It'll look a lot different once the crews are done.

Thanks again for joining me this week and reading what I have to say. I'm interested in how many people actually read this column though. If you do, could you email me at kmcgowen@midwestgroundcovers.com and let me know what you think. It would be greatly appreciated. I've tried this in the past and nobody responded. Are there no readers? I really hope there is. This is a lot of fun to tell you what's going on! Until next time, have a great day!

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