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'

Monday, October 13, 2008

Going up to see Ed Hasselkus

Hello all,
As you can see from the title, I had the opportunity to visit with Ed Hasselkus of the University of Wisconsin Madisons' Longenecker Gardens. There were four of us in all, and the three not named Ed, walked away privelaged and inspired. Stories were told about how trees were obtained and from where. How a 50' tall tree was planted from seed 33 years ago and where Ed got the seed from. When we left the property, we all wished there was a video camera and tape recorder to keep his stories alive for future generations. In all my times in this industry, I've never felt like this. I was in the company of a man who was supremely talented, and better yet, supremely modest. I've met a lot of influential people in the industry. And this isn't meant to slight any one of them. I am a really fortunate individual to have met many an icon. Maybe it's because I've not been in the others home turf, but Ed was quite the gentleman and scholar. Thanks Ed for your time and your sincerity!

Some of the many amazing things that happened that day was the realization of how beautiful Ash really are. And how sad it will be when we are not graced by the precence of White and Green Ash during the fall season. I've taken them for granted over the years, but they were sure beautiful up in Wisconsin. These aren't the only trees at risk however.

Though not immediately at risk, there is concern about the overplanting of yet another tree. When will we learn? Acer freemanii 'Autumn Blaze'. That is not what the picture is, but the tree in jeapordy. Autumn Blaze is a spectacular tree. But if we continue to plant so many, who knows when the next beetle will come to get them. The tree in the picture is Ed Hasselkus' variety named 'Waukesha' It was quite spectacular. If you've ever come on a visit here at Midwest, you know that I preach diversity. If we only use 10 plants, than we open ourselves up for disappointment when a disease comes and destroys one. If you overuse the plants on your palette, your palette could get boring.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum We were walking along and viewing his trials of Hydrangea paniculata, which were quite interesting I might add, when we were overtaken by a fragrance of french toast. Around the corner was this beautiful Katsuratree. If you have not been touched by the fragrance of these beauties, you need to find one to smell. I remember when I first got into this business, there was a hot day at the garden center I worked at, and a fragrance of burning sugar was everywhere I walked. I then realized that the foliage of the Katsuratrees was drying out and making this fragrance. Part of me wanted it to continue to dry out, but the other part didn't want to kill it either. If you don't know it, introduce yourself. You will find a new friend.

And if you've never seen the fruit of a Gingko, here you go. I was quite surprised by the charm and beauty of the fruit. Hearing the stories of how rancid the smell is when on the ground, I thought they must be ugly too. Not so. These were gorgeous. I should have grabbed a couple to eat!

From the Longenecker gardens we travelled to Olbrich Botanical Gardens with tour guide Jeff Epping. It's quite an experience to go from Arboreteum to Botanic Garden. This is another must see garden.

This is just one of the fascinating containers at Olbrich. Spiranthes odorata and a bunch of Pitcher Plants. How cool!!! They were in the process of removing some of the many containers with tired annuals. These however, were not tired at all. If only I could have taken this container home!

One of the other oddities at the Olbrich is this Thai pavillion. Acclaimed as the only one of it's kind in the US or Thailand to be surronded by gardens. This pavillion is one that would be seen at temples or at a palace. It is not a religious structure. Because the University of Wisconsin has one of the largest Thai populations, the Thai government donated this incredible work of art.

Finally, this is at our office here in St Charles. Our rose garden is blooming it's heads off. It's one of the first times all year that they haven't been covered in Japanese Beetles. And when we were looking at it, Christa Orum-Keller noticed that the roses and green roof really accentuated each other nicely.

I must be on my way. Next post will be on fall colors and fruits. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, I hope you have a great day!

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