What a beautiful summer we are having! We haven't reached triple digits yet, and besides a couple of warm days, it has not felt like Florida. While those of you that like to lay out on a beach towel and turn brown may not like it, the plants in the ground really have. It has also helped keep the Japanese beetles in check, though they are starting to come out of the woodwork now. The gardens here at Midwest Groundcovers are really looking nice. It's been fun to go from arid landscapes of California to the lush greens and flowers of Illinois. I especially love driving by the prairies right now to enjoy the Monarda fistulosa and Ratibida in bloom. The native landscape of the Midwest is truly something we take for granted. Here I am talking about the greatness of our natives, and below I have no native plants. Shame on me. Next week, I'll focus on them. So for those of you getting ready to go the PPA Symposium, have a great time. Hopefully St Louis won't be absurdly hot. Here are the plants I want to share with you today.
Lobelia 'Monet Moment'
Several years ago, I encouraged Elfego Machuca to do some accession forms and find plants he thought we could sell a lot of. This is one he picked. It is a beautiful version of Lobelia with bright pink blooms. These have been in the landscape for several years now and keep coming back. If you don't have room for red in the garden, here is a lighter color that works well with anything. These are now available. Try them out for yourselves!
Coreopsis 'Heaven's Gate'
I have to admit that when we started growing this, I wasn't positive that this would live. We've been through the Limerock Ruby fiasco, and so many other interesting Coreopsis have flooded the market with questionable hardiness. This one however is a plant that overwintered in our landscape and looks very good. For those of you looking for a pink Coreopsis, this is your best bet.
Echinacea 'Pica Bella'
As much as I try to not be smitten with Echinacea, every year I fall in love again. This one is perhaps my favorite. Don't hold me to that, as my opinion could change tomorrow. But for now, the size and color of this plant coupled with it's performance in the garden make this a keeper. Bright flowers with very clean foliage. It's a plant that won't disappoint. To top it off, they have dark stems. What more could you ask for?
Leucanthemum 'Phyllis Smith'
Here is a plant that is currently only a trial. I really like the frilly flowers, but I'm not sure if there is a market for it. You can help us decide by letting us know if you like it or not. Make comments on the phone when you call, or drop me an email and let me know what you think. In comparison to others in my trial, it holds up as well as 'Becky'!
x Heucherella 'Alabama Sunrise'
We've been watching our Heuchera and Heucherella very closely in the landscape to see which would perform the best. For the chartreuse varieties with red veination, there is no better then 'Alabama Sunrise'. In fairly deep shade, the colors are still very nice. And the plants are much more robust than the others. The tour group yesterday liked this one most.
Hemerocallis 'Rocket City'
Need I say more. I always figure that a daylily can talk for itself. This one is a beautiful orange flower that is very large. I measured one 7" across in the landscape. This can give you a big boost of color in mid summer. I've interplanted it with Schizachyrium Blue Heaven on our grounds and those will start to look good when the daylily is done blooming.
Speaking of Little Blue Stem, 'Carousel' is looking like a winner again. Pictured here in our Piet Oudolf designed garden, it offers up great texture and color. In other locations, it is mixed with Allium sphaerocephalon which creates a dramatic contrast of reddish-purple and blue. The movement of the gentle grass is relaxing at first glance. It can be paired with so many things. Echinacea paradoxa is blooming with it also and the bright yellow contrasts so well with the blue foliage of Carousel. This is a must have.
Clethra 'Sixteen Candles'
This has done remarkably well in the landscape here. It is taking the place of Clethra 'Hummingbird' in our product line, and it seems to be worthy of the spot. All three plants in the landscape have excellent habit and flower production. They are so close to opening, and I can't wait to enjoy the sweet fragrance. Clethra are happy in both sun and shade but need to have moisture. They are also one of the last plants to leaf out, so patience is required in spring. The plants aren't dead, they are just sleeping.
Diervilla 'Cool Splash'
I've located these in a mostly sunny location. While they were slow to size, I really like the way the plants look now. They were planted as #1 size pots last fall and now the plants are 20" tall and wide. Great variegation adds to the pleasure of Diervillas. Diervilla in general are salt tolerant plants that work great in the city or where bank stabilization is required. This particular plant is a good substitute for some of the variegated dogwoods that get leaf spot all over them. This plant is very clean and has the yellow flowers of the typical plant.
Well, the garden is definitely in full swing. Daylilies are peaking, the Allium Summer Beauty is in it's full glory as well as the Echinacea and so much more. Let's hope the temperatures stay cool for a while because the colors produced on the perennials are vibrant and strong. As soon as it gets hot, they will start to fade. Enjoy this long Spring while it lasts. Thanks again for reading. Until next time, have a great day!
WELCOME TO THE MIDWEST GROUNDCOVERS DISPLAY & PLANT TRIAL GARDENS!
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!