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, July 31, 2009

Underused Conifers

Hello all,

Today, I'm going to dive into a subject I rarely do. Conifers! Why is it that Junipers go on these big swings? For five years, they are super popular. Then they go through a downward trend and nobody uses them. These are the trendiest plants around! The question is typically which way is the trend going. In these days, sustainability matters. Junipers are a very sustainable group of plants. They are very low maintenance, drought tolerant and rarely diseased. Here are just a couple that aren't named 'Kallay' or 'Sea Green' that you should be knowledgeable of.

Juniperus sabina 'Mini Arcadia'
Known in some circles as 'Calgary Carpet', this lush spreader has great texture. When walking past a large planting, the foliage draws you in because it looks so soft. It only grows a few inches tall and spreads to four or five feet in four years.

Juniperus procumbens 'Nana'
This has long been my second favorite Juniper. My favorite, which isn't in this post, is 'Blue Mountain'. What I like about this is that it is very prostrate and works well hanging over the side of a wall. While nice to look at, the needle-like foliage does hurt when you stick your hand in there. In four years these plants are 3" tall by 3' wide. Make sure when asking for this plant, that you say 'Nana'. The straight species is a monstrosity.
Juniperus 'Blue Forest'
This is our substitute for 'Blue Chip'. It doesn't get the disease that 'Blue Chip' does, and has a very interesting habit. Bailey's Nursery did a good job in naming this one, as the foliage does resemble a forest of blue evergreen trees. When I first saw this plant it was easy to imagine myself as a small bug looking up into the canopy of the boreal forest.

Thuja 'Linesville'
Though not a Juniper, this plant is remarkable nonetheless. There is a plant in the landscape 3' tall by 5' wide. That is not this one of course, but this one was quite nice as well. Good drainage is key for this one to do well. Very different compared to most globe arborvitae in that it's foliage is much more acicle, or needle-like versus the usual scaly foliage.

Hibiscus Blue Satin
Clearly not a conifer, but looking marvelous right now are the Rose of Sharons. In particular Blue Satin is worthy of mention because of its color. I've seen a lot of "blue" Hibiscus in my life, but this is the real deal. Blue with a reddish eye. Clean foliage and impressive flowers make this a must for the gardener looking for a big pop. Try one today!

This is a shorter post than normal. We're working on our catalog for 2010 and that has taken up a good deal of my time. I'm trying hard to put together some real nice pictures for that book. I hope you like them when your catalog arrives. Until next time, plant some junipers and have a great day!

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