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, August 7, 2009

What's the next big thing?

Hello again,
When thinking about new plant introductions, many things come into the discussion. First, do I just like the plant, or does it have mass appeal? I like just about everything, so asking architects and designers, as well as our retail staff and customer service people really keeps me grounded. Last year I really liked a Clematis with yellow foliage and purple flowers. Everyone I showed this to thought it was hideous. Oh well, I wasn't married to it. Thinking back on it now, it is a little gaudy. So here are some cool things that Midwest Groundcovers is working on, or some things that are just considered big!
Silphium terebinthinaceum
This is just a really big thing. The flower pictured was hanging 12' in the air. I had to use my telephoto to get a good picture of the plant. These are great plants if you are looking for something tall and architectural. Nearby this plant is a naturally occurring hybrid of S. terebinthinaceum and S. laciniatum. The flowers are like Prairie Dock, and the foliage is a gigantic heavily incised leaf. Neat!
Asclepias incarnata w/ Sphex pennsylvanicus
The big thing here is actually the black wasp, Sphex pennsylvanicus. I find this little insect to be very interesting. Although, I'm not typically scared of wasps and bees, this one makes me stand back a little. It is a native insect, so I'll keep him, but I'll let him enjoy the Hydrangeas and Asclepias that I've found him on rather than let him jump on my shirt. He's probably at least two inches long.
Midwest Solutions®
This Midwest Solution is Allium 'Summer Beauty' with Sesleria autumnalis. We at Midwest Groundcovers are working on a program that allows architects to use percentages of plants to determine how many per square footage. The combinations we call Midwest Solutions are plants that like similar conditions and look good together. This is a new big thing that hopefully catches on.
Canna Tropicanna™
Tropicals seem to be a hot thing. It's out of the ordinary for us, but for the garden centers, we will produce some of these interesting plants for our Bud and Bloom program for 2010.

Lobelia siphilitica "White seedling"
I was walking around with a couple people from the Chicago Department of Transportation when we saw this plant in our landscape. I was quite excited. I'm not sure the other two were quite as much. Do you have any feelings about this? Email me at mgplanttrials@gmail.com. Should I dig these out and start multiplying them?

Green Roof Market
The increasing needs of the green roof market have caused us to look at many things. Here is a picture of one of our flats that has three varieties of Sedum in it. Sedum 'Fuldaglut', Sedum kamtchaticum and Sedum sexangular are all there, and they look really nice together. I swear I did not Photoshop this picture!

New Generation of Flower Carpet® Roses
These have been a welcome surprise to the product line. The new three are Scarlet, Pink Supreme and Amber(Pictured). They have shown incredible disease resistance and heavy flower power. The one pictured here was taken just the other day. I planted these in late fall and didn't anticipate them coming back. But here they are! These are very hardy and worth finding a spot in your landscape.
Sunny Knock Out®
Last year when we saw these in the landscape, I was quite disappointed. They faded so quickly from yellow to cream. This year, with the wonderful weather we are having, the color has not seemed to fade much. This is why we trial plants for more than a year most of the time. Plants have their up years and their down years. This is surely a great year for Sunny Knock Out!

Buddleia 'Miss Ruby'
This one is a highly accoladed butterfly bush from Spring Meadow Nursery. It took second place in the trials in Europe. 1st place by the way was Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip'. These have a great color and are more compact than 'Royal Red' which has similar color.
Hydrangea arborescens Invincibelle™ Spirit
That's right! A pink 'Annabelle'. This is clearly the big thing going on right now. We've been asking for colored varieties for years. This is the first one to hit the market with the pink color. Rumor has it more will be coming in the near future. If you are desperate for one of these right away, quantities are limited. But it may be worth looking into to help your spirit.
These are some of the many things that we have to look at. I didn't mention salt tolerance for the highways, or drought tolerance for all of us. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Until next time, have a great day!

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