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'

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Labor Day Week!

Hello all,
It's always great having a short work week. But it usually means there is more to do on Tuesday when we get back. Either way, those three days off are welcome and can come back whenever they please. This week was particularly interesting for me, because we hosted our first ever Landscape Contractor Day. Attendance wasn't great, but the group that did come was fantastic.
The day started off with Jim Kleinwachter from Conservation Foundation, followed by Auggie Rodriguez from Unilock and presentations from Midwest Groundcovers staff on our recycling program(at left) with Catalino Mendoza, Stan Schumacher talked about PP&O Nursery who grows trees that we sell for pick up customers, and myself doing a landscape walk. Overall, I hope those that came, walked away more informed. Thanks to those of you who were here, and to the people that were not, I hope to see you the next time!
Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus'
Thanks go to Martie Brennan for teaching me about this plant a couple years ago. The color is very different than anything else blooming at this time, and the foliage still looks very clean. A nice landscape plant that can be paired with Geranium 'Jolly Bee' or Sesleria autumnalis.

Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
Who doesn't like white Anemones. I used to think that they were a fairly boring bunch. I even once said, "It's just an Anemone!" Well, Dave Meyer put me in my place, and today I love these plants. 'Honorine Jobert', 'Pamina' and 'September Charm' are all fall flowering Anemones I would recommend for any gardener. They are a great, cheery fall surprise.

And then the fog rolls in!
Many mornings in the past month it has been very foggy coming into work. I've either not had my camera with me, or the mornings have been too busy to take pictures. This morning, I came in early hoping to get a couple of good shots. I think I did alright! Both pictures take place in the Piet Oudolf designed garden. This one has a beautiful grouping of Calamagrostis brachytricha, otherwise known as Korean Feather Reed Grass in common circles.
In this picture, Hydrangea 'Limelight' in a large container is in the foreground with Panicum 'Dallas Blues' and many others in the background. I just love the fog in the morning. In another setting, this could be spooky, but at Midwest Groundcovers, it is very peaceful.

One of my favorite parts of winter is the anticipation of spring. I think I look at more plant catalogs in winter than any other time of the year. I know there are a lot of you that don't like winter and wish summer could stay forever, but the anticipation of the first Hamamelis vernalis(Witchhazel) to bloom is so exciting that I couldn't live without it. Well, I found a couple things that almost rival the anticipation I feel for spring.
Allium 'Ozawa'
This would be a plant that I have been watching for several weeks now. The more time that passes, the more interesting the plant becomes. I just can't wait for the flowers to pop open and display their bright pinks! I'll show a picture once they do open. This plant is nice because it does reseed, but it's so small and blooms at such a unique time, that it can wander through your garden and be a very welcome visitor. The rabbits don't like her either.

Gentiana andrewsii
This plant I can wait all year for. It is the most exciting thing to me in the landscape here at St Charles. I enjoy seeing it in the wild as much if not more, but it is fun to watch this come out from under the Salix purpurea 'Nana' in our landscape. Every year I get to show him off, and every year there are oohs and aahs. My favorite story to tell about this plant is about the pollination of it. Bumblebees are the primary insect that works with these plants. The top of the plant does not open so that smaller insects that don't have as much success cannot get in. The bumblebee knows when the flower is done with pollen when the tips of the flowers go from purple to white. When they are white, they have been cleaned out. That is quite interesting isn't it?

Anticipation and nervousness are very similar. I tell my wife when she gets nervous to turn the nerves into positive anticipation and everything will be alright! It doesn't always work, but..... Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this weeks column. Until next time, have a great day!

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