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'

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cool Summers make Warm Fall Colors

Hello again,
It seems like the fall colors are fairly extended this year. Certain things dropped immediately with the first frost, but others maintain there beauty for much longer. I've been very impressed with the golds I'm seeing this year. They seem so much richer than in years past. Here are some interesting fall pictures I took yesterday.
First I'll start out with our recycling program. It has been a very beneficial thing to some of our customers. This is the product that we ship out. So once we've collected enough plastic, we make these nice cubes of containers that we send out to be recycled. People have asked what it looks like, so here it is! Beautiful isn't it? It is much more beautiful than sending it to the landfill.

Tilia cordata 'Glenleven'
Glenleven Lindens haven't been the greatest for fall color the past few years. This is because of the invasion of Japanese Beetles who make the foliage nearly completely lacy which doesn't allow for much color. We did spray our trees this year so that the beetle wouldn't affect the plants as much. It worked! Our Lindens are beautiful this fall. What a sight!

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
While on the topic of trees. How about these beauties. I love the coppery-orange color these create in fall. We have Taxodium as well on the property, but they don't color up as nice as these do.

Viburnum lentego
This could be considered a small tree or large shrub. Nannyberry Viburnums have always been one of my favorite plants. I love the fruit and love the fall color. The flowers aren't the greatest, but overall the plant is a winner. Native to our area, this particular shrub is always covered in Cedar Waxwings when the fruit comes. They strip these plants of fruit in a matter of hours, not days.

Viburnum 'Winterthur'
Sticking with Viburnums, there are few plants that rival the fall color of this plant. The reds it produced each year are magnificent. I get little fruit on the plants because they require another variety of V. cassinoides to pollinate them. But fruit is secondary to the fall color and year-round appeal that 'Winterthur' foliage offers.

Viburnum molle 'Morton'
Another Viburnum!!! They sure have nice fall color, don't they? Native plants might be the best way to go for fall color! I liked the array of colors this plant was displaying. This is a future introduction for the Chicagoland Grows® program. It is similar to a Viburnum dentatum, but the foliage seems more broad, and the bark peels. So once the fall color is done, the bark provides winter interest!
Physocarpus Summer Wine®
In fall, the Ninebarks start to show nice red colors. While typically a purple foliaged plant, the combination of purple and red is outstanding. Some leaves have half purple, half red foliage and are quite desirable. I've noticed this in the past, but not to the extent that I'm seeing it this year. All the cultivars look nice, including Coppertina, Diabolo and 'Center Glow'.

Rhus aromatica 'Grow Low'
Who thinks of 'Grow Low' Sumac for fall color. I usually don't. This year has changed my mind. This planting which borders our prairie is quite beautiful. Everywhere I look, these are looking nice. And by everywhere, I mean everywhere. These are planted in every commercial job from Chicago to the Mississippi. So every commercial site looks pretty good right now. This salt tolerant plant has become a staple for our customers. While that does not need to change, I just need to stress diversity. If we can make these areas more diverse, we will not have to face a disease like we have with Ash on these guys. There can be too much of a good thing.
Vernonia glauca
The only thing I don't like about the plant is how it likes to reseed itself anywhere it can find a piece of dirt. Of course, my favorite thing about the plant is its seed though. Look at how great it looks going into winter. It does however move around with reckless abandon, so a formal garden or a smaller garden is not screaming out for it. If you have a larger area where you don't mind a few volunteer plants that get close to 6' tall, then this is for you!
Oenothera 'Cold Crick'
This plant was truly spectacular in bloom. I've never seen such brilliant yellow and so profuse. Then it goes into summer being a somewhat boring piece of foliage. Then in fall, it turns into a blazing sunset of colors. Allan Armitage says there are no perennials better for fall color than Amsonia. I beg to differ. He wrote that before the introduction of this plant. It reminds me of Geranium 'Max Frei' for fall color, only much better. We are still in the trial phase of this plant, so we do not actually grow it. I'm not sure what the market would be for it. If you are interested and think we should grow it, please email me at mgplanttrials@gmail.com
I've realized lately, that I do not show enough garden pictures. Sure I show you a lot of plants that are in the garden, but sometimes, the look of the whole garden says so much more than it's parts. In this case, we have Sporobolus heterolepis with Echinacea pallida and Allium 'Forescate'. This area of the garden receives very little maintenance. In fact, we weed it once a year, and do a spring burn. Watering is not necessary. It has become one of the more sustainable areas of the landscape. The plants cover the soil well enough that weeds are not growing in between. Except for a seedling Miscanthus, this area has been virtually weed free all year this year. That says a lot. I've never seen weeds as bad as they have been in '09. So, I will be efforting to show you more garden pictures in the future. You all want the big picture, right?
Thanks again for taking the time to read this. I hope you find something interesting in here. And if not, let me know what you'd like to see. I love getting feedback, but I don't receive it enough. Until next time, have a great day!

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