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, February 26, 2010

More favorite plants

Hello again,
Today we meet Judy Wehrmeister and her favorite plant, Physocarpus Summerwine™
A member of the Midwest team since 1996, Judy serves the Michigan and Indiana region. Her professional experiences include Inventory Control, Purchasing and Sales. She serves on the Board of Directors as Past President for the Southeast Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. Judy earned her Associate’s degree in Landscape Technology at Oakland Community College in Rochester, Michigan.

Right now, with the deciduous plants bare, I am very attracted to bark. This may be an under-used and under-talked about characteristic of woody material that the time to enjoy is now!

One of my favorites is Physocarpus opulifolius, Common Ninebark; Summerwine™ is the name of mine. I love its bark in the winter! The varying colors (are there nine?) of the stems stand out lovely against the white background of fresh snow.

Here’s some fact from U of I Extension: 5–10 x 5–10’; hardiness zone 2-6; Full sun to partial shade; rounded with arching branches; tolerant of all soil conditions. Annual pruning is needed to keep the plant in good shape.

They produce clusters of white to off-white flowers in early summer drying to papery fruit taking on a pinkish to flesh color in mid-late summer; autumn color is a poor yellow. Can be used for specimen, border, hedge or massing.

The one in my yard is in front of some blue spruce trees. I’ve started a patch of ornamental grass and some sedum in complementary colors nearby.

Thanks again for reading!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Favorite Plant part 2

Hello again. We are here with round two of Midwest Groundcovers employees' favorite plants. Today's guest is Grace Koehler. Grace has been a member of the sales and marketing team since 2000. She works with landscape contractors and architects of the Illinois region. She specializes in the development of our sustainable, green roof and native plant markets as well as our brand programs. Grace graduated from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and is past president of the Midwest Ecological Landscape Association(MELA). Here she writes about the 2010 plant of the year, Baptisia australis and some of it's relatives.

Baptisias add structure and intrigue to any planting. Think of them as a small shrub that dies down to the ground every year similar to Buddleia. The new Prairieblues™ series of Baptisia from Chicagoland Grows opens the door to all types of new colors and variations in form. My favorites are B. australis, with its round bushy form and vivid violet blue flowers that bloom in May and the native B. leucantha which is stunning as it emerges and reaches straight up for the sky with its fluorescent creamy white flowers. B. leucantha has a more upright habit and takes a few years to establish but is well worth the wait. In the fall the foliage turns black and adds a prehistoric look to the landscape. Drought resistant, (the roots go all the way to Tibet) and disease free you can’t go wrong in using these plants. Allow plenty of room for and be patient the first year or two then stand back and enjoy the show.
Baptisia australis: Bushy plant with blue-green pea-like foliage. Flowers are indigo blue in long terminal erect racemes. Produces fruit in the form of a 2-3" long pod that turns black when mature.
Baptisia leucantha
Tall perennial/shrub with white flowers in early summer. A prairie plant of classic elegance with its small graceful and waxy clusters of lovely legume blossoms. Fixes nitrogen into the soil.

Baptisia Starlite Prairieblues™
Wide mounding Baptisia with arching branches bearing racemes of periwinkle-blue and butter-yellow florets. Chicagoland Grows selection

Baptisia Twilite Prairieblues™
Extremely robust, vigorous bi-color Baptisia. Deep violet- blue flowers up to 32" long are held above the blue-green foliage. Chicagoland Grows selection.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's your favorite plant?

Hello again,
We are starting a new segment where we will introduce Midwest Groundcovers employees and their favorite plants. I always find it interesting when people discuss their favorite plants, so here it is.
Our first entry is from Brent Gustason. Brent Gustason has been a member of the sales team since 2003. He serves Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota regions. Brent has over 25 years of nursery production, management and retail sales experience to share with his customers. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and currently serves on the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association Board of Directors.

One of my favorite plants would be Viburnum sieboldii ‘Ironclad’. This is a plant that will make a statement in the landscape either as a specimen plant or it can be used as a hedge or screen. This plant provides at least 3 seasons of appeal with the white umbel flowers in May, producing fruit in late summer that start out white, turning to pinkish/red, and finally black that will persist until the birds clean them off with the unique red petioles that remain on the plant into the winter. It has a nice golden yellow fall color with gray bark in the winter. It prefers full sun to partial shade and tolerates most soils as long as they are well drained. It can be used as a middle plant in your landscape and under planted with smaller scale shrubs and perennials to provide a sustainable landscape. It does not have any disease or insect issues due to the larger, coarse, somewhat glossy, and pubescent underside of the leaves. I recommend under planting with grasses like Molinia to soften the size but also can be utilized with a combination of perennials or smaller shrubs to provide seasonal color and texture.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!