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'

Monday, March 22, 2010

Herman's Favorite Plant

Hello again,
This week we will feature Herman Tiedeman and his wife Carol! This will be the first time a family member has been featured on the blog, but we all love our science teachers, so she deserves a spot!
Herman O. Tiedeman, our Inventory Specialist, started with Midwest in 2005 in Customer Service after working at various Garden Centers in Iowa and Illinois for eight years. He currently works with the Inventory, Sales, Marketing and Production staff regarding Production Forecasting and coordinates our yearly Physical Inventory in fall. His affiliation with the outdoors dots his life from years of Scouting and family gardening in his youth to his degree in Biology emphasizing botany and ecology. Herman shares his passion for nature with his wife, Carol, who is a 7th grade Life Science teacher who uses every opportunity to bring their yard into the classroom, as well as providing the kids the opportunity to explore wild areas near the school.

Within our culture we seem to adore the underdog, whether political arena, sports event or business venture. With many of the popular hedging choices, like honeysuckle, currant and privet, fading in popularity possibly due to their contested invasive nature, I champion the original thicket – American Hazelnut. A native of the Midwest surviving suppression by the periodic fires of the prairies, savannas and forest edge, the natural ability of this shrub to sucker lends itself to use as an informal hedging choice, especially on larger properties. C. americana does host a number of insects, but diversity in fauna is what our landscapes need to be healthy. As a food source for numerous insects which will feed other insects, birds and small mammals, the American Hazelnut
can be a sustainable hedging option without even mentioning the delicious nuts it will bear after several years in the ground. Although not a highly ornamental shrub, the interestingly different catkins are harbingers of spring when they open in March. Tolerant of a wide pH range, C. americana does tolerate light shade to sun making it rather adaptable to many landscape locations. And the best feature for me, other than its contributions to sustaining a biologically diverse landscape, is the quintessential autumnal coloration. In fall the muted rust-bronze-red-orange leaves with golden highlights are the epitome of autumn.

Ephemeral- lasting only a short time. Dodecatheon meadia may only bloom for a short period each spring, but what a show it puts on for those few days. Prior to my husband working at Midwest Groundcovers I was unaware of the many incredible native plants that were available to the average person. With all of those choices I would still herald Dodecatheon, the shooting star, as truly a star among them. Each spring I carefully search the spot where they will appear. And seemingly overnight they arrive, dancing and swaying all over my yard. The tiny drooping little bird beaks of color create a spring display any natural woodland would be jealous of. The clusters of them scattered throughout my yard give me great pleasure and joy. They may last only a short while, but their impact is epic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Amber's Favorite Plant

Hello again,
Thanks to those of you who have been following the favorite plants. I have a couple more entries from employees here for the next couple of days. Here is Ambers!

Amber Ulmer, Customer Account SpecialistA member of the Midwest team since 2007, Amber started her green industry career working at an Independent Garden Center. Amber serves a broad range of customers, including many specific accounts and most enjoys working with customers to achieve a successful resolution for each specific situation or request. Her favorite plant group is perennials.

Phlox divaricata var. laphamii
I love it because it comes up in shady spots with unexpected color to brighten your day.

Editor's note: This is also one of my favorites for a shady area as they provide so much color in early summer. Different shades of purple and white are possible with this variety and they are also mildew resistant.

Thanks again for reading. Have a great day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mary Ellen's Favorite Plant

Happy Monday,
Today we have the very bright and energetic Mary Ellen. Her favorite plant is amongst my favorites as well.

Mary Ellen Biell, Administrative Assistant & Customer Service A member of the Midwest team since 2002, Mary Ellen works with both external and internal customers on direct sales needs and in administrative functions. She holds a Bachelor of Science and supports many development initiatives through her excellent project management skills. She says what she likes best about working with customers is recognizing their individuality and ultimately helping them and being able to thank them for their orders. Some of her favorite plants include Conifers and Ferns.

Calamintha nepeta ssp nepeta
I learned to love Calamintha nepeta spp nepeta gazing out my window at work. We have a beautiful clump of these in our Piet Oudolf garden. The tiny white flowers cover this neatly clumped plant and last from June until frost. But, I’m not alone in loving this plant. Honey bees and bumblebees are crazy for it. They work on each tiny flower until sunset, even later, well into the fall. It’s a delight to see nature unfold before me on this lovely plant.

A couple further notes about Calamintha. This particular variety is sterile which makes it a better option than the straight species which can run you down. The straight species will seed about readily. Calamintha nepeta ssp nepeta and/or Calamintha 'Montrose White' have been named the 2011 Wisconsin perennial plant of the year! And one last reason as to why you could love it too; when temperatures fall in autumn, flower color goes from white to lightly lavender.

Until next time, have a great day!