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, May 17, 2010

100th Blog!

Hello again,

We've had a lot of great people post their favorite plants thus far. And a couple other blogs in between. There has been a request that I do my favorite plant. And I thought I'd save it for the 100th blog. I've been preparing and preparing, and then the shocker! The patent police are claiming Geranium 'Jolly Bee' invalid. DNA says it's too close to Geranium Rozanne. Most would think that I could easily make the switch. But my loyalties are to 'Jolly Bee', the first plant I've ever been able to definitively say was my favorite. So instead of giving you just one, I have to give you my top ten for sun. The top ten for shade will be seen in a future Landscape Contractor article. So my top ten sun plants in no particular order.

Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei'Such a great overall plant. Very little maintenance is ever required. It makes a stunning perennial hedge, and is the perennial meatball without any pruning for the meatball lover. Plants can be pruned back after flowering to encourage new floral growth.

Amsonia x 'Blue Ice'This is one that always attracts attention when in bloom. It has multiple uses like the Geranium above in that it can also be used as a perennial hedge. In our landscape it is planted with Geranium 'Jolly Bee' and that crawls over the top of Amsonia when it is not in bloom. This extends the time of beauty and usefulness of this plant.

Penstemon digitalisThis is a great native with so many uses as well. The seed heads are so attractive that I've placed those here instead of the flowers. I am very smitten with the flowers as well. Late June these will be blooming their hearts out in front of our nursery. They line IL Route 25 and create clouds of white in early summer.

Allium 'Summer Beauty'I've talked about this a few times in the three years of the blog. Here it is pictured with Festival® Burgundy in a container last year. The combination of these two plants was quite nice. The tropical Festival® Burgundy highlighted the bright green foliage of the Allium. Look at past posts if you would like more information on Allium 'Summer Beauty'.

Campanula 'Samantha'This is one of those plants I thought would be an instant hit. It is a much easier plant to deal with than other Campanula. Namely better than 'Blue Clips'. This flowers for a very extended bloom time and is a great combination with Dianthus 'Firewitch' for early season bloom.

Asclepias incarnata This is the plant that should assume the name of "Butterfly Weed". I see more insects fluttering around this plant than any other plant in the garden. The array of butterflies it attracts is quite impressive. A great plant for the rain garden or any location where it may be moist. Monarch butterflies use the foliage for their larvae. An amazing plant!

Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks'This is a non-aggressive Solidago. Flowers that explode in late summer last for quite some time. They make a remarkable combination with Panicum 'Dewey Blue' or Rosa Flower Carpet® Scarlet. In early spring, the foliage is also attractive with reddish tints dominating the look.

Echinacea 'Pica Bella'The Echinacea trend continues to pour out new varieties left and right. This one is one that has a lot of staying power. My mother does not particularly care for coneflowers. She finds the drooping petals depressing. 'Pica Bella' solves that by having very straight rays of petals. The color is fantastic and it also has nice dark stems. Goldfinches enjoy the seeds throughout the winter as well!

Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe' I have to admit that I wasn't that fond of Joy Pye Weed until I met 'Little Joe' He was a little shorter and could stand up straight. Others would lean over and just didn't command the attention of the upright 'Little Joe'. Butterflies, especially Painted Ladies, seem to love this plant. Seed heads remain attractive into winter.

Calamintha nepeta ssp nepetaCalamintha is one of my favorite plants for many reasons. First and foremost is the bloom time. From late June all the way to frost, the tiny white flowers can be seen in abundance. When temperatures are low at night, the flowers transform to a light lavender. Another reason I love this plant is that it attracts all sorts of bees. The honeybee population is quite outstanding and can be heard from afar on a quiet night once we've closed.

These are some of my favorite plants. Of course like I said, there will be an article in the Landscape Contractor that covers my favorite shade perennials. And neither of these lists has my favorite shrubs or trees. I have a lot of favorites. What are some of yours? Please let me know and I'll post them here. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, have a great day!

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