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, October 22, 2010

The Last Flowers

Hello again,
It's getting to the end of the colorful seasons. Winter will be here shortly, so viewing some nicely colored flowers and fall color is needed before the doldrums of winter when everything looks black and white. Some surprises and some not so surprising follow here.

Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus'
This is the one that surprised me to see in flower. Usually blooming much earlier, the Jupiter's Beard was looking rather nice today. While this plant has been reported to be a seedy character, I find that it is well behaved. I like to mix it with Geranium 'Rozanne' for a blue and red summer show. The foliage stays very clean and could take the place of a red Phlox any day for me. Topping it off, is the fact that this plant is very drought tolerant. If you are unaware of this plant, try it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
Aster tataricus 'Jindai'
This is a plant that can move around a little bit. But if you use plants that compete with it well, it shouldn't be a problem. I've had it planted for 6 years at Midwest Groundcovers and started with 5 plants. Now that same area has about 15. It is combined with Panicum 'Dewey Blue' and Solidago 'Fireworks', and the two of them keep 'Jindai' in check. Plants in general are much different than most Asters. While most are mounded in habit, 'Jindai' grows vertically. A recommendation would be to plant it near a stairway where people can look down at its' upward facing blooms.
Aster 'Vibrant Dome'
Sticking with Asters here. This is a new one that we just started selling this year. It is the sister to the well known 'Purple Dome'. Both develop nice mounded dome shaped habits. This is the pink for those that need something a little larger than the 'Wood's Series' Asters.

Allium 'Ozawa'
I was very impressed by the bees swarming this plant today. The pollen looked fresh and they were taking a dip in it. I showed this plant often last year as it progressed. I find it to be quite interesting. Unfortunately, the masses didn't agree and we will not have it for sale in 2011. However, we are revamping it in a quart pot thinking that it suits the plant much better. Overall, this isn't a terribly large plant. Growing only 12" tall and not much wider, it's difficult to make a small plant like this look good in a #1 size pot. So hopefully in 2012, you will take advantage of our new size and plant at will. It makes for a great late season perennial to poke in between your Echinacea and grasses.
Schizachyrium 'Carousel'
This is one that looks great all year round. But I am a fan of Little Blue Stem the most when it is in seed. I love the colors that the grass takes on. Russet reds and browns look great in contrast with Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies'. The Allium above would work great as well as many other smaller perennials. This plant can take dry conditions and does well with some moisture as well.

Thanks again for taking the time to read the blog. I hope you've enjoyed. And furthermore, I hope you have a great day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Winter Hours

Hello All,
Midwest Groundcovers has changed its' winter hours for 2010-2011. Starting on October 25th, Midwest Groundcovers will be open from 7:30-4:00 Monday through Friday. We will be closed the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. We hope this is of no inconvenience to you. Have a great holiday season, and as always a great day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Annual Fall Color Review

Hello again,

I always like to do a fall color edition. This is my favorite time of the year when the plants are in the midst of transformation. Just like spring when they come to life, fall is nearly as spectacular with all the colors. While I love the trees a lot, the shrubs and perennials also have some great color. Here are some of the most outstanding at our facility.

Viburnum molle 'Morton'
This is a plant under consideration for the Chicagoland Grows program. It grows similarly to Viburnum dentatum, or Arrowood Viburnum, but it has beautiful exfoliating bark similar to that of an Oakleaf Hydrangea. Fall colors range from dirty yellow to the red you see in the picture. All colors are on the plants at the same time. Hopefully this will be offered in the future.

Sporobolus heterolepis
This is a plant that I talk about often. To me, there are not many grasses better than this one. A drift like this under a tree makes for an artistic impression. Very little maintenance is ever required for this. We burn in March and let it go the rest of the year. No watering is ever needed and it will look this nice well into winter. In this particular planting, Echinacea pallida is mixed in to give some spring color to the area.

Viburnum x juddiiThis is an all time favorite for me. I love the fact that I can say this is the first plant I ever planted once in the industry. I planted it because the flowers in the spring are very fragrant. Later I learned of its' amazing fall color. Growing 6-10' tall and just as wide, this is a great plant for the back of the border, or somewhere near a window where you can enjoy the sweet and spicy smells in spring.

Deschampsia 'Goldtau'This has been a very difficult plant for me to photograph. The delicate seed heads are difficult to get without blurriness. This variety is nice because it is very resistant to foliar rust. Other types of Tufted Hair grass are very susceptible. I have it interplanted with Flower Carpet® Scarlet and the two look great together. You should give it a try. They look great in containers as well!

Rhus Prairie FlameOne of the best fall coloring shrubs in my opinion is the Prairie Flame Sumac. The bright reds and oranges that come from this plant are spectacular. The plant can sucker a little, but it does offer an excellent substitute to the overplanted Burning bushes you see everywhere.

Amsonia hubrichtii
One of the best fall coloring perennials around is the Narrow leaf blue star. Read on later to learn about one of her sisters. A. hubrichtii has very fine textured foliage and can come in all sorts of shades of gold in the fall. While this plant tends to look chlorotic a lot of the summer, the fall color more than makes up for it. Mixed with Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies', the blues and yellows can highlight any garden.

Physocarpus 'Coppertina'
Most of us have grown to love the purple summer colors of our new Ninebarks that have hit the market. But I especially like the contrasts of reds and purples when fall colors start to appear. 'Coppertina' gets its' name from the early spring colors it displays on new growth. This is a Proven Winners™ ColorChoice™ shrub.

Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia
This is one of those plants that looks great all year long. The willow-like leaves gently sway in the winds throughout the summer, and in spring, when first emerging, the purple to red stems look great in contrast with the light green foliage. Then this time of the year, mostly golden foliage with some tints of red show off for all who wish to see. These have proven to be very drought tolerant, and for those looking for more flower color during the summer, it would make a nice combination with Perovskia 'Little Spire' or Echinacea 'Sunrise'.
Thanks again for reading the fall edition. Hopefully more things will color up soon, and different fall pictures will be available. Until next time, have a great day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Did you know?

Hello again,
Did you know that Midwest Groundcovers started selling fruits and vegetables in 2010? If you didn't realize that, we are. We are selling the plants! In an effort to help our customers and our customers' customers, we are producing fruit plants so that we can all live a more sustainable lifestyle! The six fruits and veggies are below that we will be carrying. I hope it is as exciting for you as it is for us!



Concorde Grapes



Sorry for the quick post this week. Things have been fairly busy around here which is great! Keep up the landscaping and have a great week!