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, April 22, 2011

April Showers are stopping the flowers

Hello everyone!
The rain that we've been having has really put a damper on the growth of plants. It's slim pickings trying to find new things in the landscape blooming. So I turned my focus to foliage and other colors that are appearing. A walk through the woods yielded some interesting plants.

Erythronium albidum
Trout Lilies are emerging and showing off their interesting mottled foliage. This type blooms white in spring, but there are also types in this area with yellow flowers. That variety is Erythronium americanum. Both plants are native to Illinois and have very similar foliage. You have to wonder what caused this plant to evolve the way it has. According to Illinoiswildflowers.info, this plant is greatly threatened by the spread of Garlic Mustard.

Trillium recurvatum
Praire Trillium is another plant taken for granted. I once sent a photo of Allium tricoccum to a colleague from Delaware. He was more interested in the Trillium which I thought nothing of. He later mentioned that he doesn't get this type of Trillium, so that was more interesting. These little guys are on the verge of opening their flowers, and with a little warmth, they will probably do so soon.

Trillium grandiflorum
What is a weed for some, is a treasure for others. Large flowered Trillium is plentiful on the other side of the lake in Michigan, but hardly found around here. We have reintroduced it into the woods on our property. When in bloom, I will surely re post a picture of it.

Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata'
The catkins have emerged on this very narrow tree. While not in the landscape, we have some of these for sale in #7 sized containers. They are quite nice if you are looking for something for that very narrow area. Plus the catkins are interesting enough to merit purchasing this plant.

Once I left the woods, their were other things that caught my attention. It just takes a conscious eye to see some of the beauty that proceeds the blooms.

Sedum 'Angelina'This is a great Sedum that most know by now. It's winter color changes from the chartreuse of spring and summer to shades of orange and red. Quite the dramatic groundcover. Very drought tolerant, this plant has been known to grow very well in gravel and on green roofs.

Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem'
If you've followed the blog over the years, you've heard me wax poetic on this plant for some time. If not, the greatest attribute to this plant is it's spring growth. The new growth is orange, red and yellow and finely textured. Flowers later in the summer are interesting as well, but don't have the jaw dropping effect the foliage does. Not nearly as aggressive as it's parent, this variety has learned to live a little more cohesively with its neighbors. While I've seen a little suckering the past couple of years, the initial one plant that I planted 5 years ago is still only 4-5' wide with suckers and all.

Viburnum x juddi
Judd Viburnum has always been one of my favorite plants. It was the first plant I ever planted in my parents yard when I got into this business. It's also my first misidentification of a plant to a customer. I once sold several of these as Witchhazel because I thought the flower buds, like the ones pictured, had to be something that a witch would make. I was 18 and had no idea what I was doing. This actual instance has reminded me to give newcomers to the horticulture business a little break on ID because I surely needed one. And of course, it only took a couple days after for the blooms to open up and then I knew 100% what this plant was named.

Happy spring everyone. I hope that the rain will start to go away a little and we can enjoy what spring is all about. I suppose if you are a Forsythia fan, then this is the best spring possible. The cool weather has definately kept the blooms on a little longer than normal. I'm ready for the Mertensia and Viburnum to start blooming. Until next time, have a great day!

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