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, September 23, 2011

My Favorite Fall Combo

When asked what was my favorite plant combination, I asked, "At what time of year?" So they gave me this time slot! If you are a customer of ours, each week we send out an email blitz with specials and each week we have an employees favorite plant combos. Two of the plants below are my favorites any time of the year, but the Liatris is mostly special now!

Liatris aspera
Butterfly magnet, when it's a little warmer. Now, it's an upright exclamation in the garden. This plant grows to 4' tall and prefers to be in dry to slightly moist soils.

Calamintha nepeta ssp nepeta
This has been a favorite since the day I laid eyes on it. Flowering from late June until frost, Calamintha nepeta ssp nepeta is a blooming machine. Flowers are incredibly attractive to honey bees, so for the faint of heart, be careful. I am however allergic to bee stings, but love to view them hard at work. They've only gotten me once in seven years when I shake the plant and watch them fly. This particular variety is sterile so it won't reseed all over the garden. And furthermore, when temperatures drop at night in the fall, flowers turn light blue.
Geranium 'Rozanne'
When I first started working at Midwest Groundcovers, I was not a perennial person. In fact, I thought this Piet Oudolf guy was crazy for ripping out our shrubs and groundcovers and planting a garden entirely of perennials. "There is no way this garden will look good", I thought. December that year, Geranium "Jolly Bee" which no longer exists, was still blooming. I soon changed my mind and became a perennial plant geek. The bees never got the memo either, and still love 'Rozanne' even though she changed her name. They may not be as jolly, but they are working hard on Rozanne.

Sorry for the quick blog, but it has been a busy week! Until next time, have a great day!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Last week, the IGIA HOPE group came to Midwest Groundcovers to tour and learn from our company. If you are not familiar with HOPE, it stands for Horticultural Occupation and Professional Experience. Top students from local community colleges travel to 7 locations a year and learn from these companies what they may or may not want to do in their careers. We were their first stop this year. Here are some of the things we did.

I was the tour guide for this segment. I think it's always interesting to see it from a different perspective, so I like people to see what I see. Here, we learned the entire process of how an order makes it from nursery ground to vehicle. It was an eye opening experience for some. As a former customer, I never had any idea how large the nursery was. When you get a chance to peruse all the acreage, you realize, "That's why it takes so long to get my plants!"

On the second day in Virgil, there were several opportunities to learn. Here, Bruce Zierk is teaching about our state of the art greenhouse. Some of the feedback from the event expressed the surprise by how many gadgets and settings there were to make sure everything is running correctly. In this greenhouse, we are able to produce amazing plants for Bud and Bloom and other items for early spring sales.
Here, Kevin Donnelly trekked us up to the top of the mountain of pine fines. Here we are checking the temperature to make sure things are ok. On a 70 degree day, the mulch was a "cool" 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Kevin said that was cooler than normal.

Overall, it was a fun two days for the tour guides, and hopefully the students felt the same. To the students, thanks for coming out. We really enjoyed your enthusiasm and excitement for all things Midwest. Until next time, have a great day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Piet Oudolf Design Phase IV

Hello again,
A real quick one this week. We have began our forth phase of the Piet Oudolf designed garden. In this phase, we remove our large hedge of Panicum 'Dallas Blues'. It wasn't a design flaw that required this removal. But we've since removed 'Dallas Blues' from our product line and therefore it gets removed from the garden. Roy Diblik's introduction, Panicum 'Northwind' will take its place. Also being removed are the Sanguisorba 'Red Thunder', that we all like. The problem with this plant, is that the Japanese Beetles like them even more than we do.

Along with 'Northwind', we will plant Sporobolus heterolepis. To some peoples dismay was the removal of Phlomis tuberosa. This plant, while beautiful, had become a nuisance in the garden. I was constantly removing seedlings. And if you are familiar with Phlomis tuberosa, you know that having a lot of seedlings like this isn't a good thing. It's a BIG plant. From the same area, Inula magnifica was removed. This was part of the first installation. It also moved around a little, but not too bad. Just never really did anything for anyone here. We never wanted to grow it, and through many tours, nobody ever once asked what it was. To me, that was an indicator of a plant that is not necessary for the product line. In their place will be Liatris pycnostachya and Echinacea pallida. Some Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei' will be interplanted with exsisting Coreopsis 'Golden Showers'. Eupatorium 'Little Joe' is also coming into this section, replacing some of the aforementioned Sanguisorba.

This has been a fun project this year, and there is only one more major phase to complete. Then we'll wait for the plants we don't grow until next spring. Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day! Happy Labor Day!