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 21, 2011

Grasses in Fall

Hello again,
This week I wanted to make note of some of the dwarf grasses in our gardens. Fall is the best time of year for most grasses, so it makes my job very easy in showing off how beautiful they can be.

Sporobolus heterolepis 'Tara' 'Tara' has been in the garden for some time now. I've had it on the blog several times, but this year, it showed me something distinguishingly different. The stems are a rustic red color! In this particular picture, a straight species Sporobolus reseeded itself amongst the 'Tara', and that is why it looks so large. The species having the bright yellow stems above, contrasts quite nicely with the smaller 'Tara'.
Calamagrostis brachytricha
This is not necessarily a dwarf, being a species itself. Just a smaller grass that is not well enough known. C. brachytricha is a 3-4 tall grass that has amazingly showy plumes in late summer. Unlike it's cousin 'Karl Foerster', this blooms late in the year rather than in spring. It can also handle a small amount of shade. Preferably afternoon shade, as the morning sun is as important to plants as your first morning coffee.
Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau'
Gold Dew Tufted Hair Grass is quickly becoming one of my favorite grasses in the landscape. Glowing seedheads float above pale green foliage, and light up with just a touch of sun. This planting gets half day sun and does quite well. This variety does prefer some moisture, but can handle periods of drought. Only growing 24" tall with flowers in our garden, the grass itself is about 12" tall and 24" wide.

Schizachyrium 'Carousel' In my estimation, this is one of the best plants to come out of Chicagoland Grows. It offers a native cultivar that grows more uniform so those that are afraid of the wild look can be satisfied. Consistently growing to 24" tall and wide, the fall colors on this are astounding, and only when in nutrient rich soils, does it flop over.
Schizachyrium 'Blue Heaven' Another impressive Little Blue Stem is 'Blue Heaven'. This one grows about 4' tall and sways with the slightest breeze. Reds and oranges abound, this beauty will be appreciated by the hardest to please. In summer, foliage is steely blue and matches well with orange flowers from Daylilies or Geum.

Gentiana 'True Blue' I wish my picture would do this plant justice. But it seems very difficult to capture the color blue that these actually are. Regardless, this stunning fall bloomer grows to 24" tall and wide with a somewhat cascading habit. We had these in containers this year and they presented like a nice "Spiller" would.

Allium 'Ozawa' 'Ozawa' is one of my favorite plants this time of year. It seems like I wait and wait for it to look amazing, and when it finally starts to bloom, it never fails to impress. As you can see in the picture, the honeybees love the late season pollen that these produce. And who wouldn't love that color in the front of the shade border.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog. Don't forget that it is perfect timing to plant some bulbs. Give us a call, we still have some great varieties available. And while the fall colors last, enjoy them. Until next time, have a great day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Colors in Illinois

Hello again,
Fall is the time for forgotten flowers and fabulous foliage. I think that fall reminds most people of Asters and Chrysanthemums. For me, while I find them both beautiful in their own right, I find that Anemones are the most stunning. This years avoidance of frost has allowed our Anemones to flourish.
Anemone 'Pamina'
This is growing in full shade below a 50' tall Picea abies, Norway Spruce. In this deep shade, it is also forced to live with strong drought conditions. Other plants that have done well under this tree include Brunnera and some Boxwoods. Otherwise, it has proven to be a difficult area to get things to grow. I had previously tried Geranium maculatum with little success. 'Pamina' grows 24" tall and similar width. This is something difficult to beat for fall flower.

Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
This Anemone is also growing here showing off her cheery white blooms with yellow stamens.
Also known as "Windflower", these blooms dance around the tops of the plants with the slightest breeze. Bumblebees still visit the heavy pollen producing flowers if the temperature remain in the 70's like we are seeing these last few days. This is a little taller than the 'Pamina', growing to 30" tall but remaining around 24" wide. Imagine this mixed in a bed of Carex 'Ice Dance' and watch the combination of variegated foliage from 'Ice Dance' blend ever so nicely with the flowers of this gem.

Aster laevis and Aster novae-angliae
In one of our native garden spaces, these two plants have provided a fantastic fall display. Neither plant were actually installed here, but they existed in other parts of the garden and reseeded here. I am quite impressed how they have come together to form a picture reminiscent of a Monet painting. This just proves that sometimes nature is the best landscape designer.

Corylus americana
Finally a little fall color to finish the blog. American Hazelnut has become one of my favorite plants for fall color. Oranges, yellows and reds mixed into one plant and growing up to 15' tall combined with some funky looking nuts, this has so many fun things to look at. In spring the catkins are interesting as well making this a true 3 season plant.

Thanks again for reading the blog. Until next time, have a great day and enjoy the amazing weather we are having!