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, June 1, 2012

Natives, Perennials, and Shrubs, oh my

Hello again,
I've got a lot of topics to go over today, so I'll jump right into the plants.

Angelica atropurpurea
One of my favorite all time natives is this giant of a plant.  If you've read the blog before, you know I love stems.  And who wouldn't notice intensely purple stems on a 6' perennial.  Like something out of outer space, these plants will multiply in the garden.  Their preference is to be in a moist location, and I would imagine they would move around a bit more if it was wet.  These have been here for a long time.  Before I worked here, I remember seeing three plants.  You can see in this photo, they've spread a little.  Maybe not for the homeowner, but on a large site, quite the plant.
Prairie Garden
This was my attempt at a "Structured prairie" from a couple years ago.  Maybe not completely structured anymore, the garden has filled in, and I personally like it.  Parthenium integrifolium is starting to bloom and the Eryngium yuccifolium and Liatris spicata, all compliment each other well. In front is Sporobolus heterolepis which was planted like a grassy hedge in front of the prairie, "containing" the natives from creeping into the groundcovers which I am standing in while taking this image. This is two years after planting plugs.
Aruncus 'Misty Lace'
This plant has really garnered the attention of those who walk on perennial island.  Even before it bloomed, it looked great.  In full bloom, plants are only three foot tall and as wide.  I have them planted in morning sun and afternoon shade, with minimal moisture and they have far exceeded my expectations. I am a plant geek and like almost all plants, but I'm thoroughly smitten with this variety.  Allan Armitage bred this to perfection.  The key question for this plant is, how much would you pay?  It is costly, so they would have a higher price tag than most other perennials.  Worth it?
Penstemon  'Dark Towers'
This is another plant that I continue to enjoy in the garden.  Dark purple foliage and pink flowers.  I have trialed several varieties of Penstemon in the garden and so far, this is the best.  Others have been sturdy, but not as much color as this.  There are others yet, with outstanding color but bad form.  These plants only get 3' tall and around 4' wide in our landscape.  Leucanthemum 'Daisy May' is planted in front of it and makes a nice lower companion.

Cotinus Golden Spirit
Moving on to some shrubs.  Last year was the first year I had seen smoke on the Golden Spirit smokebush.  We had pruned the plants back to the ground in previous years to encourage larger foliage.  We haven't the past two years, and the plants still look excellent.  This is planted next to Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel' whose blue foliage contrasts nicely with the bright yellow.  Fall color later in the season is yellows and oranges and reds.  Quite nice.

Viburnum 'Winterthur'
This is a plant that I have loved for a long time.  Fall colors on this plant are the wine red and persist for a long time. In the old days, we were afraid to grow this plant because some weren't sure it was hardy.  It is.  These have lived in our garden for many years.  I usually post about it in fall, but I found the flowers this year to be striking.  Slowly growing to 6-8' tall and wide, it makes a great specimen plant especially in an area where the fall color will be appreciated.

Clematis 'Ville De Lyon'
I love the opportunity to brag about our growers.  We used to have such a hard time growing Clematis, but our skilled growers have figured it out.  Because I personally am attracted to Clematis, it thrills me that we now carry a large array of them.  'Ville de Lyon' is looking very nice on our trellis after the rains.  Check out our availability on these vines for further options. 

Our tree allee
If you have been here in the recent past, you have probably noticed a change in the entrance.  Where Lindens once stood, now are Taxodium distichum.  After suffering from borers and japanese beetles the past few years, we decided to remove the Tilia and replace.  Our new allee will take some time to develop, but it should be worth it.  I can't wait to see the results ten years down the line.  And not to continue being a salesman, but we have some leftovers from this planting job available for immediate pick up if you are interested! 

Thanks once again for taking the time to read.  I hope you enjoy, and until next time, have a great day.


  1. Question? What is the underplanting of the Angelica atropurpurea that I can see in this photoe, its looks familiar??? Please tell!

  2. Clematis is looking beautiful!! Keep it up!

    -Tony Salmeron


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