March 21, 2007
Plants and landscapes that sustain themselves…endure, maintain and thrive with little effort on your part. Those are key characteristics that plant breeders strive for and the characteristics that we search for as we review both brand new and old favorite plant varieties. Our goal is to bring you the highest quality plants…those that will thrive with the least amount of care but will also have the pizzazz to let you design your plantings with the special style and flair that is yours alone. Allow us to provide information and advice as you choose your plants…matching plants with the their ideal site to get proper sunlight, drainage, and space to grow ensures better success with your garden and landscape. Peck’s team of 8 Iowa Certified Nursery & Garden Center Professionals are happy to answer all of your plant questions.
Here’s a quick review on just a few of the hottest new plants we’ll be offering for 2007:
My Monet Weigela (Weigela florida ‘Verwig’) may be the best new introduction this year from Proven Winners. The tight mounding habit and compact size, only 12-18 inches high by 12-15 inches wide, make it the perfect artistic accent for flower gardens, landscape beds or even patio containers. Fabulous green and white variegated foliage with just a slight pink tinge to the newly emerging foliage provides a splash of color to semi-shaded areas. Couple that with tiny pink flowers in late May to early June and you’ve got a dwarf masterpiece! We believe this plant will perform best in a filtered sun location protected from the very hot afternoon sun that may scorch the beautiful variegated leaves. My Monet is sure to please the most artistic gardeners!
Dream Catcher Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Maradco’) is another introduction from Proven Winners sure to be a hit. This new specimen has the spectacular pink late May bloom of Beauty Bush combined with golden yellow foliage color all summer that turns to a splendid golden orange in autumn. Like its parents, we expect Dream Catcher to be deer resistant and thrive in filtered or partial shade. We are told it will grow 6 to 9 feet tall and wide, but it will tolerate trimming to control size or shape nearly anytime during the year without impacting bloom power. Spectacular spring bloom, bright leaves all summer, fabulous fall foliage color, shade tolerance, deer resistance…this plant does sound like a Dream Catcher!!!
Blushing Bride Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Blushing Bride’) is another WOW hydrangea that was just introduced last year by Bailey Nurseries of Minnesota. Their Original Endless Summer has been the hottest new shrub introduction in recent history, but we say, “Wait until you see this one!” Blushing Bride has pure white florets tightly packed into large ball clusters that mature to blush pink or deep blue depending on soil acidity. It is reported to have even better reblooming ability than the Original Endless Summer. Blushing Bride will charm you with gorgeous flowers from early June to late fall. We expect best plant performance with filtered afternoon shade and plenty of moisture. Blushing Bride is expected to reach 3 to 5 feet tall & wide and is rated as a strong zone 5 (current testing in zone 4). WOW display for shade landscapes, and wonderful blooms for cut and dried flower arrangements!
Redpointe Red Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Frank Jr’) is the fine new maple from Schmidt Nursery that nurserymen from around the country are raving about. It has a broadly pyramidal crown and dark green leaves that turn bright red to celebrate autumn. Its claim to fame is its absolutely straight central leader. This tree will grow straight and nearly symmetrical with no pruning! Homeowners will love that it is ideally sized for urban lawns at 45 feet tall with a 30 feet wide crown…a fabulous new shade tree!
Peach Flambé Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Peach Flambé’) will create some drama in your shade garden with this colorful new plant from Terra Nova Nurseries. Bright peach-colored leaves literally glow in spring, summer and autumn, turning plum in late fall and winter. This vigorous grower forms a foliage mound 7” high and 12-14” wide topped by tiny white, late spring flowers on 16” flaming red, slender upright stems. We recommend well-drained soil and a site that receives filtered sun, avoiding the very hot afternoon scorching sun. This newcomer really tops the charts as a superb color companion with spring yellows, summer blues and fall oranges. Color your garden with this flaming Peach Flambé!
Jade Coneflower (Echinacea ‘Jade’) as the name suggests, green is the theme for this new coneflower from The Netherlands. Non-drooping, bright white petals that sometimes show a tinge of green surround the green center cone. This is a more compact grower, only reaching 18-24” tall by 12” wide. It requires full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. The long bloom period begins in July. Coneflowers attract butterflies to the garden and make good cut flowers. Add this terrific coneflower to your sunny garden and enjoy the unique cone color, unusual non-drooping petal form and the tidy habit of this new first class perennial flower.
All the Rage, Super Hero, and My Girl are the new rose releases from the Easy Elegance breeding program at Bailey Nurseries. Their program has gained outstanding notoriety in the past few years for developing disease resistant and super hardy shrub roses that are loaded with bloom power and vigor. These three varieties are scheduled for release in 2008, but are available in limited numbers this spring on a pre-release to us and a very few other selected garden centers around the country. My Girl produces deep pink, fully double flowers on a 2½-4’ bush. Super Hero has a continuous show of medium red double flowers on a smaller 2-3’ bush. All the Rage has an amazing range of color with single petal flowers starting out bright apricot with luminous yellow centers, turning salmon and finally lipstick pink on a 2½-4’ bush. All are listed as crown hardy to zone 4. These are the easy care type that are perfect flowering shrubs for landscape beds, as well as flower gardens. These shrubs will generate eye-popping color all summer.
Scarlet Flower Carpet Rose is another new addition to the Flower Carpet series of shrub roses. This one is bright, true shocking red and has fully double flowers. It is reported to have the same great disease resistance and easy care qualities as the others in the series. We are told it is hardy to zone 5, but it is so new that we have not had a chance to test it ourselves. It sure is pretty!
Filli Crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Filligree Series’) You just thought crapemyrtles were only for the folks in the South…think again! From the breeding program of Nebraska’s Fleming’s Flower Fields comes the Filligree introductions of crapemyrtles that are reported to be hardy to zone 4. These are tiny little cuties that only grow 12 to 18” high. They will probably die back to the crown over winter but when soil temperatures rise in late May, new growth will push forth. Then in late summer masses of tiny flowers will burst and cover the plants with color until frost. The foliage takes on a purplish tint in fall. Plant these in a very warm, well-drained site with lots of sun…they love heat. A very limited number of Coral Filli and Red Filli will be available in late spring to add Southern charm to your garden.
Please check out the “What’s Hot” photo links on our home page to see these and other great new plants offered in Peck’s spring palette of terrific plants!