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The Newest & Coolest... 2008 Plant Treasures

February 10, 2008

In addition, plants reduce carbons and cool the earth, provide food and wildlife habitat, control erosion and so much more…we know all that. But have we taken the time to teach our kids and grandkids? Very few children have family ties to the farm as did past generations. So when you see this poster we hope it will encourage you to remember the value of plants…and more importantly, it will persuade you to spend some time with a child sharing your love of gardening while teaching the value of plants and together enjoying the wonder and beauty of flowers and trees.

Our Peck’s team includes eight Iowa Certified Nursery & Garden Center Professionals who are happy to answer your plant questions. Allow us to provide information and advice as you choose your plants…matching plants with the ideal site to get proper sunlight, drainage, and space to grow ensures better success with your garden and landscape.

Here’s a quick review of just a few of the “newest & coolest” plants we’ll be offering for 2008:

Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia ‘W. Stackman’) brings eye-popping foliage color to our familiar pagoda dogwood. Golden Shadows has the same horizontal layered growth habit, creamy white spring flower clusters and blue-black fall fruits that are typical of pagoda dogwood…but its leaves are the attention-grabbers. Leaves have a broad lime green center “flame” that is surrounded by bright golden yellow margins all summer until turning reddish-purple in fall. What a fabulous small ornamental tree to pop some color in a partially shaded patio or woodland garden. This one is too new to have all the details, but it is reported to grow to 6-8’ tall and wide in about 10 years. We’ll have only a few plants this spring…don’t miss out on this one!

Snow Fairy Variegated Bluebeard (Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’) is soft textured with fuzzy, feathery green leaves edged in bright white. Showy variegated foliage all season and a late summer bloom of gentle blue make this a striking 2’ tall accent for the sunny border or even for container gardens. It’s very undemanding, tolerating hot sun and drier conditions. We will treat it almost like a perennial…the top may die to the ground over winter but growth pushes back from the crown in late spring. Another very new plant with great possibilities…and it’s deer resistant!!!

Cascade Falls Pond Cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’) is a sure-fire way to add a unique touch to your garden. It’s a cute little weeper that will grow to its staked height then cascade downward…no two plants will look identical! The very soft textured, fine, needle-like, green foliage turns reddish-orange in autumn before falling off to reveal cinnamon-brown, ex-foliating bark for winter interest. This plant is perfect for pond side planting as it adapts to dry or wet sites, tolerating standing water and compacted soil. Just be sure to avoid sweeping winds. Use your pruners to control the size and length of the branches…trim to keep branch tips up off the ground or let them continue to grow as groundcover or to flow over a wall. This one is fun…like a Dr. Seuss tree!!!

Red Filli Crapemyrtle - (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 carmine red 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. Red Filli will add Southern charm to your garden.

Miracle Coralbells (Heuchera ‘Miracle’) doesperform miracle transformations through the season just as its name suggests. New spring leaves are chartreuse with a smattering of reddish purple in the centers…but the mature summer leaves change to brick red with a narrow chartreuse-gold edge and have silvery undersides. Tiny pink flowers cluster along slender upright above the 8-10” high tidy foliage mounds. It’s deer resistant too…a miracle plant for your partially shaded woodland garden!

Mystic Mist Foam Flower (Tiarella ‘Mystic Mist’) is a brand new introduction from Terra Nova Nurseries for 2009…but they are sending us a few this year. They tell us that bright green leaves will be heavily variegated with white speckles and have prominent bright red veins all season until fall color turns to striking pink tones. White foamflowers on slender stems in spring rise above a 5” high tidy foliage mound. Give this one good drainage and no very hot sun…and enjoy!

Golden Zebra Daylily (Hemerocallis x ‘Malja’) is not a new plant for us as we’ve been offering it for several years in our tropical line (Monrovia Nursery listed it as a zone 6 or 7). We’ve planted it and grown it successfully for the past 3 years and will attest to its cold tolerance…and it is a sure zone 4, perfectly winter hardy for us. After hearing our testimonial and feedback from others as far north as the Minneapolis area, Monrovia has re-classified this as a zone 4. Why all the commotion over a daylily??? Wait until you see this one! It has a nice golden yellow flower…but who cares?!! Plant this one for the fabulous foliage. Plant it in full sun to be rewarded with green and gold vertically striped foliage. In shadier sites you will get nearly white striping on the green leaf blades. It forms a neat clump of gracefully arching showy foliage…pretty enough to use in a patio container, but we love it in the flower garden as a border accent. Remember it’s a daylily…nothing is easier to grow!

And ROSES…always some beautiful new bloomers each and every year, and 2008 is no exception.

From Monrovia Nursery there’s a new one in the Flower Carpet series named Pink Supreme. It has lovely pink flowers tinged with white, blooming all summer until frost. Like others in the series, the real claim to fame is the disease resistance and easy care…no special spraying or pruning, and very hardy. The 2’ tall x 3’ wide size is perfect for a blooming landscape shrub.

Bailey Nurseries is introducing three new roses from the University of Minnesota breeding program. They are part of the new Northern Accents series and have been named Ole, Sven and Lena…ya, you betcha! Gee viz…ya got’cher zone 4 hardiness, great disease resistance, and continuous bloom all summer on 2-3’ plants. Ole is light pink. Sven is a mauve blend. Lena has frilly pink and white blooms. Uff-Da, what a great group!

We are honored to carry the new Forty Heroes rose from Bailey Nurseries. This highly disease resistant rosebush sends up large clusters of deep yellow blooms. Each flower opens to a symmetrical hybrid tea form and has a fresh fruity fragrance. Forty Heroes was named in honor of the real Forty Heroes from United flight 93. A portion of the proceeds help support “Remember Me”, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining three rose gardens, one each in New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, to honor the memory and spirit of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

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!