March 21, 2009
Trees and plants cool urban areas, serve as windbreaks, and reduce noise, dust and water runoff. USDA Forest Service Pamphlet #R1-92-100 tells us “over a 50-year lifetime, a single tree generates $31,250 of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.”
Planting trees reduces utility bills. Windbreak trees provides savings of 10-20% on heating bills, while shading windows and walls with plants can lower air conditioning costs by 25-50%. The evaporation from a single large tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
While those of us gardeners who love trees and all plants never need justification, the economic value of plants should be a motivator to everyone to dig a few holes and start growing for future savings and benefits.
As always, we are very excited by some of the new plant varieties being released this year. A quick peek at a very few of our new varieties follows to whet your appetite for the new gardening season!
TWIST–N-SHOUT HYDRANGEA (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘PIIHN-I”)
An absolutely extraordinary reblooming lacecap hydrangea debuts from the Endless Summer Collection of Bailey Nurseries. Large flower clusters of lacy deep-pink centers surrounded by gorgeous blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue bloom on both old and new wood all summer long. Flower color depends on soil type with pink in alkaline soil and blue in acidic conditions. Sturdy red stems hold the large blooms and glossy deep green leaves turn a lovely red-burgundy in fall. Great color and interest all season! Easy to care for and hardy to zone 4, this new beauty is elegant for a stand-alone specimen, dramatic in combination with other plants, and compact enough for containers. Best blooming and performance will be in sites with full morning sun and filtered shade for hot afternoons. We expect the plant to eventually reach about 3-4’. You’ll be dancing & shouting praises to this beauty!
COOL SPLASH BUSH HONEYSUCKLE(Diervilla sessifolia ‘LPDC Podaras’)
The first variegated Diervilla! Its bright white stands out dramatically even in shady borders. The cool foliage splashes green and bright white right up until the first frost. Bunches of small yellow flowers in clusters adorn the plant in June and July. This densely branched, rounded, spreading shrub is so very easy, tolerating sun or shade and drier conditions. It can develop colonies over time with a tendency to form underground suckers that can be easily contained with a few snips from your pruners! We expect it to grow 2 ½- 4’ tall. Use in woodland settings or mass plantings for a bright, cool splash of WOW!
CONEFLOWERS (Echinacea hybrid varieties)
Seems like every year there’s some new color or new twist on the native prairie coneflower and this year three new varieties are standouts…
TOMATO SOUP has blooms the color of …well, you guess! The delicious color holds for 7-10 days before they begin to soften, giving a kaleidoscope of red to pinkish colors held on sturdy, well-branched stems. Fragrant blossoms make terrific long-lasting cut flowers, but you’ll have to fight off the multitude of butterflies that are attracted to the flowers in order to get your bouquet!
MAC ‘N CHEESE has blooms the color of…ok, guess again! Highly fragrant, 4” flowers are colorfast and will last 10-12 days in the vase for cut bouquets. The brilliant splash of yellow will be so showy in the garden that the butterflies will be attracted like a magnet.
PINK POODLE is one of the most exciting new varieties to show up in years. Massive dahlia-like blossoms are true pink. The blooms look single at first but as they open the petals keep coming to create a fully double, fluffy pom-pom. Fragrant flowers will last 8-10 days in the vase. This beauty attracts butterflies and the “oohs & aahs” of any garden enthusiast!
ITOH PEONY COLLECTION (Paeonia ‘Itoh Hybrids’)
For those who admire the colorful and exotic flowers of tree peonies, yet want the easy care of old-fashioned garden peonies, your dreams have come true! This new group of hybrids are a cross of herbaceous with tree peonies combining the best qualities of both…the huge flowers and unusual colors of trees and the ease of care and vigor of the old fashioned herbaceous. These cultivars offer bright yellow flowers and some other fascinating colors on stems strong enough to hold the flowers that may exceed 10” across. Because many flowers are produced from side shoots, blooms appear over a longer time period. It is not unusual for a mature plant to produce 50 or more blooms, and if cut back after flowering, may produce a second flush. Plants die back to the ground in winter and fresh new shoots emerge from the ground in spring, growing 24-32” high by summer. We will offer in very limited quantities the following varieties: Bartzella, a fragrant clear yellow with double flowers; Cora Louise, a large semi-double that opens pale pink but quickly fades to white with striking dark lavender flares; Julia Rose, semi-double flowers that are red in bud opening to cherry-red and fading through peachy-orange to yellowish; and Kopper Kettle, large semi-double copper-orange flowers with darker centers and occasional yellow petal streaks. All are truly fabulous!
Many other new varieties, as well as our tried and true favorites, will be coming in from our dedicated growers. We strive to bring you the best…the best varieties and the healthiest and finest quality plants available. Please visit us this season to see our plants and talk to our experienced staff. Our garden center team includes 8 Iowa Certified Nursery Professionals and many other team members who have the gardening knowledge and skills to correctly answer your gardening questions…Peck’s has been providing advice to gardeners since 1956! We look forward to your visits and wish you health, happiness and gardening fun throughout the coming season!