Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis is one of the most beautiful gardens I've seen personally. They have a fantastic program to recognize outstanding plants named Plants of Merit. Anything off the basic list is highly recommended for the St. Louis area which is pretty true for the Kansas City area.
The superstars of this program are classified as Emiretus Plants of Merit. I was enthralled at each of the categories especially so with the shrubs. So many times you find a shrub named in gardening media, their ultimate size is way too large for the average sized garden. But so many of the shrubs were compact and I know I will use many of them in future landscape projects. So check it out before next spring!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If you are into house plants, you should know about http://www.logees.com/ for new varieties.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I am not an expert at all when it comes to ornamental grasses. But I have been frustrated when I find one for my garden it is way too large for me or the average sized garden. David gave me three varieties of which the most interesting was a pink flowered muhly grass (Muhlenbergia reverchonii) named Autumn Embers. David collected the seed himself from an area west of Fort Worth last fall. Wouldn't you have loved to be there? It is a midsized variety sizing up at 24 to 36 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide. Well I'm throwing out my "you must in threes" formula due to its size, but I think one surrounded by broad leaf perennials could add to the texture in my garden.
Our family farm in Trenton, MO is surrounded by my father-in-law's soybean and wheat fields so herbicide drift is a big issue. And lo and behold the most reliable and best-performing plants are the cannas. So in the gardens we are planning, cannas are a big part of the picture. I hope my grandmother would approve.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I grew Iceland poppies back when I was a kid in Sydney as a winter annual. I always thought they would be way too delicate to plant here in the Midwest. But my friend Jan Vinyard recently shared with me that you should treat them just like California poppies. In late February or early March she finds a bare spot in the garden, does a little scratching around in the soil and sows some seed. This way they will begin growing as soon as possible and bloom early spring. Until you've seen the actual flower, you cannot believe how beautiful the paperlike blossoms can be. Thanks Jan.
One of the highlights of my career was providing marketing communication consultation services to Ecke’s company—an experience that completely changed my perception of poinsettias. I always thought of them as mangled plants in plastic sleeves sold at local big box retailers, but Ecke showcased a stunning plant in many colors and forms with a broad range of decorating possibilities. So my family began a new Christmas tradition after my visit by going to a garden center to select plants for gifts and home. My recent mission was to find the most exciting colors and forms at Kansas City area garden centers for this holiday season.
Family Tree Nursery greenhouses in Kansas City, KS grow 44 varieties in eight pot sizes, totaling more than 22,000 plants for their three retail locations. Holly Ingle, the nursery’s head grower is a big fan of an early variety series with large, oak leaf-shaped bracts and foliage named Christmas Carol. In red, pink and white cultivars, it's a dark green-leaved variety, so the bracts are really set off against it. She says “I think it's very showy."
For those of you interested in something more unusual, Holly also likes Jester. "Traditionally, it has always been an interesting red, with its pointy, serrated bracts. It looks like it's off to a party!” she says, adding that there’s now a pink, too.
The manager of operations for the Heartland Nursery and Garden Center in Lee’s Summit, MO, Kevin Keilig says his favorites include a strong, heavily branched variety named Cortez Burgundy. The flowers (bracts) may not be as large as some varieties, but there are plenty of them, they last a long time and the dark burgundy makes for a dramatic impact. Kevin’s next choice falls in the “love it or leave it” category. The Winter Rose series is known for ruffled, semi-double bracts that look something like a rose bloom. The first cultivar, ‘Dark Red,’ generated a lot of excitement at its introduction because it retains colorful bracts for up to six months. Winter Rose Peppermint has the ruffled flower form with red and white speckled bracts. Any in this series could be an intriguing choice, good as a party conversation starter or a distinctive gift.
Heartland is also following the recent trend of combining poinsettias with euphorbia Diamond Frost. Proven Winners branded this combination of two plants in one pot as DiamondPoint™, and Kevin says both will flower well past the holidays. You can also bring in your Diamond Frost from the garden next season, shear it back and enjoy a beautiful houseplant all winter.