Plant of the Week: Hydrangea

A perfect fit. 

Bobo® is the smallest Hydrangea paniculata on the market (3' tall and 3-4' wide). That's noteworthy in its own right, but the really special thing is that it opens up a lot of possibilities for landscapers and gardeners.

Typical H. paniculata get pretty big - 8 or 10' tall. They're good for hedges, or as a high impact specimen in a larger bed. But Bobo® can be used as a foundation planting or en masse. It can be tucked into a smaller border, and even used in container gardens. Since it's a super hardy USDA Zone 3 it gives cold-climate patio gardeners a beautiful new option for their planters.

Another cute little hydrangea is Invincibelle Wee White®, a dwarf form of 'Annabelle'. Dwarf 'Annabelle', you say? Yes - you already know how to use this little guy. You've probably been laying awake at night dreaming of the day that you had such a hydrangea - and here it is!

Invincibelle Wee White® grows 1-2.5' tall and wide. Normally I don't recommend H. arborescens in containers. They're plants that really like to be in the ground. But this little plant seems to do OK in a planter. It's certainly hardy enough - USDA Zone 3.

Both Invincibelle Wee White® and Bobo® hydrangeas will grow well in full sun. They will do OK in partial shade, but you will likely see more flowers in full sun, especially as you go farther north.

Plant of the Week: Roses

Let's grow some roses!

As the name suggests, our Oso Easy® roses are easy to grow: disease-resistant, low-growing, and long-blooming. They look great in a container, and are an excellent mass planting. Give them full sun and regular water and these little blooming machines will go all season long without a stop.

The only difficulty will be deciding which color to plant. I'm partial to the 'Peace'-like coloration of Oso Easy® Italian Ice® (top), but last weekend's 3 am roadside revelry by some recent high school graduates has me thinking that Oso Easy® Urban Legend® (bottom) looks pretty good.
Like all roses, Oso Easy® varieties will do best in full sun. Most varieties are 1-3' tall and wide and hardy to USDA Zone 4, although Oso Easy® Paprika, Hot Paprika™ and Peachy Cream will go into USDA Zone 3.
June is National Rose Month! 
A whole commemorative month was probably unnecessary: roses are the winners of pop culture horticulture. Songs, sonnets, ugly wallpaper - roses are one plant that everyone recognizes.

But roses are pretty fabulous. Beautiful as well as tough, it's no wonder that they have inspired so much art and romance. So we might as well admit that we like roses, too, and join the party.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

Plant of the Week: Pugster® Buddleia

Small but mighty.
The name Pugster® is a nod to those cute little dogs with the heavy breathing and googly eyes. Pugster® Buddleia don't have the Darth Vadar sound effects of a pug, but they are charming and sturdy, just like the dog.

The exceptionally thick stems of Pugster® Buddleia give them superior winter hardiness in the northern part of their zone. Butterfly bush often struggles in colder climates, and the thicker stems of these new plants will come through winter better than the thin stems of other varieties.

Pugster® Buddleia come in four colors: Blue, Periwinkle, Pink, and White. All are hardy to USDA Zone 5 and grow about 2' tall and wide. They are strong rebloomers, and like other Buddleia will do best in full sun.

This is the butterfly bush for northern climates.
Thick, sturdy stems make Pugster® Buddleia a good choice for colder climates. Cold, wet winters are really hard on butterfly bush, and the thicker stems are better able to live through cold and snowy winters.

In the northern parts of its range butterfly bush may die back to the ground and perform more like a perennial than a flowering shrub. We recommend early season rather than fall planting in these areas. Cutting it back in later winter will help to maintain a nice full habit. Pugster® Buddleia have a nice bushy habit and dense branching so is a good looking plant when others can be rangy.

Those of you in milder climates may want to look at the Lo & Behold® Buddleia. These plants are low growing and bushy rebloomers, like Pugster®, but are permitted for sale in Oregon and Washington State.
Got questions about butterfly bush? Check out the ultimate guide to butterfly bush. Yes, it's a real thing, and yes, it's the ultimate. Have a great holiday weekend!

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

Plant of the Week: Sonic Bloom® Weigela

Sonic Bloom®

Sonic Bloom® Weigela was selected for their outstanding flowering - both in spring and in summer. These plants have the heaviest rebloom we've seen on a weigela. They flower in spring along with the rest of the class, then reward gardeners with waves of repeat blooms until frost. 

The Sonic Bloom® Weigela come in three colors: Red, Pink and Pearl, which is a white flower that turns soft pink. All get 4-5' tall and wide and will grow in full sun. This is important: they are hardy to USDA Zone 4.

Like other reblooming forms of traditionally spring-blooming plants, the Sonic Bloom® Weigela flower on both old and new wood. Trim them immediately after flowering as you would an old-fashioned variety, and don't prune them in fall.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles




Plant of the Week: Wedding Cake® Spiraea

Love is in the air...

Weddings are great. It's wonderful to see two people commit to a future together. Hopefully there are lots of smiles and laughter and that one relative we all have manages to behave themself. If things go off the rails, there's always cake.

Wedding Cake® Spiraea nipponica is an improved form of this popular landscape plant. More compact than 'Snowmound', it puts on a stellar show of pure white flowers in spring. It has better container presentation at retail, as seen by this
charming one-gallon presented by our New Plant Development dude, Sean.
Sean is a rugged guy, up for skiing, hiking and any kind of weather Michigan throws at him. So is Wedding Cake®: hardy to USDA Zone 4, it will take sun or partial shade. Sean is kind of tall, but Wedding Cake® grows just 3-3.5' tall and wide.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

Plant of the Week: Bloomerang® Lilac

Back at ya!

That's what a boomerang does, right? You throw it and it comes back. Same thing as Bloomerang® lilac. It flowers, and then the flowers come back. OK, so maybe not as fast as a boomerang returns from walkabout, but certainly later that same season.

Bloomerang® lilacs bloom in spring like regular Syringa and then go through a rest period before blooming again in late summer. They will flower through fall, often flowering right up until frost.

Just as there is some skill to throwing a boomerang, you do need to pay attention to how you grow Bloomerang® lilacs. Trim them immediately after the spring bloom so the plant has time to produce the new growth with new flowers on it. They are cold hardy to USDA Zone 3, and do best in full sun.

Lilac love.
Lilacs are beloved by many, both gardeners and non-gardeners. Many of us have happy memories of cut lilacs perfuming the house in spring. When I was young we had a cat who would hop up onto the counter (bad kitty!) to sit next to the vase and breathe in the sweet perfume of our lilac bouquets. She liked it so much that she didn't chew on the leaves like she did on houseplants.

Maybe cats like lilacs. Laura's cat visits her as she plants a Bloomerang® lilac in this latest Garden Answer video. If you haven't watched the Garden Answer videos, please do. They're a great way to get people excited about gardening and inspired to do some garden center shopping.

For a really fragrant lilac, check out the Scent and Sensibility™ Pink variety. It reblooms, although not as strongly as the Bloomerang® varieties. Its fragrance, though, is out of this world. Walking through our greenhouse you can smell them before you see them and it's delightful.
Perhaps cats like lilacs because they have similar cultural requirements. Both like sun and hate wet feet.

Plant of the Week:

It's OK to show off.

When you're this awesome, it's OK to show off. Think of Michael Jordan catching air, or Lady Gaga singing the national anthem. Being that fabulous and not showing the world would be weird, like if a stock market savant chose to live in a modest house in Omaha. Oh, wait - that's what Warren Buffet does. And I'll bet that he's got a forsythia in his yard, because after a dreary midwestern winter he deserves some yellow flowers.

If you're going to have a plant that adds something to the landscape for only a couple of weeks, make it the best couple of weeks you can. Show Off® Forsythia have better flower displays than other varieties, and nice compact habits that don't take up room in the landscape the rest of the year.
Pick the size that's right for you: the original Show Off® grows 5-6' tall. Show Off® Starlet is 2-3' tall, and Show Off® Sugar Baby is just 1.5-2.5' tall and wide. All are hardy to USDA Zone 5 and will grow in full sun or partial shade.

Let's show a little respect for Forsythia.

Let's be honest. It's hard to get excited about Forsythia. It's not the kind of plant that gets you points in the plant snob world. After all, it's something that almost everyone recognizes and everyone knows its Latin name. How on earth are you supposed to show off your horticultural superiority with Forsythia?
Well, start by getting over yourself. People know and love forsythia because it makes them happy after a long, cold winter. It looks its best just as folks are ready to finally do something about their crummy landscape, so of course it's what they buy on that first spring trip to the garden center.

It's also a very functional plant. Deer-resistant and durable, it will tolerate clay soil, black walnut and generally lousy conditions including urban sites. It's a great gateway plant for the beginning gardener.

The only tricky thing can be flowering. Don't prune it in fall. Gardeners in colder climates may see flowers only below the snow line because uninsulated buds get damaged by cold temperatures. Compact varieties like Show Off® will have a better bloom display because the flowers are protected by snow overwinter. Show Off's flowers run from base to tip so you get a really nice full display.
And that's how you show off your horticultural knowledge with Forsythia: you recommend the best variety for the site and keep people from pruning it into a disappointing meatball.