February 27, 2020

Plant of the week: Bloomerang® Dwarf Purple lilac

It's a great time to talk about lilacs.


Because lilacs thrive in places that are currently burdened with snow, sleet, ice and general winter grey. We need to talk about lilacs and dream of their sweet fragrance to keep the winter blues away.

What's better than a lilac flower in spring? How about a lilac that blooms in summer, too?

Let's go one step further and have a lilac that stays about 3' tall. So that homeowner with a small yard can get maximum lilac time with a minimal square-footage investment.

That sounds like a win all around!

Bloomerang® Dwarf Purple lilac is all that, plus improved disease-resistance. It's a great fit in smaller landscapes and patios, and an outstanding container plant for retail sales.

Like other lilacs it will want full sun, and has good deer-resistance. It's hardy in USDA 3-7, and like all Syringa will tolerate tough conditions like alkaline or clay soils.

Shrub Madness
I think March Madness is such a thing in the Midwest because it's a distraction from this painful month of grim weather.

We can do better than a basketball tournament, though. How about a plant tournament? The best of March Madness (minus the injuries and off-court shenanigans) combined with LILACS! Yes, that's Shrub Madness...and it's happening right now!

Pick your plants. Trash talk with the other plant nerds. Maybe put a little money down on your favorite genus. Come on, you know you have one. You've only got a few more days to complete your bracket and thus be entered to win some sweet prizes. Then you have all month to help pick the winner. Have fun!

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

February 20, 2020

Plant of the Week: Sparky™ Clematis

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles
Sparky™ Clematis are a fun group of new varieties with really distinctive blooms. They look like sea stars or sparklers, but these charmers don't need a special aquarium or come with a warning label.

They are spring blooming vines that will flower on old wood April through June, and occasionally produce some flowers on the summer growth, too.
They come in three colors: Sparky™ Blue (right),  Sparky™ Pink (left) and Sparky™ Purple. Sometimes I look at series of plants and think I just want to stick to one color, but I kind of like all three of these planted together.

All are hardy to USDA Zone 5 and will grow about 6-8' tall and 2' wide.  They will grow in full sun or part shade, but we do recommend planting them on a sheltered north and east exposure.
Happy birthday, Sparky Anderson!

His birthday isn't until Saturday, but this gives you time to bake a cake and maybe book a last minute ticket to see some spring training.

Speaking of spring training, it isn't just for baseball. Garden centers can use some spring training, too! Luckily, Proven Winners® has their 2020 Certified Garden Center Program up and ready to go. This is a great way for garden centers to get staff ready for spring so they can serve you better!

Play ball!

August 16, 2019

Plant of the Week: Pink Chiffon® Hibiscus

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles


It's warm - perfect for beaches and barbecue. And Hibiscus syriacus.

Pink Chiffon® H. syriacus habit
Rose-of-Sharon is beautiful right now, flowering happily when many other plants are kind of tired. What color do you want? Blue, white, purple? How about pink?

Pink Chiffon® H. syriacus is a delightful plant, charming even those of us who aren't partial to the color. The large blooms hit just the right part of pink: bright enough to stand out in the garden yet not disruptive.

Pink Chiffon® H. syriacus bloom

Like other H. syriacus, Pink Chiffon® grows best in full sun. It will get 8-12' tall and 6-10' wide, and is hardy to USDA Zone 5. It is one of several outstanding varieties brought to us by plant breeder Dr. Roderick Wood. His selections all have large, unique flowers and a full, graceful habit. They are much more appealing in containers than older varieties.

In addition to having abundant late summer flowers, rose-of-Sharon is a durable plant that will tolerate some challenging conditions. Heat, drought, clay soil - even deer in most areas don't bother it.

Get ready to celebrate!

August 18 is this Sunday, and it's a day to celebrate. Why? I'll give you two good reasons: it's the day U.S. women gained the right to vote in 1920, and it's the anniversary of the first plant patent! Wow!

The first plant patent was issued to New Jersey resident Henry Bosenberg in 1931 for the 'New Dawn' rose. Since then, thousands of plant patents have been granted. Breeding a new plant is no different than any other creation, and protecting intellectual property like songs, books, and yes, plants, is a critical element in our economy.

As exciting as plant hunting can be, it's a lot of work. It takes time, dedication, and attention to detail. And don't you think the person who spends years breeding a better hydrangea deserves both credit and compensation?

So how will you celebrate plants and women's suffrage? Buy a lady a plant! And cake! Wine, too, if she's old enough to enjoy it. After all, you only need to be 18 to vote. And if you know a young lady who's turning 18 soon, remind her to register to vote. (Young men, too).

Featured Post

Plant of the Week: Emerald Envy® Viburnum

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles The Emerald City is on my mind right now because I'm headed to Seattle this week for ...