GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2008 show2
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Show #2/1102
New Plant Ideas


Introduction
AT WALTERS GARDENS THEY GROW PERENNIAL PLANTS. Perennial plants come back every year. In particular they specialize in hardy plants, plants that grow in the upper mid west. John and his crew scour the entire globe looking for new plants. They think there's a great market for perennials and that these plants improve all the time.

Click here for more info

Lamium
WHEN JOHN AND HIS GROUP LOOK FOR PLANTS TO BRIGHTEN A SHADY GARDEN, they look for something that will perform and something that will provide texture. One plant that does this is Lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost.' John believes they were one of the first to bring Lamium into the U.S. back in the early 1980's from Windsor Bressingham.

Click here for more info

Pulmonaria
PULMONARIA IS A PLANT THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR AWHILE but they're recently breeding a lot of colors into the foliage. The blooms are also great. Majeste has a bright silver foliage. It's a new innovation in Pulmonaria with bright leaves, full silver leaves. Again imagine this plant in a dark place, it would bring a real pop of color to the area.

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Brunerra
THERE ARE SEVERAL VARIETIES OF BRUNNERA macrophylla 'Variegata' Brunnera-Heartleaf. The first is Variegata, the other is Brunnera macrophylla 'Hadspen Cream'. These have a proliferation of blue flowers, Forget Me Not kind of flowers in the spring, followed by a continuous performance of the variegated foliage. Eric mentions that he knows Walters is on the cutting edge of Brunnera breeding and there are 2 great selections he wants to see.

Click here for more info


Coral Bells or Heuchera
CORAL BELLS, BOTANICAL NAME HEUCHERAS, HAVE COME ALIVE THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. John shows us 2 examples, Heuchera 'Frosted Violet' and Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' have fantastic texture and wonderful foliage. These come from Charles and Martha Oliver in Pennsylvania, who've done a wonderful job. They have a nice splash of silver between the deep purple veins and it's really stark. The flowers start on the silver scrolls. Heucheras have not always been known for their flowering performance, instead for their foliage. Now there's work being done on both ends and we'll see some impressive results coming down the road.

Click here for more info


Heucherella
Heucherella is a cross between a Heuchera and a Tiarella cordifolia. They are a couple of great plants, great companion plants especially for the shadier garden.

Click here for more info


Hostas
ONE CAN'T HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT SHADE PLANTS WITHOUT LOOKING AT HOSTAS. John has an exciting collection and a number of really new Hostas. There are thousands of different Hostas that someone can pick for the shade garden. Again the challenge is picking out varieties that will work well. Our objective is to help the gardener understand the different types of Hostas, the different colors and patterns available.

Click here for more info


Slug Control
WHEN TALKING ABOUT HOSTAS ONE MUST TALK ABOUT SLUGS. There is nothing more disappointing than midway through the season to have slugs start feasting on your hostas. To help avoid this John feels it's important to look for hostas with thick leaves. The thicker the leaves, the more slug resistant. And there are a number of varieties available. Not only are thick leaves helpful in slug prevention but additionally leaves that have more seer-suckering. The more seer-suckering the more slug resistant but by all means look at the labels. On the labels one will see information about the varieties that are more slug resistant. Also if it is tetraploid, that will indicate that it is more slug resistant, as well.

Click here for more info


Hellebores or Lenten Rose
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING GROUPS OF SHADE PERENNIALS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS IS HELLEBORE OR LENTON ROSE. Here again there are a lot of new and exciting Hellebores that have just come on the market.

Click here for more info


Carex Family - Ornamental Grasses
THE CAREX FAMILY IS VERY GOOD FOR SHADE OR PART SHADE. Many think of ornamental grasses as a big clump of Pampas grass but there are so many different variations and some we'll look at are excellent for shade.

Click here for more info


Design Ideas
WE'VE LOOKED AT SO MANY NEW AND EXCITING PERENNIALS BUT MANY ARE PROBABLY ASKING - how do we put this all together? We next look at some combinations and some different ideas as to how to use these plants together. Heucheras or Coral Bells are great to address different color schemes because there is so much variety and so much interest in these plants. They also provide an opportunity to see how the different hues and densities of the colors work together.

Click here for more info

 


LINKS:

Boyden House B & B

Garden Smart Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.

704. What's New In Perennials
At Garden Smart we're often asked about the perfect plant. The greatest number of requests center around the search for a plant perfect for a shady spot, something that will provide a great splash of color. In this show we highlight a great line up of new and exciting shade perennials as well as several that work well in sunny conditions.
John Walters CEO of Walters Gardens is our guest this week. Eric feels that Walters Gardens is one of the most exciting, innovative greenhouse operations he has seen. John tells us a little about himself, his background and Walters Gardens. Walters is a wholesale perennial grower. It was started about 1946 by his grandmother. She had lost her husband, was trying to eek out a living and started growing some perennial plants. John's father also worked in the business as has John since an early age. He has done about every job around here over the many years. To John this is not only a vocation but an avocation.
AT WALTERS GARDENS THEY GROW PERENNIAL PLANTS. Perennial plants come back every year. In particular they specialize in hardy plants, plants that grow in the upper mid west. John and his crew scour the entire globe looking for new plants. They think there's a great market for perennials and that these plants improve all the time. Eric notices a lot of new technology throughout this facility. In particular one piece of equipment is new to him. Eric is correct, John explains that it is a new piece of equipment, just purchased last year. They were looking for something that would help them be more productive and increase their automation capacity. They came across the Ellie guard, which is made in Denmark. The Ellie Guard does away with pots and plugs. It injects soil in through a paper sleeve therefore eliminating containers, no more pots. They think pots just get thrown into the environment, thus they're being more environmentally friendly. John finds the plants grow better because of the structure of the sleeve. Because it's paper air is able to approach the plant from all sides, which encourages root development.
John and Eric walk through the line that moves plants from raw materials to a finished plant. From the Ellie machine the plug goes down the line, is watered, then dibbled (the dibble puts a little hole into the soil) so they transplant better, from there they go to the ladies placing cuttings into the hole. These cuttings are actually tissue culture cuttings but they work with other cuttings as well. Since we've seen the planting process, Eric now wants to see some new plants.
Often shade gardens pose lots of problems from a standpoint of finding something exciting, something with a touch of color, something that will brighten up those shady areas. Often times people just think different shades of green are all that's available for spaces like that. This show should dispel those myths.
Top

WHEN JOHN AND HIS GROUP LOOK FOR PLANTS TO BRIGHTEN A SHADY GARDEN, they look for something that will perform and something that will provide texture. One plant that does this is Lamium maculatum 'Orchid Frost.' John believes they were one of the first to bring Lamium into the U.S. back in the early 1980's from Windsor Bressingham. One plant is called Orchid Frost, it is a variety that not only has a silvery color but a flower that looks somewhat orchid pink. It holds up well under heat and humid conditions. It's a great plant. Another, Ligularia dentata 'Britt-Marie Crawford' is a plant that comes out of Scotland, from the Crawford family. It has really nice, deep intense purple leaves and stems. It's dynamic, especially planted with the Lamium Orchid Frost. Eric notices the transition from the silver to purples. Dicentra eximia 'Goldheart' has wonderful color and texture. It offsets against the other plants. Imagine a dark day or evening and looking into the shade and seeing this plant? It would just brighten everything up.
Top

PULMONARIA IS A PLANT THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR AWHILE but they're recently breeding a lot of colors into the foliage. The blooms are also great. Majeste has a bright silver foliage. It's a new innovation in Pulmonaria with bright leaves, full silver leaves. Again imagine this plant in a dark place, it would bring a real pop of color to the area. Pulmonaria longifolia 'Roy Davidson' have a great flowering performance early in the spring, when they flower, but then the foliage takes over and it lasts the entire season. It too brings an extra splash of color to the shade garden.
Top

THERE ARE SEVERAL VARIETIES OF BRUNNERA macrophylla 'Variegata' Brunnera-Heartleaf. The first is Variegata, the other is Brunnera macrophylla 'Hadspen Cream'. These have a proliferation of blue flowers, Forget Me Not kind of flowers in the spring, followed by a continuous performance of the variegated foliage. Eric mentions that he knows Walters is on the cutting edge of Brunnera breeding and there are 2 great selections he wants to see. One is Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' the second is Brunerra macrophylla 'Looking Glass'. Eric feels these are a remarkable improvement for Brunnera. He wants to know how were these developed or how were they found? John feels this is one of the best new plants in the market during the last 10 years. It was basically a chance discovery. They have a variety they call Brunnera macrophylla 'Langtree'. It has a green leaf with a little bit of fleckering, a little silver but not much. One day up popped a sport and it was named 'Jack Frost' and it glows. The sport from Jack Frost is called Brunnera macrophylla 'Looking Glass'. It too will add pop to the shade garden.
Eric thinks that no garden should be without Coral Bells. For shade areas they are outstanding. There is every color of the rainbow represented and Eric thinks they have some great selections here. There are probably a hundred different types one could choose, every color is represented. How does Walters Gardens narrow it down and what are some of the best selections?
Top

CORAL BELLS, BOTANICAL NAME HEUCHERAS, HAVE COME ALIVE THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. John shows us 2 examples, Heuchera 'Frosted Violet' and Heuchera 'Silver Scrolls' have fantastic texture and wonderful foliage. These come from Charles and Martha Oliver in Pennsylvania, who've done a wonderful job. They have a nice splash of silver between the deep purple veins and it's really stark. The flowers start on the silver scrolls. Heucheras have not always been known for their flowering performance, instead for their foliage. Now there's work being done on both ends and we'll see some impressive results coming down the road. Heuchera 'Magestic Angel' has green leaves with darker veins against some nice silver patterning. It's outstanding. Heuchera 'Obsidian' has a super dark leaf, thus stands out among Heucheras. It is a great plant, probably the darkest Heuchera we know today. It comes from the breeding work of Dan Hines and Terra Nova Nurseries. They've done a marvelous job of coming up with a lot of different colors and combinations. It's a great plant, has wonderful texture and foliage and stands out in the garden. In the opposite direction is a variety with yellowish, greenish foliage, Heuchera 'Lime Rickey' and it is great as well. Eric imagines these 2 planted together with the bright chartreuse and the dark purpley black leaves. They're fantastic. John shows Eric another of Terra Nova's, this one Heuchera 'Peach Flambe'. It's an interesting color we've not seen before in a Coral Bell. Heucheras are not just for the shade, they do well in full sun as well. In fact, with a couple of developments recently, by using a Heuchera villosa, which is an American Eastern native, Heucheras are now tolerating more heat and humidity than ever before. Following are several examples. Heuchera villosa 'Caramel' is one. Another is Heuchera villosa 'Citronelle'. These are a couple of brand new varieties that just came on the market the past few years. They are fantastic in sun or shade, a very versatile perennial and it's hard to beat the really intense splash of color.
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Another plant with an interesting pattern is Heucherella 'Stoplight'. It has a chartreuse leaf with a splash of red right down the center of the leaf. It's exciting. Heucherella is a cross between a Heuchera and a Tiarella cordifolia. They are a couple of great plants, great companion plants especially for the shadier garden. With the Tiarella one sees a nice splash of color on the flowers. It's earlier, yet it still has a nice display of flowers against the really nice foliage. John thinks Tiarella is underused in the landscape. It's a great plant that gives one that splash of color in early spring yet it performs all season long. It's a great plant, yet low maintenance.
Top

ONE CAN'T HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT SHADE PLANTS WITHOUT LOOKING AT HOSTAS. John has an exciting collection and a number of really new Hostas. There are thousands of different Hostas that someone can pick for the shade garden. Again the challenge is picking out varieties that will work well. Our objective is to help the gardener understand the different types of Hostas, the different colors and patterns available. John and Eric walk through several. Hosta 'Sum and Substance' is a really big leaf, gold plant, probably one of the best chartreuse Hostas. It's a great performer with a beautiful lavender flower that holds on via a huge stalk. Hosta 'Blue Angel' has a big blue powdery leaf. There are lot of big blue leaf Hostas. Blues have a tendency of looking their best early in the season, then as the sun intensifies they start fading somewhat. Hosta 'Patriot' has a nice green center with a white margin. Hosta 'Hanky Panky' has an interesting leaf with about 4 different shades of gold, green and white. Hosta 'Lakeside Shore Master' is also a nice Hosta. It too has blue in its foliage, however it actually performs better after spring and as summer goes on it gets better and better. Some Hostas fade a little, some keep getting better. 'Patriot' has been around for awhile, is more medium sized and has stood the test of time. It keeps on going and people keep buying it. It's a great plant. With the breeding of Hostas, some red stemmed Hostas are starting to emerge. One example is Hosta 'Katsurgawa Beni'. It seems breeders have run out of color combinations and are moving on to other arenas. One of those is red stems and red fennials. They have a nice look with the red and green. The guys next look at some dwarf Hostas. Oftentimes when thinking of Hostas we think of big, lush plants and we don't think of other applications, such as something dainty. Yet some of those are outstanding. For example Hosta of the year for 2008 is Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears' and it is fantastic. It is a good grower and a good performer. There is a place for every plant, for every Hosta. Big Hostas work well in the back where there is a lot of space, medium Hostas work in the middle but in the front is a great place for the smaller Hostas. One that's been around for awhile but is a great standby as far as dwarf Hostas goes is Hosta 'Pandora's Box'. Eric has seen it in clumps that are 5 or 10 years old and they don't get very large. Their color, contrast and vibrant looks are great in a shade garden. Hosta 'Silver Threads and Golden Needles' has an interesting name and is a different kind of plant, very unique. Hosta 'Zing Zang' has a unique leaf form, a little green speckling brush throat kind of look to what otherwise would be a nice creamy white leaf. It's a new plant for John so he will be anxious to see how it performs as it goes along. Another exciting newcomer is Hosta 'Paradigm' which is Hosta of the year for 2007. It's a nice Hosta, has been around for awhile but being decorated once again. It's a great garden Hosta, is a relatively young plant that turns into quite a specimen.
Top

WHEN TALKING ABOUT HOSTAS ONE MUST TALK ABOUT SLUGS. There is nothing more disappointing than midway through the season to have slugs start feasting on your hostas. To help avoid this John feels it's important to look for hostas with thick leaves. The thicker the leaves, the more slug resistant. And there are a number of varieties available. Not only are thick leaves helpful in slug prevention but additionally leaves that have more seer-suckering. The more seer-suckering the more slug resistant but by all means look at the labels. On the labels one will see information about the varieties that are more slug resistant. Also if it is tetraploid, that will indicate that it is more slug resistant, as well.
Top

ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING GROUPS OF SHADE PERENNIALS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS IS HELLEBORE OR LENTON ROSE. Here again there are a lot of new and exciting Hellebores that have just come on the market. Eric notices that we're in the coldest greenhouse we've been in all day, it's just above freezing. John says that they normally take their finished plants and put them in a cold house. They let them go dormant, let them sleep over the winter so they're ready to pop in in the spring and start actively growing. But, Hellebores love these conditions, this is when they shine. John talks about 3 among many and there are a lot coming on the market. One is called Helleborus argutifolius 'Pacific Frost' it has a pointed leaf and has more marbling in the foliage. It blooms a little later in the season and is a neat introduction. It has obviously been selected for its foliage characteristics. The next is Helleborus Ivory Prince 'Walhelivor' and it has nice green foliage with large flowers that face outward rather than looking downward. Hellebores tend to be a little shy with their flowers, they bury them down in the foliage. This variety is definitely showier from a flower standpoint as the flowers are outward facing. With the usual Helleborus one normally must reach down and pick up the flower to see them. They can be beautiful but it is often tough to do that, thus nice when they come out and look at you. Another Helleborus is 'Blackthorn Strain' and was selected for the deep purple leaves with bracks on the outside that also have deep purple with a clean green. It is a variation from other Hellebores and a nice selection.
A lot of the shade plants we've looked at have big, round leaves, Hostas for example. Heucheras have a more spade shaped leaf but ornamental grasses bring a whole new texture to the shade garden. People normally don't think of ornamental grasses for shade. Instead they think that ornamental grasses are full sun plants but that's not always the case.

THE CAREX FAMILY IS VERY GOOD FOR SHADE OR PART SHADE. Many think of ornamental grasses as a big clump of Pampas grass but there are so many different variations and some we'll look at are excellent for shade. Carex elata 'Bowles golden' grows to about 1 to 2 feet tall and is wonderful for the shade. It has yellow foliage that sticks out when looking at a shady environment and does well in that situation. It has a great splash of golden color and adds a different type of texture in the shade garden. Another Carex is Carex morrowii 'Ice Dance'. It is a little different type, has a more green leaf with a little bit of white variegation on the edge that adds a different contrast to yellow foliage and it does well in shady environments. Carex hachijoensis 'Evergold' stays relatively short. It is also evergreen, no matter what time of year it is it's performing. It brightens up a dark area or a semi-shaded area. A unique type of grass is Sisyrinchium 'Blue Eyed Grass'. Sisyrinchium lucerne has starry blue flowers in the springtime, that is why it's called Blue Eyed Grass.
Top

WE'VE LOOKED AT SO MANY NEW AND EXCITING PERENNIALS BUT MANY ARE PROBABLY ASKING - how do we put this all together? We next look at some combinations and some different ideas as to how to use these plants together. Heucheras or Coral Bells are great to address different color schemes because there is so much variety and so much interest in these plants. They also provide an opportunity to see how the different hues and densities of the colors work together. In one combination we view there is both sparkling burgundy and caramel, both are warm colors which means they tend more to the yellow side as opposed to the blue side and it's a harmonious combination. They're good earth tone colors and compliment each other quite well. By juxtaposition we notice an area with jade gloss which is a cool bluish tone on Heucheras next to the caramel. It's not as good a combination. They don't clash but don't compliment each either either. As we put plants together we should think of keeping all warm tones together and keeping all cool tones together. That's a good rule of thumb for starting off. At the same time as one moves plants around try different color combinations, take a light hearted approach. With so many different varieties available, why have just one or two varieties. Play a little bit more and experiment a little with colors.
We look at another totally different type of combination. Here we have a caramel and sparkling burgundy which are colors that would be very close to each other on the color wheel. More of the reddish and orange hues that are kind of warmer tones and they work well together. Another group has a deep purple and a bright chartreuse color that would be opposites on the color wheel but they look good together. These plants are Heuchera 'Lime Rickey' and Heuchera 'Frosted Violet' and the contrast is amazing. They just grab you, a nice color combination. The chartreuse really helps one see more of the violet, it draws the eye into the planting and brightens everything. It's a great way to put two contrasting colors together. Another great combination of shade perennials is Heuchera "Frosted Violet' and Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' and they make a dynamic duo. The heart shaped leaf, the light color versus the dark foliage. It has a little different leaf color and there is some silver banding but it's a little different type of silver. They work well together and the contrast is harmonious. A nice pair. We often don't think of shade perennials in containers, more commonly when thinking about container combinations sun perennials come to mind. But shade perennials work well together in a container, especially some with an incredible amount of color. One example is Heucherella 'Stoplight' planted in a beautiful blue container. It, too, is stunning. It's not only the foliage but the burgundy spreading into the veins. A great look.
We've seen a lot of amazing plants in this show. A lot of exciting new perennials. Eric thanks John for this tour. His operation is amazing, his plant knowledge outstanding. Thanks John for all the plant information.
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LINKS:

Boyden House B & B

Garden Smart Plant List


   
 
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