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48/1809. Woody Ornamentals

Summary of Show

Woody Ornamentals Are Perennials With Woody Stems

These almost always seem to be woody perennials or as he refers to them - perennials that have woody stems.    People don't need to be intimidated about a flowering shrub, they can be used as perennials. Tim is looking for plants that will perform in the American garden - plants that are insect and disease resistant, plants that are more compact, that require less pruning, plants with interesting and colorful foliage, plants that will have more than 3 weeks of "pow" when the plants are in bloom. 

For More Information Click here

Weigila Wine & Roses

Tim shows us several examples that make the point very well. Weigila Wine & Roses is a plant from the Netherlands. It has beautiful red foliage, it blooms in May, has beautiful hot pink flowers, it's adored by hummingbirds, thus brings hummingbirds to the garden, plus one can cut the branches and use them in flower arrangements.

For More Information Click here

Dwarf Spirea

A brand new dwarf selection of Spirea, called Double Plate Gold is nice because the foliage looks good all season long, it's very compact so you don't spend a lot of time pruning or caring for it. It flowers in late May, early June. What is showing is a secondary flower that continues later in the summer.

For More Information Click here

Ninebark

Phisocarpus, more commonly known as Ninebark, is a native shrub that typically has green foliage. The variety we're viewing, Summer Wine, has purple or burgundy foliage, it blooms in the spring, has pinkish white button flowers all along the stem. It's very graceful and kind of weeping and after its done flowering one can enjoy the beautiful foliage. It has a great shape, it comes up and sort of arches over. It's not the tallest plant, but certainly not suited for small gardens. There is another purple variety on the market that is about 12 feet tall. 

For More Information Click here

My Monet

The next plant is a very small shrub found in the Netherlands. It's called My Monet. It's also a Weigila and unlike some of the others it has variegated foliage and is very small. In fact it's so small they use it like one would an annual, something like a Coleus or a bedding plant, edging the border with the variegated foliage.

For More Information Click here

Lo & Behold Blue Chip

The next Buddleia is much shorter than usual. It is called Lo & Behold Blue Chip and was developed to be a compact variety. Instead of being an upright plant that grows to 6 to 8 feet tall, this plant stays approximately 2 or 3 feet tall. It's not leggy, doesn't need much pruning and it just keeps making new flowers.

For More Information Click here

Hydrangeas

Tim's collection of hydrangeas is amazing and they're different. Tim talks about several. They have some really great hydrangeas coming and he shows us 2 that are very exciting. Limelight Hydrangea, a hydrangea paniculata is a beautiful plant, the flowers come out a beautiful lime green. It's remarkable that the blooms hold up so well, they don't flop like the old Pee Gee does and it continually sends out new blooms. As the blooms age they actually change to a pink color. It's a reliably blooming plant, very hardy, very easy to grow, a great plant for full sun. But, it's quite large, one would need some room for this plant. In front is a dwarf variety of Limelight, called Little Lime.

For More Information Click here

Pruning Hydrangeas

We receive a lot of pruning questions about hydrangeas. Tim has some tips. We look at a Paniculatas, they have a cone shaped flower and they flower on the current seasons wood or on new wood. So, if you prune these in the spring, you can cut them back very hard, as much as half way and they will still bloom. You don't have to prune them, but if you do prune them you will get bigger flowers and you can prune them to any shape you desire. So the take home message is - prune them in late winter, early spring. If you do that you should have no problems.

For More Information Click here

Incrediball

The next plant has huge flowers. It's a new hydrangea they developed called Incrediball. And it's rightfully named. The blooms are very large. It's a hydrangea arborescens, sometimes called Hills of Snow or annabelle hydrangea. This particular variety, Incrediball, has really large flowers and it's very easy to care for, very easy to grow.

For More Information Click here

Invincibelle Spirit

And, they now have a pink version of the plant. It's an exciting introduction, it's never come in any color other than white but they now have a pink version. And, that's a first, the first time ever to have an arborescens with a ball shaped flower that's something other than white. Invincibelle Spirit is a special plant, it's the only pink form of hydrangea arborescens and quite a breakthrough. These particular plants are relatively young in age, just planted this year but Invincibelle Spirit will grow to be a larger plant. The flower heads will grow larger. They won't be as large as the previous flowers but will grow to 3 or 4 feet tall and the blooms will grow to about 8 inches across. They're gorgeous. Not only are they beautiful in terms of color but unique, the only pink hydrangea arborescens. 

For More Information Click here

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Because Invincibelle Spirit is a breakthrough plant, they wanted to do something very special so they partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For every plant sold there will be a dollar donated to support breast cancer research. It's a great cause. To learn more click on the Breast Cancer Research button on our web site.

For More Information Click here

Changing The Color Of Hydrangeas

One can change the color of hydrangeas by changing the PH of the soil. By adding lime it will make them pink, by adding aluminum sulfate it will make them blue.

For More Information Click here

Woody Ornamentals Look Good In A Container

We've seen a lot of great shrubs in the landscape but woody ornamentals look good in a container, as well. Shrubs, dwarf plants and plants with colorful foliage are a great choice for containers particularly with the new developments.  Plants like Rhamnus Fine Line, Fine Line Buckthorn provide a great vertical element, they are really fine textured and can take the place of a rubrum grass.

For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Spring Meadow Nursery

Holiday Inn - Grand Haven

Plant List

Show #48/1809. Woody Ornamentals

Transcript of Show

In this Episode GardenSMART visits the shores of Lake Michigan and a nursery that specializes in the development and introduction of new varieties of flowering shrubs. How these beautiful plants are utilized in the landscape is amazing. At lot to learn in a beautiful setting.

First we learn a little about Michigan. Michigan is the leader in the production of nursery and greenhouse crops. Most don't realize that Michigan is a gorgeous state with miles of shoreline and beautiful beaches. It's a water lovers paradise. Jody Sprite, a hotelier, in Grand Haven, Michigan joins us to tell us more. The area of Grand Haven/Spring Lake is located in the western part of the state, here Lake Michigan, Spring Lake and the Grand River converge providing beautiful scenery and endless water activities. People here see water daily - on their way to work, when they dine out or walking on the sandy beaches. The beauty is what makes this is a popular tourist destination.

The area dates to French settlers and fur trading outposts. Grand Haven was 1st established as a city in 1835, then incorporated in 1867. The 1st permanent resident was a Presbyterian Minister, William Montague Ferry. Ferry founded the 1st church in the area, created the 1st bank and started a school, Ferry Elementary, which is still here. In the late 1800's Grand Haven developed into a logging, lumber mill and shipping area as well as a ship building area. In the early 1900's the area was a manufacturing hub, building everything from automobiles to car parts to furniture to lighting and pianos. Today the area is an active and eclectic resort featuring boating and fishing. It's made up of several welcoming communities providing a quaint small town feel. There are over 100 miles of bike trails, a state beach, a boardwalk, 2 lighthouses, piers, wharfs and a large charter fishing fleet. Many don't think of Michigan as having great beaches but Grand Haven State Park is nationally recognized for having 1 of the top 5 beaches in the U.S. Sand dunes are plentiful providing great recreational opportunities. Summer water temperatures can reach the 70's which aids in attracting thousands of visitors. Volleyball is popular and the area hosts pro beach volleyball tournaments throughout the summer months. There are also beautiful and famous golf courses as well as the annual Coast Guard Festival that draws U.S. and Canadian vessels to the area. The festival features parades with bands and other activities. Grand Haven is considered a technology leader, one of the 1st cities in the country to utilize wireless internet throughout the city which means one can actually receive wireless 15 miles offshore, when on your boat.

Because the Lake is so close the area has a sort of micro climate. Summer temperatures aren't quite as hot and winter temperatures aren't quite as cold, so it makes a great place to start a nursery, especially a cutting edge nursery. So, we're off to visit one.

We next meet Tim. Tim has a dream job, he travels the world looking for new plant material to introduce to home gardeners in the North American market. Tim got interested in gardening at a young age. His Dad was a horticulturist and worked for Ford Motor Company and was in charge of their grounds at their world headquarters. His grandfather was a master gardener in England so Time feels it was destiny that he got involved in the horticulture business. 

He went to college at Michigan State University, receiving both his Bachelors and Master degree. After that he interned at Longwood Gardens in the Philadelphia area as well as the Harvard Botanical Garden and Arboretum. Both were very good experiences, both very interesting with lots of plants but what was most interesting was to see people interacting with plants, watching people getting excited about plants. And that was exciting to Tim.

Tim works primarily with flowering shrubs. He travels the world looking, not necessarily for plants but instead, for plant breeders. If he finds the right person, he knows he'll then find the right plants over time. It's relationship building. As an example of his travels, the plants in the greenhouse we 1st visit come from Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, England and Germany.
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He's looking for plants that aren't just novelties but instead looking for plants that are going to perform better. These almost always seem to be woody perennials or as he refers to them - perennials that have woody stems.  People don't need to be intimidated about a flowering shrub, they can be used as perennials. Tim is looking for plants that will perform in the American garden - plants that are insect and disease resistant, plants that are more compact, that require less pruning, plants with interesting and colorful foliage, plants that will have more than 3 weeks of "pow" when the plants are in bloom. It's important and fun to find plants that are going to perform in the garden, plants that will be interesting and provide great color in the garden all year long, plants that will provide 3 or 4 seasons of interest. Tim thinks gardeners want more than just 3 weeks out of their plants. If you have a plant that blooms and that's why you selected it, that's all you'll get. Instead choose a plant based on texture and foliage and it will look good in the garden all season long and then when it's flowering, it's just icing on the cake. In the past people have thought of shrubs in a more utilitarian fashion, something to provide a backdrop, something to divide the property but that isn't the case anymore. Previously people thought of shrubs as something that was green, something you put in the background, then put the perennials up front. That's not the case anymore. In fact Tim is looking for plants that are attractive enough that they can be put in the front of the garden mixed in with the perennials.
  Top

Tim shows us several examples that make the point very well. Weigila Wine & Roses is a plant from the Netherlands. It has beautiful red foliage, it blooms in May, has beautiful hot pink flowers, it's adored by hummingbirds, thus brings hummingbirds to the garden, plus one can cut the branches and use them in flower arrangements. Spirea matches well with the Wine & Roses. It's pink color is very complimentary to the burgundy color, a great example of using contrast, foliage color and shapes to provide interest in the garden and of using flowering shrubs. 
  Top

A brand new dwarf selection of Spirea, called Double Plate Gold is nice because the foliage looks good all season long, it's very compact so you don't spend a lot of time pruning or caring for it. It flowers in late May, early June. What is showing is a secondary flower that continues later in the summer. It has a great shape, great foliage color and great flowers. Combining all of these things provides a lot of impact, a lot of color in the garden that most likely would not have been available 10 years ago. It certainly has a place in a perennial garden right next to the showiest plants. As mentioned earlier they are just like perennials but have woody stems. Striking plants.

The next plant, too, is a beauty, it's called Ghost Weigila. The foliage has a beautiful summer kind of iridescent yellow foliage. In the spring it's green, then goes through this transition. It's interesting that it's in bloom in July, which is not typical, so it's actually a re blooming form of Weigila providing more color, longer bloom time and adds interest to the garden all year long. The contrast between the deep almost mauve flowers and the light colored foliage is striking and, again, adds interest to the garden.
  Top

Phisocarpus, more commonly known as Ninebark, is a native shrub that typically has green foliage. The variety we're viewing, Summer Wine, has purple or burgundy foliage, it blooms in the spring, has pinkish white button flowers all along the stem. It's very graceful and kind of weeping and after its done flowering one can enjoy the beautiful foliage. It has a great shape, it comes up and sort of arches over. It's not the tallest plant, but certainly not suited for small gardens. There is another purple variety on the market that is about 12 feet tall. This is about 1/2 or 1/3 the size which is nice for the garden but still some might not have room for a shrub this big. But Tim does have other more dwarf or compact shrubs that would work in smaller gardens. 
  Top

The next plant is a very small shrub found in the Netherlands. It's called My Monet. It's also a Weigila and unlike some of the others it has variegated foliage and is very small. In fact it's so small they use it like one would an annual, something like a Coleus or a bedding plant, edging the border with the variegated foliage. One gets season long color, lots of interest and like the other plants discussed it has beautiful pink flowers. There are several blooms on it now but it typically blooms in the spring and does attract hummingbirds. This is a great example of how making a shrub more compact changes how we use it in the garden.
  Top

The next Buddleia is much shorter than usual. It is called Lo & Behold Blue Chip and was developed to be a compact variety. Instead of being an upright plant that grows to 6 to 8 feet tall, this plant stays approximately 2 or 3 feet tall. It's not leggy, doesn't need much pruning and it just keeps making new flowers. With a lot of butterfly bushes one must remove the old blossoms to get them to flower, with Lo & Behold Blue Chip it keeps making new flowers and blooms continuously from mid summer all the way to frost. Butterfly bush is a great plant for getting butterflies to come to your garden and the compact habit of this plant allows one to use it in places where it could never have previously been used. And, it's a lot less work.
  Top

Tim's collection of hydrangeas is amazing and they're different. Tim talks about several. They have some really great hydrangeas coming and he shows us 2 that are very exciting. Limelight Hydrangea, a hydrangea paniculata is a beautiful plant, the flowers come out a beautiful lime green. It's remarkable that the blooms hold up so well, they don't flop like the old Pee Gee does and it continually sends out new blooms. As the blooms age they actually change to a pink color. It's a reliably blooming plant, very hardy, very easy to grow, a great plant for full sun. But, it's quite large, one would need some room for this plant. In front is a dwarf variety of Limelight, called Little Lime. It's a dwarf compact version of Limelight, about one quarter to one half the size of Limelight but still has beautiful blooms and holds them upright. But if you have a smaller yard and don't have the room for the big Limelight this new variety is an excellent choice. Think about putting it in and around a patio, certainly a smaller garden. It's very hearty, a very reliable bloomer. It's not a type of hydrangea that will change colors. We'll look at several hydrangeas that one can change their color but these will always come out a beautiful lime green and stay green. They bloom reliably every year and will provide color in the garden from mid summer all the way until frost. The great thing about Limelight and Little Lime is they're easy to prune, a no brainer. Of course, Little Lime doesn't require a lot of pruning because it is a dwarf plant. 
  Top

We receive a lot of pruning questions about hydrangeas. Tim has some tips. We look at a Paniculatas, they have a cone shaped flower and they flower on the current seasons wood or on new wood. So, if you prune these in the spring, you can cut them back very hard, as much as half way and they will still bloom. You don't have to prune them, but if you do prune them you will get bigger flowers and you can prune them to any shape you desire. So the take home message is - prune them in late winter, early spring. If you do that you should have no problems.
  Top

The next plant has huge flowers. It's a new hydrangea they developed called Incrediball. And it's rightfully named. The blooms are very large. It's a hydrangea arborescens, sometimes called Hills of Snow or annabelle hydrangea. This particular variety, Incrediball, has really large flowers and it's very easy to care for, very easy to grow. If you want to prune the plant in early spring you can cut it to the ground, it forms it's flower buds on new wood, so pruning in early spring is no problem. It's very hearty and has beautiful blooms every year. The blooms are at least twice as big as a regular annabelle.
  Top

And, they now have a pink version of the plant. It's an exciting introduction, it's never come in any color other than white but they now have a pink version. And, that's a first, the first time ever to have an arborescens with a ball shaped flower that's something other than white. Invincibelle Spirit is a special plant, it's the only pink form of hydrangea arborescens and quite a breakthrough. These particular plants are relatively young in age, just planted this year but Invincibelle Spirit will grow to be a larger plant. The flower heads will grow larger. They won't be as large as the previous flowers but will grow to 3 or 4 feet tall and the blooms will grow to about 8 inches across. They're gorgeous. Not only are they beautiful in terms of color but unique, the only pink hydrangea arborescens. They're easy to grow, easy to care for, you'll get flowers every year regardless of whether the plants freeze back to the ground or not. So all that makes it quite unique compared to other hydrangeas. In early spring, basically cut the plants to the ground, it will form flower buds on current wood and will flower from mid summer all the way until fall. And there is more to its story. Because Invincibelle Spirit is a breakthrough plant, they wanted to do something very special so they partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For every plant sold there will be a dollar donated to support breast cancer research. It's a great cause. To learn more click on the Breast Cancer Research button on our web site.

Tim shows us another stunning plant. It is a new hydrangea macrophylia, called Abracadabra Star. Not only is the plant remarkable, it has a large and unusual flower but it also has incredibly stunning black stems which make it a showcase in the garden. This plant is suited for a more moderate climate, thus not suited for colder regions of the U.S. 

Let's Dance, however, can grow anywhere in the country and will bloom reliably. A lot of hydrangea macrophylias don't bloom reliably every year because they form their flower buds in the fall and if those buds are damaged, you won't get blooms, or if you cut the plant back at the wrong time, it won't flower. Let's Dance will bloom regardless because it forms its flower buds on the current seasons growth. And it provides a beautiful display.
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One can change the color of hydrangeas by changing the PH of the soil. By adding lime it will make them pink, by adding aluminum sulfate it will make them blue.

Tim has done a great job of grouping plants. He's used groups of 3 to 5 to maximize the impact of the plants in the landscape. It really works. 
  Top

We've seen a lot of great shrubs in the landscape but woody ornamentals look good in a container, as well. Shrubs, dwarf plants and plants with colorful foliage are a great choice for containers particularly with the new developments.  Plants like Rhamnus Fine Line, Fine Line Buckthorn provide a great vertical element, they are really fine textured and can take the place of a rubrum grass. It really does provide that needed vertical element in a container. My Monet Wigela is a great plant, has real creamy variegation with a hint of pink for a blush, has great looking flowers and fills the role of  a mounder or a cascading plant. It can be used like one might a petunia. Dwarf shrubs like My Monet or another dwarf Weigila, like Midnight Wine are great plants for the edge of a container. They don't overgrow their bounds. They're dwarf and compact and will soften the edge of the container quite nicely.

Annuals are a great choice when mixed with shrubs or perennials. Euphorbia Diamond Frost has great texture, a clear white, it is particularly stunning when used with Black Lace Sambucus. The fine texture adds interest to the container. Contrast in the container, even the landscape provides a surprise element. Dark foliage versus light foliage or lacy foliage versus bold foliage, all work, mix it up, have fun with your plants, that's what it's all about. Gardening should be a fun concept. And at the end of the season, when you pull your annuals out you will still have the flowering shrubs.

We saw Phisocarpus Summer Wine in the landscape, here it's in a container. This is a beautiful specimen, the container shows off the plant, defines the patio and actually becomes a piece of artwork, just another reason to utilize shrubs. They're easy to grow and can provide lots of color and are low maintenance. Once established, compared to annuals they are very low water usage. You can go away on weekends, come back and not worry about whether your plants have wilted.

Tim has a parting thought. Remember shrubs. Their foliage and their flowers can be very colorful. There have been a lot of improvements in woody ornamentals. They can be moved around, as one would any plant in your garden. Have fun with them, enjoy them, they're easy to grow. 

Thanks Tim. You've opened our eyes to a whole new group of plants. And, they're beautiful. Thank you.

LINKS:

Spring Meadow Nursery

Holiday Inn - Grand Haven

Plant List

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