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GardenSMART Episode

Show #13/6713. Choosing The Correct Plant

Summary of Show

Plants Have Arrived
We finished all of our grading and soil work, THE PLANTS HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED and gone into the ground. For Eric the most exciting step in the process is when the plants finally go in, that's the moment in which the garden first starts to come to life and the vision of the designer starts to emerge. For More Information Click here

Cultivars Of Traditional Plants
Plant selection is so important. Eric loves the fact that what Martin has done here is selected known landscape plants. But they are CULTIVARS that are designed to be dwarf and compact. Many of these are just classic iconic landscape plants like the crepe myrtle. He loves crepe myrtle and when you think of flower power, a crepe myrtle is just one of those iconic southern plants. But most of the older varieties can get 30, 40, 50 feet tall and just wouldn't be appropriate for this backyard. The same thing's true of the Loropetalum. The challenge is finding these new cultivars that are correct for the space.
For More Information Click here

Gardenias
Another plant Eric wants to point out that he thinks is a great selection, are the gardenias. There’s nothing better than the scent of GARDENIAS. Eric thinks fragrance is super important, so welcoming. When walking into the garden and you get that little pop of gardenia fragrance, it is super. Prior to renovating these beds they had some other gardenias in place. But over time they got rather large, lost a lot of the foliage attribute because they were chopped back every year.
For More Information Click here

Leyland Cypress
In the next part of the garden Martin had another pretty significant challenge that had to be dealt with. The established LEYLAND CYPRESS were starting to get the blight that oftentimes happens with them. Part of the thought process was phasing out the Leyland's and moving in something new. Martin needed to select a plant that could, in time, replace them yet still maintain the privacy wall when these Leyland's finally do fail. Eric thinks Martin has a very good solution.
For More Information Click here

Loropetalums and Ligustrum
Eric notes that in the foreground in this area they're using a lot of the same kind of selections utilized throughout the garden. So there's the repeated theme of the LOROPETALUMS, then roses. Here Martin also used Sunshine Ligustrum. Eric loves this plant, it's somewhat new to the market, yet a plant that we're seeing everywhere now. The Sunshine LIGUSTRUM from Southern Living is a great plant and is one of Martin's favorites on the market. It's a very versatile plant from sun to shade.
For More Information Click here

Fire Pit Area
Martin and Eric next discuss the FIRE PIT AREA. Eric comments that if this were his garden this area would be his favorite spot. To him there are few things more exciting than a roaring fire on those chilly nights in spring and fall. This area is laid out beautifully. Eric would like for Martin to talk through the plant selection in this area. Martin wanted to have a transitional plant, a different type of screening element for the back corner. Thus chose Ilex Nellie R. Stevens.
For More Information Click here

Woody Ornamentals
We've talked a lot about the WOODY ORNAMENTALS, and in this area of the yard Martin wanted to integrate seasonal color, spots of color. One of Martin's favorites featured in the fire pit area is Bumble Bee hot pink Calibrachoa. What is special about it is it's really a unique color, it provides almost three colors in the bloom.
For More Information Click here

New Petunia
Martin points out a brand NEW PETUNIA from Ball floraplant. It's called Petunia Bee's Knees. It is the most yellow petunia on the market and has sold like wildfire at garden centers. Petunia Bee's Knees is the deepest yellow petunia that you'll find on the market right now. It is a true yellow, doesn't have that greening color, or a muddy color in it. It is really a true yellow with a nice big bloom.
For More Information Click here

Woodland Garden
Continuing on past the fire pit there's a really cool kind of shady, WOODLAND GARDEN area that creates some separation from the neighbor's yard. A lot of wonderful classics are planted here. And that's what Eric likes about this design. These are durable plants and in many cases they're plants that have stood the test of time.
For More Information Click here

Containers
The CONTAINERS are from Michael Carr Designs and again look great. We often see containers in mixed colors but there are consumers who really like the monochromatic look. Martin is one and is featuring white containers. White glazed pottery, along with white flowers, brings the light to the shade and really makes it pop.
For More Information Click here

Wet Area
Martin has a handful of really exciting new cultivars in a lower, WET AREA that seem to really be thriving. This area has Nandina Obsession from Southern Living Plant Collection. There is also some Leucothoe from Southern Living. But Martin is actually going to be swapping out the Leucothoe, trying to find it a little drier area. This area has been a little wetter than expected once the yard was finished. Martin is going to bring in some Soft Caress mahonia to replace the Leucothoe. The mahonia can handle damper conditions in the yard.
For More Information Click here

Beacon Impatiens
One item that is really a water feeder is the BEACON IMPATIENS. They love the shade and they like water content in the soil. What sets these plants apart is that although they are impatiens they are downy mildew resistant. Remember 10 years ago impatiens were known for downy mildew, a disease that gets into the plant and will actually make them defoliate, they then don't perform for the consumer and eventually die. Because of downy mildew, impatiens have really vacated the market over the past 10 years. But they have brought them back with new plant breeding. They’ve found varieties that are much more tolerant to impatiens downey mildew.
For More Information Click here

Philodendron
Eric loves tropical plants, especially using them in containers. There's something so lush they bring to an area. And PHILODENDRONS are one of the great tropical plants, they are bulletproof. They're so easy to grow. Eric’s had a philodendron for years and years and years. It's eight or 10 feet tall, a beast of a plant. And, it's not really practical for this kind of application. But now we have a wonderful dwarf selection that has really opened up a lot of new uses for this plant, especially as a patio plant. Unlike the traditional philodendron salome, typically seen in the deep, deep south, say in Florida which can grow to 10 or 12 feet tall and just as wide.
For More Information Click here

Coleus
Eric is sure that one of the most exciting parts of Martin's job is being able to evaluate all of these new and exciting cultivars that are coming to market. Eric would like for Martin to tell us about some of the ones he is most excited about. Martin is particularly excited about the extensive line of new COLEUS. And the coleus coming to market are great for sun or shade. There is a new collection or series called Flame Thrower coleus, they don't get as big as a lot of the traditional coleus.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Color Choice Flowering Shrubs - Proven Winners
A Better Landscape Starts with a Better Flowering Shrub

Ball Horticultural
Ball Horticulturale

Suntory Flowers
Home - Suntory Flowers

Southern Living Plant Collection
Southern Living Plants - Plants Selected For Southern Gardens

Simpson Power Washer
Pressure Washers | Power Washers | Simpson

Good Ideas Rain Barrel
https://goodideasinc.com/collections/rain-barrels

Michael Carr Designs - Containers/Pottery
Home - Michael Carr Designs | Wholesale Pottery and Decor

Plant List

Show #13/6713. Choosing The Correct Plant

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART heads back to our landscape makeover to check on its progress. Eric loves watching a new garden come together. So much hard work goes on behind the scenes and it's only at the very end that we finally see everything come together.

We finished all of our grading and soil work, THE PLANTS HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED and gone into the ground. For Eric the most exciting step in the process is when the plants finally go in, that's the moment in which the garden first starts to come to life and the vision of the designer starts to emerge.

Eric next catches up with Martin Jones a plant expert who talks us through the plant selections. Eric welcomes Martin, welcome to the show. There has been an amazing transformation that has taken place in this backyard. Eric remembers seeing images of this yard before all the work started and it wasn't a super warm, inviting environment. No, it wasn't. The backyard area was rarely used, it certainly wasn't family friendly. The pets would come out at times, but it wasn't inviting. It wasn't an outdoor living space that they wanted to enjoy. Now it's had a total makeover, every square foot of this backyard has been touched in one way or the other.

Eric and Martin start by talking about the wonderful grand entrance to the backyard. After parking the car one walks down the steps where everything is visible from this vantage point. Of course, the plantings are very, very important to the overall design because it's the first thing that the guests that enter this garden are going to see.

Eric wants to talk about the selections of plants that were included in this area. Martin had a few things that he wanted to focus on. He wanted some contrasting colors, he wanted some blooms throughout the year, from early spring all the way into fall and first frost. And he wanted compact varieties that were easier to maintain. Those were some of his parameters.

A positive side effect was the family started seeing more pollinators once everything was in. They were really pleasantly surprised.

Plant selection is so important. Eric loves the fact that what Martin has done here is selected known landscape plants. But they are CULTIVARS that are designed to be dwarf and compact. Many of these are just classic iconic landscape plants like the crepe myrtle. He loves crepe myrtle and when you think of flower power, a crepe myrtle is just one of those iconic southern plants. But most of the older varieties can get 30, 40, 50 feet tall and just wouldn't be appropriate for this backyard. The same thing's true of the Loropetalum. The challenge is finding these new cultivars that are correct for the space. Also heavily featured are the new Knock Out Roses, it's an amazing cultivar. The new Knock Out Rose is featured as a shrub rose. The nice thing about the Petite Knock Out is that it is disease resistant like the traditional Knock Outs but instead of getting large, like a regular Knock Out does, meaning you may have to prune it back throughout the season, the Petite Knock Out will stay at about 18 inches tall. It blooms from spring all the way through fall, holds its blooms very, very well and they don't really shatter. It will hold that bloom for a month or so and it's a nice deep, dark red. Plus it's low maintenance, instead of pruning way back, you just basically trim the bush back here and there. It also works great in a patio pot as well. Eric loves the color contrast with the dark green foliage. The Knock Outs against the Anthurium, a very common annual plant that has really, really bright chartreuse leaves, makes a big statement.

As well, the Loropetalum provides a deep, dark color, a real rich burgundy. This plant is called Cerise Charm, from Star Roses and Plants. The nice thing about this Loropetalum, unlike a lot of Loropetalums (there's actually one on the other side of the house and it must be 30 feet tall) this plant will actually stay more in the three to four foot range. It stays nice and compact and you're not pruning it every year.

Another plant Eric wants to point out that he thinks is a great selection, are the gardenias. There’s nothing better than the scent of GARDENIAS. Eric thinks fragrance is super important, so welcoming. When walking into the garden and you get that little pop of gardenia fragrance, it is super. Prior to renovating these beds they had some other gardenias in place. But over time they got rather large, lost a lot of the foliage attribute because they were chopped back every year. They were real woody. But these stay more compact. These are called Buttons gardenias from Star Roses. They have about a two inch bloom, they'll bloom all throughout the season, provide a really fragrant scent as you're walking in. And that was something they wanted because they enjoyed the gardenias that were in place previously, but they just got too big. So with this more compact variety with the three foot high size, these work very well as a backdrop along the wall.

It's great design Martin. And what makes it particularly good is you're thinking about what this garden is this going to be three years, five years, even seven years down the road. The selections are completely appropriate for this space and when we come back and visit it's still going to look amazing.

In the next part of the garden Martin had another pretty significant challenge that had to be dealt with. The established LEYLAND CYPRESS were starting to get the blight that oftentimes happens with them. Part of the thought process was phasing out the Leyland's and moving in something new. Martin needed to select a plant that could, in time, replace them yet still maintain the privacy wall when these Leyland's finally do fail. Eric thinks Martin has a very good solution. He brought in Arborvitae Green Giants from Siteone. They did not want to remove all the Leyland's some are in pretty good shape right now but ultimately they too will probably develop the disease and need to be taken out. These had limbs all the way to the ground when Martin started so they limbed them up, then put in the arborvitae Green Giants, which is a fast growing arborvitae. They will grow about a foot a year. As the arborvitaes grow Martin will continue to limb up the Leyland's to provide the arborvitae more sunlight and then as they grow he will take out the Leyland's.

Eric notes that in the foreground in this area they're using a lot of the same kind of selections utilized throughout the garden. So there's the repeated theme of the LOROPETALUMS, then roses. Here Martin also used Sunshine Ligustrum. Eric loves this plant, it's somewhat new to the market, yet a plant that we're seeing everywhere now. The Sunshine LIGUSTRUM from Southern Living is a great plant and is one of Martin's favorites on the market. It's a very versatile plant from sun to shade. More sun will create a more vibrant color, so you'll get a more chartreuse color in the sun; then in the deep shade it will have a darker foliage. One can even see that within the inner structure of the plant, closer to the trunk of the plant, it has darker foliage, then towards the outside, where it receives more sun, there is more chartreuse. It can grow up to six feet or so but arborvitaes can grow up to 30 feet. So it's going to continue to make a very nice backdrop with that contrast. Then in front he planted more of the Cerise Charm, Loropetalum, just as he did on the retaining wall. Part of the idea is to tie these plants together. So it's one central theme with many of the same colors, but with some different cultivars mixed and matched. And in the front he planted Drift Roses. This is the coral variety which is a big consumer favorite. The nice thing about Drift is that it's a ground cover rose, so it stays very low to the ground. They provide a nice carpet of color throughout the season because they continue to bloom all season long. Eric comments that roses are heavily featured in this design. He loves that these new landscape varieties have made that possible. And the new cultivars are coming out in almost every color imaginable. Martin has featured some white Drift as well. Since Drift is available in a myriad of colors there's something for everyone with the Drift Rose in the Knock Out rose lines. Whether looking for a shrub rose in the Knock Outs or more of a ground cover, low growing, or the petite mentioned earlier, there's something for everyone.

Martin and Eric next discuss the FIRE PIT AREA. Eric comments that if this were his garden this area would be his favorite spot. To him there are few things more exciting than a roaring fire on those chilly nights in spring and fall. This area is laid out beautifully. Eric would like for Martin to talk through the plant selection in this area. Martin wanted to have a transitional plant, a different type of screening element for the back corner. Thus chose Ilex Nellie R. Stevens. These can get very large as well, 20 to 30 feet tall and they're a fairly fast grower like the arborvitaes. So they will provide a different type of anchor, glossy leaf and berry interest, as well, which is safe for birds. In order to continue that contrast and also have a flowering element all season along he included some Viburnum Snowball which he placed in front of the Ilex holly. So you get that rich white color bouncing off the Ilex Holly. Then in front of that he planted Encore azaleas. The nice thing about Encore azaleas, and this is the Bonfire variety, is the really nice deep red. Martin loves the reds and loves the whites. Additionally the Encore series blooms throughout the season. So you get some blooms during the spring, summer, even into the fall. Unlike traditional azaleas, which typically only bloom one time of the year, Encores continue to provide seasonal interest with beautiful colors. Then in front of them he planted one of the Southern Living varieties called Pieris Mountain Snow. It is a great variety, sets its bud set during the summer and fall and carries it through the winter. Then in early spring, you get a beautiful cascade of white flowers.

The containers are also an important part of this landscape. Eric loves using containers as accent pieces. They are very effective in breaking up a sea of green. They have the artistic creative component with the actual ceramic itself. And it's a way to change out seasonal color with really neat annuals and perennials and woody ornamentals too.

We've talked a lot about the WOODY ORNAMENTALS, and in this area of the yard Martin wanted to integrate seasonal color, spots of color. One of Martin's favorites featured in the fire pit area is Bumble Bee hot pink Calibrachoa. What is special about it is it's really a unique color, it provides almost three colors in the bloom. If one looks close, the reason it is called Bumblebee is the yellow center that almost looks like the pattern of a bee. A really cool variety and a consumer favorite. This is actually a new color within that series that came out in 2022. And is now available at your local garden center.

With the mixed containers in the back Martin wanted to add in a height element or a texture, like with a grass. He also added some sunpatiens which take sun or shade, importantly plants that really will take the heat in Atlanta and bloom all season long.

Martin points out a brand NEW PETUNIA from Ball floraplant. It's called Petunia Bee's Knees. It is the most yellow petunia on the market and has sold like wildfire at garden centers. Petunia Bee's Knees is the deepest yellow petunia that you'll find on the market right now. It is a true yellow, doesn't have that greening color, or a muddy color in it. It is really a true yellow with a nice big bloom. Martin has seen it in trials around the country and in most areas it'll push right on through the summer. One of the things that Eric loves about petunias and calibrachoa is they are really drought tolerant and they love the sun. So for those areas where you're trying to find an annual, that's going to give you incredible flower power and grow fast, resulting in a carpet of color, these new selections are really exceptional.

Continuing on past the fire pit there's a really cool kind of shady, WOODLAND GARDEN area that creates some separation from the neighbor's yard. A lot of wonderful classics are planted here. And that's what Eric likes about this design. These are durable plants and in many cases they're plants that have stood the test of time. Oftentimes that fact gets forgotten in the sea of everything that's the new, new. Martin really enjoys the more traditional plantings, the more traditional varieties. But the newer genetics, the newer varieties of the same cultivars often do stay more compact as talked about earlier, plus offer better flower power as well.

In the back Martin planted some Osmanthus Tea Olive. It is very, very fragrant and whenever it does bloom has a nice white flower with real small, petite flowers. They can get rather tall so it's also a screen towards the back corner of this particular part of the garden. Then Martin has a Star Magnolia. It's a very early blooming tree and gets a beautiful real ruffled white flower. It is really an eye stopper, you want to stop and look at this tree whenever it's in bloom.

Martin has featured a couple of containers as we're moving to the left where he has planted some Jurassic Rex Begonias. These are great products for the heavy shade areas of your garden. One can even pop them up and bring them inside as an indoor plant they really like deep shade. They will burn in the sun, but this is a perfect spot because in this area of the garden the sunshine's very limited.

The CONTAINERS are from Michael Carr Designs and again look great. We often see containers in mixed colors but there are consumers who really like the monochromatic look. Martin is one and is featuring white containers. White glazed pottery, along with white flowers, brings the light to the shade and really makes it pop. Eric loves using those really, really bright, lighter colors in shade gardening for that very reason, it's like a little ray of sunshine that really draws your eye to it. When entering this garden, you can see this array of white plants in the shade from all the way across the yard. It definitely makes a significant impact.

Martin has a handful of really exciting new cultivars in a lower, WET AREA that seem to really be thriving. This area has Nandina Obsession from Southern Living Plant Collection. There is also some Leucothoe from Southern Living. But Martin is actually going to be swapping out the Leucothoe, trying to find it a little drier area. This area has been a little wetter than expected once the yard was finished. Martin is going to bring in some Soft Caress mahonia to replace the Leucothoe.

The mahonia can handle damper conditions in the yard. One item that is really a water feeder is the Beacon Impatiens. They love the shade and they like water content in the soil. What sets these plants apart is that although they are impatiens they are downy mildew resistant. Remember 10 years ago impatiens were known for downy mildew, a disease that gets into the plant and will actually make them defoliate, they then don't perform for the consumer and eventually die. Because of downy mildew, impatiens have really vacated the market over the past 10 years. But they have brought them back with new plant breeding. They’ve found varieties that are much more tolerant to impatiens downey mildew. They can get it, but will push right through and it doesn't affect the plants as it did in the past. These provide color all season long. It's been super wet in Atlanta, a ton of rain this summer with high temperatures. And if you're going to have downy mildew issues, those are the key ingredients. These impatiens have been in the ground since late April, early May and are really thriving and have continued to bloom all season. Eric thinks it's great to see impatiens finally making a comeback and that’s because of new and improved breeding. These plants have been in the breeding process process in the R and D side of Ball Horticulture for over 10 years. It shows, these are super looking plants.

Eric loves tropical plants, especially using them in containers. There's something so lush they bring to an area. And PHILODENDRONS are one of the great tropical plants, they are bulletproof. They're so easy to grow. Eric’s had a philodendron for years and years and years. It's eight or 10 feet tall, a beast of a plant. And, it's not really practical for this kind of application. But now we have a wonderful dwarf selection that has really opened up a lot of new uses for this plant, especially as a patio plant. Unlike the traditional philodendron salome, typically seen in the deep, deep south, say in Florida which can grow to 10 or 12 feet tall and just as wide. This is called Shangri-La Philodendron it maxes out at only about three feet tall. It's great for a patio. You can actually bring it in as an indoor plant in the wintertime. Everyone is excited about its’ foliage, it's one of the top selling categories in plants. Especially new gardeners are coming in and wanting something easy to grow, something with striking foliage and that is many times the first segue into gardening. If just grabbing a foliage plant this one will definitely not disappoint. Eric loves the density of this plant. Because it's a plant that's not going to take freezing temperatures having a version that works well in containers allows one to actually have the plant year round because it's easy enough to bring it indoors during the cold months. It's a plant that we can maintain for years and years to come, it’s not going to be just perennial beauty for our patios. If you're in the deep, deep south, say in south Florida, or southern California it would be OK in the landscape most years. But in cooler climates it will freeze so when there are freezing temperatures you definitely want to bring it inside. But this plant is extremely versatile, you can easily move it indoors during the winter months and put it back out in the spring and it can continue as a perennial plant. It's a great selection, a wonderful new addition. Eric is definitely going to look for it in his garden center.

Eric is sure that one of the most exciting parts of Martin's job is being able to evaluate all of these new and exciting cultivars that are coming to market. Eric would like for Martin to tell us about some of the ones he is most excited about. Martin is particularly excited about the extensive line of new COLEUS. And the coleus coming to market are great for sun or shade. There is a new collection or series called Flame Thrower coleus, they don't get as big as a lot of the traditional coleus. They stay a bit more compact, kind of a medium height and they flower very, very late. So they retain their color feature all throughout the season. And with Flame Thrower, you can get everything from a chartreuse green, into some deep burgundies as well. And it’s great as a component plant, if you want a mixed container.

Eric thanks Martin. Every time we meet we learn so much, we really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Thank you so much.

Taking a walk through all the early photos of this project has been a wonderful walk down memory lane. The process of transformation has always been one of Eric's favorite parts of gardening. Moving in the plants and making sure each one is planted with intentionality and care, then pulling together all the small details makes a garden unique and personal.

LINKS:

Color Choice Flowering Shrubs - Proven Winners
A Better Landscape Starts with a Better Flowering Shrub

Ball Horticultural
Ball Horticulturale

Suntory Flowers
Home - Suntory Flowers

Southern Living Plant Collection
Southern Living Plants - Plants Selected For Southern Gardens

Simpson Power Washer
Pressure Washers | Power Washers | Simpson

Good Ideas Rain Barrel
https://goodideasinc.com/collections/rain-barrels

Michael Carr Designs - Containers/Pottery
Home - Michael Carr Designs | Wholesale Pottery and Decor

Plant List

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