Reblooming Shrubs- Part III

This the my last installment in the Reblooming shrub series. Cearly there are plenty of shrubs that bloom for a long period of time. I'm sure I left something out so please feel free to comment and share your favorite rebloomers.
Abelia x grandiflora is a superb rebloomer if you live in zone 6 or a warmer climate. Hummers and butterlies will visit the plant providing added enjoyment. This selection is called Bronze Anniversary. Its leaves emerage an attractive bronze-orange color then age to lime-green.

While most all Buddleia are reblooming if you dead head them Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' starts blooming early and continues without having to deadhead. Additionally this selection non-invasive and is the only available cultivar that can be sold in Oregon.

Daphne transatlantica (D. caucasica) is a favorite of mine. It has small, fragrant, white flowers that start in April and can continue sporadically right up into fall.. It a small shrub about 3-4 feet tall and is one of the easiest daphnes to grow. I took this photo in the fall at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston.

One of you commented about Kerria japonica. You're right - it is a good reblooming shrub. It's a great shrub for the shade or semi-shade. This cultivar is called 'Alba' which is not white as the name would indicated but rather a butter yellow as opposed to the typical bright gold. It's hard to find but worth growing. I like it!

Reblooming Flowerings Shrubs: Part II

Typically perennials and shrubs bloom for three to four weeks, perhaps longer depending upon the weather. So utilizing plants that bloom for a long period of time, or that rebloom, is a real bonus. Once I started going through my pictures I was surprised at how many shrubs fit the bill. Certainly enough for a nursery or garden center to sell a rebloooming shrub program.

This weeks installment is made up entirely of Hydrangea. I sometimes get tired or writing about Hydrangea but it's difficult not to; it's such a vast and diverse genera. Additionally there is a lot of great breeding going on in Hydrangea.

Endless Summer Hydrangea is one of the most successful plant introductions in history. A brilliant marketing campaign has made this plant a household name. It has also piqued peoples interest in other reblooming Hydrangea and shrubs.

Forever and Ever TM Hydrangea comes from Europe. I've not seen all the plants in the collection but the red and pink mopheads look very good. Nice full flowers and dark foliage.

Let's DanceTM Moonlight Hydrangea is a personal favorite as I hybridized the plant. I'm still breeding Hydrangea and my goals are to improve the quality of the flowers (color and substance), thicker, darker leaves, wilt resistance and better stem hardiness.
On a side note, I got an email from someone that complained that I show and write about too many Spring Meadow plants and show nothing interesting or new that is not sold by Spring Meadow. I though I would respond by saying that I don't hide the fact I work for Spring Meadow Nursery - just read my profile. Additionally we grow thousands of different types of plants, primarily shrubs, but also vines and smaller trees. So it stands to reason I write about what I know best. If there are breeders or growers out there that have new plants and would like me to write about them - send me plants so I can grow them and know them.

Incincibelle TM Spirit Hydrangea is a new pink form of Hydrangea arborescens. After growing the plant I was surprised to learn that in addition to being the first pink mophead form of Hydrangea arborescens it was also a strong rebloomer. You can expect to see this Hydrangea in garden centers in the fall of 2009 or spring of 2010. Developed by Dr. Tom Ranney this shrub is very hardy, blooms on new wood (meaning that flowering is very reliable) and flowers from early summer until frost.

Reblooming Flowering Shrubs: Part I

With the advent of Endless Summer Hydrangea there has been a lot of interest in reblooming shrubs. And why not? Garden space is valuable and you should get the most out of your shrubs. Here are few of my favorite rebloomers.
Indigofera pseudotinctoria 'Rose Carpet'

I don't want to overload you with too many images so I will show you some more rebloomers in my next post. You can learn more about each plant by clicking on the plant name. What have I missed? What are good rebloomers for you?

Japan: Photographic Odds and Ends

Cash and carry garden center. While Dale is the master of getting plants into a suitcase this could be beyond his abilities.

My favorite sushi chef. We tried one of everything and it seem to amuse the locals.

A sweet little flower girl at a horticultural trade show

A flower boy

Double Decker Highway in downtown Tokyo

A breeder shows off his genetics - African Daises

Old and New Technology

Dr. Yokoi 's Variegated Plant collection. We spent a few hours rummaging through this vast collection of plants. Dr. Yokoi wrote the book on variegated plants.

Variegated Ragweed. Now my collection is complete.

The Royal Horticulture Society Issues Final Report

About 150 years ago German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold introduced Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandliflora’, the Pee Gee Hydrangea, from Japan to the Western World. For nearly a century, Grandiflora reigned supreme and was the only cultivar available to buy. It was so ubiquitous that people eventually came refer to the whole species as Pee Gee Hydrangeas.

Today the market has been flooded with cultivars and we have over 40 selections to choose from. I’ve grown most of these selections and have chosen my favorites. Limelight and Pinky Winky Hydrangea are most certainly the top two plants on my list. Well scientists at the Royal Horticulture Society in England appear to a similar opinion.

The Royal Horticulture Society just completed a five year evaluation of 47 Hydrangea paniculata cultivars. The results are in – Limelight and Pinky Winky (‘DVPpinky’) earned the highest rating of Excellent (3 stars) and both were awarded the prestigious AGM – RHS Award of Garden Merit. And how did Pee Gee fair? It received the lowest possible rating of no stars – (average to poor).

While I sincerely appreciate the time and effort the RHS put into this study - in the end this trial is kind of like those scientific studies that go to great lengths to prove what we already know.

A Better Boxwood

When it comes to determining if you have a better plant, it is essential that you know and understand the plants that are currently available. New plants must be trialed and compared in side by side tests with the best varieties to know what you have. If you can’t beat the best, then you better keep breeding until you get it right.

This side by side comparison of boxwood is a great example of the power of trialing plants. I’ve been growing and trialing North Star boxwood for over five years. When we first got the plant from its originator Gary Katerberg I was skeptical that his plant could rival the best boxwood varieties available. In fact, I did not give it much of any chance of being introduced. But when we had it in a test bed with twenty other varieties of boxwood, it preformed so well, the results could not be ignored. When you see it side by side with Green Velvet, the number one variety on the market, you can clearly see that it is a better plant. Even during winters with temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees, North Star boxwood shined; the winter and the spring foliage color was so much darker. While Green Velvet turned a pale pea green, North Star boxwood remained very dark. Additionally the plant is very compact, with dense growth, yet at the same time it grows faster than other popular varieties.

Clearly “Seeing is Believing,” and side by side trialing is the only way to find out if a plant is truly better or not. North Star boxwood has passed the test.

A Tale of Two Roses


Just outside my office, growing side by side, are two excellent roses. Both are very free flowering and bless me with a continuous, summer-long display of red flowers. Each rose remains as clean as a whistle without the aid of sprays or chemicals. I suspect you're familiar with one of these roses. Perhaps you even grow it? It was developed Bill Radler and is called Knock Out.

But this is the story of the other rose. Its name is Candy Oh! Vivid Red and most likely you’ve never heard of it before. It was not developed by Bill Radler, however, it would not exist but for this well known rose breeder of the North.

At ripe old age of 13 David Zlesak read an article in the Milwaukee Journal that changed the course of his life. The article was about Bill Radler and how he hybridized new roses. Fascinated by the article and the idea of creating new plants, Zlesak wrote to Radler. To his surprise, Radler wrote back and this letter was the spark and inspiration that started David Zlesak on his plant breeding career and ultimately resulted in the rose Candy Oh! Vivid Red.

While working towards his PhD in plant breeding, David worked on numerous crops including small fruit, potatoes, Easter lilies and various perennial plant species. His first big breeding breakthrough came in 2006 when Proven Winners introduced Tuscan Sun Heliopsis a remarkable dwarf, continuous flowering perennial. Yet even though David found success in breeding other crops, his passion for roses never ceased - nor did his rose breeding. While other students were going to fraternity parties, David was up in his dorm room growing on thousands of rose seedlings under florescent lights. Out of these seedlings he selected the healthiest 1,500 plants and grew them out in garden plots he rented from friends and neighbors. Out of these, he selected the 50 healthiest, most floriferous plants. His selection process was further aided by the harsh Minnesota winters and the ubiquitous rose disease – black spot. Only the hardiest, most disease resistance roses remained.

Out of the thousands of seedlings that started out in his dorm room, David found that one seedling, a polyantha hybrid that stood out from all the others. It was vigorous, healthy and very floriferous. The vivid red flower color was so intense that it seemed almost to smolder in the summer sun. In 2008 David Zlesak introduced his first commercial rose selection - Candy Oh! Vivid Red.

That is the tale of two roses, and how Bill Radler had a hand in the development of both plants.