A Walk Through Our Test Garden.

One of my favorite things about working at Spring Meadow is spending time in our test gardens. Dale Deppe, the owner of the nursery, does all the work of planting, pruning and weeding and I get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Here are a few plants that are looking especially nice right now.

Lo & Behold 'Purple Haze'
Lo & Behold 'Purple Haze' Buddleia is a wonderful spreading form of Butterfly bush. It is a seedless plant and as a result it flowers continuously from mid-summer until frost. The Lo & Behold series has been approved for sales in Oregon where Buddleia davidii has been banned. 

Vanilla Spice Clethra
Vanilla Spice Clethra is one of my favorite summer plants. The fragrance is remarkable and the flowers are especially large. The foliage is dark, glossy green even on non-acidic soils. 

Azurri Satin Hibiscus
Azurri Satin Hibiscus is looking lovely right now. This beauty was developed in Belgium and its noted for being the only seedless, blue-flowered Rose of Sharon.

Let's Dance Moonlight
This bed of Let's Dance Moonlight has flowered every year for the last four years since we planted them. A remarkable feat in Michigan.   

Little Lime Hydrangea
This is Zoe, the nursery dog. Here she is giving her approval of Little Lime Hydrangea. She likes this selection because stays small and holds it blooms up so nicely.
Good Vibrations Gold
I don't normally get excited about junipers, but I'm crazy for Good Vibrations Gold. This soft, low growing, native evergreen looks especially good planted next to the heat tolerant Luguna Lobelia.

Knockout and Other Easy Growing Roses

It wasn't that long ago that roses were just a pain to grow.  I've overseen two public rose gardens and have been a AARS rose judge so I know all too well how difficult roses can be. 

Not so long ago, roses were not gown on their own roots. They were grafted or budded and you had to worry about the hardiness of the graft union or about root suckers. They had to be winter protected with mounds of dirt or mulch. You had to carefully prune them into the spring. And once they started growing i the spring you had to spray them once a week, and after every rain, or else they would become infected with black-spot and their leaves would fall off. Oh the joy!

But roses have come a long way in the last 15-20 years. The best roses are now grown on their own roots. This new breed of roses does no longer needs to be sprayed with fungicides. Breeding for disease resistance has become the new standard.

The flowers of these new roses may not resemble the archetypal Mr. Lincoln, but the plant overall is much improved in terms of habit and branching. These roses are much better plants providing season long color with very little effort. Here are a few roses that represent the very best breeding I've come across. 

Knockout was the beginning of the new rose revolution

Home Run Red is the most free flowering rose I know.

Home Run Red thrives in harsh growing conditions
Home Run Pink is perpetual flowering and
disease resistant just like Hone Run Red. 

Oso Easy Cherry Pie can be stunning when planted in mass

Oso Easy Fragrant Spreader - is a great landscaping, ground cover rose.
It is the most fragrant rose I know. Plant it near a walk or entrance to
take full advantage of its spicy sweet fragrance. 

Oso Easy Honey Bun has superior disease resistance and loads of blooms

Oso Easy Mango Salsa is new rose with hot orange and pink flowers

Oso Easy Strawberry Crush and Oso Easy Peachy Cream

Oso Easy Paprika is a favorite for many people. 

The Oso Happy Series originates in Minnesota
and offers superior hardiness and disease resistance.
 This is Oso Happy Petit Pink 


Interesting Plants Seen in Germany

Spring is a busy time so I'm not going to do a lot of writing today, but I did want to share  a few plants that I saw while in Germany. There is not much rhyme or reason to this group of plants other than they were looking good enough for a picture and that I found each plant attractive and interesting. 

It was fun to see the Cydonia in bloom. I've never seen this species of common quince in flower and at first glance I thought it was a Philadelphus (Mock-orange) with soft pink flowers. The Exochorda Korolkowii (Turkestan Pearl Bush) was a show off plant the caught my from a distance and was worth a picture. I am really pumped about the breeding going on with pearl bush and I think once people get to know they will grow it.  I had never seen Poncirus (Japanese Hardy Orange) in flower so this too was a treat. 

Cydonia oblonga 

Exochorda korolkowii

Poncirus trifoliata

Poncirus trifoliata

Prunus lannesiana Washinowa

The low growing shrubby Amelanchier ovalis (Showy Mespilus) is a favorite of mine. I fell in love with the plant when I was an intern at the Chicago Botanical Garden. Since that time I've been working very hard at switching over to digital images and taking new pictures is a lot more fun than scanning slides.

Amelanchier ovalis

As far as the perennials go, I've always loved Primula denticulata (Drumstick Primrose) and Rodgersia aesculafolia (Rodgers flower). 

Rodgersia aesculafolia

Primula denticulata
The peony was a new find for me. It is a Ukrainian species that was labeled as Paeonia daurica, but I understand it is now called Paeonia mascula subspecies triternata. Regardless of the name it was quite beautiful and look very healthy.  

Paeonia mascula
Trillium sessile Snow Queen

Discovered a New Plant?

Discovering and introducing new plants is not just for professional plant breeders. There have been some really great plants introduced by amateur plants-people. Perhaps the most famous or most successful amateur was Kathleen Meserve of Long Island, New York that developed that Blue Holly by crossing the hardy, low growing Ilex rugosa with the Ilex aquifolium the English Holly.

More recent examples of good new plants introduced by amateurs include Ruby Anniversary Abelia (A. chinensis 'Keiser'). This is a plant that was selected by Susan Keiser of Ossining, New York. Ms Keiser, while not a regular plant breeder, does know a thing or two about plants. She owns and operated Greystone Gardens, a design company that creates high end specialty gardens. One her most famous designs is a terrace garden on third floor of the 10 Rockefeller Plaza. Building rooftop gardens requires an in depth knowledge of plants, so Ms. Keiser is continually testing and evaluating new plants. She selected Ruby Anniversary out a group of seed propagated Chinese Abelia plants in her garden. She noticed that one plant was very different from the rest, as it was fuller in habit and the foliage was much darker than was typical of the species. The new growth also had attractive burgundy coloration. She know she had found a very special plant. Ruby Anniversary Abelia has some other advantages too as it is hardier than Abelia x grandiflora and the flowers are fragrant. It is adored by butterflies!

Bronze Anniversary Abelia is another plant introduced by an amateur. This plant was the the result of a discovered sport mutation on Abelia x grandiflora by Rika Bronsther of Hempstead, Long Island. Ms Bronsther also know a bit about plants. While she is currently employed as a graphic designer, she previously owned and operated a landscape design and build company. She has a great eye for plants and especially sports, or mutations. She is alway on the look out for sports and variegations, or unique seedlings. Ms. Bronsther has introduced a number of outstanding plants including Anemone 'Party Dress' and the Autumn Crescendo Series of Dendrathema (hardy mum).

Bronze Anniversary was selected from a number of yellow leafed sports found by Bronsther. After comparing it her other sports, as well as, the other yellow leafed Abelia cultivar the plant was selected because it had attractive orange coloration on the new growth. It was also the strongest grower, the most floriferous and did not revert as did the other selections. The plant also has a good strong root system compared to many cultivars that do not and thus cause production problems.

Sugar Tip Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus 'America Irene Scott') was discovered by Sharon Gerlt of Independence, Missouri as sport mutation on a plant growing in her yard. While I get about 4-5 people a year offering me variegated forms of Rose of Sharon, none have been as nice as this plant. Sugar Tip Hibiscus has very attractive, stable variegation. Unlike Hibiscus syriacus 'Pupureus Variegatus' the flower actually open. And unlike other selections I've seen, this plants is easy to grow and has very consistent variegation that's very pleasing to the eye. The soft pink flowers go well with the foliage. This variety is seedless so there is no issue with unwanted seedlings in the garden. In addition, the growth habit is compact and refined.    

Have you discovered a new plant that you think has commercial value. Send me an email at tim@springmeadownursery and I will let you know if your plant is worthy of introduction, how new plants are launched and if the plant is good, earn royalty income on each plant sold. 

Pearl bush Snow Day Blizzard

Tom Ranney sent me some images of his new Snow Day Blizzard Exochorda. It is a new variety we are offering for the first time this spring. It has extra-large flowers as it is a tetraploid variety. Essentially this means the plant has them twice the amount of genetic material as the normal species and in this instance results in larger flowers. Good looking plant. I thought you might enjoy seeing these. You can learn more at the Spring Meadow website. 

Help for aspiring Horticulturists

Bright, well trained, and qualified people are essential to the nursery industry, that's why Dale and Liz Deppe created the Spring Meadow Scholarship Fund in 1999. This fund is dedicated to helping aspiring students from across the country obtain a degree in horticulture. 

The Spring Meadow team has been blessed by this industry and the mentors who've helped them along the way. This scholarship fund is their way of giving back, and sharing the excitement for plants and the nursery industry with others. Spring Meadow Nursery's goal is to grant scholarships to students with an interest in woody plant production, woody plant propagation, woody plant breeding, horticultural sales and marketing.
Eligibility Requirements

1. Applicant must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate: landscape, horticulture or related discipline at a two or four-year institution. Students in vocational agriculture programs will also be considered.

Undergraduate: Applicant must have at least a sophomore standing in a four-year curriculum or senior standing in a two-year curriculum as of the fall semester of scholarship application year.

Graduate: All applicants in graduate school regardless of year in school may apply.

2. Applicant must be interested in woody plant production, wood plant propagation, woody plant breeding, and/or horticultural sales and marketing.

3. Applicant must be currently enrolled in good standing and carry a full-time course load at the time of application and during the semesters for which the scholarship is granted.

4. Applicant must have a minimum grade point average overall of 2.25 based on a scale of 4.0, and a minimum GPA of 2.7 on a scale of 4.0 in their major.

5. Previous Spring Meadow Nursery Scholarship award winners are eligible for additional funding and may reapply.
Submitting an Application

The application deadline is May 31st of each year including letters of recommendation. The online application and letters of recommendation must be received no later than May 31 at 11:59 p.m.

There are 6 components to the scholarship application: the application document, cover letter, resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and the transcript.

All applications must be completed using the HRI online scholarship application. No other form of application will be accepted. The general application, cover letter, resume and copies of transcripts must be uploaded by the student using the online form.

Each student must have 2 letters of recommendation submitted to HRI by the May 31st deadline. Letters of recommendation may come from a student's advisor, instructor, business associate or a combination.

Letters should include information on the student's potential to make significant contributions to the nursery and landscape industry, academic qualifications, and financial need if known.

Important: Letters of recommendation are the only items that may be excluded from the online submission-application process by the student. Letters of recommendation must be either faxed or emailed to HRI by the recommender. Mailed copies will no longer be accepted.

Email: scholarships@hriresearch.org. Subject line: Scholarship name and student name 

More Cool Foliage

A few posts back I spoke about how interesting foliage makes for an interesting garden even when the plants are not in flower. I dug into my perennial file and pulled up some plants with interesting foliage. Note that green leaves can be as interesting as colorful foliage. Note the different shapes and textures of these plants.

Some of these varieties are common while others are new. I'm not going to label them right away. I'm going to see if you can identify them. Don't email with your responses but rather be brave and post a comment so we can all see your answers. 

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron' (Japanese Blood Grass)

(Lungwort) Pulmonaria ‘Spot On’ 

                                                              Japanese Hakone Grass

Euphorbia marginata

Dolce® ‘Silver Gumdrop’ coral bells (Heuchera

Liriope muscari Peedee Ingot 

Pachysandra terminalis 'Green Sheen' (Japanese Spurge) 

Queen of Hearts’ Siberian Bugloss 

Blue blue fescue (Festuca glauca

Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens,'  black mondo grass