Tag Archives: plant catalog

The online plant orders are in

The catalogs have been studied. 

Available space in my yard has been analyzed.

A personal self evaluation has been conducted. 

The budget has been fine tuned.

And then all of that analysis was thrown out the window and I just went with what looked cool.

Without further ado, here is a list of the plants that have been purchased:

From Bluestone Perennials:

Rhamnus ‘Fine Line’ – I like the unique texture and its role as a “narrow vertical accent”. Deer resistant? We’ll see:      

Viburnum ‘Brandywine’ – All about those multi-colored berries:   

Viburnum “All That Glitters” and “All that Glows”: Love viburnums, love the glossy foliage and hoping to see some berry production by planting them close to each other:

Pennisetum ‘Desert Plains’ – Intrigued by the blooms and truthfully, they were also on sale:    

 Ilex ‘Mr. Poppins’ and ‘Berry Poppins’ – Male and female dwarf options and yet again, my desire to get me some berries in winter.

From Digging Dog Nursery:

Andropogon gerardii – I’ve been meaning to add these for a while now and I was sold by their ability to transition to the meadow at the back of my property: 

Bouteloua ‘Blonde Ambition’ – All about the seed heads on this one.

Helictotrichon ‘Sapphire Fountain’ – I have a goal to acquire more “cool season” grasses and this one fits the bill. Also love the blue color.

Molinia ‘Cordoba’ – “Boldly architectural” and already in love with my ‘Skyracer’.

Panicum ‘Warrior’ – I will collect each and every available Panicum.

From Klehm’s Song Sparrow:

Andropogon ‘Red October’Have you seen that color?:

Schizachyrium ‘Blue Heaven’ – Steel blue with purple highlights is too intriguing not to give it a whirl: 

And there you have it. Please refrain from any negative comments about any of these plants so I do not have to suffer from buyer’s remorse over the next few months.

Mucho appreciated.

John

Plant catalog confusion

It is plant/seed catalog time of year and like all other plant aficionados, I am knee deep in these catalogs, dreaming of spring and green and all other colors of the rainbow. It is a survival mechanism for those of us in colder climates longing to see March 1st on the calendar or the first sign of a lone crocus emerging from the cold soil.

As I was thumbing through the “full sun deciduous shrub” section of one of these catalogs, I came upon the Lilac section. It was bloom color overload and one couldn’t help but have spring fever. It is easy to start daydreaming about temperatures in the 60’s and color and birds chirping and the oh so sweet aroma of lilac blooms. But then I had a flashback to a conversation I had with a coworker a few months back and my thoughts high tailed it to a new and somewhat frustrating direction.

For the most part, my friends, family and coworkers have no interest in gardening; at least not to the point of excitedly consuming a plant catalog with a highlighter in hand. They’ll throw me a bone and ask a gardening question but their heart isn’t in it. A courtesy to me if you will. I appreciate their efforts but it isn’t necessary. It’s like me trying to start a conversation about cars. I have zero interest and couldn’t fake my way through a chat about V6 vs. V8 engines. A car takes me from point A to point B and that is it. Where was I?

Last fall, a dude I work with casually mentioned that he would like to put together a “real garden” in his yard but was intimidated by the idea of actually putting together a plan. After selling him on the fact that planning is overrated (don’t judge), I told him he should take a look at a plant catalog to get a feel for what is available and what floats his boat. I could then work with him to help him better understand the concept of annuals vs. perennials vs. deciduous vs. evergreen. Real beginner stuff here (I kid) but I remained professionally patient.

So yes, I brought him a plant catalog and demanded he leaf through it and tell me what he liked. While I could sense him regretting ever having told me about this garden idea, he agreed to give it a shot, but not in the presence of anyone else at work (which is another problem we’ll need to address at another time). Some times you have to appreciate the small “wins”.

The next morning I cornered him and asked about his plant review homework and amazingly, he had some strong opinions. Go gardening! The first plant he brought up was the aforementioned lilac. He too was intrigued by the blooms and the variety of colors. But what he said next, put things in perspective, and I quote:

“Will these bloom all summer?”

Sigh … where to begin?

By all rights, said coworker should have read the fine print to know when these shrubs bloom. But on the other hand, you could say there is a bit of false advertising in play here.

For us all-knowing plant people, we have the right perspective when we peruse these plant catalogs. We understand bloom periods, the concept of bloom succession and an appreciation of foliage. We more-evolved-stewards-of-the-earth can see a photo of a geranium bloom and realize it is an extreme close-up and that those flowers may look good for two weeks if we are lucky. We understand our growing conditions and soil types and the true definition of partial shade. But that doesn’t translate to the commoner and I wonder if that is an issue.

I understand marketing and I understand the need to sell one’s product. But I think we oversell or over exaggerate the power of the flower and undersell the other attributes of plants. Flowers are colorful, pretty, happy and evoke all things beautiful, but in most circumstances, they ain’t around all that long. Yet, we see these overblown photos of blooms in print and online and the uneducated assume that is what they will get by just sticking the plant in the ground and giving it a little bit of water. When that doesn’t come to fruition, frustration sets in and gardening gets a bad name.

My thought is that it would be more advantageous to be more forthright with the consumer and let them know that lilac blooms may only be there for a week some years. Show them those fantastic blooms but in scale with the actual shrub. Sell them on the fact that the foliage can look nice post spring bloom and still has a place in the garden as we head on in to summer. Or possibly show photos of the same plant during spring, summer and fall so the potential purchaser has a better feel of what they are in for. I understand the battle for real estate in catalogs, but this shouldn’t be an issue with online catalogs.

Yes, the Monarda blooms are colorful and all:    

      
But maybe we are more upfront on the need to deadhead to keep those blooms coming? I’m not saying we need to go so far as to show how things can go wrong:

                     
But maybe it is better to set truthful expectations and tone down the flower factor. A more realistic view of what plant ownership is all about. It isn’t easy and let’s not pretend that it is.

Astilbe blooms can pack a punch when in bloom:

But that foliage ain’t half bad and let’s celebrate it:

This is what you can expect to see for the majority of the growing season with Penstemon ‘Husker Red’:

And for only a brief moment in time, this:

If blooms truly do persist for long periods of time, that should be highlighted:

Just some things to ponder.

Will it help prevent the sickness of those who take only an annual trip to Lowe’s to pick up flats of impatiens and petunias and call it “gardening”? Who knows, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Browsing the “Klehm’s Song Sparrow” 2012 catalog

Alrighty then … the kids are in bed, the coffee is made and this tired lump is ready to park his buttocks on the couch along with this awesome looking plant catalog from:  

I’ll admit, I have never heard of this specialty farm/nursery before but a brief glimpse inside the catalog and I’m instantly hooked. Time to go to work on what I want to order.

Just need to get a highlighter and open a few web browsers on my laptop for researching purposes.

All systems a go …

First up, an incredible number of Clematis. Hmmm … I’ve never attempted to grow one and don’t know if I’m ready now either. Flowers in sun and roots in shade; type 1 vs type 2 pruning, screw this, too much work and I some times think the blooms are too much for this understated gardener. Next …

Whoa! Stop the presses. I am liking this ‘Green Jewel’ coneflower big time:    

And Mother Mary of God, I think I need this Geranium ‘Midnight Clouds’ with the purple foliage and whitish blooms:

And look at this hot SOB, Monarda ‘Purple Rooster’, yet another Monarda I cannot resist:

Deep breaths, deep breaths. Let’s continue.

OMG, this peony selection is off the charts. It is time to add some more to my small collection:

But wait, they don’t ship their peonies until Fall. Time to move on.

Daylilies … next

Hostas … LOL …. ROTFL … LMFAO … I have virtually no shade and the deer will destroy them the first night. That laugh felt good.

Variegated Northern Sea Oats … stay calm … you know these bastards reseed like mad, are you ready to pull all of the seedlings in the spring? Hmmmm …

Are you friggin kidding me? Two full pages of Tree Peonies? I am going to give these a shot one of these years, but the price tag is a bit high. Pass … for now

Seriously? Interesectional Hybrid Peonies? Brain is on overload, will research these at a later date but damn, they look all sorts of awesome.

Now I am pissed off. The Japanese Maples in this catalog are beyond phenomenal. Just look at these:

  

I know I have nowhere to put these (and don’t have well drained soil) but maybe I can get creative? This sucks.

‘Little Lime’ Hydrangea … two please:  

Holy crap’n crap, check out this variegated Tsuga and the white new growth … sold:

Wow, that was an intense trip. Glad I powered up with all of the caffeine. I’ll need some time to narrow down my final choices before hitting the “purchase” button.

I’ll be sure to share my final buys with you and their planting in future posts.

I need a cigarette.

John