Monday, September 24, 2012

My Favorite Subshrub - Caryopteris incana 'Jason'

How's your garden looking these days? Most perennials have finished blooming for the year, and face it - your garden is looking a little drab. Have I got the plant for you!

Caryopteris incana 'Jason' also called Caryopteris Sunshine Blue ® Blue Mist Shrub is formally classified as a subshrub, although you will find it listed in different catalogs sometimes as a perennial, and other times as a shrub. There usually isn't a category for subshrubs, but for plant geeks like me, it's important to know this group. Subshrubs have a woody lower stem, but die back each year like a perennial. Other examples include Perovskia atripicifolia (Russian sage) Lavendula (lavender), and Thymus (thyme). Subshrubs can, and should be cut back in the late fall after blooming for rich spring growth.

I have two species of Caryopteris, the one above, and a variegated variety, and I love them both for their late season interest. Bees and butterflies go crazy over them, and it's nice to have this pollinator activity in the garden this late in the year. They grow to between 3-4 feet with an open, rounded form.

My recommendation? Try one, and extend your garden's blooming time by a month!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Garden Artistry" Plant Combos Available Soon in Chicagoland

Next year, Midwest Groundcovers, a wholesale plant nursery in St. Charles, IL, will offer Independant Garden Centers (IGCs) the "Garden Artistry" line of prepackaged plant combinations. That means that next year customers will be able to purchase plants specially selected by Roy Diblik to work well together visually and culturally. Those gardeners who may need a little help with garden design will be able to buy sets of 10 pint sized plants in four different combinations. I think this is a great product for IGCs to offer their customers, but I hope it doesn't put me out of a job!

Check out the four combinations Diblik and Midwest Groundcovers have developed:

Onions 'n Mint: Allium 'Summer Beauty' and Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta
Allium 'Summer Beauty'
photo credit

Cry Me a Salvia River (inspired by the "Salvia River" at the Lurie Gardens): Salvia 'Blue Hill' and Salvia 'East Friesland'
Salvia 'East Friesland'
photo credit

More to Bee-hold: Monarda bradburiana and Sporobolus heterolepis

Monarda bradburianaphoto credit

Home Sweet Hummelo: Sesleria autumnalis and Stachys monnieri 'Hummelo'

Sesleria autumnalis

I've grown all of these plants except Monarda bradburiana, and love them all for their consistent performance, drought tolerance, and long season of color. I plan to plant the Monarda, which is native, in my front yard no-water garden.

Tell me, what are some of your favorite plant combos?