Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rainbow of Ground Covers Enlivens the Landscape

Snow N Summer® Asiatic Jasmine

A colorful palette of ground covers adds an extra dimension to the lower levels of my landscape. These ground-hugging plants that spread widely yet remain short and close to the ground have a new look these days with a selection of foliage colors. Brightening up sunny spots as well as shade, many choices of perennial ground covers are available for the artistic gardener and landscaper. Ground covers protect the soil from erosion and drought, while providing a flat layer of vegetation beneath the shrub layer.

Pink and White
Trachelospermum asiaticum Snow N Summer® Asiatic Jasmine by Garden Debut®. The amazing pink foliage color of looks like flowers in the bed but is adaptable and evergreen, making it an excellent mounding 12-iinch ground cover that spreads to three feet. New foliage emerges striking pink, turning to clear white, then to variegated white and emerald green on older foliage.  

Mahogany-Red Bronze
Ajuga reptens Bronze has appealing dark mahogany-maroon foliage that thrives in sun or shade and reaches 6 to 10 inches in height and spreads by runners. Short spikes of attractive blue flowers cover the mat in spring, attracting bees and butterflies.

Angelina Sedum
Brilliant Yellow
Sedum rupestre Angelina- the brilliant-yellow spreading fleshy foliage of this succulent ground cover turns orange at the tips in autumn. It’s only 3 inches tall but spreads to two feet wide and more in sun.

Yellow and Green
Vinca minor ‘Sunny Skies’ PP13466 features yellow variegated leaves and bright blue springtime flowers, attaining about 12 inches in height and spreading to two feet.

Bunny Blue Sedge
Silvery Blue
Carex laxiculmus Bunny Blue Sedge Grass by Garden Debut® is a grass-like ornamental groundcover with narrow foliage and year-round interest. Aqua-silvery blue leaves to 12 inches tall will spread to a large, dense clump.

There are many other ground covers that increase the gardener’s color choices. Have you tried some of these? What is your favorite? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seed Collecting and Saving

Seeds I collected in the garden - so far. 
While the squirrels are collecting (and planting) pecans from our big tree in the backyard, I am also squirreling away seeds to plant next January. Of course I'll scatter some now, too.

I like to dry them thoroughly before packaging them in paper envelopes. Be sure to label them! I often forget if they are not labeled. My Dad used to like to quote Confucius: "the weakest ink is stronger than the strongest mind," or in other words, write it down b/c you might not remember what you have there.

I plan to take the Rudbeckia triloba off of that mass of clippings while watching NCIS this evening. Do you save seeds? I have parsley, white hibiscus, thorn apple, purple cone flower, annual Rudbeckia, my Grandmother's Balsam, Rudbeckia triloba (big bowl) --> and one composite I forgot to label (!) but I think it is feverfew.

Happy Collecting!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Urban™ Apple Caramel Upside-Down Cake

Edible landscaping is the number one consumer trend today acccording to Independent Garden Centers, as the locally-grown movement gains ground, and more and more gardeners find success harvesting their own crops. Enter Urban™ Columnar Apples by Garden Debut®, slender new apple trees that yield great tasting apples in a tiny space.

What could be more ideal than a “containerized orchard” on a sunny deck, or planted in the backyard? This is possible with Urban™ Columnar Apples by Garden Debut? Use your harvest in a simple upside-down cake recipe that combines the great autumn flavors of apples and caramel.     

Blushing Delight(TM) Apple PP21511 

4 Blushing Delight™ Urban™ Columnar Apples, cored and sliced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 bag vanilla caramels
1-2  Tablespoons water
Yellow or Spice Cake batter (for one layer only)

Coat cake pan with oil
Place Urban™ Apple slices in an attractive pattern in the cake pan

Slowly melt caramels and water in a small saucepan over low heat
Pour melted caramel over apple slices without disturbing

Mix cake batter according to directions
Pour batter over caramel and apples

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes, or until cake is lightly brown and separates from pan
Flip cake onto serving dish and enjoy!

Serves 8

For more information about the Urban(TM) Columnar Apple Trees, visit the Garden Debut® website

We would like to see how you are using your Urban™ Apples this fall! Post on our Facebook Page 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Gold Medal Plant Award Winner is The Rising Sun® Redbud PP21451

The Rising Sun® Redbud PP21451

Awards by horticultural societies help gardeners and landscapers make informed choices about plants. The societies run tests and then acknowledge the best of the best performers. Extensive trials take place before these awards are bestowed on old favorites or new plant introductions. 

A familiar example is the annual All-American Rose Selection Winners must embody all of the characteristics today’s homeowners desire in a garden plant. Each winner excelled in a 2-year trial program where it was judged on disease resistance to flower production, color and fragrance.

Another plant award is the American Hemerocallis Society’s Stout Silver Medal of Honor. This is the highest award a daylily cultivar can receive and is given in memory of Dr. Arlos Burdette Stout, the father of modern daylily breeding in North America. Winners are great performers.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM), an honor that is well-known and transcends national boundaries. Judging committees from the RHS bestow the award to only the best performers.

Daffodils have their own award; the John and Gertrude Wister Award from the AmericanDaffodil Society emphasize garden performance with long lasting blooms, clean color, sunfast, vigorous foliage, disease resistant, and more. 

Gold Medal Plant Award, PHS
Gold Medal Plant Award Program, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
Since 1978 the prestigious Gold Medal Plant Award Program of the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society has recognized trees, shrubs and woody vines of outstanding merit. Noted nurseryman Dr. J. Franklin Styler inaugurated this award to showcase superior woody plants for homeowners and landscapers. These woodies are evaluated for their superb eye-appeal, performance and hardiness. People know they can rely on winners for ease of growing, resistance to disease,   beauty in many seasons and hardiness in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 - 7 (encompassing Pennsylvania). Garden Debut(R) is pleased to announce The Rising Sun® Redbud PP21451 has been awarded the 2012 Gold Medal from the PHS! This honor recognizes beautiful, reliable and exceptional plants. 

Tangerine to apricot new foliage
The PHS website states: "Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun(R) Redbud PP21451 is a novel addition to the native eastern redbud roundup. Small but showy rosy orchid flowers climb the naked branches in early spring attracting bees and butterflies. The distinctive bark is smooth tan with a yellowish cast. Emerging heart-shaped foliage is brilliant tangerine to apricot and reputed to hold its color well into fall, surpassing other gold leaved redbuds. Heat tolerance, drought tolerance and cold hardiness are other desirable attributes." 

Gardeners and landscapers can purchase The Rising Sun(R) Redbud PP21451 with complete confidence in its performance every time. Another of the Great New Plants(TM) from Garden Debut(R).  .

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Candelabra Flower Scapes on Enjoy 24/7™ Daylily Collection

Bahama Pink Sky(TM) Daylily, PPAF
Daylilies (Hemerocallis species and cultivars) are reliable, easy-care perennials useful for adding color to perennial beds, shrub borders or for erosion control on slopes. Dayliles are ideal perennials, tolerant of most soils, of wet weather and drought, of sun and shade, handle heat stress well, are pretty free of pests and make a carefree addition to the landscape.

Their colorful, trumpet-shaped blooms each last only a single day, but since each clump produces many buds, the colorful effect is long-lasting. In addition, the Enjoy 24/7™ Daylily Collection  from Garden Debut®  has multiple flowering periods throughout the season, beginning in April and continuing though Thanksgiving(!).

Candelabra Flower Scape
Candelabra or Branched Flower Scapes
Since the total number of flowers and resulting bloom season of a well-established plant depends on the number of buds, a flower stalk that is loaded with buds has a long bloom period. The scape is the entire flower stalk arising from the center of the clump known as the crown; a tall, sturdy flower stalk without leaves but having a few green bracts as well as multiple flower buds. Some scapes are branched and display flowers to advantage and these are called branched scapes or ‘candelabra scapes’.

Pictured at right is a candelabra scape of Bahama Pink Sky™ Daylily  blooming once again in early September with multiple flower stalks or scapes (6) distributed among two clumps. Each scape carries multiple buds so the perennials are able to bloom for a long period. In particular, Enjoy 24/7™ Daylilies are exceptional bloomers, beginning in April and continuing through Thanksgiving.

Multiple Branched Scapes
Pictured at left is a photo of 2 clumps of Bahama Pink Sky™ Daylily taken the first week of September in my Atlanta garden, with many scapes loaded with buds. 

To purchase the Enjoy 24/7™ Daylily Collection from Garden Debut, ask your retailer to offer them this fall. Remember the horticultural slogan, “Fall is for Planting” and plant some this month.