Archive for December, 2013

2014 Perennial Plant Of the Year: ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass

Northwind switchgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’) is a 4 to 5 feet tall native prairie grass (USDA hardiness zones 4–9). There are many fine switchgrass varieties, but its Northwind’s vertical form and steel blue foliage that makes it a standout. Northwind switchgrass has been selected the 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year. By mid-summer its lacy soft pinkish […]

Leyland Cypress – Alternative Christmas Tree For The South

If you grew up with a spruce or a fir Christmas tree, Leyland Cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii) could be a big change. This conifer species thrives in the southern U.S. (USDA hardiness zones 7-b to 9). Leyland is a good choice for a live cut or transplanted holiday tree as firs (Abies spp.) and spruces […]

‘Summer Cascade’ Is A Very Different Weeping River Birch

Summer Cascade is a new weeping river birch (Betula nigra Summer Cascade™ (PPAF). Its pendulous branching habit represents a unique change for river birch. Its strong weeping nature creates a divine focal point planted next to a pond, deck, or patio. Left unstaked, Summer Cascade’s strong pendulous habit naturally grows into a shrub mound or […]

‘Grey Owl’ Juniper Is Tough Carefree Evergreen

Some people rate junipers as over-planted or bygone landscape plants. Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’ is a cultivar of our native Eastern Red Cedar (USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9). Eastern red cedar is actually a juniper. This flat spreading evergreen develops into a reliable ground cover not plagued with disease and pest problems observed on […]

Norfolk Island Pine Makes Decorative Holiday Tree

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is native to tiny Norfolk Island located in the South Pacific. This tropical evergreen tree is now planted around the world and appears to be hardy in Northern Florida (USDA hardiness zone 9). In the wild this fast-growing tree grows to 80 feet in height. Norfolk Island Pine makes a […]

When To Prune Off Old Foliage Of Evergreen Perennials

Foliage of many popular evergreen perennials often appear tattered after a long cold winter. Coralbells (Heuchera spp.), foam flowers (Tiarella spp.), monkeygrass (Liriope spp.), fairy wings (Epimedium spp.), creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), periwinkle (Vinca minor), Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), and Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) are stunning evergreen groundcovers. The solution is simple– just prune them. […]

‘Ogon’ Dawn Redwood Offers 4-Seasons Interest

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Ogon’ (aka ‘Gold Rush’) is a stunning foliage color variant (USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8). Metasequoia was thought to be extinct until the mid-1940’s when rediscovered in China. Its leaves were commonly found imprinted in fossil rocks. When developing your landscape plan, place Ogon where it will become a focal […]

Japanese Umbrella Pine Is Unique Among Evergreens

Umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) is an outstanding evergreen large shrub or medium-sized pyramidal tree. Initially, umbrella pine grows slowly, only 6 to 8 inches annually, but growth rate picks up after 4-5 years. A young 3-foot tall plant may reach 20 to 30 feet tall in 25 years and double that at maturity. Its leaves […]

Landscape Shrubs Rarely Damaged By Deer

Deer will eat or nibble on any landscape plant, particularly when they’re starving. Abnormally high deer populations, starved by a shortage of their favorite foods (mast), will feed or browse on almost any plant. This is a survival reaction. To truly protect plants when deer numbers are unusually high, a tall fence or reinforced netting […]