Archive for 2007

Raised Beds in the Garden

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on October 1, 2007 – 5:38 pm

We have often referred to raised beds in past issues of Yard Talk. For example, in the article on culinary herbs, we talked about having to construct raised beds because of a drainage problem. In Gardening for Senior Citizens, we recommended using raised beds to minimize bending and kneeling. Well just what is a raised bed, why should we use one, and just how do we build one of those things? 

A garden is considered raised if the soil in the bed is higher than the surrounding soil. We normally tiink of a raised bed as being enclosed by some medium, such as wood, concrete, or plastic, to hold the soil in place. Actually the bed does not have to be enclosed to meet the definition of a raised bed. A raised bed should be no wider than four feet, so it can be easily maintained from the outside. The length and shape can be whatever suits the site or gardener’s needs. 

The most important advantages are: 

  1. Greatly reduced soil compaction since a properly designed raised bed garden allows you to do all your gardening from the garden path.
  2. Plants can be spaced a little closer together in a raised bed. This increases productivity and reduces weeding.
  3. Plants will grow much larger in raised beds.
  4. Raised beds drain better than ordinary garden beds. In areas, like Florida, that have saturated soil, this may be the only way you can grow many types of plants.
  5. Soil conditions can be controlled more effectively in a raised bed .
  6. Reduced amounts of water, mulch, and fertilizer,will be required because they only need to be applied to the garden beds.
  7. Raised garden beds bring your garden closer to you, less bending and stretching.
  8. Raised beds can extend your gardening season. They tend to warm up a little sooner in the Spring and remain productive later in the Fall.

The first step in constructing a raised bed, is to choose a sunny location and decide on the size and shape you want. Keep the beds narrow and match their length to the site and the watering system. We recommend tilling the soil before building raised beds, to provide additional room for root development. Remember that a raised bed is not easily moved, so plan carefully. 

While the frame can be made from any nontoxic material we find cedar to be most attractive, given a little time and sunshine, the cedar takes on a charming silver-gray sheen. Cedar is also naturally resistant to rot and insects. We prefer northern rough cedar 2 x 8’s for the sides, and 4 x 4’s for the corner posts. The overall height of the bed should be 18 inches with their length 10 to 12 feet. Make sure the frame is secured with four inch galvanized lag screws at the corners to inside blocks of wood. Make sure you pre-drill all holes or they will split. 

If cedar is not available, pressure treated wood is an acceptable substitute. A study by the Institute of Environmental Toxicology at Michigan State University, has shown the potential for contamination of vegetables and fruits is very small, and any residues would be at levels far below those known to cause toxic effects. 

Fill the frame with a good-quality lightweight soil mix and add a generous amount of compost. Avoid using soil straight from the garden. It usually is too heavy and does not allow for good drainage.

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A Weed by Another Name – The Joe Pye Weed

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on September 1, 2007 – 7:07 pm

Joe Pye Weed is a tall, dominating upright perennial, three to twelve feet tall, with a green to purple unbranched stems, that are mostly hollow. The lance shaped leaves are eight to twelve inches long, and arranged in whorls at each node on the stem. When crushed, the leaves have a slight hint of vanilla. The blooms are white to mauve and densely packed in several large rounded clusters at the top of the stem. The showy flower clusters can be up to twenty inches across and invariably covered with butterflies, wasps and bees, and beetles from summer until late autumn. Characteristics of all species run together, and identification of individual species can be confusing. 

In the wild, Joe Pye Weed grows in moist fields and pastures, along road shoulders, and at the woodland edges. An Eastern plant, it grows from Central Florida west to Texas and north into Canada. They often grow in thickets along streams and ditches. Some Joe Pyes can be very cold hardy, growing as far north as Quebec and Newfoundland. Normally they are considered cold hardy from Zone 3 through Zone 9. 

Joe Pye Weed is a very popular ornamental plant in Europe but rarely used in gardens in our country. This is starting to slowly change as the home gardener discovers just how useful they are, particularly in the butterfly garden. Most varieties are at home in the background of the border garden. We like to use them in a semi-wild naturalistic garden such as alongside a stream or pond. 

Joe Pye Weed are big and bold enough to hold their own among shrubs in a mixed border but grows best in full sun. Plants grown in partial shade will get too tall and flop over. You can prune them back in late spring and they will bloom at a much lower height. They all like plenty of water but will survive in dry sites. We consider them to be drought tolerant, but they will never be as showy as when grown with abundant moisture. 

Joe Pye Weed is one of the showiest perennials in autumn, towering above summertime’s worn out flowers and shrubs. We like to use them with Solidago rugosa Leraft and Panicum virgatum Cloud Nine or Prairie Sky. On a smaller scale we use Joe Pye Weed with Boltonia decurrens Snowbanks and Solidago rugosa Fireworks or Golden Baby planted in the foreground. All of these and more can be seen on our Plant Data Base. 

Joe Pye Weed has underground stems, called rhizomes, which grow laterally and send up new shoots. The root is woody, thick and purplish brown with cream colored flesh. The above-ground parts die in the Winter and the rhizomes start new stems, leaves, and flowers the following year. We easily propagated them by dividing the root clumps with a sharp shovel or spade during the dormant season. 

Native Americans used concoctions of Joe Pye weed to treat a diversity of internal and external ailments. The Algonquin, Joe Pye, was said to have cured typhus fever with the plant that received his name. The entire plant was used as a medicine with the roots being the strongest part. Crushed leaves have an apple scent and are dried then burned to repel flies. Boil dried root and flowers for a diuretic tea to relieve kidney and urinary problems. Tea is also used to induce sweating and break a high fever. 

We grow the Joe Pye Weeds not for it’s medicinal properties but because they look good in the garden and attract butterflies. We have seen ducks, geese and wild turkey weeding on them in the Fall. In our gardens the Eastern Cottontail and White-tailed Deer really flock to the tickets looking for the seeds. Our favorite is the impressive Gateway, although Carin and Little Joe are hard to beat. Joe Pye Weed attract butterflies and other insects, smell good, are attractive, easy to grow, and even provide food for wild critters. Not many plants are so versatile.

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Athyriums in the Garden

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on August 1, 2007 – 6:33 pm

Athyriums have long been prized by the home gardener not only because they were very easy to grow but, because of their color and texture. Lady ferns, particularly look good when grown in clumps or mass plantings. We use these ferns throughout our shade gardens. Actually, this is one down right spectacular plant. 

Lady Ferns are a highly variable species, with numerous varieties in cultivation. More than 300 varieties, in shades of grays, greens, and burgundy, have made their way to the home garden. Some, like ‘Frizelliae’ are extremely odd in appearance. This delicate, finely cut deciduous perennial fern is at home in the garden as the woodlands and meadows. The plant can even be used as a ground cover or on a wet hillside. 

Athyriums are relatively sun and soil tolerant, compared to many other ferns. Despite its delicate appearance, lady ferns are quite rugged and adapt well to cultivation. In the woodland setting they even do better with an occasional burning. For best growth plant them in partial shade in soil that is rich and moist. Give them a little shelter from wind to protect fronds from breaking and they will perform well for years. 

These ferns need a neutral to acid ph soil which drains well. A mixture of equal parts of loam and leaf mold is suitable growing medium. Lady ferns require no fertilization. Athyriums grown in a greenhouse or home should be planted in peat and loam with a bit of sand. 

Propagation is by division in the spring, although spores may be sown in Summer. Division is most successful and by far the easiest method for the home gardener. Simply divide the clumps every few years, with a sharp spade and replant crowns at soil level. 

In the wild, lady fern often occurs on wet sites but can colonize cracks in rocks and crevices if roots are protected and in constant contact with water. We use them, with hostas and other broadleaf plants, along trails, naturalized on banks, mixed with grasses, or bordering walks. They work well at the base of sculptures, garden benches, and potted plants.

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Hazelnuts for the Home Garden

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on July 1, 2007 – 7:34 pm

The Corrals or hazelnut, a member of the Birch family, unlike it’s cousins is a very under used tree in the home garden. This shade tolerant deciduous shrub or small tree deserves much better. Many of this species have large rich purple leaves and colorful catkins. One variety, Corrals avellana or more commonly known as Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick is particularly worth planting. With it’s curled and twisted stems and leaves, it makes a fine specimen plant. 

Hazelnuts or filberts are large, deciduous shrub from 3 to 15 feet tall. It has a straight trunk with spreading, ascending branches, and can form dense thickets. The leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, broadly ovate, accumulate, slightly lobed with doubly serrate margins. Their foliage is particularly beautiful with the sun shining through the leaves. 

In nature the hazelnut grows along streams, hedgerows, meadows, roadsides, woodlands, and forest margins. It likes rich, moist, well-drained soils and is shade tolerant. It usually grows as an understory tree often competing with the alders and witchhazels for dominance. 

The roots typically grow in the upper six inches of soil. Some of the smaller roots run vertically toward the surface and branch profusely into very fine laterals. The large, woody rhizomes give rise to new shoots 1 to 2 feet from the parent plant. 

The leaves, twigs, and catkins of hazelnut are browsed by deer and moose. The nuts are eaten by small mammals, northern bobwhite, ruffed grouse and other large birds, and beaver eat the bark. Seed dispersal is chiefly by mammals or birds although the most important mode of reproduction of American hazel is from it’s rhizomes. 

The flowers of Corrals are formed in the summer and open the following spring, before the leaves emerge. The male catkins are 8 inches long, straight, slender, and regularly spaced along the upper stem. The female flowers are tiny, almost completely enclosed by bracts near the end of the twigs. 

By late summer or early fall, the fertilized flowers develop into clusters of 1-12 round to oval nuts, resembling an acorn . The pericarp is hard, loosely covering the smooth to shriveled kernel. Nuts are surrounded by a green, leafy husk , and abscise from the base of the husk in late august. However, the husk does not release the nut until 6 weeks later when it dries and opens. It begins producing nuts after the first year, and produces good crops every two to three years. 

Commercially, hazelnuts are allowed to fall naturally to the ground as they mature, then mechanically swept into windrows, where large vacuums sweep them up. Nuts are gathered two or three times during the season. Once the nuts are collected from the orchard, they are washed and then dropped into large bins where forced-air heaters begin the drying process. Once dried they are separated into various sizes for bagging and distribution. Hazelnuts have been cultivated commercially for nut production since 1798. 

The sweet nuts may be eaten raw or ground and made into a cake like bread. We often use filberts in place of walnuts or pecans in our Christmas cookies. The nuts were used by Native Americans to flavor soups. American hazel has a fairly high protein and energy value. 

Historically, nuts were associated with the occult, and said to possess mystic powers. Nuts were burned by priests to enhance clairvoyance, used by herbalists for various remedies, and used in marriage ceremonies as a symbol of fertility. 

The wood of the hazelnut has little commercial value, although it is often used by the home hobbyist in making country crafts. Once filbert wood was used for “divining rods” and “witching rods” which helped locate water and underground minerals. 

In Europe, the hazelnut has been used for centuries as a garden shrub, mostly as hedges or in background screening. With the exception of Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick and for commercial cultivation, America has shown little interest in this fine shrub. Fortunately, this is changing and other filberts are finding their way in the home garden around the country.

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Culinary Herbs in Our Garden

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on July 1, 2007 – 6:53 pm

We have been growing herbs for over 20 years here in Michigan. Actually our son Geoff got us started when we lived in Omaha, Nebraska. He was in grade school at the time and was looking for something relatively easy to grow yet still rewarding. One thing lead to another and he soon had a 200 square foot herb garden. He grew most of the culinary herbs, such as, Sweet Basil, Greek Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Sweet Marjoram, Fennel, Chives, and Rosemary. 

When selecting a site you must consider drainage. Most herbs will not grow in wet soils. We built raised beds and installed underground drainage tiles in Omaha. Herbs, also, need a sunny location as the flavor oils are produced best when plants receive six to eight hours of full sunlight. 

Herbs will grow in any good neutral garden soil with average organic matter. In fact, most herbs do not do well in highly fertile soils as they tend to produce excessive foliage with poor flavor. When Geoff prepared the bed, he added 10-12 bushels of peat moss per 100 square feet, although compost would work just as well. Peat improves the soil condition and helps it retain moisture. 

Once established, herbs require minimal care. Quite frankly, we never had to water them, even during the driest times. Just an occasional application of compost at the beginning of the growing season kept them going. Pest were never a problem and weeding was seldom required. 

When we moved from Nebraska to Michigan we dug up most the herbs and brought them along. With the exception of Sweet Basil, the following original herbs still grow today in our garden. 

Fennel, a hardy, perennial, will grow in most any soil. Seeds should be sown directly in the garden in the late Spring. Be warned, the plant will self-sow generously. Use the leaves with pork, veal and fish. 

Sweet Marjoram, may be grown from seed or started from Summer cuttings. Use fresh or dried leaves in salads, dressings, meat, sausage, lamb dishes, beans and soups. To keep the plants neat, cut out all dead wood and remove dead flowers and stalks. 

Sweet Basil, is an annual herb used in tomato sauce, pesto and salads. Basil grows best in full sun and rich, moist soil. Sow seeds indoors in spring and transplant them after all danger of frost is past, or sow outdoors when temperatures are reliably warm. 

Rosemary is an attractive evergreen shrub with pine needle-like leaves. Propagate from cuttings of the non-flowering branches in early summer. Rosemary can also be grown from seed. Choose a sheltered position and well-drained soil and lots of sun. It is used on meats, stews, sauces, and soups. 

Greek Oregano, is a perennial widely used in Italian dishes, tomato sauce, pizza, fish and salad dressing It is easy to grow, we recommend propagating by cuttings in the Summer. 

Common Thyme’s leaves are used to season meats, poultry, stews, sauces, soups and dressings. It should be planted in full sun for best flavor. 

Common Sage, a familiar plant in the home garden, is used in sausages, poultry, meat, bread, dressings, vegetables, omelettes and stuffing. You can never have enough Sage. 

There is nothing like the taste imparted by fresh herbs, although if done correctly, dry herbs are very good. We would not know what to do without our herb garden.

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The Cherry Tomato

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on June 1, 2007 – 6:36 pm

In Past Yard Talks we discussed the round slicing tomato such as Burpee’s Big Boy and Big Girl, Rutgers, and Beefsteak. These big round tomatoes are the most common varieties found in the home garden. Our parents and their parents grew up growing and eating these fruit. When they thought about tomatoes these are the ones that popped into their minds. Ask anyone over 40 what his or her favourite tomato is and they will say one of the slicing tomato. 

Ask someone from a younger generation and you will be surprised as they will surely say the cherry tomato. Yes, those funny round things we find buried in our salad greens. My grandmother use to raise them along her patio although I never saw anyone eat them. As a kid they made useful ammunition for our trusty sling shots. It would not seem like Summer if the dogs, cats, and neighbourhood girls did not all sport red spots. 

Well folks, as much as I hate to admit it, my favorite tomato today is the lowly cheery tomato. I eat more of these darn things then I care to admit. There are more varieties of these grown then that old slicer and they taste better to boot. 

They are used in salads, stuffed, baked, and canned as preserves. Put a bowl of Sweet 100’s out as a snack food and watch how quick they disappear. We really like Stuffed Devilled Cherry Tomatoes or as a quick lunch Tuna Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. Eaten fresh from the vine, they are sweet and juicy. With a higher sugar content than many tomatoes, cherry tomatoes have become fast food, finger food and kid-friendly. 

My favorite Cherry Tomatoes are:

  1. Super Sweet 100 Hybrid is a scarlet indeterminate which bears cherry-sized fruits in 70 days on long clusters right up to frost. Bursting with sugary flavor. Scarlet, cherry-sized fruits are produced in long clusters right up to frost.
  2. Yellow Pear has an enormous number of yellow bite-sized fruits in 75 days, indeterminate. This extremely old variety makes a vigourous plant, which bears enormous numbers of bright yellow, bite-sized fruit. The flavor is deliciously tangy. Perfect for summer party hors d’oeuvres.
  3. Juliet Hybrid an indeterminate tomato that looks like a miniature Italian plum tomato but it is really a juicy and sweet cherry. Big vines produce grape-like clusters.
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Long Handled Gardening Equipment

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on May 1, 2007 – 5:19 pm

This is the second in a series on Gardening Equipment we will be doing over the next several months. In our first installment we looked at pruning tools . We learned about the importance of keeping our pruning tools clean and sharp. We also discussed how good quality tools, with proper care, will last a life time. 

This is even more true with the tools we are about to discuss. Some of these tools have been passed down for generations. We have had to replace a few broken handles due to our own carelessness, but for the most part, routine cleaning and sharpening has been enough. Here are the basic long handle tools every home gardener should have hanging on the wall. 

  1. A high quality Garden Rake with all-welded heavy-duty construction, a 60 inch hickory handle, and three inch treated teeth spaced one inch apart is used for many gardening tasks.
  2. The Bamboo Leaf Rake with a head of rugged poly material that firmly grips the natural bamboo teeth, is a great improvement from the bamboo rakes of our grandfathers. Great for light raking and clean up.
  3. The indispensable 14 gauge heat-treated steel Garden Shovel with a rounded nose and solid closed back is made for heavy use. Wood handle should be made of top grade American Ash. Ones with a saw-tooth edge are great for cutting through roots.
  4. A forged steel Six Tine Hay Fork with 12 inch oval pointed sharp and a 60 inch ash handle tines has many uses around the home. Good for general clean up around the yard.
  5. The Pointed Push Hoe is a necessity for home gardening. We use it all the time either in edging or weeding around tender plants.
  6. The Shuffle Hoe is a double action heat treated cultivator with a 54 inch ash handle great for cutting just below the soil surface.
  7. Every gardener needs a basic Planter’s Hoe of heavy 14 gauge forged and heat treated steel with an extra long ash handle. Good for chopping weeds, loosening the soil, or planting.
  8. The Scoop Fork is ideal for mulch, vegetables, ensilage and more. This tool has 12 forged tines which are approx. 16 inches long and 1 1/2 inches apart with a 60 inch hickory handle.
  9. A Forged steel D-Shaped Edging Tool with a 60 inch ash handle has so many uses in the garden it would be impossible to list them all.

The solid steel tough tempered Mutt ia a tool that just about does it all: edges, digs, chops, and scrapes to clear ice, remove roots, and cut sod. One of the most versatile tools we have ever seen, 

For heavier work, the home gardener should invest in a few good quality power tools. While these are relatively more expensive, they can save a lot of time for larger tasks.

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Plant Picks 2007

Icon Written by GeoffM1968 on April 7, 2007 – 5:47 pm

It is once again when we select Martin’s Yard & Garden’s Plants of the Year. Each year we take time out to make a list of those plants which have really out performed all others in our gardens. This growing season was a tough one for any type of plant, cool, wet, and cloudy from Spring until Fall and then very hot and dry for several weeks before turning cold and wet again. About the only thing that did well was the Kentucky Bluegrass in the lawn! 

It is by no means easy for a plant to make our list, with over 600 varieties of plants to choose from, a plant must really stand out. A plant must not only be attractive but also require low maintenance and be exceptionally hardy. As always, a few are like old friends, that just keep popping up. Since we are mostly shade gardeners, a good percentage of shade tolerant plants find there way into our lists. Also, you will note, a few plants which made our list have a Southern flavor. 

2006 Fern of the Year – Athyrium niponicum ‘Pewter Lace’
It is a very stunning silver fern to go with Bradford’s Beauty and Ghost. With arresting metallic pewter foliage, it is exciting in combination with hosta or lungworts. 

2006 Grass of the Year – Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’
It has very narrow foliage with a subtle white stripe causes this plant to shimmer and glow in the landscape. This choice ornamental grass that sets off any sunny area. 

2006 Shade Plant of the Year – Polygonatum odoratum thunbergii Variegatum ‘Variegated Japanese Solomon’s Seal’ 
They are graceful shade plants that provide nice form and structure to the garden. These plants have long arching unbranched stems, they have nice clean, veined leaves with clusters of bell like greenish yellow to whitish yellow flowers hanging down from the stems at the leaf axis. In late summer and fall showy berries are produced that are blue to dark blue in color. 

2006 Bog Plant of the Year – Asclepias incarnata ‘Pink Swamp Milkweed’
It is once again our selection as bog plant of the year. If you wish to attract butterflies to your gardens, be sure to plant some Pink Swamp Milkweed. It is the favorite food for the caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly. Beautiful and unique, bicolored flowers of white and dark pink appear midsummer in clusters. As the name implies, Swamp Milkweed grows best in moist locations. 

2006 Groundcover of the Year – Tiarella hybrid ‘Spring Symphony’
It may well be the best clumping tiarella that we have seen. The jagged, fuzzy green leaves are each highlighted by a black central blotch. In May, the compact clumps are topped with light pink bottlebrush-like flowers. 

2006 Conifer of the Year – Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’
The Vanderwolf pine grows to 15 to 40 feet, in the most perfect shape. The color is superb, and unusually blue for a pine. This tree stands out splendidly in an evergreen border. Pyramidal form with soft, blue-green needles. We only wish we had planted more of this evergreen. 

2006 New Introduction of the Year – Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’
It is truly a sight to behold with its deeply cut foliage of bright gold. The masses of creamy flowers develop into clusters of red fruit that the birds love. 

2006 Butterfly Plant of the Year – Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
It has round flat flower heads rising above bold, flat-leaved foliage. Flowers then transform to pale pink and gradually change to dark pink. We use this plant everywhere, probably more than we should, but it is one of those plants that just has four season appeal. A must for the beginning gardener. 

2006 Tree of the Year – Cinnamomum camphora ‘Camphor Laurel’
It is a dense broadleaved evergreen that is capable of growing 50-150 feet tall and spreading twice that wide with a trunk up to 15 feet in diameter. Camphor is widely planted as a shade tree, screen, or windbreak and is a sturdy storm resistant tree. 

2006 Hosta of the Year – Hosta hybrid ‘Inniswood’
It has rounded gold corrugated foliage and a wide, deep green edge has become a hosta world favorite. The fast growing 4 foot wide clump is topped with medium lavender flowers in late spring. 

2006 Vegetable of the Year – Lycopersicon lycopersicum ‘Burpee’s Big Boy Hybrid’
The greatest tomatoes of all time and still a best seller. When it was released in 1949, enormous productivity and gorgeous, perfect, extra-large scarlet fruit made it an instant hit. What has kept it popular all these years is its wonderful aroma and rich flavour. The only tomato that produced in our garden with our cool wet weather in 2004. 

2006 Fruit Tree of the Year – Malus Hybrid ‘Donald’
A small flowering tree with buds, which are deep red at first, then turn pink, then finally white when they fully open. Its flowers are very showy, and the “snowstorm” that comes when the petals drop is something out of a fairy tale. The show continues into fall, as the glossy red crabapples that form persist into winter, and provide a beautiful feature. 

2006 Bulb of the Year – Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Childsiana’
It is an old fashioned, but very rewarding garden plant. Childsiana – a compact, pure white, fragrant miniature that is perfect for growing in pots and for the landscape in zones 6-10. 

2006 Herb of the Year – Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’
It is a little known dwarf species of Joe Pye, native in moist soils from Maine south to South Carolina. The tall stems are clothed with whorls of green leaves and topped in midsummer with dome-shaped heads of lavender flowers. 

2006 Shrub of the Year – Buxus glenco ‘Chicagoland Green’
It has glossy evergreen leaves all year with very little or no Winter burn. Ideal for edging or borders along pathways or for year round color in the mixed border. This Boxwood retains its nice green color in winter better than others and is faster growing than the popular ‘Green Velvet’. This cultivar is a Chicago Botanical Garden selection and was chosen for its cold tolerance. 

2006 Rose of the Year – Rosa hybrid ‘St. Patrick’
One of the few yellows that performs best in hot weather, when the characteristic green undertones are most evident. This unique flower color is brilliantly displayed against rich grey-green foliage. Extremely long lasting when used in bouquets. 

2006 Tropical Plant of the Year – Phoenix roebeleuii ‘Pygmy Date Palm’
A small to medium sized palm to about 3 feet, although older plants can be quite tall. Has very attractive dark green feather leaves, and spined petioles. Not self cleaning, so old fronds need to be manually removed. Houseplant in bright light, container plant, or a palm for shady outdoor areas. Moderate growth rate, single trunk. 

Many of the choices were very hard to make as there are a lot of good plants out there with more being introduced each season. Dan Hinkley atHeronswood and Tony Avent at Plants Delight have done much in the way of introducing plants we would have never thought about using. If it had not been for Darrell Probst of Garden Vision we would have never experienced many of the epimediums now found in our gardens. To these plantsmen and many others, we owe a round of thanks. We hope that many of their introductions make next years Plants of the Year.

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