Page 1

Your guide to Great Lakes gardening a May 2012 a

Plant Focus

Gerbera Daisy

Please thank our advertisers in this issue

garden profile Applewood feature New Annuals for 2012 how-to Prune a lilac perennials A trio for dry shade feature Using native plants in the garden

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

contents May 2012

More new plants than you'll see anywhere! Every year, Telly’s brings you an incomparable selection of the latest and greatest plant varieties. We travel from coast to coast searching for and procuring the best new plants. Just a small sampling of what’s new this year...

Clippings.....................................................................6 Healthy Lawns..........................................................8 Vegetable Patch.....................................................10 To-Do List.................................................................12 Ask MG.....................................................................14 Books for the Michigan Gardener.................16 2012 All-America Selections Winners........18 Feature: Native plants........................................20 Plant Focus: Gerbera Daisy.............................22 Perennial Partners...............................................28 Feature: Fairy Gardening...................................30 Thyme for Herbs.................................................. 32 New Annuals for 2012.......................................34 How-To: Prune a lilac......................................... 40

Anemone 'Pretty Lady Diana'

Angelonia ‘Adessa Bicolor’

Places to Grow......................................................42 Calendar.................................................................. 44 Advertiser Index...................................................46 Classified Ads........................................................47 Profile: Applewood..............................................48 Where to pick up Michigan Gardener............51 Weather Wrap.......................................................51 Subscription Form................................................51 Janet’s Journal.....................................Back Cover On the cover: Gerbera daisy breeding has significantly expanded the choices available and improved their garden performance. Learn more in “Plant Focus” starting on page 22. Photo: Eric Hofley/Michigan Gardener

Garden Wisdom “I hope we’re heading to where the school garden is seen as a vital part of school learning, as necessary as a science lab or computer lab.” —Norm Lownds, as seen in The American Gardener

Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star’

Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Sweet Tart’

To Our Readers... Have you signed up for our FREE E-Newsletter yet? It has contests with prizes in each issue, more helpful content, garden photos, and more. Signing up is easy: just go to and enter your e-mail address. We ask that you quickly glance at our cover this month to the small circle that says,

Coleus ‘Wasabi’

Hosta “Curly Fries’

Publisher/Editor Eric Hofley

Heuchera ‘Delta Dawn’

Alstroemeria ‘Inca Ice’

Design & Production Jonathon Hofley Advertising Eric Hofley Circulation Jonathon Hofley

TROY 248-689-8735

Editorial Assistant Carrie MacGillis

3301 John R–1/4 mile north of 16 Mile Rd.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP 248-659-8555 4343 24 Mile btwn Dequindre & Shelby Rd. Spring Hours (both locations): Mon-Sat: 8am-9pm Sun:10am-5pm

“FREE—Please thank our advertisers in this issue.” This simple act on your part will help ensure that Michigan Gardener magazine continues to be there for you. We would like to thank all our advertisers for making Michigan Gardener possible.

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Contributors Karen Bovio Cheryl English Mary Gerstenberger Julia Hofley Rosann Kovalcik Janet Macunovich Steve Martinko Beverly Moss Steven Nikkila George Papadelis Sandie Parrott Jean/Roxanne Riggs Jim Slezinski Lisa Steinkopf Steve Turner

16291 W. 14 Mile Rd., Suite 5 Beverly Hills, MI 48025-3327 Phone: 248-594-5563 Fax: 248-594-5564 E-mail: Website: Publishing schedule 7 issues per year: April, May, June, July, August, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. Published the first week of the mo. Subscriptions (Please make check payable to Michigan Gardener) 1 yr, 7 iss/$15 2 yr, 14 iss/$28 3 yr, 21 iss/$37 Back issues All past issues are available. Please send your request along with a check for $3.00 per issue payable to Michigan Gardener. Canadian subscriptions 1 yr, 7 iss/$22 US 2 yr, 14 iss/$42 US Copyright © 2012 Michigan Gardener. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or used in any form without the expressed, written permission of the publisher. Neither the advertiser nor the publisher will be responsible for misinformation, typographical errors, omissions, etc. contained herein. Michigan Gardener is published by Motor City Publishing, Inc.

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Your Full-Service Garden Center Huge selection of plants, annuals & perennials, vegetables & herbs, trees & shrubs, rose bushes & pond plants, tropical & house plants, hanging baskets & patio planters. We grow our own annuals and vegetables for top quality and selection. Custom planting available.


Not valid w/other discounts or on gift cards Expires 5-31-12 • Limit 1 coupon per customer Deneweth’s Garden Center / 586-247-5533

Landscape design and installation, from sod and trees to patios and walks, with pavers or decorative concrete. We also install ponds and water features, outdoor fireplaces, and much more. Free estimates! We also carry fairy gardening supplies, seeds, mulches, soils, fertilizers, stones, garden decor, a garden pharmacy and much more!

Visit for more information, including special offers and to see our plant catalog



16125 22 Mile Rd 1/2 mile East of Hayes 586-247-5533

13790 W. Highland Rd 3 miles East of US-23 248-714-5720 NEW! Floral department

Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

clippings 2012 African Violet Convention: June 8-9 in Detroit The 2012 National Convention of the African Violet Societies of America and Canada is being held at the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. This is a rare opportunity to see the largest collection of African violets in North America. Houseplant lovers will see miniature and standard plant varieties which have green and variegated leaves with many different solid and bi-colored beautiful blossoms. The convention includes a judged show of African violets and other gesneriads (a family of tropical plants), as well as African violets for sale. Hours are Friday, June 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5.00. Visit for more information.

Orchid company to invest $5 million in Kalamazoo facility Hark Orchids L.P., an orchid propagation company headquartered in Lippstadt, Germany, will invest approximately $5 million to establish its first facility outside of Germany in Kalamazoo. Founded in 1904, Hark Orchids is a familyowned company offering hybridization, cultivation and propagation of orchids. Hark plans to establish a 30,000 square-foot lab and climatic chambers facility. The investment will create up to 80 jobs in the next 3 to 5 years. “Southwest Michigan welcomes Hark to a new stage in the region’s rich history as the Bedding Plant Capital of the World. While the industry relied on the region’s microclimates and rich soil centuries ago, today its collaborative infrastructure and bioscientific knowledge are helping it to blossom as shown by the company’s decision to locate here,” said Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First. “Investments in Michigan’s agriculture

industry, like Hark’s investment in Kalamazoo, help our economic recovery by creating new agriculture jobs and supporting our local communities,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Keith Creagh. “Michigan currently ranks third in the nation in floriculture production and is known for our high quality floriculture products both in the U.S. and internationally.”

Michigan hosts 2012 American Conifer Society conference The American Conifer Society brings its 30th National Meeting to Ann Arbor, Michigan this summer on July 12-14, 2012. The first day, Thursday, July 12, is a oneday, pre-conference educational opportunity. This “Conifer College” offers participants the chance to increase their conifer knowledge. There are classes for everyone, from novice to expert. The national meeting then begins on Thursday evening with a keynote presentation by Adrian Bloom from the famed Blooms of Bressingham Nursery in Norfolk, England. His talk, “How I learned to use conifers, woody plants, perennials, and grasses to create year-round drama in the garden and landscape,” will highlight some of the best selections of each group. Bloom will outline how to make the best of different plant groups as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid. July 13 and 14 consist of motor coach tours of public and private conifer gardens, meals, presentations, and a rare plant auction. The registration deadline is June 15, 2012. There is advance registration only; no walkin registrations can be accepted at the door. New members are very welcome to join the American Conifer Society as the conference is open to members only. More details are available at


Potted Hardy Lavender • U-Pick Gift Shoppe • Refreshments • Fresh Eggs Admission $3 • Children 12 & under FREE

OPENING DAY MAY 16: Wed, Fri & Sat: 10am-4pm FEATURING: Guided Farm Tour: 10am • English Tea or Luncheon Tea: Friday only by reservation • Nostalgic Farm Tour: June 15 - register by June 6 • Floyd King & the Bushwackers: June 23, 7-9pm • Iris’ Weekend Workshops: Fri/Sat in June & July - FREE • Rochester Farmers Market: First Saturday monthly

Special Events

Weed & Tea Tuesdays, May 8 & 15 Mother’s Day Lavender Tea Saturday, May 12

Yule Love It Lavender Farm • 248-628-7814 • 960 Yule Road • Leonard, MI 48367 – N of 32 Mile Rd, 1 mi. E of Rochester Rd.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

healthy lawns European Crane Fly: Coming soon to a lawn near you?

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Locally owned. Locally grown. Just north of Ann Arbor, right off the freeway, we’re definitely a destination for gardeners of all genres. We have thousands of homegrown annuals, vegetables, herbs, and perennials. Hundreds of hanging baskets and planters…all designed, planted and grown in our own greenhouses. Plus beautiful roses, ornamental grasses, climbing vines, ground covers, flowering shrubs, and a fine selection of small fruits…including Michigan-hardy figs, grapes, and kiwis. And, of course, our celebrated 99¢ seed perennials!

Have you seen what appears to be a mosquito hawk flying daintily across your lawn? This creature, however, isn’t harmless like the mosquito hawk. It’s likely the most destructive lawn insect we have ever encountered: the European Crane Fly (ECF). Sure, it looks fairy-like. They might as well play Peter Pan music as they enter your property. But once they leave, it’s Nightmare on Elm Street— game over! Fish flies seem more like the description Wikipedia / Joaquim Alves Gaspar I would use for them. Their volume bears European Crane Fly the same gruesomeness. You know what I’m talking about if you have ever lived close owners reseeding constantly to no avail, creenough to the Great Lakes to see them all ating an unusual mystery as to why the grass mashed on the sidewalks. However, the ECF seed doesn’t grow. We understand that the is not a fish fly. ECF also feeds on new seed as it emerges. The only distinguishing difference beSo how does one combat the ECF? If you tween the ECF and our common crane fly saw the adults flying last fall, you is a black line running along their should consider treating your lawn wings. Nevertheless, this insect Steve with Grub-Ex or Acelepryn, which will lay up to 300 eggs in June and Martinko contain the safest grub control on September. Let me underscore that: the market. This is a new prodeach female will lay 300 eggs twice a uct that has lesser toxicity when year! compared to diazinon, Merit, and We have seen 20 to 30 adults Sevin. You can purchase this prodflying on individual lawns in the uct at a local garden center. AlterRochester area, especially if the natively, you could leave this issue lawn backed up to a wetland area. in the hands of a professional who We have witnessed thick and lush will stay on top of it since the ECF lawns getting devoured over a does hatch twice a year. Either way, weekend to the extent that bare soil I would recommend staying aware in your was becoming visible. neighborhood for a new villain—possibly Once the eggs hatch, these insects move coming to lawns near you. quickly. They first devour the grass blades, then progress down the stems to the crown Steve Martinko is the owner within the thatch layer, and eventually deof Contender’s Tree and Lawn Specialists stroy the root system like a grub. In the in Oakland County, MI. Bloomfield area we have noticed some home-

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Whitmore Lake Rd.

Modern Gardens Working with Nature

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6925 Whitmore Lake Rd. • Whitmore Lake, MI 48189


• Low-Impact Garden Options • Native Plantings & Habitats • Low-Maintenance Lawns • Natural Lakescaping • Reduced Watering Strategies • Group Presentations & Talks


Botanical Park


LILAC FESTIVAL Come see Michigan’s most complete lilac

collection, with over 300 different varieties

Sat-Sun, May 19-20, 10am-5pm Music • Food • Crafters FREE admission/Donations appreciated No pets please

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TIRED of messy sprays from your tree & shrub care company? Tree sprays drifting all over your yard and your neighbors! • Devastating the population of beneficial insects! Marginal results with no real improvements! • Monthly treatment schedules can be costly! Rhododenrons, Azaleas & Hollies barely survive through the winter season!

What you get with Contender’s: ✔ NEW! Control of Needlecast Disease (general thinning) on Spruces (fungicide injection provides control for 1 year) ✔ Control of Anthracnose (premature leaf drop) on Sycamores, Maples and Oaks (fungicide injection provides control for 1 year) ✔ NEW! Protection of Nematodes (helps prevent premature death) on Pines (insecticide injection provides control for 3 years) ✔ NEW! Control of Verticillium Wilt (Example: help prevent branch death in Japanese Maples) ✔ Control of Applescab Disease (premature yellowing of leaves) on Crabapple trees (fungicide injection provides control for 1 year)

✔ NEW! Control of Diplodia Tip Blight (browned tips of needles) on all Pines, especially Austrian and Scotch (fungicide injection provides control for 2 years) ✔ NEW! Control of Phytophora Root Rot (Example: scraggily-looking Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Hollies)

Spring 2008: Untreated Austrian Pine

✔ NEW! Control of invasive Calico Scale (sticky honeydew raining down on cars, patio furniture, and more) using an enzyme blocker (100% control with 1 application) ✔ NEW! Chlorotic Oaks – Deep-root organic feeding formulation turns sickly yellow leaves to green (Results occur in weeks, not months)

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

vegetable patch Planting vegetables from seed

Growing for over 90 years • Family owned & operated

We are proud of our consistent high quality and we have 6 growers available to answer your questions. We specialize in geraniums, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, combination pots and much more! Spectacular combinations of colorful hanging baskets Area’s finest selection of container annuals in the latest styles

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May 19 - peonies galore

Heirloom peony varieties

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1800 N. Dixboro Ann Arbor

It’s May and thoughts of vegetables fresh from the garden are dancing through our minds. Cool weather crops, such as spinach, peas and lettuce, may already be in the ground. Warm weather crops, such as beans, corn and tomatoes, are waiting to be planted. But in planting any vegetable garden, we need to decide what to plant from seed and what will do better as a transplant. Because of the long length of time some plants need to mature, transplanting is a good choice. However, many plants establish better when started from seed. For this article, let’s take a look at sowing vegetables from seed directly in the garden and a few ideas to make planting easier.

Planting, germination, and maturity

When it comes to planting, small seeds can be sprinkled in a trench and later thinned, or a seed tape placed at the appropriate depth and covered with soil. When planting larger seeds it may be quicker and easier to simply space the seeds along a guideline and then poke them down to the appropriate depth using a chopstick or the handle end of a wooden spoon. Distance between rows is based on the idea that we need walking space to get in and weed or water the vegetables. This walking space can take up a lot of garden area. If space is limited, try planting several rows of the same vegetable next to each other at a distance equal to or slightly greater than the Selecting and preparing seeds spacing of the individual plants. Be sure you Almost all vegetable seeds can be purcan reach the center of the wide plantings chased in packets. Don’t just rely on the vegfrom either side of the row. etable picture on the front, read the inforGermination and maturity time help in mation on the back. There should be a short determining succession planting and interdescription of the vegetable, its planting cropping of vegetables. Some seeds, such as depth, days to germination, days to maturadishes, germinate within a week. Others, rity, distance between plants, and distance such as carrots, may take 3 to 4 weeks to between rows. The packet will also tell you germinate. Try intercropping quick germiif you can plant as early as the nators that mature early with slow ground can be worked (an April or germinators that mature later. For Mary early May planting for cool weather instance, plant those radish seeds Gerstenberger crops), or to plant as soon as danger between the carrot seeds. The radof frost is past (mid to late May and ishes will come up quickly and be into June for warm weather crops). ready to harvest by the time the carMost packets give an initial plantrot seeds begin to sprout. ing distance between seeds and For succession planting, a cool then recommend thinning to a final season crop maturing early can be distance between plants. Thinning followed by a warm season crop seedlings can be tedious and someplanted in early summer. A warm times feels like a waste of perfectly season crop maturing early can be good plants. So here are a couple followed by a second planting of options: 1) Large seeds, such as peas, corn or a cool season crop sown in late July or early beans, are easy to space at their final distance. August for harvesting in late fall. If a few seeds fail to germinate, either leave Direct planting with seed benefits root esthe space, fill it with a compatible plant, or in tablishment and avoids the need to harden off a couple of weeks do a second planting that plants before transplanting to the garden. Howfills in the empty spots and extends the row. 2) ever, transplants offer the advantage of an earSmall seeds, such as lettuce, carrots or radishlier harvest. Next month, we will take a look at es, can be placed on homemade seed tapes—a putting vegetable transplants into the garden. great project for an evening in front of the TV or even better as a children’s or family project. Mary Gerstenberger is the Consumer HorTo make a seed tape, take a strip of toilet tisticulture Coordinator at the Michigan State sue about 6 or 8 squares long, fold and cut into University Extension in Macomb County, MI. 1/4-inch strips. Make a thick flour and water For gardening information from MSU, visit paste. Place small dots of paste along the strip at the final distance between plants and drop a seed into each dot. The paste will dry, holdThe MSU Extension is offering the program ing the seeds in place. Plant the tape at the “School Vegetable Garden Training” for teachappropriate depth in the garden. The toilet ers or anyone interested in establishing a school tissue and paste will degrade in the soil and vegetable garden. The program will be offered the plants will not need thinning. With small in Wayne County on May 10 and Macomb seeds you will probably find yourself with a lot County on May 14. Time is 5-8 p.m. Cost is left over. Save the excess for next season. Many $20.00. For more information or to register, seeds are viable for two or more years (see the contact the Macomb MSU Extension office at April issue of Michigan Gardener, page 10). 586-469-5180.

Check our website for in-store specials:


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Grown local since 1968

Come browse our beautiful selection of: • Many varieties of Heirloom vegetables and many unique “Around the World” vegetables • Annuals • Perennials • Unique hanging baskets • Colorful planters

Heavenly Scent 14497 23 Mile Rd. • Shelby Twp btwn Schoenherr & Hayes 2-1/4 Miles E. of M-53

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Save 10%

Bring in this ad to save 10% off plant purchases through May 2012


Oakland County Market 2350 Pontiac Lake Road Waterford, MI 48328 248.858.5495

Come see our New Merchandise for the Home & Garden 233 S. Milford Rd. Highland, MI 48357 3-1/2 Miles N. of Downtown Milford

248-887-9392 Farmers Market • 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. May through December— Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Year round—Saturday Flea Market • 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Year-round—Sunday Tue-Fri: 10-6 Sat: 10-3ish Sun-Mon: Closed To Hartland

Highland Rd. (M-59) Livingston Rd. Milford Rd.


Milford 3-1/2 Miles

Winner: Main Street Oakland County Award

We Specialize in Container Gardening Hundreds of Pots in all Colors, Shapes & Sizes! Hand-thrown Clay, Cast Stone, Iron, Glazed Terra Cotta, Wrought Iron & Twig Unusual Colors and Finishes We custom plant: Our container or yours

Located in 100 acres of mature forest & rolling farmland where wildflowers are in full bloom throughout May. Enjoy the woodland drive, numerous display gardens, ponds and waterfalls as you shop in tranquility. • Huge Selection of Hybrid Annuals • Tremendous Variety of Herbs, Perennials & Hanging Baskets • Unusual Ornamental Trees and Flowering Shrubs • Unique Line of Garden Statuary & Fountains • Arbors, Stepping Stones, Garden Benches, Trellises • Huge Selection of Garden Pottery

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

to-do list Vegetables • Early in the month, plant cool-season vegetables, like peas, turnips and lettuce. Plant tomatoes, peppers and basil once temperatures are consistently warm. These plants never really recover from a nip of cold. • Prepare beds with a thick layer of organic material like compost. Till it in as deep as possible, don’t just layer it on the top of the soil. • After planting, apply a layer of fine mulch or even wet newspaper between the rows to make paths to walk on. Walking on mulch will help keep the soil from becoming compacted and help keep weeds down. This fine mulch and newspaper will break down over the season and can be tilled into the soil next year. • Weed beds regularly. It’s much easier to deal with weeds when they’re young. Plus, they’ll be much less competition for water and nutrients. • Make sure to water your vegetable garden consistently. Most vegetables are comprised of water, so consistent levels will increase production. • Watch out for critters, because they can find a garden early and destroy it before it gets established. Plan a variety of defenses and change them frequently.

Annuals • It’s tempting to get a jump start on the season and plant early. Make sure the ground is sufficiently warm before planting your annuals, and be prepared to cover them with a bed sheet or floating row cover (not plastic) if we do get a late frost. • Planting annuals in containers is a great option because they’re easily covered or moved. • Prepare beds early in the month: remove weeds and mix in organic soil amendments. Good compost is excellent for soil, and can break up clay soil as it’s tilled in. It also helps with water retention in sandy soils. Be sure to mix it in well, not just layer it on top. After planting, be sure to apply mulch to beds, which helps deter weeds and conserves moisture.

Perennials • Do a final clean up on perennial beds before adding new plants. Weed beds and remove any spent branches from the winter. An application of a slow-release granular fertilizer will give plants a boost for the season. • Give perennials room to grow. Read the tags for spacing recommendations when planting. Fill in any bare areas with annuals while waiting for perennials to reach their full potential. You’ll have less dividing and moving to do later, and plants will be healthier. • Maintenance is the key to keeping perennial beds looking good. Pulling weeds frequently, removing spent blooms, and stak-

ing tall plants will keep things neat and tidy. • For best results in the perennial garden, plant at least 3 to 5 plants of one variety. You’ll be rewarded with an impactful display. Arrange beds according to heights: tall in the back or center of the garden, stepping down to shorter ones in the front or sides. Also consider color and bloom time. Planning up front will save lots of transplant time.

Roses • Shrub roses should be pruned to maintain their shape. They can be pruned almost any time of year. Most heavy pruning should be done in the early spring, before buds set. • Hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, and climbers need a bit more care. Roses are susceptible to black spot, which can be prevented with fungicide treatments early in the year. Spray the ground one foot out from the plant, and remove any leaves affected. • Good air circulation is important to keeping roses healthy. Prune branches so that new growth is heading toward the outside of the plant. • Water roses at the base of the plant, so water goes directly to the roots. Keep the foliage as dry as possible when watering. It’s best to avoid watering roses with sprinklers. Do not water at night, if at all possible. • A regular fertilizer program will get and keep roses blooming all season.

Lawns • Feed regularly. Fertilizer provides the nutrients a lawn needs to grow thick and strong, and withstand the stresses of weeds, heat and family activity. A specially formulated four-step program is a convenient way to fertilize. Applications are timed for the season, taking the guesswork out of what needs to be done. The next three steps should be applied around the holidays: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. • Return clippings to the lawn when mowing. Be sure to only remove 1/3 of the grass blade at a time, and use a sharp blade to make a cleaner cut. Mowing at the height best for your lawn allows the grass to grow thick and develop a deep root system. Grass clippings recycle plant nutrients back into the soil. • Water. The lawn will wilt when it needs water. Lawns need at least an inch of water a week. Set up rain gauges throughout the yard to accurately measure how much water is received. • Spot weed control. If the lawn is otherwise healthy and weed-free, you might just need to spot treat a few weeds. Controlling these “pop-ups” immediately will prevent bigger problems in the future. • Repair bare spots. Re-seeding bare spots keeps the lawn thick and prevents weeds from taking hold. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


Feature Task: Gardening vertically to fill in the spaces We tend to spend a lot of time looking down at our garden beds, but don’t forget about the space between the plants growing on the ground and the canopy provided by trees. Often there is underutilized space where you can add color and texture to the garden. Growing plants vertically is also a great way to add privacy or define a space. Vertical interest can be achieved with vines, wall planters, flower pouches, window boxes, or even plants in baskets hanging from shepherd’s hooks. Permanent structures like pergolas and gazebos also help fill vertical spaces. Start by assessing the garden. View it from your windows, as well as your favorite patio chair. Where are the spaces that need to be filled? What are your goals? Do you need to provide screening for privacy or just decoration? Determining your goals will help narrow your selection of plants. Selecting the area will also determine what plant is best. Putting the right plant in the right location is half the battle when creating a beautiful, low-maintenance garden. How much sun the area receives is one of the biggest determining factors in choosing plants. Vines are extremely versatile, and can be grown on a trellis, obelisk, or even an arbor.

Shrubs and Trees • Prune fruit trees for proper tree shape and best fruit production. New trees should be pruned to give the tree the best shape for future harvesting. This is one case where a little pruning on a young tree gives big results later. • Once broadleaf evergreens have finished blooming, clean up the shrubs and remove old flowers with a simple twist with your fingers right below the old flower head. • Spring-bloomers will benefit from a pruning after they’ve finished flowering, but before the 4th of July. Be sure to prune any dead, crossed or diseased branches. Don’t take off

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Plant a vine to add privacy to a chain link fence; hide an air conditioning unit with a properly placed trellis; or add flowers to a plain green hedge. Some great perennial vines include: akebia, clematis, climbing hydrangea, honeysuckle, silverlace vine, porcelain vine, trumpet vine, and wisteria. Annual vines are bright and colorful, climbing quickly and adding beauty that can be changed year to year. If you’re starting a new trellis or vine area, be sure to mix annual varieties with perennial ones. Annuals will fill in quickly, giving perennials a chance to establish themselves. Great annual vines include: black-eyed Susan, jasmine, morning glory; passion vine, sweet potato vine, and vinca vine. Most annuals require a full day of sun to thrive. An espaliered shrub is another way to achieve vertical interest. You’ll need a structure to attach the shrub: a wall, fence or trellis will work. The best shrubs for this purpose include: climbing roses, euonymus, cotoneaster, pyracantha, and fruit trees, like apples, pears, and cherries. As they grow, some plants, like climbing roses, may need some assistance to grab onto the structure. Use garden ties to help hold them in place. more than 1/3 of the plant in any year. Pruning can help rejuvenate older larger shrubs, like lilacs, by making them more compact and promoting more flowering. • Summer-flowering trees and shrubs that bloom after Memorial Day should be pruned early in the year. These plants bloom on new wood—growth from this year. Pruning promotes growth, so pruning back shrubs (but never more than 1/3 of the plant) will produce more flowers and a thicker plant. Provided by the professionals at English Gardens.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

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Go to and click on “Submit a question”

Pruning lavender We have lavender plants that are woody and bare at the bottom and not very attractive. I understand that lavender does not do well when severely pruned, so I’m wondering what I can do to rescue these, or should we simply replace them? M.G., South Lyon, MI Once lavender plants become woody and bare at the bottom, sadly they do not sprout new growth when pruned into the old wood. These plants are probably beyond rescue efforts. Better to replace them with new young specimens and then establish a pruning regimen to maintain bushy growth. In our climate (zones 5 and 6), autumn deadheading of spent flower stalks is acceptable. Leave the foliage to protect young growth buds over the winter. Spring is the time to prune young plants hard to encourage and keep the fullness. Clip established plants to remove most of the previous season’s growth, which looks dry and darker gray-green than the new leaves. This allows you to shape the small shrub as it grows to allow maximum sunlight into the interior for new growth and good flower production. Maintain good drainage and keep mulch away from the base of this woody perennial. Lavender likes full sun, well-drained soil, and some shelter from desiccating winds.

How to train a climbing rose 1

4 1. Itoh Peonies—Hybrids of tree & herbaceous peonies. They bring the best traits of each plant. Blossoms have a pleasing scent. Vigorous plants can produce up to 50 blooms in a single season. 2. Duet Beautyberry—Callicarpa ‘Duet.’ Striking variegated foliage; medium green with distinct yellow margins. Deciduous, rounded shrub for sun or light shade. 6 feet tall & wide. Photo: U.S. National Arboretum 3. Wisteria—Classic fragrant flowers with stunning purple blooms. Vigorous-growing vine. Annual pruning will keep it in bounds.


4. Great Star Hydrangea—Hydrangea paniculata ‘Great Star’ flowers open to large white wavy star-shaped florets that can be up to 4” wide! Flowering starts midsummer & lasts until the first hard frost. Photo: Bailey Nurseries

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There is a large, beautiful climbing rose (‘Dublin Bay’) in my new home’s garden. The previous owners never pruned the plant or trellised it in any way. Do you have any tips to trellis train a grown plant effectively without damaging it? K., Rosebush, MI Untamed climbers show excessive top growth and no growth at the base. Your ‘Dublin Bay’ is a medium-sized climber, maturing 8 to 12 feet tall, and producing striking red blooms about 4 inches across. They can be handily trained to a trellis and are worth the effort. Do renovation pruning first before installing the trellis. Shorten all the main stems until the rose roughly occupies only two-thirds of the allotted space. Completely remove any very old, unhealthy, or spindly stems or stalks. Prune all lateral branches on the main stems by two-thirds of their length. Then remove any growth at the point of origin that is perpendicular to the plane of the trellis. Pruning above a bud node that is parallel to or going toward the trellis will help maintain adherence to the trellis space.

Place your trellis firmly and close enough to the plane of the rose. Anchor it well to support the new growth. As new growth emerges, guide it on the trellis with cord in loose figure-eights to hold it in place until established. Monitor lateral branching and prune off what goes astray. Maintain moisture during the growing season; approximately one inch of water per week. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are preferable to overhead watering to avoid fungal diseases. Apply 1/2 cup of a general 10-1010 granular fertilizer in April/May, a second application in June, and a third in July. Apply no fertilizer after August. Mulch 2 to 3 inches to maintain soil temperature, avoiding contact with the rose trunk.

Transplanting irises Can I move irises in spring or do I have to wait until fall? A., Oak Park, MI Waiting until after first bloom or fall is preferable, but that may not be when you have time. Irises, both Siberian and bearded, are a forgiving perennial and will let the busy gardener move them around. In spring, the ground is still fairly cool and spring rain waits in the wings. This lessens transplant shock. You wouldn’t want to move them during the summer heat of July and August. Moving spring-blooming perennials like irises may delay their bloom or limit the number of flowers as they divert energy to reestablishing their root zone. Amend the planting hole with a tablespoon or two of granular 10-10-10 fertilizer to help with root development. Keep soil evenly moist during dry periods. With a little extra attention, your irises will reestablish quickly.

Planting near concrete walkways We are moving to a new house and planning a concrete patio and walkways. The patio will have a footing, the walkways will not. I would like to plant along the edges of the new concrete. Does new concrete leach harmful chemicals into the soil? If so, for how long? Is there something I can add to rejuvenate the soil? L.M., Huntington Woods, MI Concrete is pulverized limestone and water mixed to bind together an aggregate (stone), creating the hard substance known as concrete. Lime used in concrete is calcium carbonate. It is alkaline and could slightly raise the soil’s pH immediately adjacent to the concrete. Minimal leaching can happen as the concrete cures the first year, and can also happen many years later as the concrete | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener

starts to deteriorate. When planting, choose annuals, perennials, and small woody ornamentals that are pH neutral, choosing appropriately for sun or shade. Concrete can retain heat on hot summer days and radiate that heat as temperatures cool. So plants that are heat- and drought-tolerant would be good choices. A walkway edged with perennial lavender and coral bells (Heuchera) provides both yearround color and fragrance. If looking to hedge, try little leaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla), which is amenable to shearing to keep its size. Place the root centers about 12 inches from the concrete edge. If you want to soften the walkway edge, choose plants and cultivars that will mound up and over that 12-inch buffer zone. Whatever the plant, make sure the soil is cleared of construction debris, amended with rich compost to about 6 inches, and leveled to an inch or two below the top of the concrete walk before planting. Maintain good drainage with a slight slope away from the concrete walkway. Mulch root zones with 2 inches of organic mulch to stabilize soil temperature and moisture loss.

Growing sunflowers for mid-summer bloom I need sunflower blooms by July 28, but I know they take several months to bloom and can only be planted once the danger of frost has passed. Are there any varieties that grow more quickly than average? A.D., Traverse City, MI Sunflowers range in size from 16 inches to 15 feet tall. New hybrid colors range from white to deep reds to yellow combinations. Spring is the time to select your seed; then germinate it indoors. When choosing seed, shorter varieties tend to reach bloom faster than the giant ones. ‘Solar Flash’ is a stunning bi-color that matures early at 3 feet. ‘Frilly’ tops out at 6 feet, flowers long and prolifically, and has unique narrow yellow rays. Back up the number of days from your deadline for each variety to achieve bloom, and that will give you the window of planting opportunity. Place sunflower seeds between two pieces of damp paper towel. Wait a couple days and check their progress. The seeds that start to grow are ready to be planted. Plant them directly in the ground, or nurture in compostable pots for no more than a week. Sunflowers do not transplant well if they spend extended time indoors in a pot. The stems weaken and the long taproot becomes stunted. Check your soil temperature. A minimum of 50 degrees is necessary although sunflowers can handle air temperatures to 40 degrees. Locate the seed in an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sun. Make sure the soil is cultivated with manure to a depth of 2 to 3 feet for that long taproot. Soil should be well-drained but still able to support the top-heavy sunflower. No need for fertilizer. Do not overwater. For frost concerns, simply cover at night.


How long insecticides stay in the soil About five years ago, I used a systemic insecticide in a part of my garden for roses. I would like to use that site for vegetables now. Is it safe, or what do I need to do to make it safe? J.R., Waterford, MI Montana State University Extension has an excellent bulletin, published March 2012, about minimizing pesticide-contaminated soil around the home and garden. It explains how granular and water-soluble insecticides/pesticides move through the soil and how fast. Reread the label of the product you used and look for the pesticide persistence factor, often expressed as a “pesticide halflife.” If not on the immediate label, there should be a phone number to call for more information. The bulletin lists several common active ingredients, their half-life in the soil, their half-life in compost, and their leaching abilities. Pesticide persistence is classified into three categories: Non-persistent (half-life <30 days); Moderate (half-life of 30 to 100 days); and Persistent (half-life >100 days). Check your specific product; but if you last applied the systemic five years ago, enough water has probably passed through the site to dilute any residual effects. Be aware that amending the new vegetable site with compost that has residual insecticide in it will have a bearing on the soil in which you plant your edibles. Some pesticides bind to soil particles and take longer to compost away. Flushing the area with water will help to cleanse the soil. Using sanitized compost as the amendment will also help to minimize recontamination. When using any pesticide, it is important to read the label and understand the longterm effects on the soil. Most products sold to homeowners are diluted from commercial grade. However, never assume that because it is for sale for home use that it is unequivocally “safe.”

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Containers & Cocktails Join the Goldner Walsh Garden & Home creative design team for our 4th annual Container & Cocktails. This hands-on workshop and demonstration is designed to free your planting spirit. This fun event includes instruction and professional planting soil. Step 1 – Bring your own pot or choose from our eclectic collection from around the world. Step 2 – Fill your container with a gorgeous selection of this year’s hottest plants and flowers from our lush greenhouses. Step 3 – Be the envy of your friends and walk away with some valuable knowledge for making your containers fabulous!

Thursday, May 17, 5-8pm – $22 per person Attire: Down & dirty, sport your overalls and wellies. Reservations required: 248-332-6430 or

Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs (Timber Press, 952 pages, $79.95) both combines and updates two of the author’s previous bestselling books under one cover: Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates. This incredibly comprehensive resource covers more than 3,700 species and cultivars. From majestic evergreens to delicate vines and flowering shrubs, the author features thousands of plants with all the essential details for identification, planting, and care, plus 3,500 full-color photographs showing a tree’s habit in winter, distinctive bark patterns, fall color, and more. Serious gardeners will find this authoritative book to be an irreplaceable reference.

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Revised and updated, this guide is designed for northern-tier gardeners from coast to coast. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates (University of Minnesota Press, 448 pages, $39.95) covers more than 2,000 varieties proven to thrive in cold climates. The book uses a five-star rating system to help you choose top-performing perennials and features new selections of varieties with variegated or brightly colored foliage. If you are a cold-climate gardener, this resource will help you with selecting, planting, and maintaining perennials that flourish in northern areas. This expanded edition identifies the 50 most popular perennial groups, offers in-depth information on wild and cultivated varieties best suited to cold climates, and rates more than 500 of the choicest plants. In addition to the plant data, this book includes a concise course in perennial gardening, from preparing a site and buying potted perennials to composting, watering, mulching, fertilizing, weeding, staking, deadheading, pruning, protecting plants in winter, companion planting, and dealing with disease and insect problems.

Vertical Vegetables & Fruit: Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces by Rhonda Massingham Hart People who want to grow food in small spaces do have an option: Grow up! Vertical Vegetables & Fruit (Storey Publishing, 167 pages, $16.95) offers ideas for tepees, trellises, cages, hanging baskets, wall pockets, stacking pots, and multilevel raised beds. Readers will find they can reap bountiful harvest from the tiniest areas, including alleys, balconies, rooftops and windowsills. The author will show you how to construct the site, prepare the soil, and plant and care for vegetables and fruit to produce big yields. In-depth instructions are provided for building frameworks and support systems that help plants grow up, including A-frames, arbors, towers and living walls. A plant-by-plant section discusses many popular food plants, from beans to tomatoes and melons to kiwis, with tips on the best support system for each one. Chapters are divided by each vegetable or fruit. The information covered includes: food varieties, site and soil requirements, planting guidelines, training the plants to grow up, and plantspecific tips. Illustrations and sidebars provide extra instructions to help the reader implement the strategies outlined.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

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Ornamental pepper ‘Black Olive’ Plant size: 10-24 inches tall, 12-14 inches wide Foliage color: Purple Remarks: Dark purple to black fruit appears in small clusters along the stems. As summer progresses, the fruits mature to red, giving a beautiful contrast against the dark purple foliage and bright purple flowers.

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May/June hrs: Mon-Fri 9-7, Sat 9-5, Sun 10-4 A third-generation, family run business since 1949. Our 5-acre nursery has one of the largest selections in the area: ornamental and shade trees, specialty shrubs, broadleaf evergreens, and conifers. From the common to the unusual. There is something for everyone. 1 mile South of Sibley Rd.

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5 Panetta’s Landscape Supplies 20200 Goddard Taylor, MI 48180 313-291-3880 May/June hrs: Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat 8-5, Sun 10-3 Panetta’s offers a wide variety of both decorative rock & flagstone, as well as an assortment of mulches to meet your landscaping needs. Also available are Unilock & Oaks brick pavers. Be sure to try our RJ’s Potting Mix, a custom blend of soils & soil additives made just right for your garden.

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8 Westcroft Gardens 21803 West River Rd. Grosse Ille, MI 48138 734-676-2444 May/June hrs: Mon-Fri 8-7, Sat 9-7, Sun 10-5 Visit Michigan’s oldest farm still owned & operated by the same family, established 1776. Specializing in our own hybrids of azaleas & rhododendrons that grow well in Michigan. Also trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs & vegetables. Our Greenleaf Compound will acidify & improve your soil. Stroll our botanical garden.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Goingnative Native plants have become a hot topic in the last few years. Gardeners today are more aware of and concerned with the impact of their choices on the wider environment. Despite this increased interest, the benefits of utilizing native plants are still unclear for many of us. Many gardeners invoke the long-held beliefs that natives are “messy” or that they’re difficult to grow—compounded by the idea Cheryl that gardening with English natives is somehow different from gardening with traditional garden plants. The human tendency to minimize the value of what is local— whether acknowledging the cultural attractions of your hometown or of locally-made products—seems to dog native plants as well. Fortunately, this perspective is slowly changing. That said, you don’t need to throw out all your exotic plants. Despite my profound affection for natives, I will always have my exotic clematis, peonies and irises in my garden—they are just too important to me, too much a part of my own story, to ever eliminate them entirely. The idea is to include native plants among your choices as your garden evolves and to utilize them when appropriate.

Many gardeners are surprised to learn that Eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is native to Michigan. This species goes dormant in fall by deflating, which is rather alarming the first time the gardener observes it. The plant revivifies in the spring like a slowly-inflated balloon.

Why have natives in your garden? Why should we even bother with native plants? For starters, they play a critical role in the local “food web.” Native insects, having evolved in tandem with native plants, lack the ability to utilize the nutrients in most exotic plants. Native songbirds, regardless of what they eat as adults, feed their young with protein-packed, nutrient-rich native insects. The equation is simple: native plants = native insects = native songbirds. And there’s more. Because native plants evolved where you now live and garden, they are eminently suited to perform better than any other group of plants with minimal intervention. If you’d like to explore the idea of gardening without the use of chemicals like man-made growth enhancers (fertilizers) and pest controls (pesticides), natives are the way to go. It’s better for your health as well as the health of your family, pets, and the wild-

Why and how to include native plants in your garden

life around you. Plus, you’ll save money. Not only can you get away with not using toxic chemicals, you can also minimize your water usage by selecting the native plants best suited to your growing conditions. As varied as our habitats in Michigan are – ranging from fen to tall-grass prairie and maple/ beech forest, there is a range of plants that thrives in any given situation. The key here is to select plants with similar cultural needs, group them together and plant them where those conditions exist in your garden. It’s true that many native plant species do not correspond to our image of ideal garden plants, an ideal governed by the gardening traditions our ancestors brought with them from their homes. There are ways to tackle this issue: look for those native plants that more closely correspond to that ideal; or, embrace a new way of gardening entirely, a new ideal that more closely reflects where we actually live,

P h oto g r ap h s by D o n S c h u lte

rather than where our ancestors came from.

How to use native plants Probably the biggest barrier to either solution is that gardeners think they don’t know what to “do” with native plants. Standard garden design techniques still apply, whether you choose to garden exclusively with exotic species or decide to incorporate native plants in your existing design: taller, denser stuff toward the back; shorter, lighter things toward the front; warm colors advance while cool

Although small Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) is closely related to lily of the valley, unlike its exotic cousin, it is not invasive in the typical Michigan garden.

Like other native milkweed species, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of the few species on which the larval state of the beloved monarch butterfly can survive. Certain exotic milkweed species, which the adult butterfly cannot distinguish, prove fatal to developing larva.

Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) flowers provide nectar for pollinating insects and food for seed-eating birds, but the plant’s unique leaf structure also traps and holds small amounts of rain, providing a critical water source for insects, birds, amphibians, and small mammals. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


SAVE $5 OFF a purchase of $10 OR MORE! colors recede; lighter colors carry more visual weight than dark ones; and mass plants to make a “statement,” with the caveat that a single plant can constitute a mass. Some of my most satisfying combinations of exotics and natives have occurred purely by accident: clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon,’ purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) or clematis ‘Perle d’Azur’ and sand tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata). In my garden, volunteers are not only tolerated, they are encouraged, because of these “happy accidents.” More purposeful combinations are just as gratifying. Pink downy phlox (Phlox pilosa)— a plant I’ve sited in my front yard to take over some of the groundcover responsibilities hitherto delegated to pachysandra—blooms at the same time as my tree peonies ‘Kamata Nishiki’ (pinkish purple) and ‘Renkaku’ (pure white). Definitely an early-season photo opportunity.

By planting species with similar requirements you can streamline your gardening routine. Drought-tolerant prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa)—yes, there is a cactus native to Michigan—works beautifully with my German bearded iris. By planting moisture-loving cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), turtlehead (Chelone glabra), and spotted bee balm (Monarda punctata) in the same area, you not only reduce watering chores but create a charming “zoo” theme for your yard. So: if you’d like monarch butterflies and five-spotted hawkmoths to visit your garden; if you enjoy seeing Northern cardinals, black-capped chickadees and cedar waxwings feeding and nesting in your yard; if you still listen for spring Peepers and pet the occasional bumblebee—welcome some native plants into your garden. If you plant some, they will come.

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46th Annual Flower Day at Detroit Eastern Market May 20, 2012 7am-5pm

With the profound decline of native ash trees (Fraxinus) in the Midwest due to the emerald ash borer, populations of the Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly are likely to decline unless we utilize its other larval hosts in our landscapes: tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina), and hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata).

Cheryl M. English owns Black Cat Pottery and gardens professionally in Detroit, MI. As an Advanced Master Gardener and Master Composter, she speaks on numerous gardening topics. Working in a typical urban lot with 50+ varieties of clematis and 100+ species of native plants, she shares her garden with the public twice a year. Contact Cheryl to speak at your next club meeting or event: Follow Cheryl’s blog at and follow along at Don Schulte is an avid gardener and enjoys interpreting Michigan wildflowers and other garden favorites in photographs. His work with advertising and corporate photography has spanned three decades. See more of his work at and

This event is the largest one day flower and plant event in Michigan, offering thousands of varieties of annuals, perennials, tropical plants, herbs, vegetable plants, ornamental trees and shrubbery. Live Entertainment – 4 Stages Enjoy Eastern Market Restaurants and additional Food Vendors featuring food from around the world Children’s Merry Market Land The Carhartt® Wacky Wagon Contest Artisan Village Ask the Master Gardener Experts

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

plant focus

Breeding has significantly improved and expanded the gerbera daisy choices available today As of 2012, gerbera daisy is the Day as a short-lived gift item. OcGeorge 5th most popular cut flower in the casionally, a gardener would cluster Papadelis world. Its simple ancestors were a few in a pot or use one in a comdiscovered in South Africa a little bination with the expectation that over a century ago. Since then, flowers would sporadically come breeding programs all over the along and brighten a few weeks of world have developed diverse and our gardening season. Sometimes spectacular plants for pots, for the a plant would stay alive and hardly garden, and for the bouquet. The ever bloom. Sometimes it seemed 4- to 6-inch flowers are electric in like the flowers didn’t last very cut flower arrangements, where long. And sometimes, the plant the broad color range and diverse would simply rot and wither away. flower forms are repeatedly appreciated. Gerbera daisies have come a long way Up until just a few years ago, a potted gersince then. bera daisy was “just a gerbera daisy.” They continued on page 24 have traditionally been used around Mother’s

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

‘Festival Pink Shades with Eye’ is a classicstyle, potted gerbera daisy.

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

‘Festival Golden Yellow with Eye’

Gerbera Daisy Botanical name: Plant type: Plant size: Habit: Flower color: Flower size: Bloom period: Light: Soil: Uses: Remarks: Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

Gerbera daisies are available in a wide range of dazzling, bright colors.

Gerbera jamesonii (GER-ber-ah) Annual (tender perennial treated as an annual) 6-30 inches tall, 6-18 inches wide Clump-forming Bright colors, including many shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, and white Up to 8 inches across Spring and summer Sun Well-drained, high in organic matter Potted types: Gifts, holidays. Patio types: Large containers, patio planters. Landscape types: Flower beds. Gerbera daisy breeding has significantly expanded the choices available and improved their garden performance. Gerbera daisies are one of the most popular cut flowers in the world.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

continued from page 22

Breeders begin expanding the selection Just a few years ago, gerbera daisies were all seed-grown plants. Breeders developed these with some interesting traits that made them far more appealing. Instead of a single row of petals, breeders progressively created flowers with extra petals—until gerbera daisies had a double appearance. Some were created with an interesting and pronounced black center or “eye,” and around 2005-06, the first spider gerbera daisy came along. These have many narrow petals that taper to a point. And now, many spider gerbera daisies have extra rows of petals giving them a beautiful double appearance as well.

Mini gerbera daisies Florist Holland

Gerbera daisies are available in a wide range of dazzling, bright colors.

George Papadelis

Spider gerbera daisies have many narrow petals that taper to a point.

Gerbera daisies are typically grown in 4- to 6-inch pots. Some growers recognized the demand for gerberas that could be offered in smaller containers. Thus, the mini gerbera daisy was born. Instead of a few larger flowers, minis typically produce more flowers—that are smaller—on more compact plants. These are usually sold in 3- to 4-inch pots. Even smaller gerbera daisies, referred to as “micros,” have been developed for 2- to 3-inch pots and large packs (typically referred to as “super” packs in the trade). The series of micro gerbera daisies called ‘Kamelio’ has become popular because of its profuse small flowers and its low cost. This one is the ideal choice for the tiny pot used to decorate at the upcoming baby shower.

Patio gerbera daisies

Florist Holland George Papadelis

Micro gerbera daisies have become popular because of their profuse small flowers and low cost. These light pink micros pair nicely with the pink and green variegation of polka dot plant (Hypoestes).

The Patio series plants have been named after National Parks, like this spectacular variety called ‘Everglades.’

Florist Holland

‘Pacific Rim’ from the ‘Patio’ series.

Many of the newer gerbera daisy genetics have become available through the use of tissue culture propagation. This method has become popular since gerbera daisy seeds are continued on page 26

George Papadelis

The flowers on ‘Everglades’ are over 6 inches across.

Florist Holland

‘Redwood’ from the ‘Patio’ series.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

continued from page 24 relatively difficult to germinate, and because tissue culture produces a perfect reproduction of the mother plant, which is the goal. Around 2007, a series of giant-flowering gerbera daisies was developed. Currently named the ‘Patio’ series, these produce flowers that range from 6 to 8 inches across! As the name implies, the plants are big and the stems are long (16 to 24 inches), making them well suited for larger patio containers. Flowering is best in spring and somewhat sporadic through the summer. All of these are named after National Parks, with names like ‘Everglades,’ ‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘Redwood,’ ‘Bighorn,’ and ‘Yosemite.’ The head-turning flowers are well worth the effort required to find and grow these.

Landscape gerbera daisies In 2010, a new type of tissue culture gerbera daisy was introduced to North America. By crossing a gerbera relative in one part of Africa to gerbera daisy relatives in another, a new type of heat-tolerant, floriferous, landscape gerbera daisy was created. So far, two series are available: ‘Garvinea’ and ‘Drakensberg’ daisies. These will flower more reliably through the summer than any other gerbera daisy on the market. Plants usually have somewhat larger leaves and stems from 12 to 16 inches long. The flowers are smaller, only 2 to 3 inches across, but they will bloom all summer. In just two years, these series have evolved to offer more vibrant colors, more disease resistance, and slightly larger flowers. The Garvinea gerbera daisy series has varieties such as ‘Pam,’ ‘Rachel,’ and ‘Sunny,’ whose colors are rose, red, and yellow, respectively. The Drakensberg daisies include varieties like ‘Buttermilk,’ ‘Orange,’ ‘Pink,’ ‘Scarlet,’ and ‘White.’ Test beds (trial gardens) have


The Drakensberg series of landscape gerbera daisies performs well in containers and flower beds, even in summer heat. Pictured: Drakensberg ‘Carmine’ and ‘White.’ been planted from Michigan to Texas, and so far, the Garvinea and Drakensberg daisies have fared very well. Don’t be surprised to see these in flower beds this summer.

(3- to 4-inch) fluorescent pink flower that is produced in profusion. I have seen this one in person (wow!) and can’t wait to grow it.

Coming soon: More new varieties

Gerbera daisies originate from South Africa, where they learned to thrive in full sun and lower humidity. They prefer well-drained soil that is high in organic matter and they love to be fertilized. Removing finished flowers and old foliage will stimulate the plant to produce even more new flower buds. They are susceptible to the foliar disease powdery mildew, so care should be taken to keep the

Another new series called ‘Glamorous’ will be more available in the next few years. It offers even larger flowers, an extra crinkled leaf, improved disease resistance, insect resistance, and outstanding heat tolerance. In 2013, there will be a limited offering of a truly floriferous flowering landscape gerbera daisy called ‘Pink Lollipop.’ This one has a larger

Preferred growing conditions

foliage dry, especially when grown crowded or under humid conditions. They are also prone to bugs like thrips, white fly, and aphids. Plants grown in “clean” greenhouse conditions will be pest-free, but once they’ve entered the landscape, learning to scout for these insects is worthwhile. Insecticidal soap will help eliminate all three critters. Try some of these new and exciting versions of an old favorite. This isn’t your mother’s gerbera daisy! George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, MI.

Discovery of the gerbera daisy Robert Jameson, a Scotsman, first discovered gerbera daisies while operating a gold mine near Barberton in the Transvaal area of South Africa in 1880. He donated the plant to the Durban Botanical Gardens where the curator of the gardens, John Medley Wood, sent specimens to Harry Bolus in Cape Town, South Africa for identification. Bolus then sent specimens to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in England with the suggested scientific name Gerbera jamesonii. Beginning about 1890 in England, Richard Irwin Lynch carried out breeding programs that resulted in many improvements. The plant soon became popular in the Netherlands, where much of the modern breeding has been accomplished. Excerpted from Dr. J. Raymond Kessler, Jr., Auburn University.

Florist Holland Florist Holland

‘Pam’ is from the landscape gerbera daisy series called ‘Garvinea.’

Landscape gerbera daisies flower more reliably through the summer than other gerbera daisies. ‘Sunny’ from the ‘Garvinea’ series is pictured here.

Florist Holland

Landscape gerbera daisies like ‘Rachel’ from the ‘Garvinea’ series can be used the flower border.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

perennial partners A problem-solving trio suitable for dry shade

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

Besides being a beautiful group of plants for the shade, barrenwort (Epimedium), Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa), and hosta can handle the difficult condition of dry shade as well.


ry shade is one of the most vexing problems that gardeners face. Garden publications devote lots of time and attention to helping people find suitable plants for this difficult condition. Let’s look at three suitable companions. Barrenwort (Epimedium) is one of the most frequently recommended perennials for dry shade. It is a workhorse plant, plus it offers many ornamental qualities throughout the season. Very early to bloom, the charming, spurred flowers appear in April and last about 3 weeks. Depending on the variety, flowKaren ers may be white, pink, Bovio lilac, red, yellow, or orange, or a combination of colors. Recent hybridization has focused on increasing flower size and quantity, and creating a showier, more upright presentation of the flowers. The emerging leaves and stems, which push up through the ground after the flowers, look a bit like unfurling fern fiddleheads. The leaves of some species may be tinted or veined red or bronze during the cool spring weather, but become solid green by summer. Barrenwort grows about a foot tall, with slowing creeping rhizomatous roots, making it an ideal groundcover. The foliage of nearly all species and varieties is shield-shaped, which gives rise to its

other common name: bishop’s hat. While it is helpful to provide supplemental water while the plants are young, established plantings are virtually maintenance-free.

Recommended varieties: • Epimedium x rubrum – Red-tinted spring foliage; red flowers; rapid growth rate • Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ – Yellow flowers; strong grower; fills in fast • Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ (Lilac Fairy) – Lilac flowers; clumping habit • Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ – Large yelloworange flowers; bronzed foliage Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) is sometimes called the king of shade grasses. The variety ‘Aureola’ is so highly regarded that it was selected as Perennial Plant of the Year in 2009. With its showy variegated foliage and flowing habit, it makes an elegant addition to any shaded site. Its beauty belies its toughness, as I’ve discovered over the years. My 20-year-old clump of ‘Aureola’ occupies a space bounded by a spruce tree (shallow rooted and water-hogging), an azalea, and a vigorous patch of lamium. With no additional care or watering, it thrives and puts on a show each year. Since I also enjoy its tawny windswept look during the winter, the only care it gets is a quick cut-back in early spring. Like many perennials that are drought-tolerant, Japanese forest grass grows faster, taller, and more lush with rich, moist soil, which is the condition you’ll see most commonly recom-

Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

As the yellow flowers on ‘Sulphureum’ barrenwort fade (Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’), the fresh foliage emerges with striking red tints. mended. My experience is that it will grow well in nearly any shaded or semi-shaded site, so use it whenever and wherever you can!

Recommended varieties: • ‘Aureola’ – Striated gold and green foliage; most commonly available • ‘All Gold’ – Golden leaves and a more upright plant habit • ‘Albo-Striata’ – White and green striped form; said to be more sun-tolerant

• ‘Beni-Kaze’ (Red Wind) – Strappy, green leaves becoming red in fall Hosta needs no introduction, even to novice gardeners. Nearly everyone has a hosta or two gracing a shade bed. The variety of colors and shapes in the genus Hosta is infinite, and while most people think of hostas as specimen plants, many varieties make serviceable groundcovers and edging plants. Hostas of this type often have spreading, rhizomatous | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


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The compact hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ is a good grower that is excellent for edging.

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Eric Hofley / Michigan Gardener

The Japanese forest grass ‘All Gold’ has golden leaves and grows more upright than the arching habit of the popular ‘Aureola.’

• ‘Golden Tiara’ – Heart-shaped leaves edged in gold; fast-growing; good flowers • ‘Lemon Lime’ – Elongated chartreuse leaves; slightly spreading; nice flower habit • ‘Stiletto’ – Rippled, white-edged narrow foliage; dense, small, and good for edging • ‘Yellow Splash Rim’ – Glossy, dark elongated leaves edged in yellow; spreading habit Karen Bovio is the owner of Specialty Growers in Howell, MI.

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roots and short stature. And some can handle inhospitable sites, enduring where other kinds of perennials fail over time. The definitive book on hostas, The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis, reveals “a listing of over 7,400 hostas covering all known names, including any cultivars, species, botanical varieties and forms.” Given the vast number of cultivars available and the enormous genepool used in creating them, it is a nearly impossible task to list varieties suited to dry shade, as there would be hundreds if not thousands. That said, some popular and widely available cultivars stand out as both tolerant of dry

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

“If ever there was a reason for fairies to sing, it must be the coming of sweet-scented Spring.” As children we have all grown up imagining the world of fairies, thanks to such great books as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peter Pan. We pretend all things small are part of this magical world that is full of life, laughter and mysterious treasures. Fairy gardens have aged gracefully throughout history from the Victorian age to the present. Today, there are endless possibilities when recreating these miniature worlds. Fairy gardens are a return to the fantasy world of childhood memories—memories you can now create for your own loved ones.

Preparing the garden A fairy garden can be as simple as you would like it to be. Begin by deciding how large a garden you would like. Fairy gardens can be permanent or non-permanent structures. A ceramic pot or a trough can easily make a fairy feel right at home if space is limited. On the other hand, if you dream of a much larger scale “community” garden, a raised bed might be a great option. Incorporating a raised bed into your landscape is ideal for anyone with soil that is less than satisfactory. Finding the perfect, accessible nook in your landscape is the first step, whether it is nestled in a shady spot or in a sunny welcoming area. The location you have carefully selected should be level, measured and staked out. For many of us, visually seeing the size and shape of the space will make it easier to design. A hose or rope works well to create your bed outline and is easily twisted and contoured to the unique shape you desire. Using a fork or spade, clear the land of weeds and grass where the beds will be installed. The cleared area is then ready to be outlined with the material you have selected to use. Raised beds can be made from stone, brick, or durable, long-lasting wood such as cedar. Continue by filling the beds with a thoroughly mixed combination of 60 percent topsoil, 20 percent mulch and 20 percent compost. This will provide the plants with a healthy living environment.

Designing and planting The design of the garden and placement of plants will be the fun part, where your creativity can flow. Not every garden needs a fairy cottage, just an imagination. The elevations and contour of the soil will enhance the overall flow of the garden. It is helpful to build up the soil in some areas and cover with plants, like Scotch moss (Sagina subulata) and Elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’). This mound can be considered the fairy hill where the fairies go to sleep during the winter months. If a cottage is going to be the main focal point and a home for the fairies, it is beneficial to use a cinder block for height and stability for the building. Then try placing tufa rock around the cinder block with the crevices filled in with soil and plants. At this point, accessories, walkways, rivers and other adornments are decided upon. Creating a dry riverbed would be a charming addition to the garden. Simply use pea stone and rounded glass and trickle it through the landscape. The placement of plants is a major part of the design. Choosing slow-growing and low maintenance plants will save you time and effort throughout the year. Dwarf plants including

There are endless possibilities when recreating these miniature worlds and all the wonder and excitement they bring.

If you desire a smaller option, a fairy garden in a container works well. alpines, Tom Thumb cranberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus ‘Tom Thumb’), dwarf boxwood, and Pixie Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Pixie’) all add a natural look to the garden. Lowgrowing perennials such as ajuga ‘Chocolate Chip,’ Victor Reiter sea thrift (Armeria ‘Victor Reiter’), and sedum groundcovers such as ‘Blue Carpet’ also work well. Plants are a fun way to incorporate some fairy folklore. On summer nights, fairies are busy intricately cutting dianthus flowers with their pinking shears to create the jagged edges. The blooms of bleeding hearts are actually the storage space for the fairy dust. Choosing annuals and perennials that transition well in their bloom times and give color year round is important. Remember, planting your miniature garden uses all the same details as in regular gardens, just at a more manageable scale.

Fairy garden in a container If you haven’t the room for a raised bed garden, or simply desire a smaller style, a container garden is a great option. You can get as creative as you would like in finding the right container. Try venturing out into flea markets, antique shops, or your neighbors’ discards to find a unique container. Birdbaths, an old boot, birdcages, chairs, or even dresser drawers could be interesting choices that look beautiful. As long as a drainage hole can be created, anything is workable. Let the container inspire your designs. Once the container is selected and a drainage hole is drilled, cover the bottom of the container with landscape fabric. This will prevent the potting soil from running out but still allow the water to drain. Plan ahead as to the placement of the con-

This fairy is gingerly crossing a dry riverbed of pebbles and rounded glass that trickles through the landscape. tainer and what kind of conditions it will be exposed to. Continue by filling the container with a well-drained potting mix to about 2 inches from the top. The design and selection of plants and accoutrements is the next step. Using a plant that resembles a tree, moss, and a blooming flower of the season are excellent choices. Use pansies in the spring and fall. In the summer, lobelia and alyssum do quite well. To enhance the container, sprinkle a time-release fertilizer into the top 1 to 3 inches of soil and then use fine mulch, such as shredded coconut fiber. “Orchid bark,” which is a western fir bark in a small chunk, also works well. You can go as simple or as extravagant as you desire. Once you have created your miniature world, find the perfect fairy that will live a busy and playful life in your beautiful garden. If you’re lucky enough, you might spot a fairy riding away on a butterfly or shearing back the dianthus! Article and photos brought to you by the professionals at Ray Wiegand’s Nursery.



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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Container gardening with herbs Whether you live in an apartment with a P h oto g r a p h s by tiny balcony or on acreage with vast gardens, J e a n a n d R ox a n n e R i g g s having a pot of herbs outside the kitchen door or a beautiful set of Italian herbs next to your barbecue, ready to snip for maximum flavor their water, fertilizer, and sun requirements. in your next dinner, is a wonderful idea. Keep in mind that if you have a really big conPeople who have problems with wild crittainer, you might not be able to move it once it ters eating their herbs and veggies will love is filled with soil and plants unless you have a container growing. Placing pots on your porch wheeled platform to set them on. or patio close to the house really helps keep Containers should be placed near a water most deer, woodchucks, and bunnies away. source. You have to water regularly in the Slugs and snails are not able to crawl up into summer heat (at least once daily). A hose with the container and minor bugs you may have a watering wand will make this job easy. Earduring the summer can ly morning watering is the best be controlled by spraying because the roots of the plant Jean & Roxanne Riggs the plants with a 50/50 will be nice and moist during mixture of dish soap and the afternoon heat. Plus, the wawater. ter doesn’t stay on the leaves all We recommend groupnight, which can lead to molds ing the plants in containgrowing. ers according to their When selecting plants for uses. Choose a clean the container, the generally acor new container that cepted “thriller, filler, spiller” is large enough for the formula is a good one to follow. plants you plan to plant in it. Make sure it A tall plant in the middle, plants that fill in, will fit in the area you have chosen. The conand plants hanging over the edges. It makes tainer must have drainage holes. There are the pot look good, and the plants benefit from many sizes, shapes, designs, and materials to having access to the sun without any getting choose from at the plant nursery. Terra cotta hidden in their neighbor’s foliage. planters will dry out faster than plastic. Do You can start with herb seeds. Be sure to not use garden soil or mulch to fill your pots; plant them to the depth on the packet. That instead use the bagged, sterilized soil from said, starting with young plants from the your local garden center. Some of it even connursery will get you going faster. All must tains a slow-release fertilizer to help keep the be planted after danger of frost is over and plants growing. If you use this sterilized soil, the nighttime temperatures are 45 degrees your container will be virtually weed free. or above; in southeastern Michigan that is The plants are totally dependent on you for roughly mid-May. Labeling all seeds and

A perfect gift for a gardener: Pots of various herbs in a container with a handle. plants is a great idea. If you don’t want to see the labels, press them down in the soil right next to the area planted so they are not visible. You can always pull the label back up and peek if you forget what you planted! Labels come in all shapes and sizes: metal, wood, and plastic are nice to use above ground for visitors or children. If you start with small plants, don’t start harvesting much right away. Give them some time to establish, grow, and develop, and then

only cut 1/3 of the plant for a recipe, starting with the top branches. This will encourage the plant to become bushier with more harvest. The plant has to recover and start growing again before you use more than a couple sprigs or leaves. When the danger of fall frost is upon us again, either you can harvest the entire plant and hang it to dry in your kitchen, or bring the whole container in the house and let it live indoors under a grow light. Note that the annual herbs, such as basil, only have a

Container herb garden suggestions Herbs de Provence: Savory, thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage Fine herbs: Parsley, French tarragon, chives, chervil Italian/BBQ: Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Garlic Chives, Bay Leaf Fragrant: Lemon verbena, pineapple sage, scented geranium, patchouli, French lavender Greek: Lemon verbena, mint, cinnamon basil, thyme, oregano Tea: Mints, lemon balm, chamomile, lemon verbena, pineapple sage Vegetables: Baby Belle pepper, Little Prince eggplant, Tricolor zucchini, Tricolor bush beans, Tricolor cherry tomato, Sweetie Baby Romaine lettuce

Be creative with your container selections. This metal chair’s seat was replaced with a wire mesh basket and filled with spikes of lemon grass and mixed herbs.

Left: Jean Riggs planting a lavender topiary in the center of a square planter. Right: The finished container filed with Herbs de Provence: savory, thyme, lavender, rosemary and sage. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


Plants, Pottery & More life span of 6 months, so you will have to start with a new plant or seeds again in the fall. If you leave perennials out in containers for the winter, they will probably die off, as the soil will freeze solid in a container and kill the roots. You can plant all one herb in a container if you use many seeds or plants of one kind. Basils can be planted in a container if you like pesto, and dill can be planted in one container if you make pickles. Cilantro must be planted several times during the summer, so it could be grown alone if you love salsa. Mint likes to grow in its own wooden barrel or wide container because it overgrows any other plants. You can mix mint plants together and they will not cross, just be sure to label them as you can quickly lose track of varieties. If you are planting vegetables such as tomatoes, the heirloom varieties are usually much too big to

include. Instead, stick with cherry or smaller vine tomatoes surrounded by herbs, especially basil. Stake or cage the tomato plant right in the middle of the pot. There are many wonderful veggies that lend themselves to the confines of a container and are just miniature or smaller varieties with big yields. Look at the labels or seed packets before you buy them. The label may indicate if that particular plant will do well in a pot. We love container gardens. Visitors to our deck, patio, and yard love to look at and touch the herbs. We encourage you to give them a try this year. You can see what grows the best for you and expand over the years to include more herbs.

Our plant quality and selection of annuals, hanging baskets, succulents and perennials is one of the finest in the area. We have a fantastic collection of coleus and begonias as well as spectacular shade combination planters.

Jean and Roxanne Riggs operated Sunshine Farm and Garden in Oakland County, MI and now enjoy retirement up north.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Julia Hofley

Proven Winners

Petunia ‘Supertunia White Russian’

Burpee Home Gardens

Coleus ‘Wasabi’ Feathery-edged foliage gives this new coleus an unusual texture. The chartreuse leaves deliver a thriller extraordinaire for your container. It has a graceful vase-shape yet grows vigorously with strong stems. The color holds

true without fading or spotting and also serves as a backdrop canvas to many other colors, both in a container or a flower bed. This coleus was consistently rated as one of the highest scoring coleus in U.S. trial gardens. You don’t

often find a plant that can create as much drama on the shady patio. Height: 18-26 inches. Spread: 16-28 inches. Part sun to shade.

Last summer, I found myself hovering around this plant as often as I could at America’s largest annual plant show in Columbus, Ohio. I was pulled in by the dramatic richness of this black and white petunia. It was full and lush, not leggy—the claim to fame of the Supertunias, which are known for their compact habit. Butterflies and hummingbirds love it since it blooms all summer until a hard frost. It is claimed to not need deadheading, which is a statement for any petunia. The dark chocolate eye paired against the antique, creamy white truly conjured the image of looking into a White Russian cocktail. Height: 6-10 inches. Spread: 24-36 inches. Full sun.

Osteospermum ‘Fire Burst’

Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’

One of the most memorable plants I saw last summer at the trade shows was the wellbranched and compact Cape daisy (Osteospermum) ‘Fire Burst.’ When you see photos of it, you think it must have been color enhanced because it couldn’t actually be that color! But I saw it myself and it’s a real headturner. The flower opens to a coppery yellow and then matures to a coppery red, all centered by a purple eye. With this unique range of hues happening all at once, it really sizzles. Height and spread: 12-18 inches. Full sun.

I always get excited about a new plant that could be a stately specimen or a foliar screen and that is what hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’ is all about. Every part of this plant is dark burgundy. The serrated, glossy leaves have been compared to a Japanese maple. Oddly, it is both drought- and heat-tolerant, yet flourishes waterside or even directly in a pond. Perfect for gardeners who need a dramatically dark thriller for a large container, or an effective foliar hedge for privacy. It tolerates pruning well so you can keep it to the height you need. Many hibiscus are grown for their flowers, but with this one, it’s all about the amazing foliage. Height: 3-5 feet. Spread: 24-30 inches. Full sun. Note: In the garden center’s greenhouse you may find the leaves to be more green in color. Once moved to full sun outside, it will achieve its deep mahogany color. Sakata Seed America

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

continued from page 34

Osteospermum 3D Series This breakthrough osteospermum won two Medal of Excellence awards and was called the most significant new introduction of the Spring Trials. What really had my attention all summer was the constant oohs and aahs that it garnered from our visiting garden guests just before they asked, “What’s that?” It really is a uniquely beautiful flower. When you think of the science behind making an anemone-type flower with stiff center rays that force the outer petals to stay open 24 hours a day because they cannot close due to the center, you too will be in awe. Traditionally, osteospermums tend to close up during cloudy mornings and into the early evening, so you don’t always get to enjoy the flower show. This 3D Series is groundbreaking and will change the way osteospermums are hybridized. Available in purple, pink, and silver. Height: 10-14 inches. Spread: 18-24 inches. Full sun.

Ball Horticultural Co. (2)

‘3D Pink’

‘3D Silver’

Cuphea ‘Cuphoric Pink’ Delicate-looking, fan-shaped pink and deep lavender blossoms cover the semiarching stems and tiny leaves on this heat-tolerant blooming machine. As a pleasantly mounded “filler,” it will grace any combination planter with a flower-filled fullness while at the same time having diminutive detail. Height and spread: 12-15 inches. Full Sun.

Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star’

Proven Winners

In the urns by our front door, I chose calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star’ as the “spiller” for my combination planting and was not disappointed. The branches were strong through all the windstorms we had—the flowers never looked wind-whipped. The blossom’s unique yellow star not only stood out on its bright cherry backdrop, but it consistently held its variegation throughout the entire season. It was such a durable plant, that when I went to change out the pots to fall flowers, I picked colors that would coordinate with ‘Superbells Cherry Star’ because this trailer had no idea it was autumn and that it should be winding down. It maintained an attractive appearance into November. Height: 6-10 inches. Spread: up to 48 inches. Full to part sun. Syngenta Flowers (2)

NEW ANNUALS continued on page 38



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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

continued from page 36

Proven Winners

Verbena ‘Lanai Twister Pink’ This mounding/trailing verbena defines “pretty in pink” perfectly. Its unique bicolor flowers display dark pink to white in the same cluster—it could be a model for a fine prom dress for a Southern belle! At the same time, Lanai verbenas are known to be tough and easy to grow. Deadheading improves repeat flowering. Height: 6-10 inches. Spread: 20-24 inches. Full sun.

Burpee Home Gardens

Petunia ‘Suncatcher Pink Lemonade’ This petunia changes the game for yellow petunias by having a yellow center with gradual soft pink edges. The lush habit remains compact—that translates to not having to pinch stringy stems back in late summer in order to keep its good looks. The flowers cover the stem completely and hold their unique color combo of yellow and blush pink under all conditions. Butterflies and hummingbirds will enjoy this choice. Height and spread: 8-12 inches. Full sun.

Dahlia ‘Dahlinova Hypnotica Cherish Pink’ This dahlia was laden with big, bi-colored pink and white flowers, reminding me of the upholstery on a well-worn chintz chair that you dive into at your grandma’s house. It isn’t burdened by the large, blousy blooms because it is well-branched with strong stems and is able to support itself. This well-shaped plant consistently blooms with abundant flowers all summer and into fall. It scored well in trial gardens with its great garden performance. Like most dahlias, the more you cut the flowers for arrangements indoors, the more flowers it will produce. A true win-win for the gardener! Height: 20 inches. Spread: 16 inches. Full to part sun. Julia Hofley

Julia Hofley (2)

Mandevilla ‘Strawberry Lemonade’ Yet another breakthrough plant this year that defies what we know about mandevillas. This one stopped me in my tracks, as I am a big fan of variegated foliage. The variegation took on different colors itself: mint green, cream, and white all flushed with pink when the foliage emerges. The profusion of funnelshaped flowers stood out with deep pink and an amazing egg yolk-colored throat. Being a vine, this mandevilla needs support with a trellis or obelisk. However, Monrovia states that it could be clipped into a mounding plant shape or even planted in a hanging basket and the vines allowed to trail down. This one is going create a rush hour for hummingbirds. Height: 6-8 feet long. Full to part sun.

Julia Hofley is an avid plant collector, freelance garden writer, lecturer, and independent sales rep (E-mail:

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

how-to Prune a lilac

Steve Nikkila

1 These relatively young lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) have gotten too tall and wide for the site. The plants were beginning to block the view…

3 The first step was to remove all dead, diseased, injured or dangerous wood. For instance, we removed this branch, which was damaged. A fungal canker had taken hold in a damaged area and was growing faster than the limb, so it would have eventually girdled the branch and killed it.

2 …and making mail delivery more difficult. Here’s how we pruned them.

4 Next we looked at the major canes and stems. Lilacs should be pruned to remove canes as they become larger than an inch in diameter. This not only keeps the shrub’s size down, but also makes it unattractive to borers. We decided to remove the far left cane because of the potential for girdling. If all the stems remained, as they increased in girth, the middle cane could be squeezed and killed. We left one young sucker to the right of the largest stem. After a couple of years when it’s the middle trunk’s turn to be removed, this newer one will be ready to take its place. The red line indicates the cane we’ll cut now, the yellow line the young replacement cane.

5 It’s always a good idea to remove the weighty part of a branch first, then make the final cut to remove the stub. At full weight, the falling branch can rip away before you’ve finished the cut, causing the saw to bind or the branch to rip bark and wood you intended to keep. So, start with an undercut… | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener



…then move out beyond the undercut and saw the branch off by cutting from the top. On larger plants, you might make a number of cuts, in stages, to remove the weight safely.

Now you can remove the stub. Make it a clean cut, which will heal faster than a torn or rough-edged cut.

8 After you’ve removed one or more main canes, prune the remaining trunks for height, width and future growth. Loppers were large enough to do most of this cutting: branches less than an inch in diameter.

9 On larger limbs we used a saw. Notice that we made a rough, preliminary cut on this limb up above to remove the weight before our final cut.

11 10 We saw that the plants were producing about one foot of new wood per year, so we cut them back far enough that they can grow for two years before they need pruning again. Here’s the final product, with our clippings at its feet.

The mail carrier will be pleased! Text and photos by Steven Nikkila, who is from Perennial Favorites in Waterford, MI (E-mail:



Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Columbiaville, Davison

Bay City, Gladwin, Midland, Roscommon, Saginaw

North Branch


Emmett Imlay City

Flushing Lennon


Port Huron


Grand Blanc


Bancroft, Owosso






Addison Twp.

Orion Clarkston Hartland

White Lake Highland


Howell East Lansing, Fowlerville, Grand Rapids, Haslett, Lansing, Mason, Williamston

Holly White Lake Waterford


West Bloomfield

New Hudson South Lyon

Whitmore Lake

Novi Northville

Rochester Hills

Bloomfield Hills Birmingham

Sterling Hts.

St. Clair Roseville Shores Madison Royal Oak Heights Warren

Southfield Oak Park Ferndale


Canton Wayne

Dearborn Dearborn Heights


Taylor Belleville New Boston



Livonia Redford



Romulus Brownstown Twp.

Southgate Trenton Grosse Ile

Rockwood, Monroe

A collection of stores and gardens to shop and visit. Please call ahead for hours, as they may vary from season to season. h Denotes MG Advertiser Addison Twp H Yule Love It Lavender Farm Almont H American Tree Ann Arbor H Abbott’s Nurs Ace Barnes Hardware Downtown Home/Gard H English Gardens 155 N. Maple Rd, MI 48103 734-332-7900 HillTop Greenhse/Farms Lodi Farms H The Produce Station Turner Greenhse Wild Birds Unltd Auburn Hills Drake’s Landscp & Nurs H Haley Stone H State Crushing Bancroft Grand Oak Herb Farm Bay City H Begick Nursery & Garden Center 5993 Westside Saginaw Rd., MI 48706 989-684-4210

Belleville Banotai Greenhse Gardeners Choice Pinter Flowerland Zywicki Greenhse Berkley Garden Central Westborn Flower Mkt Bloomfield Hills Backyard Birds Birmingham H Blossoms 33866 Woodward Ave, MI 48009 248-644-4411 H Plant Station Tiffany Florist Brighton H Beauchamp Landscp Supp H Bordine’s H Brighton Farmer’s Mkt Cowbell Lawn/Gard H English Gardens 7345 Grand River, MI 48114 810-534-5059 H Grasshopper Gardens H Meier Flowerland Brownstown Twp Elegant Environ Pond Shop Ruhlig Farms & Gard

New Baltimore Clinton Twp.


Ann Arbor



Auburn Hills


Cement City, Chelsea, Jackson, Stockbridge

Shelby Twp.


Farmington Hills Farmington





Walled Lake Wixom Brighton



Sylvan Lake



Canton Canton Floral Gardens Clink Nurs Crimboli Landscp/Nurs Keller & Stein Greenhse H Wild Birds Unltd Cement City H Hallson Gardens Chelsea H Garden Mill Clarkston H Bordine’s Country Oaks Landscp I Lowrie’s Landscp H The Pond Source Clinton Twp H English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd, MI 48038 586-286-6100 H Tropical Treasures Columbiaville Hilltop Barn Commerce Twp Backyard Birds Zoner’s Greenhse Davison H Wojo’s Gard Splendors Dearborn Fairlane Gardens Westborn Flower Mkt


Grosse Pointes Dearborn Heights H English Gardens 22650 Ford Rd, MI 48127 313-278-4433 Detroit Allemon’s Landscp Ctr Dexter Gardens H Fraleigh’s Landscp Eastpointe Ariel’s Enchanted Gard H English Gardens 22501 Kelly Rd, MI 48021 586-771-4200 Semrau Gard Ctr Farmington Backyard Birds Farmington Hills Angelo’s Landscp Supp Farmer John’s Greenhse Loeffler Stone Ctr H Steinkopf Nurs Fenton Gerych’s Flowers/Gift H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm Ferndale Casual Modes Home/Gard Green Thumb Gard Ctr Flushing Flushing Lawn/Gard Fowlerville H Arrowhead Alpines Gladwin H Stone Cottage Gard Grand Blanc H Bordine’s H The Weed Lady 9225 Fenton Rd, MI 48439 810-655-2723 Grosse Ile H Westcroft Gardens Grosse Pointe Allemon’s Landscp Ctr Meldrum & Smith Nurs Grosse Pointe Woods H Wild Birds Unltd Hadley H Le Fleur Décor Hartland H Deneweth’s Garden Ctr Haslett H Christian’s Greenhse H Van Atta’s Greenhse Higgins Lake The Greenhouse

Highland Colasanti’s Produce/Plant H Fragments H Highland Garden Ctr One Stop Landscp Supp Holly H Rice’s Garden Ornaments Howell H Howell Farmer’s Mkt Penrose Nurs Howell H Specialty Growers 4330 Golf Club Rd, MI 48843 517-546-7742 Imlay City Earthly Arts Greenhse Jackson The Hobbit Place Schmid Nurs/Gard Lake Orion Lake Orion Lawn Orn H Orion Stone Depot H Wojo’s of Lake Orion Lapeer H Iron Barn Gard Ctr Lennon H Krupps Novelty Shop Livonia Bushel Mart Superior Growers Supp Westborn Flower Mkt Macomb Altermatt Greenhses Boyka’s Greenhse H Deneweth’s Garden Ctr H Elya’s Village Gardens Landscape Source Joe Randazzo’s Nurs Wade Nurs H Wiegand’s Nursery 47747 Romeo Plank Rd., MI 48044 586-286-3655 Madison Heights Green Carpet Sod Manchester McLennan Nurs Mason Wildtype Nurs Metamora Gilling’s Nurs Milford H One Stop Landscp Supp Milford Gardens H The Pond Place Monroe H The Flower Market New Baltimore Meldrum Bros Nurs New Boston H Gorham & Sons Nurs H Grass Roots Nurs Mums the Word New Hudson H Milarch Nurs North Branch H Campbell’s Greenhse Oldani Landscp Nurs Northville H Gardenviews Novi H Dinser’s Greenhse Glenda’s Gard Ctr Stone City H Wild Birds Unltd Oak Park Four Seasons Gard Ctr Oakland Goodison Farms Daylilies Ortonville Country Oaks Landscp II H Wojo’s Greenhse Owosso H Everlastings in Wildwood

Oxford Candy Cane Xmas Trees Oxford Farm/Gard Plymouth Backyard Birds Graye’s Greenhse Lucas Nurs H Plymouth Nurs Plymouth Rock H Rock Shoppe H Saxton’s Gard Ctr Sparr’s Greenhse Pontiac H Goldner Walsh Gard/Home Ray Van’s Valley Greenhse Redford Pinter Flowerland Seven Mi Gard Ctr Rochester H Fogler’s Greenhse H Haley Stone Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr Rochester Hills H Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr 3820 West Auburn Rd, MI 48309 248-852-2310 H Bordine’s H English Gardens Patio Shop Shades of Green Nurs Wild Birds Unltd Rockwood H Marsh Greenhouses Too 31820 W. Jefferson, MI 48173 734-379-9641 Romulus Block’s Stand/Greenhse H Kurtzhals’ Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhse Roscommon H The Greenhouse Roseville Dale’s Landscp Supp World Gardenland Royal Oak H Billings Lawn Equip H English Gardens 4901 Coolidge Hwy, MI 48073 248-280-9500 H Wild Birds Unltd Saginaw H Abele Greenhse Saline Nature’s Gard Ctr Saline Flowerland Shelby Twp Diegel Greenhses Eden Gard Ctr H Hessell’s Greenhse Maeder Plant Farm Potteryland H Telly’s Greenhouse 4343 24 Mile, MI 48316 248-659-8555 South Lyon Hollow Oak Farm Nurs Raney’s Gardens Southfield 3 DDD’s Stand H Eagle Landscp/Supp Lavin’s Flower Land Main’s Landscp Supp Southgate H Ray Hunter Gard Ctr St Clair Shores Hall’s Nurs Soulliere Gard Ctr Sterling Heights Decor Statuette H Eckert’s Greenhouse Flower Barn Nurs Prime Landscp Supp Stockbridge Gee Farms Sylvan Lake H AguaFina Gardens Intrntl H Detroit Garden Works Taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gardens 20379 Ecorse, MI 48180 313-383-3853

H D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp Tecumseh Mitchell’s Lawn/Landscp Trenton Carefree Lawn Ctr Troy Maeder’s West H Telly’s Greenhouse 3301 John R Rd, MI 48083 248-689-8735 Tom’s Landscp Nurs H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store Utica Dale’s Landscp Supp Stone City Walled Lake H Suburban Landscp Supp Warren H Beste’s Lawn/Patio Supp Garden Ctr Nurs Young’s Garden Mart Washington Landscp Direct Rocks ‘n’ Roots Waterford Hoffman Nurs H Merrittscape Wayne Artman’s Nurs West Bloomfield H English Gardens 6370 Orchard Lake Rd, MI 48322 248-851-7506 H Planterra Westland Artman’s Westland Nurs H Barson’s Greenhse Bushel Stop Panetta’s Landscp Joe Randazzo’s Nurs White Lake H Bogie Lake Greenhse Mulligan’s Gard Sunshine Plants Whitmore Lake H Alexander’s Greenhses Williamston H Christian’s Greenhse Wixom Brainer’s Greenhse Angelo’s Landscp Supp Milford Tree Farm Ypsilanti Coleman’s Farm Mkt Lucas Nurs Margolis Nurs H Materials Unlimited

Gardens to Visit Ann Arbor H Matthaei Bot Gard/Nichols Arb Bloomfield Hills H Cranbrook Gardens Dearborn Arjay Miller Arboretum at Ford World HQ Henry Ford Estate Detroit Anna S Whitcomb Conservtry Dryden Seven Ponds Nature Ctr East Lansing H MSU Horticultural Gardens W.J. Beal Botanical Gard Emmett H Sunny Fields Botanical Pk Flint Applewood Grand Rapids Frederik Meijer Gardens Grosse Pointe Shores H Edsel & Eleanor Ford Hse Lansing Cooley Gardens Midland H Dow Gardens Novi Tollgate Education Ctr Royal Oak Detroit Zoo Tipton H Hidden Lake Gardens

Westcroft Gardens

Our plant inventory includes over 55 different varieties of Japanese Maples, $85 & up

Your Patio & Landscape Stone Specialists for over 50 years!


We now have premium hardwood mulch—Low prices & fast delivery!

Plant Nursery

Trees • Shrubs • Perennials Annuals • Herbs • Vegetables Azaleas • Rhododendrons • Botanical Gardens • Petting Farm • Halloween Rides Come visit the oldest farm in Michigan still owned and operated by the same family, established 1776

Call us to reserve our gardens for your wedding, party or special event 21803 West River Rd. Grosse Ile • 734-676-2444

Your Outdoor Pleasures Await at

Tropical Treasures

Nursery & Garden Center 2781 Scio Church Road Ann Arbor • 734-665-8733

Stone Cottage Gardens Specializing in Hybrid Daylilies

Huge selection of daylilies, hostas, ferns, perennials, grasses, vines, herbs, groundcovers & Felco pruning tools ~ Garden art & accessories ~ Going “Up North” for the weekend? Check the Michigan Gardener calendar or our website for special events Open May 1 - Oct. 13 Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 9-4 or by chance or appointment

3740 West Willford Rd. Gladwin, MI 989-426-2919

Complete Line of Pond Supplies Firestone EPDM Liners Energy Efficient Pumps • Filters Medicines • Lighting • UV’s Food • Kites & Windsocks Bonsai Trees & Supplies Wide variety of pond fish including: Japanese Koi, Chinese Goldfish

Check our website for current availability of pond fish and plants

Pond Critters: Turtles, Tadpoles, Snails & Clams Pond Plants: Marginals, Lillies, Lotus & Oxygenators

34190 S. Gratiot (14-1/2 Mile) • Clinton Township 586-791-6595 May hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm Sat 9am-8pm Sun 9am-5pm


• Do-It-Yourself instructions from our staff of EXPERTS! • Brick Pavers and Maintenance Supplies

Cut & Tumbled Bluestone Wallstone Flagstone Boulders Ledgerock Stone Pavers

3975 S. Rochester Rd.

• Garden Walls & Edgings Prompt, Courteous Delivery Available


(Just South of M-59)

Rochester Hills


• Water Garden Pumps & Filters

3600 Lapeer Rd.

(across from Palace of Auburn Hills)

May/June Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm

Sat: 8am-4pm

Auburn Hills

248-276-9300 Sun: Please call


High quality plants & service for your garden success since 1964.

All Bedding Plants Begonias, Impatiens, Petunias, Marigolds and more!

48ct flat - ONLY $1099 Flower-filled Flower Pouches 10" Hanging Baskets 12" Porch Pots Mix or Match

1499ea -or- 3 for $3999


3820 W. Auburn Rd. (2 blks E. of Adams Rd.) • Rochester Hills • 248-852-2310 Mon-Fri 8-7 Sat 8-6 Sun 10-5 •


Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

calendar May / June / July Large Selection of Fountains

Rice’s Garden Ornaments Producers of Quality Concrete Statuary

H Denotes Michigan Gardener advertiser

Hundreds to choose from • All of Enriched Cement • Unique Selection • Low Prices Many new & old world finishes including permanent colors

10510 N. Holly Rd. • Holly • 1-1/2 Mile S. of I-75 May–Aug: Mon-Sat 9-6pm (Open Sundays 12-3pm in May & June Only) September–April: Mon-Sat 9-4:30pm

Baldwin Rd. 1 Mile County Line Rd.

N. Holly Rd.


I-75 exit 108

Grange Hall Rd.

Orion Stone Depot Your one stop to beautify your home!

Stop in and attend one of our do-it-yourself brick paving and retaining wall seminars by Unilock®: Saturday, May April 24, Saturday, 12,11am 11am Saturday, May 8, 11 am Saturday, June 9, 11am Saturday, May 22, 11 am

Saturday, July 14, 11am

9 varieties of premium mulches decorative stone • flagstone • wallstone • topsoil • sand • gravel brick pavers & retaining walls • natural stone pavers • slabs & steps • boulders

4888 Joslyn Road - Orion, MI 48359 (1/2 mi North of I-75.)

(248) 391.2490 Orion

stone depot

Anniversary Celebration Sat, May 5, Almont. At Brohl’s Flower Garden. Unique flower combo pots, more. brohlsflowergarden@gmail. com. Composting in a Community Garden Plot Sat, May 5, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Center. FREE, register:education@ Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, May 5, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Perennial Plant Exchange Sat, May 5, 10am-noon, Warren. By Garden Club of Warren at First United Methodist Church. Rain or shine, FREE. 586-268-0975. Plant Exchange Sat, May 5, 9-11am, South Lyon. By Four Seasons Garden Club at Witch’s Hat Depot Museum parking lot. 248437-0154 Property Inspector Training Sat, May 5, 10am-noon, Springfield. By North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy at Springfield Civic Center., 248-846-6547. Tuber Sale Sat, May 5, 9am-2pm, Troy. By Southeastern MI Dahlia Society at Telly’s Greenhouse Barn. Wildflower Walk Sat, May 5, 1:45pm, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Nature Society at Tenhave Woods. 248-246-3380, naturesociety@ H Faerie Festival Sat, May 5, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Workshops & activities for all ages, $1., 810-6299208. H Herb Fest Sat, May 5, Waterford. At MSU Extension. Register: 248858-0887, Leaf Bowl & Fountain Garden Art Class Sun, May 6, 11am, Highland. By Garden Angel Art Works at Colasanti’s Market & Greenhouse. 810-653-0104, Garlic Mustard Pull Tue, May 8, 10am, Waterford. By Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy at Drayton Plains Nature Center.www., 248-601-2816. H Weed & Tea Tue, May 8, Leonard. At Yule Love it Lavender. FREE. www., 248-628-7814. A Glimpse of Japan Wed, May 9, 11:30am, Southfield. By Ikebana International Detroit Chapter at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Exhibit, demos, $10 donation.

For information about Public Gardens, please visit Click on "Resources" then "Public Gardens." The Mint Farmer’s Daughter Wed, May 9, 11:45am-2:30pm, Troy. By Troy Garden Club at Big Beaver United Methodist Church. Speaker, light lunch, $7, Register: 248-642-7277, Great Gardens Party Fundraiser Wed, May 9, 6-9pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. $100. mkindel@meijergardens. org. Attract Butterflies to Your Garden Thu, May 10, 7pm, Ypsilanti. By Ypsilanti Garden Club at Ypsilanti Senior/Community Center. Plant Sale Fri, May 11, 3-8pm & Sat, May 12, 9am-5pm, Pontiac. At Habitat Oakland County Headquarters. FREE presentations Fri, 6pm & Sat, 11am. Master gardener Q&A. A New Spin on Old Favorites Sat, May 12, 1pm, Grosse Pointe. By Grosse Pointe Garden Center at Grosse Pointe Woods Community Center. FREE. Register: 313-881-7511, x206, Bioreserve Assessment Volunteer Training Sat, May 12, 10am-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Huron River Watershed Council at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. 734769-5123, x607, Garlic Mustard Pull Sat, May 12, 9am, Southfield. By Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy at Berberian, 248-601-2816. Heirloom Tomato Sale Sat, May 12, 9-11am, Southgate. By Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County at 1 Heritage Dr parking lot. Herbs, flowers, tomatoes. 313-719-1181, digitdownriver@ Natural Area Field Assessments Sat, May 12, 10am-4pm, Whitmore Lake. By Huron River Watershed Council at Independence Lake County Park. Inventory ecologically important natural watershed areas., 734-769-5123, x607. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, May 12, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www.

Promote your events! Send us your information! Website: Go to and click on “Garden Event Calendar” E-Mail: Upcoming Issues & Deadlines: Issue

June 2012 July 2012

Deadline May 15, 2012 June 15, 2012 | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


House & Gardens Auxiliary Cranbrook House & Gardens invites you to visit us this spring and summer. Come and discover what we have to offer!

Our 40th Annual Plant Sale: May 15 (10am-7pm) & May 16 (10am-2pm) The very best in native Michigan plants and wildflowers, perennials, greenhouse plants, orchids, herbs, vegetables, annuals and much more! Gardens Open May 1 through October: Come see what’s in bloom!

continued on next page

Cranbrook House guided tours: (Thurs., Fri. & Sun.) beginning June 21. Reservations required for Thursday lunch or tea. Enjoy craftsmanship and art under one roof. 37th Annual Holiday Tables: “The Fine Art of Entertaining” Nov. 15-18 380 Lone Pine Rd, Bloomfield Hills • 248-645-3149 • Parking for all events at Christ Church Cranbrook • Shuttle service for plant sale

SINCE 1919



Annuals • Perennials • Great selection of Weeks Roses • Garden Statuary & Accents Flowering shrubs • Evergreens • Ornamental & Flowering Trees • Dwarf Fruit Trees INORTHLINE RD Exit Eureka off of I-75 EUREKA RD

Ray Hunter


Perennial Plant Exchange Sat, May 19, 9-11am, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Garden Club & Royal Oak Recreation at Mahany Meininger Senior Center. FREE, 248-545-3904. Perennial Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 8am-noon, Saline. By Saline Stone & Thistle Garden Club at UAW Hall. 734-646-9408. Perennial Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 10am-2pm, Owosso. By Shiawassee County Master Gardeners at 1535 N. Hickory Rd. timnjenhes@ Plant Exchange Sat, May 19, 9am-noon, Westland. By Westland Garden Club at Westland Historic Village Park. 734-522-3918. Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 10am-2pm, Dexter. By Michigan Dahlia Association at Dexter Mill. 734-429-5796. Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 9am-3pm & Sun, May 20, 12-3pm, Detroit. By Golightly Agriscience Advisory Board at Belle Isle. 313378-3841, Watergardens & Ponds Sat, May 19, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Watering Can-Hydrangea Painting Sat, May 19, 10:30am-noon, Fenton. At Gerych’s Flowers. $39. 810-629-5995, H Lilac Festival Sat, May 19, 10am-5pm, Emmett. At Sunny Fields Botanical Park. Music, food, crafters, FREE admission, donations appreciated., 810-387-2765. H Open House Sat, May 19, 9am-5pm, Howell. At Specialty Growers. Vendors & FREE presentations at noon: Sat-Go Wild with Natives; Sun-Michigan Woodland Plants., 517-546-7742. H Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. By Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Heirloom & Water-wise sale. www., 734-647-7600. H Pond Maintenance Sat, May 19, 10-11am, Milford. At Pond Place. FREE. www., 248-889-8400. H Stain Glass Tree Sat, May 19, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Construct a 4 ft. copper tree for your garden, $89.75., 810-6299208. Bonsai Mentor Workshop Sun, May 20, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Bring your own tree, beginners paired up with experienced members. 586-646-3888, Cobblestone Bench Class Sun, May 20, 11am. By Garden Angel Art Works at Gerych’s Flowers & Gifts. 810-629-5995, H Annual Flower Day Sun, May 20, 7am-5pm, Detroit. By Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association at Eastern Market. Q&A, artisan village, food, more, FREE. Attract Butterflies to Your Garden Wed, May 23, 7:30pm, Grosse Pointe Farms. By Master Gardeners of Greater Detroit at United Methodist Church. Make Your Own Composter Sat, May 26, 2-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Center. $120, register:education@


Perennial Sale Sat, May 12, 9am-4pm, Wyandotte. By Moonglow Garden Club of Trenton at 2311 22nd St. 734-281-6504. Plant Sale Sat, May 12, 9am-2pm, Taylor. By Taylor Conservatory. 313-215-8885. Plant Sharing Sat, May 12, 9-11am, Livonia. By Livonia Garden Club at Greenmead. Square Foot Gardening 201 Sat, May 12, 9am, Belleville. By Van Buren Parks & Rec at Park Building. 734-377-8720, H All-State Bonsai Show Sat, May 12, 9am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Vendors, displays, classes, lectures, workshops. H Brick Paving & Retaining Wall Seminar Sat, May 12, 11am, Orion. By Unilock at Orion Stone Depot., 248-391-2490. H Hanging Basket & Container Plant Sale Sat, May 12, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens., 734-647-7600. H Plant Sale Sat, May 12, 10am-2pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. 517-431-2060, H Sedum Trree Sat, May 12, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Create a 15 inch Sedum Tree, $72.75., 810-629-9208. Wild Edible Plants & Medicinal Herbs Sun, May 13, 2-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Center. $10/person or couple. Register: H Plant Sale Tue, May 15, 10am-7pm & Wed, May 16, 10am-2pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook Gardens. 248-645-3149, H Weed & Tea Tue, May 15, Leonard. At Yule Love it Lavender. FREE., 248-628-7814. H Opening Day Events Wed, May 16, 10am-4pm, Leonard. At Yule Love it Lavender. Farm tour at 10am, gift shop, $3., 248-628-7814. H Containers & Cocktails Thu, May 17, 5-8pm, Pontiac. At Goldner Walsh. $22, register: 248-332-6430, Spring Plant Sale & Garden Market Fri, May 18, 10am-3pm & Sat, May 19, 9am-1pm, Dearborn. At Henry Ford Estate. 313-701-2240, www. Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 10am-2pm, Birmingham. By Metro Detroit Hosta Society at First United Methodist Church. Hostas & companion plants. Heirloom Tomato Sale Sat, May 19, 9-1pm, Wayne. By Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County at Wayne County Extension Office parking lot. Herbs, flowers, tomatoes. mgwwcorg@ * Herb Day Sat, May 19, Gladwin. At Stone Cottage Gardens. 11am presentation., 989-4262919. Master Gardener Plant Sale Sat, May 19, 9am-1pm, Jackson. By Jackson Master Gardener Association at Dahlem Center. Perennials & more, tool sharpening. 517-914-2650, nancyewmg@

Heirloom Tomatoes One of our specialties. Each spring, Mr. Hunter personally selects and grows 60 different varieties of tomato plants, including heirlooms, old favorites, and the latest hybrids. Come pick out a plant or two for your garden and taste the difference!

16153 Eureka, Southgate, MI 48195 • 734-284-2500 • Mon-Sat 9-7 Sun 10-5

NO RISK 1-yeaR tRIal • Buy any Mantis tiller and use it for up to 1-year • if you are not coMpletely satisfied, return it to the factory for a coMplete, no-hassle refund Powerful commercial-grade 2-cycle engine spins the tines twice as fast as most tillers, won’t quit until the job is done! Patented curved tine teeth till down to 10", chop through tough sod or hard clay soil as easily as sand or muck. One-piece die-cast gear box is virtually indestructible. Tines spin at up to 240 rpm – 2x the speed of other tillers! Reverse the tines to shallow-cultivate the top 2-3" of soil. Tines are mounted under the engine so you can guide the tiller easily through rows between vegetable rows, around trees, or among perennials.

Come see us to check out these professional quality and reliable tools:

Saxton’s Garden Center – Plymouth 734-453-6250


Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |


Come, step into our garden EXCEPTIONAL flowers, artistically arranged Weddings & Special EVENT FLOWERS Scented CANDLES • Lifelike SILK flowers Decorative ACCESSORIES

33866 Woodward at Adams • Birmingham 248.644.4411 •

NEW this year: Miniature gardening! We have many plants & accessories!

Bonsai – We are Michigan’s largest bonsai nursery with over 2,500 indoor and outdoor bonsai trees!

Indoor: Ficus, Fukien Tea, Bougainvillea, and many more. Outdoor: Maples, Junipers, Korean Hornbeam, Dawn Redwood, Larch and many more. We have something for everyone: From $3 starter plants up to $6,000 very mature, exceptional bonsai trees • Japanese & Chinese pots • Tools • Wire • Soil • Mud Men • Ongoing classes WATER GARDENS Hardy & Tropical Aquatic Plants: Water Lilies • Bog Plants Pond Supplies: Filters • Pumps Pond Liner • Fish Food Fish: Shubunkins • Fantails • Domestic Koi • Imported Koi From Japan • Crawfish & Tadpoles

8930 South Custer Rd. (M-50) , Monroe, MI 48161 • 734-269-2660 5 mi East of Cabela’s on M-50 • Open Sundays 10-3 thru May 27 • Find us on See our Bonasi and Water Garden photo gallery at

Advertiser Index Abbott’s Landscape Nursery.........................43 Abele Greenhouse & Garden Ctr.................35 Aguafina Gardens International......................7 Alexander’s Farm Mkt/Greenhses................8 Arrowhead Alpines.............................................33 Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr.......................................43 Barson’s Greenhouse.........................................39 Beauchamp Lawn & Landscape...................27 Beste’s Lawn & Patio Supply..............................8 Blossoms..................................................................46 Bogie Lake Greenhouses..................................23 Bonide.......................................Inside Back Cover Bordine’s.......................................................... Page 3 Campbell’s Greenhouses....................................6 Christian’s Greenhouse.....................................25 Contender’s Tree/Lawn Specialists..............9 Cranbrook House & Gardens........................45 D&L Garden Center.............................................19 Deneweth’s Greenhouses..................................6 Detroit Garden Works.......................................25 Dinser’s Greenhouse...........................................10 Eckert’s Greenhouse..........................................37 EcoChic Landscape Design................................8 Edsel & Eleanor Ford House...........................37 English Gardens..................Inside Front Cover Everlastings in the Wildwood.........................12 Flower Day................................................................21 The Flower Market..............................................46 Fogler’s Greenhouses........................................33

Fragments..................................................................11 Fraleigh’s Landscape Nursery.......................47 The Garden Company.......................................35 Garden Mill...............................................................13 Garden Rhythms...................................................15 A Garden Space.....................................................14 Gardenviews............................................................13 Goldner Walsh Garden & Home...................16 Gorham & Sons Nursery...................................19 Guardian Tree Experts........................................12 Haley Stone Supply.............................................43 Heavenly Scent Herb Farm...............................11 Hessell’s Greenhouses........................................11 Hidden Lake Gardens..........................................19 Hodges Subaru.......................................................18 Howell Farmer’s Market...................................33 Iron Barn Iron Work............................................47 Kurtzhals’ Farms....................................................19 Le Fleur Décor.........................................................14 Massab Acres.........................................................19 Matthaei Botanical Gardens...........................10 Meier Flowerland.................................................35 Merrittscape...........................................................37 Michigan Nursery/Landscp Assoc............29 Milarch Nursery....................................................39 Oakland Cty Farmers Market..........................11 Organically Done..................................................14 Organimax...............................................................39 Orion Stone Depot.............................................. 44 Panetta’s Landscp Supp.....................................19 Planterra....................................................................27

Plantskydd...............................................................35 Plymouth Nursery.................................................31 The Pond Place......................................................27 The Pond Source...................................................23 The Produce Station............................................15 Proven Winners Color Choice........................17 Ray Hunter Garden Ctr......................................45 Rice’s Garden Ornaments.............................. 44 Saxton’s Garden Center....................................45 Schoedel’s Nursery..............................................19 Schuman Landscape Lighting........................39 Schwartz’s Greenhouse...............................15,19 Specialty Growers................................................29 Staddle Stone..........................................................47 State Crushing.........................................................31 Steinkopf Nursery.................................................14 Stone Cottage Gardens.....................................43 Suburban Landscape Supply...........................19 Sunny Fields Botanical Park...............................8 Telly’s Greenhouse.................................................4 Thompson Everett Gard Services.................13 Tropical Treasures...............................................43 Two Women and a Hoe....................................47 Uncle Luke’s Feed Store....................................37 The Weed Lady.....................................................23 Westcroft Gardens.......................................19,43 Wiegand’s Nursery..............................................31 Wild Birds Unlimited...........................................21 Wojo’s...........................................................................5 Yule Love It Lavender Farm................................6

continued from previous page Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, May 26, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Vermiculture Workshop Sat, May 26, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Center. $35, register:education@ H Iris Show Sat, May 26, 1-5pm & Sun, May 27, 11am-5pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. FREE. H Pond & Waterfall Design Sat, May 26, 10am-noon, Milford. At Pond Place. FREE., 248-889-8400. H Pond Construction Workshop Sat, May 26, 1-3pm, Milford. At Pond Place. FREE. www., 248-889-8400. Hosta & Plant Sale Sat, Jun 2, 9am-2pm & Sun, Jun 3, noon-2pm, Ann Arbor. By Haiti Medical Mission Task Force at First Presbytarian Church. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jun 2, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Plant Exchange Sat, Jun 2, 9am, Clarkston. By Clarkston Garden Club at Village Parking Lot (Washington & Main)., 248-620-2984. Rhubarb Leaf Concrete Fountain Class Sat, Jun 2, 10am, Fenton. By Garden Angel Art Works at Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Register: 810-629-9208, Volunteer to Plant Native Gardens Sat, Jun 2, Southfield, Birmingham, Beverly Hills. Help plant native buffers and pull galic mustard on Rouge Rescue Day. 248-601-2816. Attract Butterflies to Your Garden Tue, Jun 5, 6:30pm, Bloomfield Hills. By Master Gardeners Society of Oakland County at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Diagnosing Plant Problems Thu, Jun 7, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. At MSU Tollgate Education Center. $20. 248-858-0887, H African Violet Convention Fri, Jun 8, 9am-5pm & Sat, Jun 9, 9am-4pm, Detroit. At GM Renaissance Center. Plant sale, show, $5. Mention MG ad for $1 off. H Garden Walk Sat, Jun 9, 10am-4pm, Ann Arbor. At 6 beautiful gardens. $15. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jun 9, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www.

Stone Covered Church Birdhouse Sat, Jun 9, 10am, Fenton. By Garden Angel Art Works at Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Register: 810-629-9208, H Brick Paving & Retaining Wall Seminar Sat, Jun 9, 11am, Orion. By Unilock at Orion Stone Depot., 248-391-2490. H Palettes of the Garden Sun, Jun 10, 11am-4pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Painters & photographers in the gardens, FREE., 810-629-9208. Garden Walk Mon, Jun 11, Troy. By Troy Garden Club at 6 Troy gardens. Boutique at Troy Historical Village. 50 Great Before & After Garden Ideas Tue, Jun 12, 5pm, Hale. At Plainfield Township Hall. Vendors, 6:30 pm-FREE speaker: Janet Macunovich. Garden Walk Wed, Jun 13, 10am-4pm & 6-9pm(walk) 9am6pm(market), Franklin. By Franklin Garden Club. Self-guided walk. $12. Lunch available. What Tree is Right for Me? Wed, Jun 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. At MSU Tollgate Education Center. $20. 248-858-0887, H Nostalgic Farm Tour Fri, Jun 15, 10am, Leonard. At Yule Love it Lavender. $3., 248-628-7814. Garden Journey Bus Tour Sat, Jun 16, 8am-6pm, Bloomfield. By Master Gardener Society of Oakland County at Bowers Farm. Visit 6 gardens, lunch, shop. Garden Walk Sat, Jun 16, 10am-3pm, Garden City. By Garden City Garden Club. 6 gardens, $8. Garden Walk Sat, Jun 16, 10am-4pm, Northville. By Gardeners of Northville & Novi Garden Club at Northville Art House. 8 gardens, $10. Garden Walk & Market Sale Sat, Jun 16, 10am-6pm, Milford. By Milford Garden Club at 6 gardens in Milford area. $12, Watergardens & Ponds Sat, Jun 16, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Grapes, Wine & More! Tue, Jun 19, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. At MSU Tollgate Education Center. $20. 248-858-0887, Rochester Garden Tour Thu, Jun 21, 11am-7pm, Rochester. By Rochester Garden

This magazine is free. Let’s keep it that way. Shop with our advertisers and please tell them you saw their ad in Michigan Gardener. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener

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HALLSON GARDENS is your hosta and perennial destination. We grow 100s of hostas plus a nice selection of perennials and flowering shrubs. Visit us from May 11th into Oct, 7 days a week from 9 to 9 at 17680 US-127, Cement City, MI, 17 miles south of I-94 (Jackson), 1/2 mile north of US-12. Can’t make the drive? Order online at www. (866) 568-1474. ENGLISH STADDLE STONE FOR SALE. Very choice. 30” tall, cap 24”. $1100. Call 248-3349190. GORGEOUS FLOWERS ON DISPLAY! Come see the largest collection of African Violets in North America at the 2012 African Violet Convention. In downtown Detroit at the GM Renaissance Center. Don’t miss this rare opportunity! Plants for sale too! Friday, June 8, 9am to 5pm. Saturday, June 9, 9am to 4pm. More info at: $5 admission. Mention this ad for $1 off your admission.

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Club & Rochester Hills Museum. $14, 6 gardens, market, artists, historical farm visit. Preview party on 6/20-$30. 248-656-4663. H Cranbrook House Guided Tours Thu, Jun 21, (begins-Thu, Fri & Sat), Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook Gardens. 248-645-3149, www.housegardens. Bonsai Show Sat, Jun 23, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s., 586-646-3888. Cobblestone Bench/Table Class Sat, Jun 23, 10am, Fenton. By Garden Angel Art Works at Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Register: 810-629-9208, Garden Tour Sat, Jun 23, 10am-4pm, By Grosse Pointe Garden Center, Inc. 6 gardens, artists, master gardeners, $15. 313-8817511, x206, Garden Walk Sat, Jun 23, 9am-4pm, Mt. Clemens. At Crocker House Museum. $10, breakfast tickets available also. 586-4652488, Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jun 23, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Outdoor Artists at the Conservatory Thu, Jun 28, 10am-2pm, Taylor. At the Taylor Conservatory. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jun 30, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Pond Tour Mon, Jul 2, 10am-5pm, Livonia, Garden City & Westland. By Michigan Koi & Pond Club & The Pond Place. Self guided tour of 10 gardens. $10. 734-646-7607, www. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jul 7, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www.

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Clematis Care, Culture & Companions Mon, Jul 9, 6:30-8:30pm, Novi. At MSU Tollgate Education Center. $20. 248-858-0887, H Garden Delight Tours Tue, Jul 10, 11am-1pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. 1 hour tour, lunch, discounts, $26.75., 810-629-9208. H Music in the Gardens Thu, Jul 12, evening, Bloomfield HIlls. At Cranbrook Gardens. 248-645-3149, Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jul 14, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. H Brick Paving & Retaining Wall Seminar Sat, Jul 14, 11am, Orion. By Unilock at Orion Stone Depot., 248-391-2490. Garden Tour Sun, Jul 15, 10am-5pm, Fenton/Holly. By Open Gate Garden Club at 7 area gardens. Stone Covered Projects for Yard & Garden Sun, Jul 15, 11am, Highland. By Garden Angel Art Works at Colasanti’s Market & Greenhouse. Register: 248-8870012, Garden Walk Thu, Jul 19, noon-8pm, Traverse City. By Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City. 989-995-0282. Master Gardener Garden Tour Sat, Jul 21, 9am-5pm, Swartz Creek. By Genesee County Master Gardeners at gardens in Swartz Creek area. $10/ adults, $2/children. Watergardens & Ponds Sat, Jul 21, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www. Pavers, Walls & Steps Sat, Jul 28, 10am, Washington. At Rocks ‘n’ Roots. www.


MICHIGAN WILDFLOWERS & NATIVE PLANTS at American Roots in Ortonville. Butterfly Host Plants, Woodland, Wetland, & Prairie Wildflowers, Grasses & Sedges, Ferns & Shrubs for your garden, backyard or lake edge. Open Saturdays 11-4 in May/ June. Also open Mothers Day! www. 248-627-8525. LIGHTSCAPE DESIGN - Landscape Lighting 15 + years. Repair, Maintenance, Free Design Consultation. Call Mike 810-629-4466.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 22nd Annual Ann Arbor Garden Walk, Saturday June 9, 10 am to 4 pm. Six unique, beautiful private gardens; original art sale & garden marketplace. Tickets $15 in advance or at the door. MICHIGAN GARDENER E-NEWSLETTER Sign up for our free e-newsletter! Go to Michigan and simply enter your e-mail address. GARDENER WANTED for Bloomfield Hills estate. Full/part time. Call Cathy @ 586-5361100. POISON IVY – We get rid of it! That’s all we do. Call us—we are experts at identifying and removing poison ivy from your property, from single homes to large parks. Licensed and Insured. Poison Ivy Control of Michigan. 248842-8095. www.poisonivycontrolofmichigan. com. NEED A HAND? Call “The little gardener that could.” 15 yrs experience at Botanical Gardens. FREE Estimates. Pat: 586-214-9852, WE MAKE PET HOUSE CALLS – No need to struggle bringing your pets into the vet’s office. Dr. Andrea Smirnes, DVM at Woodward Veterinary Home Care comes to you! Serving south Oakland Cty over 20 yrs. Evening appts avail. 248-288-1554, Need help? Have help to give? Big event coming up? Have some items to sell? Need a cost-effective way to promote your business? Use Michigan Gardener Classified Advertising to let readers know! Go to MichiganGardener. com and click on “Classified Advertising.” Deadline for the June 2012 issue is May 19.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |


The gardens at this Flint gem are a grand place to step back in time

Top: Rose impatiens surround the fountain, a gift from Ruth Mott’s son, Stewart, for her 80th birthday in 1981. The pool was made shallower, to 18 inches, in the 1990s. Inset: The pool was originally over 5 feet deep and was built the same year as the home (1916).


n the center of Flint, hidden by the cul tural center, lies an impressive estate and gardens once belonging to Charles Stewart Mott and his family. When the estate was built in 1916 on the “far” edge of town, selfsustaining farms were mostly the norm. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Applewood was actually more of a gentleman’s farm. They purchased some feed and a few other essentials and raised horses—not Sandie for work but for play. It Parrott was considerably larger and more extensive than the typical farms of the day. The estate contained many elements just for pleasure like the tennis court, swimming pool, squash court, and tea house,

along with extensive flower gardens, a mix of majestic trees, and long expanses of lawns and vistas. It also had the essentials: a greenhouse, garage, large vegetable garden, barns housing horses, cows, ducks, and chickens, and a large heritage apple orchard for which the estate was named. Any extra produce has always been donated to local charities. The original estate was 63 acres, and the main residence, just over 12,000 square feet, was styled with Jacobean Revival architecture. The estate today contains 34 acres with most of the original buildings in wonderful repair. Part of the estate land was given to what is now Mott Community College.

The gardens William Chase Pitkin, Jr., C. S. Mott’s second cousin, designed the original landscape. The gardens were redesigned and refurbished from 1977 to 1990 by Johnson, John-

son and Roy of Ann Arbor. The 1990 project was the installation of the demonstration garden next to the chicken coop. “The footprints of the original gardens are still in place though the plant material has been updated. This includes the perennial garden and the former cut flower garden that is now the rose garden,” said Deborah Elliott, Estate Manager. The climbing roses are beautiful along with annuals, seasonal Siberian iris, and other perennials. A lovely vista greets visitors while walking down a paved path to this garden. Many types of flowers, herbs, and vegetables are displayed in the demonstration garden that changes by the season and serves to educate visitors about design and plant combinations. Its lovely small pond is a great place to rest and enjoy the water lilies and see if the frogs are in residence. Hidden from view west of the garage is the

Top: Applewood staff / Inset: Applewood archives

butterfly garden, named after Mrs. Mott’s longtime personal assistant, Sarah E. Warner. Shrubs, annuals, and perennials are a food source for caterpillars or a nectar source for Michigan butterflies. Other gardens make up the list, such as a crabapple allée next to the rose garden, lilac slope, cutting garden, daylily collection, and woodland slope. Applewood went “green” with the Gilkey Creek Restoration Project, completed in 2008. The lower gardens used to flood. This new stream bed and pond encourages fish, aquatic insects, frogs, toads, and dragonflies to make a home. Native trees, shrubs, grasses, and meadow plants have been included to create a wildlife habitat. Everything removed from the site was recycled, donated, or reused. Materials were purchased from local companies and plants native to the Flint area were chosen. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


A brief history of Charles Stewart and Ruth Mott

Applewood archives

C. S. Mott and Ruth Rawlings posed for this picture in El Paso, Texas, her hometown in 1933. They were married in 1934.

Sandie Parrott

Heritage apple trees, after which the estate was named, are still growing strong. Their apples are used for recipes and tastings at public events.

Sandie Parrott

Sandie Parrott

A summer worker weeds amongst the lovely flowers in the cutting garden. These flowers are used for events at Applewood.

It takes a small crew and lots of volunteers to keep the apple orchard producing fruit. In July, volunteers like Loleta Downs thin the apples to provide energy for the remaining apples to grow larger.

The apple orchard There is almost always something happening in the apple orchard where 29 varieties are still grown (including ‘Yellow Transparent,’ ‘Sweet Bough,’ ‘Turley Winesap,’ and ‘Esopus Spitzenburg’). Four of the original trees are still living and producing apples after 95 years: ‘Cortland,’ ‘Stayman Winesap,’ ‘Northern Spy,’ and ‘Golden Russet.’ “The trees are cared for with current IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices and drip irrigation at the root zone. A weather station in the orchard monitors hourly statistics used to calculate evapotranspiration rates (how much water the plants lose each day), which is then used to adjust irrigation rates across the entire estate,” explained Mike Belco, IPM Specialist. continued on next page

Sandie Parrott

Friendly Frog was created by Marshall Fredericks of terrazzo and concrete and commissioned in 1970 for the opening of the Genesee Valley Shopping Center. Subsequently, the climbable sculpture was stored at C & S Motors and brought to Applewood in 2004.

by Sandie Parrott Charles Stewart Mott was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1875. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1897 with a degree in mechanical engineering. After his father died, C. S. Mott was named Superintendent of the Weston-Mott Company, a wheel- (originally for carriages), hub- and, later, axle-making business for Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. Many mistakenly believe C. S. Mott made his money from apples or applesauce, but it was automobiles, not apples. Supposedly he was asked about his applesauce business frequently! In 1906 he moved the business to Flint with his family (wife Ethel and three children). They were urged to move to Flint by the founders of General Motors, which eventually purchased Weston-Mott. C. S. Mott became one of the early shareholders of the General Motors Corporation. He held various positions with GM, including Vice President (1916 to 1937), and was on the Board of Directors from 1913 until his death in 1973. Mott was engaged with the community though his political life. He was mayor of Flint in 1912-1913 and 1918. In 1920, he ran in the Republican primary for Governor of Michigan. In 1924 and 1940, he was a Michigan delegate to the Republican National Convention. The estate was built in 1916, and remained a working farm until 1949. He met his second wife, Ruth Rawlings, on a blind date in El Paso, Texas in 1933. C. S. and Ruth Mott were generous philanthropists. Both were interested in financial help for education, sports, camping, and physical health. He started the C. S. Mott Foundation in 1926. Ruth Mott originated the Ruth Mott Fund, which was active for 20 years until 1997. Driving around Flint, you cannot avoid the Mott name. Their generosity went beyond Flint, to the U. S. and the world. A quote that was often repeated by C. S. Mott: “What I am worth is what I do for other people.” Applewood is now part of the Ruth Mott Foundation, founded upon her passing in 1999. Mrs. Mott gave Applewood to the Foundation, granting full responsibility to maintain the estate and share it with the public.


Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Sandie Parrott

The large tree to the right is an American elm— one of two on the estate that survived Dutch elm disease. “Both trees are injected every three years with a fungicide. They are also wellwatered and watched carefully,” explained Program Coordinator Rebecca Stack. continued from previous page Techniques used in the orchard to control insects include monitored traps, mating disruption, neem oil for Japanese beetles and apple maggot flies, and specific Michigan native wildflowers grown throughout the estate to attract beneficial insects. “Two honeybee hives, a bumblebee ‘quad’ (a unit containing 4 hives), and a nesting place for blue orchard bees are located near the orchard to ensure adequate pollination. Over 100 pounds of honey was harvested from the hives in 2011 and is used in estate recipes for public events,” added Belco.

Visiting Applewood Applewood is not open to the public on a

Ruth Bryan

The perennial garden bursts with color in the spring, including a ‘Floribunda’ crabapple, hundreds of tulips and daffodils, and a tea house in the corner.

V Website Extra

For more information

Go to and click the “Website Extras” department for: • More photos of Applewood Estate

To learn about Applewood’s schedule, special event days, and more, visit

regular schedule. However, it is open during their special events or by special arrangement for parties, tours, or groups. Typically, Applewood has 5 to 6 special event days, including Celebrate Spring in May and the Fall Harvest

Festival in September. According to Program Coordinator Rebecca Stack, “In 2012, a new event is being planned: ‘Lunch and Learn.’ The concept is to open up Applewood on a regular basis during weekdays at lunchtime.

Visitors will be encouraged to take a break in their day, bring their lunch, stroll the gardens and learn from our horticultural staff’s short presentations.” Stack and the staff are also starting to gear up with ideas for 2016 and Applewood’s 100th Anniversary! Sandie Parrott is a freelance writer, blogger, photographer and Advanced Master Gardener living and working in Oakland County, Michigan.

The trees of Applewood by Sandie Parrott Starting with Mott’s original collection as well as specimens that have been added, Applewood has some rare and old, wonderful trees for viewing. Some of the trees include two bur oaks (on the 1915 survey), yellowwood, roundleaf and cutleaf beeches, two American elms that flank the driveway (and that survived Dutch elm disease), epaulette tree (planted in honor of Ruth Mott’s 100th birthday), kobus magnolia, lacebark pine, katsura, black gum, Carolina silverbell, bald cypress, tulip tree, three silver lindens, and two pagoda trees. “A sugar maple on the front lawn is magnificent—its branches are allowed to spread out and rest on the ground, creating an impressive specimen,” affectionately described Estate Manager Deborah Elliott. “Mr. Mott’s clay tennis court was located next to the bur oak with a bench under it. I have often wished the tree could tell us about the tennis matches and conversations it witnessed over the years. Mr. Mott played tennis with Mr. Manley and he pitched the idea of opening schools after classes to give youths something creative to do. Mr. Mott agreed to supply money to try out the concept. From there the Community School Program was born and became an international model,” Elliott related. Many of these valuable trees have lightning protection installed by professionals. Elliott explained, “It is not a do-it-yourself project. Braided copper cables are run up the tree trunk to the top of the crown. The other ends of the cables are buried under the soil to the tree’s drip edge. If lightning does strike the tree, it should follow the copper cables down rather than damage the tree.”

Dave Miller

‘John Cabot’ is a magnificent climbing rose at Applewood. | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener

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Precipitation March 2012

Normal Monthly 2.28 1.91 2.06

Normal Yr. to Date 6.26 5.02 5.18

Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Monthly 2.95 2.03 2.78

March 2011 Deviation from Normal +0.67 +0.12 +0.72

2012 Year to Date: Jan 1 - Mar 31 Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Yr. to Date 7.86 5.81 6.39

Normal Monthly 2.28 1.91 2.06

Actual Monthly 3.61 3.92 2.94

Deviation from Normal +1.33 +2.01 +0.88

2011 Year to Date: Jan 1 - Mar 31


Deviation from Normal +1.60 +0.79 +1.21

Yr. to Date 6.26 5.02 5.18

Actual Yr. to Date 8.74 7.53 6.18

Deviation from Normal +2.48 +2.51 +1.00

Temperature March 2012

March 2011

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. High 45.2 43.1 43.5

ACTUAL Avg. High 61.0 60.1 59.6

Deviation from Normal +15.8 +17.0 +16.1

ormal N Avg. High 45.2 43.1 43.5

ACTUAL Avg. High 43.4 40.7 41.0

Deviation from Normal -1.8 -2.4 -2.5

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. Low 28.5 24.3 24.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 40.4 39.0 39.0

Deviation from Normal +11.9 +14.7 +14.7

Normal Avg. Low 28.5 24.3 24.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 26.7 23.7 24.2

Deviation from Normal -1.8 -0.6 -0.1

Data courtesy National Weather Service


Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

Janet’s Journal continued from back cover The other 29 to 39 Malus species have only now begun to get the kind of attention their big-fruited cousin has had. Now that the demand for ornamental plants can support billion dollar businesses all over the world, the spotlight’s caught full on those remaining members of the genus Malus. Their flowers are brighter, fruits more decorative, roots hardier, and leaves more disease resistant than the cultivated apple. Boundless promise still rests in their collective genes when it comes to shapes and sizes. During the great meeting of Asian, European, and New World species that took place when China “opened up” about 150 years ago, plantspeople began to play with crabapple combos, using plants once separated by oceans. Over the next 90 years, about 200 crabapple varieties were established. In the 1950s, when the U.S. housing and landscape markets boomed along with its babies, the play became more serious. It really caught fire in the 1980s when the Chemical Era’s shortcomings made us appreciate plants’ natural pest resistance. Along with continued breeding programs, 24 botanical gardens and arboretums cooperated in a 20year study of disease resistance. Now there are well over 600 varieties of crabapple. A great deal of specific information about disease resistance is available in the U.S. and Canada, and the pace and quality of introductions is still accelerating. Continued on page 54

That trip to a crabapple collection will give you pause about choosing flower color from a catalog. Only when you’ve seen the flowers of different crabapples side by side can you appreciate the distinction between flowers that are white plus pink, such as in Malus hupehensis varieties (top), and those where the yellow stamens figure in the show, such as ‘Lollipop’ (middle), and the whitest varieties, such as ‘Sugar Tyme’ (bottom).

Two much-sought characteristics—deep magenta flowers and leaves with a cast of purple—come together in ‘Cardinal.’ It’s a broad spreading tree (15 feet by 20 feet) with bright red, small fruit and disease resistance that’s excellent (scab, mildew, rust) to good (fireblight).

A great picking of fine crabapples Adams: Symmetrical 20’ tall x 20’ wide; a bit of red in the spring foliage; pink flowers; red 5/8” persistent fruit; resistance: scab good, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew good, Japanese beetle poor. Adirondack: Narrow upright 18’ x 12’; green foliage; red buds open white; orange-red 1/2” persistent fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew excellent. Baskatong: Round 25’ x 25’; red-purple spring foliage becomes bronze in summer; dark red flower buds open purple; 1” dark maroon fruit; resistance to scab, fireblight, rust, mildew and Japanese beetle: all excellent. Cardinal: Broad spreading, 15’ x 22’; dark red-purple leaves turn orange to red in fall; flowers magenta; deep red 1/2” fruit is sparse; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew excellent. Dolgo: Upright to broad pyramidal, 30’ x 25’ or larger; glossy green leaves; fragrant white flowers; shiny pink-red 1-1/2” edible fruit falls by late summer; tends to be most showy every other year (alternate year bearer); resistance: scab good, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew excellent. Donald Wyman: Broad spreading, 20’ x 24’;

glossy green leaves turn gold in fall; white fragrant bloom; 1/2” bright red persistent fruit; resistance: scab good, fireblight good, rust fair, mildew good. Firebird: Broad dwarf, 8’ x 10’; dark green foliage; red flower buds open white; 3/8” bright red persistent fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight excellent, rust excellent, mildew excellent. Floribunda: Broad spreading, densely branched 25’ x 30’; dark green foliage is red-yellow in autumn; red buds become white fragrant flowers; fruit yellow to red 3/8”; resistance: scab good to excellent, fireblight fair, rust excellent, mildew good, Japanese beetle excellent; for 10 consecutive years in Ohio 33-year test, showed no scab, then some infection began, presumably from a new strain of scab fungus; excellent orchard pollinator. Golden Hornet: (x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’): Oval becomes spreading 20’ x 25’; green foliage; maroon buds open white; fruit gold, 1”, persistent; resistance varies in reports, scab from fair to excellent, fireblight poor to good, rust excellent, mildew good; excellent orchard pollinator. Harvest Gold: Upright oval, 25’ x 15’; green foliage turns buttery yellow in fall; late white flower; 1/2” yellow fruits are persistent;

resistance: scab fair, fireblight fair, rust good, mildew good, Japanese beetle excellent. Leprechaun: (Father Fiala selection): Spreading 8’ x 10’; dark green foliage turns yellow in fall; flowers red to pink-white; fruit is 1/4” dark cherry red and persistent; resistance: scab good, fireblight good, rust good, mildew good, Japanese beetle good. Louisa: Weeping 15’ x 15’; dark green glossy leaves; red buds open to pink flowers; yellow 3/8” fruit is persistent; resistance: scab varies fair to excellent, fireblight good, rust good, mildew good, Japanese beetle excellent. Madonna: (Father Fiala selection): Upright 20’ x 10’; foliage is bronze in spring, green in summer; flowers are double white and earlyseason but long-lasting; fruit is 1/2” golden; resistance: scab fair, fireblight good, rust good, mildew good, Japanese beetle excellent. Mary Potter: Broad spreading 15’ x 20’; glossy dark green foliage can be good yellow in fall; pink buds open white; red 1/2” fruit is persistent; tends to be most showy every other year (alternate year bloom); resistance: scab good, fireblight fair, rust excellent, mildew fair, Japanese beetle excellent. Ormiston Roy: Upright when young, aging to

broad spreading, 20-25’ x 25’; flowers rosy in bud open pink; 1/2” fruit orange-yellow and persistent; resistance: scab good, fireblight good, rust good, mildew good, Japanese beetle excellent. Prairifire: Broad pyramid, 20’ x 20’; foliage maroon aging green and then turning apricot in fall; crimson buds to dark pink flowers; dark red or maroon 1/2” persistent fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew excellent; pretty red brown bark almost cherry-like. Purple Prince: Round 20’ x 20’ or bigger; foliage purple in spring becoming bronze green; flowers rose red, maroon; 1/2” fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew good; cherry-like red-brown bark. Robinson: Broad pyramid, 25’ x 25’; bronze green foliage and good fall color; flowers crimson in bud, open pink; 3/8” dark red fruit; resistance: scab good, fireblight excellent, rust excellent, mildew excellent, Japanese beetle fair. Sargent: Broad spreading dwarf, 6-10’ x 1015’*; dark green foliage; white, fragrant flowers; 1/3” dark red abundant persistent fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight excellent, | May 2012 | Michigan Gardener


Recipe for winning crabapple trees Take one prairie crabapple (Malus ioensis), a sturdy creature with fragrant flowers but drab green fruit and no fall color. Give its offspring a pinch of fall color from its Japanese cousin, M. tschonoskii or M. glaucescens from the eastern U.S. Stir in a little pollen from M. baccata during the next generation, for its berry-like fruit and resistance to Old World leaf diseases now residing in North America. Simmer the descendants for ten years. Strain to leave only the best-shaped and brightest-blooming trees. Introduce them to mates from the Japanese flowering crab, M.

Those who look to breed small, disease resistant crabapples turn to the Sargent crab for its genes. Its progeny, including forms with more pendulous branches than Sargent, such as ‘Mary Potter,’ do not disappoint!

rust excellent, mildew excellent, Japanese beetle excellent (one of the 5% of varieties that never in 33 years has shown scab in Ohio trials despite presence of new strains of that fungus that eventually got past the defenses of other varieties that had been highly resistant); *many nurseries’ stock plants are seed-grown so size and habit varies plus some individuals tend to be showy only every other year (alternate year bloom). Satin Cloud: (Father Fiala introduction): Rounded upright oval, 8’ x 8’; dark green thick foliage turns yellow-orange to deep red in fall; white flowers with cinnamon fragrance; yellow 3/8” fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight good, rust good, mildew good. Sugar Tyme: Upright oval, 18’ x 15’; crisp green foliage; light pink buds open to amazingly white fragrant blooms (tends to flower lightly while young then consistently heavy; very fast growing); red 1/2” persistent fruit; resistance: scab good, fireblight excellent, rust excellent, mildew excellent, selected by Michigan State University Prof. Milton Baron. Tina: (Sargent Tina): Dwarf semi-weeping form of Sargent, 5’ x 6’; small green foliage; red buds open to white fragrant flowers; 1/4”

bright red persistent fruit; resistance: scab excellent, fireblight excellent, rust excellent, mildew excellent, Japanese beetle excellent. Tschonoskii: Narrow upright 30’ x 15’; foliage is outstanding from silvery green in spring to light green all summer and deep red orange in fall; underwhelming white bloom; 1” yellowgreen fruit often sparse; resistance: scab good, fireblight poor, rust excellent, mildew excellent. White Angel: Rounded 20’ x 20’, green leaf; white blooms, glossy orange-red 5/8” fruit, resistance: scab excellent+, fireblight good, rust excellent, mildew excellent, Japanese beetle excellent; one of the 5% of varieties that never in 33 years has shown scab in Ohio trials despite presence of new strains of that fungus that eventually got past the defenses of other varieties that had been highly resistant. Zumi Calocarpa: Gracefully branched rounded form 24’ x 24’; large deep green leaves; dense branching; red flower buds open white and fragrant; bright red glossy 1/2” persistent fruit (fruit might occur every other year although flowers are dependably annual), resistance: scab good, fireblight excellent, rust excellent, mildew good.

floribunda, to increase their scent, and cross their children with Chinese M. kansuensis to see if Asian gold can turn red fruits orange. At that point, you may be able to make selections from the descendants such as N.E. Hansen made at the South Dakota Experimental Station in the 19-teens (including ‘Dolgo’) or Donald Wyman made in the 1920s after the Arnold Arboretum’s collection had mixed it up for 40 years. (‘Mary Potter’ was one result.) Don Egolf at the National Arboretum made introductions of that caliber in the 1970s and 80s, so we have ‘Adirondack.’ Meanwhile, enthusiastic

“amateurs” like Polly Hill on Martha’s Vineyard (1907-2007, enough lifetime to accomplish this!), gave us the ‘Louisa’ crabapple and Father Fiala of Medina, Ohio (1924-1990, with 40+ of those years breeding plants) gave us ‘Satin Cloud,’ ‘Leprechaun’ and others. Excellent collections include the Arnold Arboretum (170+ types of crabapple, all growing within bee-flying range), Dawes Arboretum (117 different types), or Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (120 types). Inside each one is a genetic blend you might set cooking now to suit the tastes of gardeners in the 2050s.

It pays to see the crabapple you’re considering, in person and in comparison to others of its kind. Even when a late spring snow flurry joined our party at the Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio, we were able to see the differences between “rosy pink” and “white with red reverse,” as well as “upright branched” such as ‘Adirondack’ and “rounded” ‘Zumi’ habits. We see what we like, then go read the tag!

Crabapples listed by characteristic Easy to find (at 3 of 5 nurseries checked): Donald Wyman, Louisa, Prairifire, Purple Prince, Sargent, Sugar Tyme, Tina Available locally (at 1 or 2 of 5 nurseries checked) Adironadack, Cardinal, Floribunda, Robinson, Zumi Calocarpa Worth the hunt Adams, Baskatong, Dolgo, Firebird, Harvest Gold, Leprechaun, Madonna, Mary Potter, Ormiston Roy, Satin Cloud, Tschonoskii, White Angel Dwarf (under 10’) Firebird, Leprechaun, Sargent (variable; may be taller), Satin Cloud, Tina Weeping Louisa, Tina Persistent fruit Adirondack, Donald Wyman, Firebird, Golden Hornet, Harvest Gold, Leprechaun, Louisa, Mary Potter, Ormiston Roy, Prairifire, Sargent, Sugar Tyme, Tina, Zumi Calocarpa

Fragrant (most have some fragrance, these are especially so) Donald Wyman, Dolgo, Floribunda, Sargent, Satin Cloud, Sugar Tyme, Tina, Zumi Calocarpa Fall color (worthy of note) Cardinal, Donald Wyman, Harvest Gold, Leprechaun, Mary Potter, Prairifire, Robinson, Satin Cloud, Tschonoskii Pink flowers Adams, Baskatong, Cardinal, Leprechaun, Louisa, Ormiston Roy, Prairifire, Purple Prince, Robinson White flowers (may be red/rose in bud) Adirondack, Dolgo, Donald Wyman, Firebird, Floribunda, Golden Hornet, Harvest Gold, Madonna, Mary Potter, Sargent, Satin Cloud, Sugar Tyme, Tina, White Angel, Zumi Calocarpa Disease resistant All of the trees in this article are at least moderately disease resistant


Michigan Gardener | May 2012 |

continued from page 52

So pick a place, and pick a crab To grow a great crabapple, give it: Full sun. Every bit of shade decreases the show of flower, fruit and fall color. Shade also reduces its tolerance for heat and drought. Well-drained soil that’s heavy, but not too rich. Sandy soils starve the tree, but high nitrogen levels lead the tree to make new leaves and branches, but not flowers. A pH that’s acid to slightly alkaline. They aren’t picky! Keep it between 5.0 and 7.4. Pruning as needed, during a winter thaw. Enough cold to sit quiet each winter—zone 7 and cooler. Most are hardy to zone 4. Some thrive way north into zone 2. Then the tree can delight the human eye and support area wildlife for 60 to 100 years. There will be colorful blooms, rich nectar, and nourishing fruit. If you also choose for attractive foliage, disease resistance, and a graceful arrangement of branches, that sturdy little tree can glow with fall color as well as sparkle on icy winter mornings.

The fruit hanging onto the branches of this ‘Ormiston Roy’ crabapple show off its clean form. A good tree like this is worth looking for.

Sure, crabapples have their troubles Crabapples are prone to develop leaf spots and drop leaves early because of scab, rust or mildew fungi. Bacterial fireblight can kill branches as if they were zapped by the bad witch. Aphids, caterpillars and beetles may eat the leaves. Stressed trees may be unable to ward off borers. Yet a healthy tree with pest-fighting ability built into its cells can manage without intervention. Keep your tree healthy by planting it in the sun, in loose soil, watering regularly, and spreading compost and/or slow-release fertilizer each fall or early spring. Then stand back and admire good genes at work. Janet Macunovich is a professional gardener and author of the books “Designing Your Gardens and Landscape” and “Caring for Perennials.” Read more from Janet on her website

‘Prairifire’ crabapple fruits are dark red.

Crabapple tidbits Everyone loves a crab: Big bird feeders Crabapples may comprise 10 to 25 percent of a cedar waxwing’s diet from October to March. Crabapples with persistent fruit are very high in value for wildlife, providing food in late winter when all other supplies have run out. Only corn and wheat rank higher on the bird-diet scale than apples and crabapples. The red fox is as avid a user, and might also derive 10 to 25 percent of its food from crabapples in its area, in their season. Crabapple flowers last only about 10 days, pollinated quickly by bees and butterflies by day and moths at night. Hummingbirds take part in the bounty, too.

It’s smart to place winter interest plants such as crabapples like this ‘Prairifire’ with its persistent fruit, in “front of” something that will help you admire the color.

Pucker up to that crab! Some crabapple fruits are very sour, or even bitter, but every type of crab has been important to people somewhere—sometime as jelly or fermented and then soured into vinegar. Try this crabapple sauce recipe: Wash and halve about two pounds of crabapples. Cut out bad parts but use the skins and cores. For 1-1/2 lbs. crabapples, Heat 1/2 pint cider vinegar Stir in 3 cups sugar until dissolved Add the cut apples Add 1/2 t. each of ground cloves and ground ginger Add 1 t. cinnamon Serve over meat such as turkey or pork.

What sets an apple apart from a crabapple? Not much! Most species called crabs produce smaller fruit than the cultivated apple (anything less than two inches), have narrower, smaller leaves, and are smaller in stature. Apples and crabapples cross readily, even naturally. Feeling crabby? Get flower-ed There is a market for the essential oil made by steeping and distilling crabapple flowers. Edward Bach, an English pathologist, made a case in the 1930s for various flowers as healing agents. His followers continue to promote those methods today. In the Bach Remedies, the essence of crabapple flowers is used to treat those who suffer from “self-dislike, obsession and fussiness.”

The habit and density can be the same but the winter color all different when one has persistent fruit and another doesn’t. Here’s a young ‘Red Jewel’ in the foreground with mature, dense ‘Sugar Tyme’ in the left background and Japanese flowering crab (Malus floribunda) to the right.

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| May 2012 |

janet's journal

Crabapple trees: Humble heroes of spring “Can’t we do better than a crabapple?” I’ve heard a lot of gardeners say this, or words like it. Fortunately, the crabapples don’t seem to mind the derision. They just keep on blooming, fruiting and contributing beautiful form, even in landscapes too difficult for many other trees.


ook past the name. Dispense with the notion that they’re too common to warrant notice. Their lineage is not only as long as or longer than most cultivated plants, it’s also one of the richest. Since the first deliberate crosses or selections were made long ago, we’re still discovering new characteristics. There are tiny crabs, mighty ones, species with silvery, green, purple, and even lacy leaves; genes for nearly fluorescent fruit colors, Janet weepers as well as poleMacunovich like columnar forms; fragrant, early and late bloomers; slow growers and others with growth rates approaching magic bean speed; super hardy and pest-proof lines, and every one of these hard working plants is willing to cross with others. They do it even without coaxing, so that seedling surprises can be found almost anywhere two or more kinds of crabapples grow. Right now in trial rows at commercial nurseries as well as in beds tended by enthusiastic amateur hybridizers, there is yet another crop of super-crabs coming to wow us. This spring, let yourself be wowed.

P h otogr a p h s by S t e v e n Ni k k i l a

ern Asia (modern day Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia come together there near the Black Sea) through the Middle East into Egypt and thence over to Rome and Greece. Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naturalist from the first century A.D., noted that there were then 22 varieties of the orchard apple. Now there are 2,500 types grown in North America and 7,500 around the world. Continued on page 52

Which came first, the apple or the crab? There are between 30 and 40 species in the genus Malus. It’s generally referred to as the apple genus but it could be named for its majority members, the crabapples. Just one in the group, Malus pumila, has fruit that’s both sweet and large. That one had already been many times crossed and back-crossed with a couple of its smaller but tougher relatives when its cultivation spread from southwest-

Crabapples are stunning in bloom but we’re asking more of them, such as great fall color too, as exhibited in this ‘Red Jade’ crabapple at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin.

Top and above: The crabapple ‘Golden Raindrops’ (‘Schmidtcutleaf’) is an example of modern breeding that aims for more beauty but also more disease resistance. Its fall foliage color is great, and resistance to fungal diseases (scab, mildew and rust) is excellent but it has very little resistance to bacterial fireblight infection of the wood. So if you choose this tree, keep its vigor up and always take care in pruning to sterilize your tools with peroxide or bleach, and work in dry weather.

May 2012  

Michigan Gardener - Your guide to Great Lakes gardening.

May 2012  

Michigan Gardener - Your guide to Great Lakes gardening.