Page 1

May 2014

Your guide to Great Lakes gardening

plant focus


Please thank our advertisers in this issue






New annuals for 2014

The essential role of water

Specimen trees in Japanese gardens

Upright and creeping veronica

Using native plants in a traditional garden

More Months. More Nutrition. Osmocote® Smart-Release® Plant Food Outdoor & Indoor. It feeds 50% longer and contains more than three times the number of nutrients as our previous formula. It’s classic Osmocote® with more! Isn’t it time you put it to work in your garden?

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Garden Wisdom To-Do List..............................................................6 Ask MG..................................................................8 Healthy Lawns...................................................10

If you have weeds, you don’t have enough plants. —Ann Lovejoy

Vegetable Patch.................................................12 Birds............................................................................. 14 Books for the Michigan Gardener.................16 New Annuals for 2014................................... 18

Calendar..............................................................48 Weather Wrap...................................................51

How-To: Build your gardener’s tool kit....26

Advertiser Index................................................51

Using specimen trees in a Japanese garden . .................................. 28

Bulk Subscriptions............................................51

Plant Focus: Verbena.....................................30 Thyme for Herbs............................................. 36

Profile: Made in the shade............................52 Where to pick up Michigan Gardener.......55 Classified Ads....................................................55

Sambucus Lemon Lace - Dazzling shrub

Primula Blue Zebra – Perfectly striped,

Perennials: Veronica...................................... 38

with deeply cut, lacy gold & green leaves.

bright blue and white flowers. Striking!

Native plants in the traditional garden.....42

Subscription Form............................................55

Places to Grow.................................................46

Janet’s Journal.................................Back Cover

On the cover: Verbena ‘Superbena Royale Peachy Keen’

Photo: Proven Winners

To Our Readers... Heuchera Zipper – Ruffled orange and amber leaves with magenta backs.

Anemone Wild Swan - Prolific flowers; better than Japanese hybrids.

Coleus Mainstreet Wall Street – Excel-

Digiplexis Illumination – Likely the most noteworthy new plant this year—amazing!

lent alternative to Sedona. Full sun tolerant.

Petunia Cha-Ching Cherry – The most

Gomphrena Pink Zazzle - Showstopper!

photogenic of all the new petunia varieties.

Massive flowers and a mounding habit.

Our event calendar is the most comprehensive one in the area and is regularly updated on our website. These listings are available 24/7, 365 days a year. So when you are looking for things to do in the local gardening world, think, and click on “Garden Event Calendar.” And, don’t forget to submit your event information as well—our calendar will help send gardeners to your event! Be sure to check out the many great advertisers we have in this May issue. Plus, use our Places to Grow map and Destinations directories. New this year: the I-96 corridor, which joins our other Destinations: Ann Arbor Area, Downriver, and Macomb. When you arrive at any of our advertisers, please be sure to tell those fine businesses you saw them in Michigan Gardener! After our long, cold winter, treat yourself to a wonderful gardening season!

Publisher/Editor Eric Hofley Design & Production Jonathon Hofley Advertising Eric Hofley

TROY • 248-689-8735

Circulation Jonathon Hofley

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

SHELBY TOWNSHIP • 248-659-8555

Editorial Assistant Anna Doman

4343 24 Mile • Btwn Dequindre & Shelby Rd.

PONTIAC • 248-724-2300 559 Orchard Lake Rd (at Goldner Walsh) Between Telegraph & Woodward

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Contributors Karen Bovio Cheryl English Emaline Fronckowiak Mary Gerstenberger Julia Hofley Rosann Kovalcik Janet Macunovich Steve Martinko Beverly Moss Steven Nikkila George Papadelis Sandie Parrott Traven Pelletier Jean/Roxanne Riggs Deborah Silver 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 6 issues per year: April, May, June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec. Published the first week of the mo. Subscriptions (Please make check payable to Michigan Gardener) 1 yr, 6 iss/$14 2 yr, 12 iss/$26 3 yr, 18 iss/$36 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, 6 iss/$22 US 2 yr, 12 iss/$42 US Copyright © 2014 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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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

to-do list Annuals • Once the danger of frost has passed (usually around May 15 or later, depending where you are located), plant flower seeds or plants into your prepared flower beds. • If you want to put your plants out early, remember to keep a floating row cover on hand to protect tender plants from frost. • Preparation is the name of the game for a long season of blooms. Prepare your beds in early May for planting in late May. Add 2 to 4 inches of organic material and work into the top 4 to 6 inches of the soil in your annual beds. Add a slow-release fertilizer to your annual beds to provide additional nutrients to your plants. • Experiment with at least one new variety of annuals this spring. There are so many to choose from in great new colors; it’s hard to go wrong with any of these new beauties as long as you give them the right amount of sun or shade. • Consider how flowers performed last summer. If you’ve always planted geraniums in a certain spot, and the last few years they haven’t been blooming as expected, the garden may be getting more shade than it used to. It may be time to plant a different flower more suited to the amount of sun your garden now receives.

Summer-Flowering Bulbs • Once the danger of frost has passed, plant tender summer bulbs, like dahlias and gladiolas, directly into the garden. Enrich the soil with bone meal. Fertilize these plants throughout the summer. You’ll get larger bulbs to dig up in the fall, which translates into more flowers for next year.

Evergreens • Early spring revealed damage to many evergreens. And just as plants were beginning to emerge from their winter dormancy, a mid-April snowfall nipped them again. Pa-


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tience is necessary this year when deciding the fate of an evergreen. • Winter burn—in the form of bronzed branches—is showing up in many places. Usually, the plant will recover; it will just need a little pruning and a little time.

Fruits • Dwarf varieties of blueberries and the recently introduced BrazelBerries are great as landscape plants. Incorporate them into the garden with other ornamental plants. To increase blueberry fruit production, plant them with lots of peat moss. Be prepared to drape plants with netting to keep birds away while fruit is ripening. • Plant strawberry plants early this month.

Herbs • May is a great time to thin out any perennial herbs, like thyme, oregano, tarragon or chives. Divide clumps and plant in different locations around the garden or share with neighbors.

Houseplants • If necessary, consider transplanting plants into a larger container. New pots should not be more than 2 inches larger than the existing container. Use a lightweight soil mix for best results. • Prune ficus and hibiscus plants to encourage a bushy growth habit. Remove no more than 1/3 of the plant at one time.

Lawn • Fertilizer comes in two forms: liquid and granular. Liquids are great for a quick green, but don’t last long. They encourage a lot of green growth, which means more frequent mowing. Granular fertilizers are typically slow-release formulas. • Regular mowing is essential. Do not cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade height at a time. Set the mower at 2-1/2 to 3 inches and mow when the grass is 3 to 3-1/2 inches tall. Mowing grass too short causes stress, which leads to problems.

Perennials • Now is a good time to pull any weeds that have invaded the perennial bed. • Finish cutting back any of last year’s dead plant material to allow the new shoots to grow. Remove all debris from the garden.

Shrubs & Trees • Cut back butterfly bushes late this month. It is difficult to tell what parts are alive and which are dead until later in the month. Remember, many butterfly bushes are rapid growers, and you might want to cut them back severely to keep them from growing

Feature Task: Build a fairy garden Fairy and miniature gardens have become popular in the last few years. And no wonder. Legend says magical beings called fairies are living amongst us today. They’re symbols of good luck and prosperity. They’re said to dwell in fragrant herb gardens to ensure that herbs will flourish and protect humans from illness, danger and stress. Attract fairies by building a fairy garden in a container, a corner of your deck or patio, or under a shady maple tree. Your goal is to create a home or a miniature backyard for fairies to live and frolic. Select a location or a container. In the ground: Select an area that’s protected, away from normal foot traffic. At the base of a shady tree, side of a hill, in an old stump, or against a boulder will protect it from heavy rains, wind or snow. Containers: Select a flower pot, deep saucer, birdbath, bucket, raised planter, tree stump, fountain base or fish tank. If your garden will stay indoors, a tea cup, brandy sniffer or large jar will work. out of control. • May is a great time to plant trees. Remember to look around you and see what is already planted. Plant different trees on your property to diversify the tree population.

Roses • Prune roses so growth heads toward the outside of the plant, keeping the plant’s inside open. • Fertilizer is important during May to keep roses healthy for the rest of the year. • If you have had black spot problems in the past, apply a systemic fungicide now to help combat it.

Vegetables • Onion sets can be planted when it’s cool, as soon as you can work in the ground. A tip to get larger onions: plant so half of the bulb is above the ground. Plant every few weeks to stagger harvest time. • Prepare your vegetable garden like an annual bed, early this month. Add organic material, and work it into the top 4 to 6 inches of the soil. Also add organic fertilizer to give plants additional nutrients. • Once the danger of frost has passed, plant vegetable plants or seeds directly into your prepared area. Use the earlier part of the month to lay out your plot, and be sure to place this year’s garden differently than last year. • Early this month, plant cool crops such as lettuce, cabbages, collards, broccoli, Brus-

Select plants. Choose from low groundcovers and miniature trees or shrubs. Try mini tropical and flowering plants; they are great outside in the summer or inside in terrariums. Colorful annuals, such as pansies or coleus, can be pinched back as they get too big for the area. Select fragrant or colorful herbs for an added dimension to the garden. Select a house. A must-have in your fairy garden. Any sort will do. It helps attracts fairies and lets them easily hide from humans. Create pathways and accessorize. Replicate sidewalks, patios and other resting areas, and give fairies a trail to follow. Use individual stepping stones, mulch, or pebbles. Create a personalized and homey look with furniture, decorative mushrooms, birdbaths, gazing globes, fences and arbors. Care for your garden by watering as needed. Keep plants trimmed as necessary to maintain their miniature stature. sels sprouts, turnips, beets, cauliflower, and mustard greens.

Vines • Check out the shorter-growing, longerblooming, more cold-tolerant varieties of clematis. Mix several varieties on one trellis for a great show all season long. • Vines are a great way to get color into the 4to 8-foot high area of the garden. Frequently, garden color stops at about three feet and then starts again from hanging baskets at about eight feet. Use vines to fill that void. You should see beauty everywhere you look, and often that middle zone is neglected. New varieties of colorful annual vines will be fast growing and full of color all summer.

Water Garden • Begin regularly testing your pond water for nitrates, ammonia, and salt levels, as well as the pH. Apply the appropriate pond chemicals to correct any problems. Always test at the same time of day, because this may impact the results. • Hold off fish feeding; it’s still too early. The water temperature should be stable in the 50 to 55 degree range before you feed. That includes the nighttime temperature. Don’t know how warm the water is? Keep a thermometer in your pond at all times. Provided by the professionals at English Gardens.

The Garden at Night: A Photographic Journey Through June 1

DiscoveR the Gardens and Grounds of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

The featured exhibit at Ford House this spring takes a nocturnal look at some of the world’s most beautiful gardens with a collection of images taken after the sun sets and captures the beauty often hidden in plain sight.


May 1, 2, 3, 8 @ 7:30 a.m., May 7 @ 6 p.m.

Go birding in our backyard where more than 190 species of birds have been sighted. Led by Rosann Kovalcik of Wild Birds Unlimited.

Discovery Days in the Garden Join the experts from Ford House’s gardens and grounds team for a series of adventures for kids:

Leaf Detectives May 3 @ 10 a.m.

Come on an adventure to the woods of Ford House where you’ll identify trees using the shapes of leaves as clues.

Flower Power

May 10 @ 10 a.m.

Explore the flowers on the Estate’s gardens and make a gift for Mom.

Creepy Crawlers May 31 @ 10 a.m.

dusk from



New exhibit and a series of outdoor programs explore the spring landscape in both the daylight and under the stars. Reservations and information for programs at or 313.884.4222

Come on a bug safari to find the many creepy crawlers that live here.

Sunset in the Garden

Ford House landscape specialist will share the beauty of the landscape at dusk as it transitions throughout the spring. April 24 – features Scilla, Daffodils, Bluebells May 15 – features Dogwood, Viburnum early Hawthorn, Serviceberry June 5 – features Hawthorn, Crabapples

Night Creatures May 17 @ 10 a.m.

Discover the fascinating features and survival tools of Michigan’s native nocturnal animals with the Organization for Bat Conservation at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Camp Constellation May 24 @ 8 p.m.

Future astronauts, look no further — bring your parents to Ford House for a fun-filled night exploring our night sky.

Starry Night May 29 @ 9 p.m.

Bring your sweetheart for a romantic night under the stars. Sample wine and hors d’oeuvres while gazing up at the night sky and enjoying light, live music.

1100 Lake Shore rd l GroSSe Pointe ShoreS l 313.884.4222 l www.fordhouSe.orG


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

ask mg

Have a question? Send it in! Go to and click on “Submit a question”

Tunnels in the lawn I have all sorts of tunnels through my lawn. I assume it is a mole (or moles). How do I know if it is just one or more than one? What is the most effective way to get rid of it/them? Should I be doing something to the tunneled parts of the lawn to help keep it healthy this season? First, you have to determine which critter is plaguing your lawn: moles or voles? Dirt pushed above ground level in ridges and volcano-shaped mounds of soil are evidence of mole activity. From main tunnels, deeper underground, moles dig several side tunnels that rise towards the surface. Further temporary tunnels are dug from side tunnels. These tunnels are what the mole uses to look for food. Temporary tunnels are just under the surface of the soil. Moles seldom reuse temporary tunnels, preferring to dig new ones in their search for food. Moles eat earthworms and other invertebrates. They are voracious eaters, consuming over half their weight daily. Moles live a solitary life, constantly digging tunnels in search for food. A mole can dig up to 15 feet per hour, so it doesn’t take more than a few to tunnel all over your yard. An adult mole is colored gray to brown, attaining a size of 6 to 8 inches. They do not hibernate, and will tunnel under the frost line in winter. Mole tunnels are usually not particularly harmful to the landscape. Voles, on the other hand, can be very destructive. This rodent resembles a house mouse, only with a short tail and small ears. Voles grow 4 to 6 inches long. One way to tell if you have voles is to locate open runways in the lawn. These 2-inch wide strips meander throughout the lawn at the surface. These strips usually end at a hole. Voles eat vegetation, feeding on roots, bulbs and anything

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they can find. They also cause a lot of destruction by gnawing on young trees and shrubs. They can strip the bark of the plant, girdling it at ground level, thus killing or exposing it to insects or diseases. Voles have a tremendous reproductive rate, able to give birth at one month of age. Voles are difficult to eliminate once they have become established. Chemical controls can be used, but it is recommended to hire a pest control professional for that. The advisable method for eradicating both moles and voles is trapping. Check out the traps available at your local garden center. The best time to trap them is spring before they start reproducing. In terms of your lawn, lightly rake the damaged areas, allowing sunlight to reach the soil so new grass shoots can form. Trails in the lawn will recover with normal growth. Larger damaged areas should be renovated and reseeded. Answer by Jacqueline Seymour

Growing honeysuckle vine When can I plant honeysuckle along my fence? C., Taylor Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera) can be planted in spring as soon as the soil temperature gets above 50 degrees. Make sure you purchase the correct vine. Don’t confuse trumpet honeysuckle with “trumpet vine” (Campsis radicans), which is a completely different plant with a far more aggressive habit and woody structure. Although very showy, its tubular flowers do not produce nectar as attractive to hummingbirds as the true honeysuckles do. If you are planting honeysuckle on your fence for screening as well as fragrance and hummingbirds, look for scarlet trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera x brownii). This strain is primarily known for the selection ‘Dropmore Scarlet,’ which produces many orange-red flowers thoughout the summer and is hardy to zone 3. The hummers love it. For fragrance, plant ‘Goldflame’ honeysuckle as a companion with its bicolor flowers and long bloom season. The two varieties together will fill in a fence in a season or two. Provide full sun for best bloom and maintain average moisture during the growing season, especially during periods of drought. Whether your site is more sandy or more clay, amend the planting bed with compost thoroughly worked into the soil. Good drainage is key to any plant’s success, and compost accomplishes that. Aphids can be a major nuisance in spring on young foliage. Spraying one or two times with horticultural oil significantly stops the

pest. Monitor for late hatchings. With modest care and tending, your perennial honeysuckles will provide years of enjoyment.

Starting tomato seeds What is the best time to start tomato seeds indoors in southeast Michigan? When do I then plant the seedlings outside? M.D., Allen Park Tomato plants are a “warm season” fruit. Tomato seeds need a minimum of 60-degree soil to germinate outside by direct sow. When starting tomato seeds indoors, they should be planted in April or early May in order to have the 5 to 8 weeks needed to be strong enough to transplant outside in late May to early June. In Michigan, the last frost date is about May 25. This cautionary date applies to planting out tender annuals and vegetables. You might consider growing your tomatoes in movable containers. There are tomato varieties that grow well in large pots that can extend your fresh produce into late fall. Starting them in seed pots, watch for the first true leaves to appear after the initial cotyledons. Thin to the strongest seedlings and transplant to a larger container. Understand that each plant needs about one foot square to grow well in a container. You can stake or cage the plant right in the pot, making sure the main stem is well supported. As long as you provide warmth, bright light indoors, and nutrients, you can move the container tomatoes into the house in the fall before night temperatures drop and enjoy fresh produce late into the fall/winter season.

Fast-growing evergreen tree I need a fast-growing evergreen tree. I heard about a “Lake Michigan pine tree”? S.M., Novi Although there is no pine variety called “Lake Michigan,” you might be thinking of Michigan’s state tree, the Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) or possibly the Jack pine (Pinus banksiana), another well-known Michigan species. The white pine is a large, moderate growth tree, ranging from 60 to 90 feet tall. It prefers sandy loam soil that has excellent drainage. It is often associated with our lakefront state parks on the west side of lower Michigan and in the less-developed Upper Peninsula. It is prized for its long, soft needles and its pleasant pyramidal shape. It prefers sun but will tolerate some shade. The Jack pine is a medium-size tree, to about 50 feet, and it does grow quickly. It prefers dry, almost sterile, highly acid soils. It demands full sun and has an open asym-

metrical shape. Its fertile cones need the heat of a controlled burn or fire to germinate. As a landscape ornamental, it is short-lived. For a fast-growing evergreen consider Green Giant arborvitae (Thuja ‘Green Giant’). It grows as much as 3 feet per year, has thick, lush green foliage and a great pyramidal shape. A hedgerow of these can provide a substantial wind break or privacy screen. They are also wind resistant and suffer less from snow load than other varieties. Green Giants are economical and readily available in the nursery trade.

Eliminating lawn weeds How do I rid my lawn of speedwell, other than killing the lawn and reseeding? J.J., Grosse Pointe First, make sure you have speedwell and not some other creeping weed like ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea). Both are very invasive and consume lawns by the acre every year. Michigan State University has a great website for turf weed identification: Creeping speedwell (Veronica filiformis) is a low-growing perennial that prefers shade, moist soils, good fertility and a low mowing height. Creeping speedwell is also sold as an ornamental groundcover. Unfortunately, it can escape from the garden beds into the lawn with great abandon. Speedwell spreads by stolons much like its cousin, ground ivy. Both have blue-violet flowers in spring and have similar leaves. Both weeds are difficult to manage because they are well adapted to most lawn maintenance practices. They thrive in moist shade and nutrient-rich soils. They even tolerate periods of full sun. Raise the mowing height on your lawn mower and increase sunlight by thinning overhead tree canopies to help reduce the optimum growing conditions for this pest. If you have an irrigation system, reduce the frequency of watering to reduce the moisture it prefers. Increase the nitrogen proportion in your lawn fertilization so it grows thick and strong, giving less real estate to the speedwell. However, because speedwell is so aggressive, it is often necessary to remove it with a broadleaf post-emergent herbicide specified for it. Apply the herbicide per label directions in spring when the plant is actively growing. Once controlled and reduced, improved lawn management practices will be more effective in preventing future infestations. Answers provided by Beverly Moss, owner of Garden Rhythms.

Pick out new pots. Plant some flowers. Try a topiary. Grow some vegetables. Give a pot of herbs to a friend. Think water in your garden. Find the right bench. Plan a garden party. Do what’s good for you and yours—make a garden. 1794 Pontiac Drive, Sylvan Lake / 248-335-8089 /


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

healthy lawns

type tall fescue blends are more than worthy if you again ensure their content is more than 50 percent of the desired seed and the germination is at least 80 percent. The easiest issue to address this spring is snow mold, which is an actual disease that grows on old grass tissue. You need not be overly concerned when you see pinkish- or prolonged snow cover. This is the case with grayish-colored patches throughout your some of the cheapest seeds sold on the marlawn. Lightly rake those areas and mow to ket, so beware when you see the contents listhelp stimulate new growth. It’s not always ing chewings fescue, fine fescue and rough necessary to rake the entire yard but I highly bluegrass. These seeds are commonly found recommend raking the worst matted-down in lower quality shade mixtures, areas. This opens up the turf for air which may explain to some why reand sunlight, allowing new growth seeding is required every spring. to emerge in a matter of days versus Quality seeds are more expenweeks. sive and for good reasons. They are The biggest issues now are two genetically engineered to be more specific lawn areas that took the disease and insect resistant and aesmost abuse: 1) lowland or poorlythetically improved for optimum drained sections, and 2) areas where performance. Your local garden centhe snow piles were melting and ter will be the best source for quality Steve then turned to ice at the bottom of seeds. Take note of the germination Martinko the piles. The lowland areas always percentage. Not every seed can be tend to grow best in the summer counted on to grow, so try to avoid those that due to the availability of water. Leading into germinate less than 80 percent. For shade arwinter, this creates a challenge because the eas, scan the bag contents and make sure it grass in those areas is so strong and active that is at least 50 percent perennial rye and that it can actually grow under the first snowfall, the germination rate is above 80 percent. For thus producing excess growth for snow mold sunny locations, Kentucky bluegrass or turf to thrive on. In the spring these matted-down

Winter’s impact on your lawn Part 1 of 2: Evaluating the grass


s we examine our lawns this spring, it is evident that some grass types are better suited for harsh winters than others. Grasses with shallow-rooting depths and fine blades tend to suffer the most from

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areas will appear bright white and can be a chore to rake up, but it is important to get sunlight to the turf so it can rejuvenate quickly. The more challenging situation is where the snow piles sat for so long. Snow across the entire yard didn’t kill all your grass, so why does this happen under large snow piles? The answer is ice damage. The large snow piles insulate the ground, but in the meltdown phase the moisture gets caught and refreezes every night until a thick layer of ice has formed. The freeze-thaw-freeze cycle destroys plant tissue, leaving you with more dead turf than live. Aggressively raking these areas is your only option because you will have to reseed or sod. This is a conundrum when the grass is still 50 to 60 percent alive because raking would pull up most of the live growth with the dead, but it’s a must in order to completely fix the area. The live growth wouldn’t be able to perform well if it’s barely rooted, so don’t fret over the green you do pull up. Then time becomes a factor. That is, time before weeds and crabgrass can move in; that window is pretty narrow this season. In part 2, we’ll discuss options to fix or renovate your lawn due to winter damage. Steve Martinko is the owner of Contender’s Tree and Lawn Specialists in Oakland County, MI.

Our Specialty: NEW & CHOICE varieties Fresh shipments arrive throughout the season. Stop in to see the latest gems!


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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

vegetable patch Rotate your vegetable plants to help prevent problems



ENORMOUS PERENNIAL & HOSTA SELECTION Over 1200 varieties to choose from! Proven Winners • Specialty annuals Flower & vegetable flats • Herbs Hanging baskets • Container gardens Patio pots & baskets • Bulk seed Onion sets & seed potatoes

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Come see our spectacular, handmade, European gazing globes. New styles and colors arrive regularly!


We have a huge selection from 6 different suppliers! Plus, a full line of miniature plants, both tropical and hardy!

WE ARE WORTH THE DRIVE, AND WE’RE SURE TO PLEASE! Piechnik’s Greenhouse Piechnik’s Garden Gate 13172 McCumsey Rd 1095 N. Rochester Rd Clio, Mi 48420 Oakland, MI 48363 810-686-9211 586-336-7200 WWW.CLIOGREENHOUSE.COM

ave you ever heard the expression, “It’s all in the family”? Well, with For more information vegetable health, it is “all in the To learn more about crop rotation in the family.” Pests and diseases are likely to attack vegetable garden: members of the same vegetable family, which Wisconsin Extension: is why crop rotation is so important. Crop rotation is simply moving vegetaNorth Carolina Extension: bles to different locations in the garden on a rotating basis to reduce recurrence of disease or pest infestation. The thing to remember is that rotating vegetable placement means not problems. The nightshade family is another planting any members of the same vegetable group that shares fungal and blight problems. family in the same place as the previous year. This family includes eggplant, peppers, potaSo who’s in the family? toes and tomatoes. Members of the allium or onion family are The three families left to consider are the small and easy to move. It includes chives, sunflower, goosefoot and carrot families. garlic, leeks, onions and shallots. Chives do The sunflower includes globe and not need to be moved, but clumps Jerusalem artichokes, endive, letshould be divided every 2 to 3 years tuces and sunflowers. The gooseto prevent overcrowding. foot consists of beets, chard, quinoa A much larger group is the musand spinach. The carrot family intard family, which includes broccludes vegetables (carrot, celery, and coli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnip) as well as herbs (chervil, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, dill, fennel and parsley). If rotating mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, these in a small vegetable garden turnips and watercress. Because is difficult, consider planting them of the mature size of many of these Mary in among the flowers in your landvegetables, more space is needed in Gerstenberger scape. In fact, almost any of the vegthe garden and this can make it difetables can be grown among the flowers, but ficult to rotate the entire family if the garden that’s a topic for another time. is small, so careful planning is needed. If you want a happy, healthy vegetable garThe pea family includes beans, jicama, peaden, keep those vegetables rotating! Plan to nuts and peas. As members of the legumes, rotate your plantings by the family and try these vegetables fix nitrogen in the soil, so it’s to avoid planting the same crop in the same a good idea to rotate these vegetables with a space for at least three years if possible. To heavy nutrient feeder such as corn (a member help move those plants, here are three opof the grass family). tions: alternate which vegetables you grow The gourd or cucurbit family includes each year, move some veggies to container cucumbers, gourds, melons, pumpkins and plantings, or simply move a few vegetables in squashes. These vining plants can cover a lot among the flowers. of space, so to conserve room in the small garden, consider trellising them. They are also Mary Gerstenberger is the Consumer Horsubject to mildew and blights, so good garden ticulture Coordinator at the Michigan State clean-up as well as rotation will help reduce University Extension in Macomb County, MI. For gardening information from MSU, visit

eco Chic landscape design

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Herb classes at Macomb MSU Extension (Clinton Twp): Thursday, May 8, 2014 1-2:30 pm: “Container and Patio Strategies” 3-4:30 pm: “Make and Take Tabletop Herb Garden” Classes presented by Troy Huffaker of DTL Herbs. $7 per person per class. Please register by calling the Macomb MSU Extension office at 586-469-6440. Call the toll-free Michigan State University Lawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 for answers to your gardening questions.

Bug Barrier! Do you want to keep your home pesticidefree on the inside? We treat your home's foundation, reducing the need to apply pesticides on the inside. Knowing this, wouldn’t you want to minimize exposure to your family and pets? Contender’s Bug Barrier prevents the following crawling insects from invading your home: Earwigs, Pharaoh Ants, Spiders, Red Clover Mites, and many others. You don’t need to be home for us to apply our Bug Barrier. No waiting around, no scheduling hassles. And for flying insects that sneak inside, we offer an indoor no-mess, non-pesticide solution. Ask us! Our Pest Control Plus service includes all the above, PLUS control of Chipmunks, Voles, and Mice.

Are mosquitoes biting you while you try to garden? • Are you battling mosquitoes while you try to garden? • Do you have an backyard event planned? • Do mosquitoes ruin your family barbecues? We can help! Our season-long mosquito control service combats both larvae and adults so you can enjoy your property, even during rainy seasons. Plus, reduce the risk of West Nile Virus to you and your family, as well as your pets. For outdoor events, we suggest a treatment 3 days before the tent and tables are set up. Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer— call Contender’s today!

Mole Control: 60-day guarantee! Moles produce 3 to 5 young in April, so if you see activity in the spring, there’s likely a home on your property or nearby. Activity visible in the summer only usually means moles couldn’t find earthworms elsewhere and have expanded their search to your lawn and landscape where the grass could be greener. We have refined various techniques to eliminate moles. Because of our experience and expertise, we are able to provide you with a 60-day guarantee.

Call or e-mail us today for a FREE ESTIMATE! 248-698-4470 • S E RV I C I N G WAY N E , OA K L A N D & M AC O M B C O U N T I E S


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

for the birds The essential role of water and birdbaths Tips for selecting, placing and maintaining birdbaths in your garden


ne of life’s necessities: water. All livrolling in wet leaves is the answer. ing things need water for survival. There are pros and cons of birdbath maIn addition, birds must bathe and terials when you are considering a purchase. groom their feathers to keep them in good Concrete is stable and can be molded into working condition—a must for their survival. beautiful shapes. However, concrete will also Not every bird eats the seed and suet be heavier to tip for cleaning and you place in your feeders, but every potential relocation. Ceramic and bird drinks water and uses it for glass birdbaths are easy to clean bathing. and move. To prevent cracking, Watching birds enjoy a bath is these materials need to be used only one of the most entertaining activiwhen threat of a freeze is not an isties you can witness in your yard. sue. Birdbaths made from plastic The larger birds, such as robins, will and fiberglass are lighter weight, gather in groups to bathe together, so they are easier to relocate and to splashing like children in a pool. Rosann tip for cleaning. They also allow for Smaller birds, such as goldfinches Kovalcik year-round use if you do not have a and chickadees, will gingerly apseparate bath with a built-in heating proach the water at the edge and then cauelement. tiously step in. Hummingbirds will engage in The water in a birdbath should be no deepan activity known as leaf rolling. A birdbath er than 1/2 to 1 inch at the edges and sloping is too large for a hummingbird to consider— to a maximum of 2 inches in the center. This

Birds, like this robin, must bathe and groom their feathers to keep them in good working condition. Robins love to splash water like children in a pool. mimics shallow puddles, which are nature’s birdbaths. If you have found that birds are hesitant to use one of your birdbaths, try placing a pile of a few small stones at the edge of the bath. This creates shallower depths for smaller birds. If possible, place all birdbaths in the shade to keep the water cooler and fresher. The closer a birdbath is placed to shrubs and trees, the safer it will feel to the birds, as they must retire to a safe spot while drying and preening their

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This goldfinch and other small birds gingerly approach the water at the edge and then cautiously step in. feathers back into flight condition. Birds prefer baths that are at ground level because that is where water is found in nature. If cats are a concern to the safety of your birds, choose a bath that is 2 to 3 feet above the ground and place it in an open area so the birds have a better chance of detecting predators. Cleaning the birdbath is essential to keeping it algae-free in the summer. Make it part of your daily garden ritual to tip out the water and give the bowl a scrub with a dedicated brush. Rinse with clean water to make sure all the fecal matter and dirt are out of the bowl. Refill with fresh, clean water and let the show begin! If daily general cleaning in this way does not work to get rid of algae, try a soak of one part vinegar to nine parts of water and then once scrubbed and rinsed, allow the bath to fully dry before refilling with water. Birds find the sight and sound of moving or dripping water irresistible. Imagine a migrant bird flying overhead, thirsty and knowing instinctively that they need to bathe in order to keep their feathers in good flying condition. They are driven by the sound of water as a signal that it is available. Commercial drippers and misters can be easily added to the edge of a bath and connected to a water source without disrupting the use of a hose. The misters are also available to be connected to branches above a birdbath, with droplets of water concentrating and dripping down into the bath as enticement. In addition, this creates the moist leaves that hummingbirds will roll in, looking like little penguins on ice. Hummingbirds will also fly through the mist as their mode of bathing. Inviting birds to your garden with a birdbath provides multiple benefits. Birds add visual appeal for you and your family and improve your habitat by consuming insects from your yard. Pour the fresh water and let the show begin!

8215 Elizabeth Lake Rd. • White Lake 1885 Baker Rd, Dexter, MI • 734-426-6600 • mon-Fri 9-6 • sat 9-5 • sun 12-5

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Rosann Kovalcik is a Certified Birdfeeding Specialist and the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI (

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

42nd Annual Spring Plant Sale

May 13, 10 am - 7 pm & May 14, 10 am - 2 pm Michigan plants/wildflowers, annuals, perennials, Conservatory Greenhouse organic heirloom tomatoes, herbs, and more. Visit Cranbrook Gardens for free during the sale!

Cranbrook Gardens Self-Guided Tours

May - October Come see what’s in bloom and enjoy the gardens all year long with a season pass!

Cranbrook House Tours

Thursdays, Fridays & Sundays, June - October Guided tours of the oldest manor home in metro-Detroit, a National Historic Landmark.


Off Any Purchase at our Spring Plant Sale or General Admission to Cranbrook House & Gardens w/ad.*

Michigan Getting Started Garden Guide by Melinda Myers Do you find yourself buying plants and crossing your fingers, hoping that they will work in your garden? Take the guesswork out of picking the best plants for your garden with Michigan Getting Started Garden Guide (Cool Springs Press, 240 pages, $24.99). Author Melinda Myers shares her years of experience in knowing which plants will work for you. She shares design tips as well as advice on planting, growing, and care, including pest control. This textbook-style guide caters to all Michigan gardeners— whether they are beginners, new to the area, or just looking for some new ideas. It features over 175 plant recommendations of every type—flowers, groundcovers, trees, shrubs, and everything in between. Large color photographs show you exactly what to look for at your local garden center. Discover great plant choices that will thrive in your garden with this informative and easy-to-read guide.

Five-Plant Gardens by Nancy J. Ondra

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Take the guesswork out of designing and planting perennial beds with Nancy Ondra’s Five-Plant Gardens (Storey Publishing, 183 pages, $18.95.). Ondra shares plans for 52 gardens, each one featuring just five perennials that grow well together and combine for beautiful visual effect. This guide can help gardeners with little experience add color and texture to their yard, but it can also help any gardener that lacks the confidence, energy, or money to attempt a big bed or border. By starting with a simple five-plant plan for growing in sun, partial shade, or full shade, gardeners of all levels will find the process easy to follow. Each plan includes photos of the five plants, an illustrated planting map and drawing of the planted garden, season-by-season highlights, a shopping list with brief plant descriptions, what to expect as the planting matures, and tips on customizing the planting for different sites, climates, or themes. With Five-Plant Gardens, a new perennial garden is as easy as picking your design, purchasing the perennials, and planting as instructed.

Teaming with Nutrients by Jeff Lowenfels Most gardeners realize that plants need to be fed, but many know little or nothing about the nature of the nutrients involved. Jeff Lowenfels, author of the best-selling book Teaming with Microbes, now turns to plant nutrients—what they are, how they work, how they get inside plants, and what they do once they get there. Teaming with Nutrients (Timber Press, 250 pages, $24.95) is the organic gardener’s guide to optimizing plant nutrition by practicing environmentally safe and simple techniques. In easyto-understand language, Lowenfels illuminates the science behind plant nutrition and offers completely organic recommendations on what to feed plants, including fertilizer recipes tailored to specific varieties of plants. He explains the role of both macronutrients and micronutrients, and how to provide plants with those essentials through easy-to-follow techniques. This book will give readers a crash course in biology, chemistry, and botany, allowing them to become more successful and environmentally responsible gardeners.

Abbott’s Landscape Nursery

May/June hours: Mon-Sat 9-6, Sun 10-5 Abbott’s turn-of-the-century farm is a perfect setting for our unique and beautiful nursery. Owner Mike Abbott likes what gardeners like, both classic and new, and handpicks all our plants. Over 55 Japanese maple and 25 reliably-blooming hydrangea varieties. Come see us—we stock plants you demand and probably some you never knew even existed.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum


2781 Scio Church Rd., Ann Arbor MI 48103 734-665-8733





Alexander’s Farm Market & Greenhouses 6925 Whitmore Lake Rd., Whitmore Lake, MI 48189 734-741-1064 Find us on Facebook May/June hours: Daily 9-7 We’re that hidden gem you’ve been hoping to find! Homegrown annuals, vegetables, perennials, extraordinary hanging baskets and planters. Plus our exclusive 99¢ seed selection. Distinctive variety of fruit trees, small fruits, flowering shrubs, climbing vines, herbs, fairy garden plants, and roses, including easy-care shrubs, and luxuriously scented David Austins.

Bloom! Garden Center 1885 Baker Rd., Dexter, MI 48130 734-426-6600 May/June hours: Mon-Thur 10-6, Fri 10-7:30, Sat 9-5, Sun 12-5 A new local source for “Art in the Garden” and the new home of Elemental Design landscape contracting. The Garden Center carries a myriad of garden art, vintage finds, fine art & jewelry, gardening & water gardening supplies, perennials, shrubs and trees. Bi-monthly workshops and Friday night art gallery openings.

English Gardens 155 N. Maple Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-332-7900 Hours – Thru Sun, June 8: Mon-Sat 8-9, Sun 8-6; Starting Mon, June 9: Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-6 Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, English Gardens is family- and locally-owned, operating six full-service stores, one seasonal store, and a full-service, landscaping company in Metro Detroit. Each full-service store has a nursery, garden center, patio shop, and seasonal Christmas center featuring the best value and finest quality products and services. For more information: 800335-GROW.

Fraleighs Landscape Nursery 8600 Jackson Rd., Dexter, MI 48130 734-426-5067 May/June hours: Please call or visit website for current hours Wide variety of perennials, shrubs, ornamental grasses, flowering ornamentals, native plants, shade trees, and evergreens. Expert staff to assist with your landscaping and horticultural questions. We source plants from Michigan growers whenever possible. We stock unusual items, but we really love selling plants that are reliable and functional, but never boring!




Hidden Lake Gardens 6214 Monroe Rd. (M-50), Tipton, MI 49287 517-431-2060 May/June hours: Open daily 9-7 755 acres. Don’t miss one of the finest collections of Dwarf and Rare Conifers—over 500 specimens. Hosta Hillside has over 800 varieties. Enjoy a leisurely drive through the Arboretum. See lush tropicals in the Conservatory. Serene outdoor displays in the Bonsai Courtyard. The Demonstration Garden shows attractive mixed plantings. Great hiking trails and dog-friendly, too!

HillTop Greenhouse & Farms 8996 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-302-4233 May/June hours: Mon-Fri 9-7, Sat-Sun 9-6 Just 10 minutes from Ann Arbor or Chelsea, our greenhouse is a relaxing drive from all corners. Choose from over 8,000 baskets and 10,000 flats, plus veggie starters, specialty annuals, and lush combination planters. Each plant is grown on site, with hands-on care from start to finish. Smiles, hugs and a friendly staff, free of charge!

Lodi Farms 2880 S. Wagner Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-665-5651 May/June hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-4, Sun ‘til Fathers’ Day 1-4 Come visit our wonderful nursery! We have shade and ornamental trees, evergreens, shrubs of all types, lots of dwarf conifers, and perennials. Bring your pictures and plans and we’ll help you choose the best plants! Check our sales calendar for specials and browse our catalog on the website. Take a roadtrip here soon!

a dv e r t i s i n g f e at u r e

1800 North Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105 734-647-9679 Display Gardens, Conservatory, Garden Store, and Lobby: May 1-16: Daily 10-4:30; Wed 10-8 • May 17-Sept 1: Daily 10-8. Trails open sunrise to sunset. The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum offer trails and natural areas, children’s garden, native plant gardens, bonsai garden, large collection of heirloom peonies, year-round conservatory, wedding venues, special events and sales, youth and adult educational programs, gift shop, and more.

Nature’s Garden Center 6400 E. Michigan Ave., Saline, MI 48176 734-944-8644 May/June hours: Mon-Sat 8-7, Sun 10-5 Your one stop garden center: Large variety of latest products at competitive prices. Knowledgeable staff to help you succeed. Region’s largest supplier of fairy garden items and miniature plants. Nursery filled with shade trees and evergreens to perennials and annuals. Full landscaping design and installation available.

Plymouth Nursery 9900 Ann Arbor Rd W, Plymouth MI 48170 734-453-5500 May/June hours: Mon-Fri 8-8, Sat 8-6, Sun 9-5 For over 50 years we have offered premium quality plants on our 16 acres. Huge selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals. Plus Weber grills, patio furniture, garden art and gifts. Our “Pottery Emporium,” one of S.E. Michigan’s largest, displays premium pots. We have everything you need to grow your garden!

Turner’s Landscape & Garden Center 4431 South Wagner Rd., Ann Arbor MI 48103 734-663-7600 May/June hours: Mon-Fri 9-7, Sat 9-6, Sun 10-4 Ann Arbor’s premier garden center and nursery. We grow an unbelievable selection of annuals and perennials in our greenhouses. Plus a fully-stocked nursery with mature trees and shrubs. Landscape design, construction and installation also available. Our quality plants and knowledgeable, friendly, helpful staff will make your garden a success.

Willow Greenhouses 7839 Curtis Rd., Northville, MI 48168 248-437-7219 Hours: Mon-Sat 9-6, Sun 10-3 Voted #1 Garden Center in Metro Detroit Area by Detroit A-List! Buy direct from the grower. Thousands of Annuals, Perennials, Proven Winners, Wave Petunias, Vegetables, Heirloom Tomatoes, Herbs, Trees, Shrubs and much more. Many hardto-find varieties! Our competitive pricing keeps our customers coming back year after year! Like us on Facebook!


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Julia Hofley

Suntory Flowers

‘Angel Earrings Preciosa’

Fuchsia ‘Angel Earrings’ I made my own fuchsia “baskets” last summer as I took my collection of terra cotta basket containers and planted a fuchsia series called Angel Earrings. They were in bloom from spring through fall due to their improved heat tolerance, but they still need shade or, at most, a little morning sun. Their well-branched habit held the flowers up better than the usual blowsy hanging basket fuchsias. A few of them looked like petite flowering shrubs that I was able to enjoy up close; my hummingbirds were appreciative too. I was looking for impatiens alternatives and ‘Angel Earrings’ worked well in the partly shady corner of our patio. Mine did not reach the full height and width size. Varieties include ‘Dainty’ (purple and red), ‘Preciosa’ (white and lavender), and ‘Snowfire’ (red and white).

Euro American

Gomphrena ‘Pink Zazzle’

Suntory Flowers

‘Angel Earrings Dainty’ Height: 15-20 inches. Width: 20-25 inches. Light: Shade, part shade or part sun.

Gomphrenas are one of those taller annuals that add color to a greened-out perennial border. It’s the perfect plant for weaving texture and color into the fabric of your perennial bed. ‘Pink Zazzle’ is a breakthrough new cultivar and looks to be a whole new ballgame. It has a wide branching habit, flowers that are twice the size of the usual button-sized little balls, with a more open pincushion-style shape. Providing the temperatures are above 50 degrees, it blooms from spring through fall. Most unusual was the hot pink color of the blooms with tiny gold stars at the end of the tiny tubular bracts. This hot pink cannot

help but draw attention wherever you place it—either in a garden bed or in a container. As the flowers age, they fade to a softer pink and may end up with creamy white tips. Plus, there is the downy-like fuzz covering the foliage and stems. This, combined with that flower color, puts it at the top of your must-have new plant list. The durable flowers will also make the perfect cut flower; either freshly cut or dried. ‘Pink Zazzle’ still has the wonderful attributes of typical gomphrenas: a long bloom period, long stems, heat tolerance, and a low water requirement. Height: 12-16 inches. Width: 12-16 inches. Light: Full sun to part sun.

Petunia ‘Cha-Ching Cherry’ This award-winning new introduction has deep wine-colored flowers with a creamy yellow star pattern. Its mounding habit and high impact variegation won it the Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award, as well as high scores in trial gardens throughout the nation. Height: 10-16 inches. Width: 16-20 inches. Light: Full sun.

NEW ANNUALS continued on page 20

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

continued from page 18

Begonia ‘Surefire Rose’

Proven Winners

Don’t mistake this plant to be the same one you see in flats for sale. Even though it’s small at the beginning of the season, one plant will fill out a good-sized container and be a worthy focal point. If you need to color up a perennial border that looks like a “sea of green” by August, this will help. Just plant this vigorous flowering machine in intervals between perennials that you cut back later and you will have a pleasing swath of showy pink to catch your eye. Part Angel Wing begonia and part fibrous begonia, the pink flowers stand out with their 2-1/2-inch size surrounded by glossy green succulent leaves. A terrific impatiens alternative. Height: 12-24 inches. Width: 18-24 inches. Light: Full sun to shade.

Caladium ‘Frog in a Blender’

Bates Sons & Daughters

This plant created a lot of buzz at the trade shows last summer, both for its remarkable foliage and for its name. I’d never seen a caladium like this before—it actually reminded me of a smaller alocasia. ‘Frog in a Blender’ has a chartreuse background splashed with medium green markings and the contrast is truly unique for a variegated caladium. This plant will be fun to mix and match colors with in a container combination or along a fashionable garden path. It is one of the cutting edge new caladiums bred to thrive in sun. Height: 20 inches. Width: 12-15 inches. Light: Morning sun, filtered shade. Cultivaris (2)

Calla Lily Callafornia Callas ‘Acapulco Gold’ I tried my hand at growing calla lily bulbs straight in the ground last spring and really was not sure what to expect. Into a mixed perennial border with well-drained soil, I planted five fist-sized bulbs with many “eyes” peeking out. I waited until late May, when the soil had really warmed up. I chose Callafornia Callas ‘Acapulco Gold’ and they surprised me by how vigorously they grew and how gorgeous the speckled leaves were before and after the flowers bloomed. When the long-lasting flowers appeared, the well-formed cups of intense golden yellow could be seen from across the yard. There were so many straight stems of tall calla lilies from the original five tubers I planted that there were plenty for cutting. I cannot tell you how proud I was to produce a crop of calla lilies myself for such a small amount of effort. This year, look for California Callas ‘Pink Sorbet’ among others. They are available both in loose tubers and planted in pots. To extend the bloom period, stagger the planting of the bulbs. Height: 16 inches. Width: 12 inches (in ground) or at least 8 inches (in container). Light: Full sun. Golden State Bulb Growers

Digiplexis ‘Illumination Flame’ This multi award-winning plant is an exciting cross between the common garden foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and its Canary Island cousin, Isoplexis canariensis. Sturdy 3-foot vertical stems rise above dark green, foxglove-looking foliage topped with outward-facing flowers in warm, tropical tones. ‘Illumination Flame’ is the result of remarkable hybridization work and is the perfect name, as it describes the outer petals of fuchsia hues while the inner throats transition from red to orange to speckled yellow and have an extended lower petal lobe. This plant, a zone 8 perennial, is sterile, focusing its energy towards producing a fast-growing, bushy plant loaded with blooms all summer long instead of towards seed production. Yet it’s still attractive to bees and butterflies and the multi-colored unique blooms make good cut flowers. Plant in moist, well-drained soil either in a flower bed or large container. Height: 36 inches. Width: 18 inches. Light: Full sun to part shade.

NEW ANNUALS continued on page 22

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Van Atta’s has one of the largest selections of garden accents, trees, garden toys, annuals, shrubs and perennials in Southeastern Michigan. We grow an enormous variety of perennial species and cultivars. There’s a good chance we have that one plant you’ve been searching for or the garden ornament that will set your yard apart. Come on out and stroll our grounds. You’ll be amazed any one item at what you’ll find, as well as the friendly Offer valid through May 31, 2014 service and expert advice you will receive.

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LAKE ORION 559 S. Lapeer Rd. Lake Orion, MI 48362 248-690-7435 3/4 Mile N. of Clarkston Rd.


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

continued from page 20

Proven Winners

Petunia ‘Supertunia Flamingo’

Skagit Gardens (2)

Oxalis ‘Plum Crazy’

‘Supertunia Flamingo’ was an effective part of my hummingbird highway in the flower baskets under our kitchen windows last summer. I needed a flower that would flag down my fast-flying little friends. These medium-sized pink blossoms with defining veins gently cascading over the window basket edges were the favorite item on their menu. I would look out the kitchen window and be delighted by the iridescent flash of color as this happy little creature poked its beak into each blossom. What a show! ‘Supertunia Flamingo’ was not overly vigorous but held its lovely shape and never got that stringy look. It flowered nonstop all summer long on that western brick wall in full sun. I was grateful it never needed deadheading as its placement was high up on the wall. Height: 8-16 inches. Width: 24-36 inches. Light: Full sun.

I love all plants variegated and this new easy-care oxalis is perfect for both annual containers or as a houseplant. Diminutive three-lobed, shamrock-like leaves are colored with green, rose, pink, fuchsia and cream. Create an interesting effect near a container’s edge or use it as a stand-alone plant in a special pot. Starry, five-petaled yellow flowers rise atop the carpet of colorful leaves for added interest in spring and early summer. We grew ours in morning sun and it stayed quite low in the pot and spread nicely. Height: Up to 6 inches. Width: Up to 12 inches. Light: Part sun to part shade.

Tuberous Begonia AmeriHybrid ‘Picotee Flamenco’

Golden State Bulb Growers (2)

Starting last March, I grew this plant from a tuber under lights in our basement. It is one of those bagged tubers you see in spring and I thought I’d try it out. I enjoyed the process and up-potted the small plant into a window box at our entrance. It grew into a 16-inch tall begonia extravaganza. If you have the heart to cut off the single flowers (female), the double flowers (male) will get even bigger. I did stake them as the heavy double flowers needed the support to be facing outward. ‘Picotee Flamenco’ produced flowers all summer and surprisingly late into the fall. There were enough of them to often float a blossom in a crystal bowl indoors and marvel at their beauty at the dinner table.

AmeriHybrid tuberous begonias are the result of a 90-year-old breeding program from a multi-generational California family dating back to Luther Burbank’s era. One of the co-founders wrote the book on growing tuberous begonias back in the 1940s. Colorstarved Michigan gardeners can choose from a voluptuous array of tuberous begonias beautifully grown in pots and hanging baskets from their local independent garden centers, or maybe start one of their very own. Height: 16-18 inches. Width: 18-20 inches. Light: Part sun to full shade. NEW ANNUALS continued on page 24

Time To Plant!

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

continued from page 22

Suntory Flowers (2)

‘Surfinia Summer Double Rose’

Petunia ‘Surfinia Summer Double’

Proven Winners

Verbena ‘Superbena Violet Ice’ Last summer, I needed a pretty purple collar to contrast my bright orange Sunpatiens in large boxes along a brick path. Verbena ‘Superbena Violet Ice’ was vigorous enough to partner in this dramatic combination with its super large, luminous lavender flowers with a contrasting white eye. This plant scored high across the nation in trial gardens last summer, and when you grow it, you’ll see why. With an excellent trailing habit and long season of bloom, it really framed in all that orange to the best advantage. It required noticeably less deadheading than other verbenas, was both drought and heat tolerant, and had no mildew issues in our garden. Height: 8-12 inches. Width: 24-30 inches. Light: Full sun.

‘Surfinia Summer Double Pink’

We grew three colors in containers last summer (rose, pink and white) and their performance was above expectations. Garden guests thought the pink-colored ‘Surfinia Summer Double’ was actually a petite rose until they took a closer look and realized it was a compact double petunia. The rose-colored one was a brighter color, while its underside was white; the contrast was noticeably charming. This neat little petunia has a uniformly mounding habit, with many branches covered in flowers. They bloom earlier and are more heat and rain tolerant than other double petunias. After growing them through many rainstorms and high winds last summer, they were still lovely in October—that is unusual for a double petunia. Height: 12-16 inches. Width: 40-48 inches, smaller if grown in a container. Light: Full sun to part sun.

Coleus ‘Kong Jr.’ A descendant of Kong Coleus from 2004, ‘Kong Jr.’ is a welcome addition to the shade garden. We grew ‘Kong Jr. Scarlet’ in two different containers: one in full shade in a wall basket and the other in bright morning sun in a container of mixed tropicals. Both performed handsomely. Colors include ‘Rose,’ ‘Scarlet,’ ‘Green Halo,’ and ‘Lime Vein.’ The leaves are 4 inches across and unlike its parent, the habit of the plant is mounding and the branches aren’t brittle. Because coleus flowers detract from the striking beauty of the leaves, very late to no flower production is a plus, making this plant extremely low maintenance. We noted a color difference in the leaves in slightly different lighting situations—the plant in more sun had a brighter intensity. I look forward to adding ‘Kong Jr.’ to some hosta beds this summer. Height: 18-24 inches. Width: 15-24 inches. Light: Shade, part shade, or part sun. Julia Hofley is a plant collector, freelance garden writer, lecturer, and independent sales rep (E-mail:

Julia Hofley

Since this ‘Kong Jr. Scarlet’ is in part sun, its leaves are a brighter chartreuse.

Julia Hofley National Garden Bureau

‘Kong Jr. Rose’

When ‘Kong Jr. Scarlet’ is placed in a shady spot, its leaves will be a darker chartreuse.


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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

how-to Build your gardener’s tool kit

Part 1: The standard tool kit

As professional gardeners for over 25 years, my wife Janet and I have developed a standard tool kit that consists of the tools we carry with us all the time. Here they are.

The digging tools

Steve Nikkila

Fork. A garden or spading fork is a must for a gardener. It can lift plants without cutting much root. The fork can help loosen hard-packed or rocky soil to make digging easier or to aerate a bed. It can be used as a weeder for those deeper tap roots (like dandelion) and deeper running roots (like Canada thistle) that a hand weeder just can’t get to. We prefer a spading fork (right) over a garden fork (left) because of the wider and stronger tines.

Trowel. Trowels can be used for planting small plants and bulbs. They also can be used as a weeder, to dig around roots of existing plants. There are lots of different trowels to choose from. Pick the type of handle that is comfortable for your hand and has the type of blade you like.

Weeder. There many types of hand weeders available; choose one that works for you. This weeder is the one that has survived the test of time for us.


We Specialize in Container Gardening



Lawn Care

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Spade. For most garden work, a spade is preferred over a shovel. It can be used for digging, planting and cutting an edge. The flat blade of the spade cuts into the soil better than the pointed blade of a shovel. The spade’s straight and sharp blade cuts evenly through sod and roots while the pointed blade of the shovel will often slide off roots and cut unevenly. We prefer the forged blades and wooden handles of these tools and they have lasted 25 years.

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27 | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener

The cutting tools

The rest of the tools

Hand pruners. First, a word about the difference between bypass and anvil style pruning tools. The bypass type of cutting blade (bottom left and right) cuts all the way through the plant part while the anvil type (top left and right) crushes the plant part to cut. Bypass pruners are the choice in hand pruners for gardeners. The bypass pruners have a smoother cut than the anvil pruners. The smoother, cleaner cut is easier and better for the plant to heal. This is true for all types of plants: woody and herbaceous. Pick hand pruners that fit your hand; don’t select a pair that spreads your hand too far. Adjustable rake. The thin tines and adjustable width make this rake excellent for light debris raking and clean-up. Use a traditional leaf rake for raking lots of leaves.

Loppers and saws. Loppers (two at left) are for larger cuts that are too big for hand pruners. The bypass type of lopper should be used for all live wood pruning. Anvil style loppers and pruners should be used to cut dead wood and debris, thus saving the sharpness of the bypass blades longer. A sharp folding saw (two at top right) comes in handy for those pruning cuts the loppers just can’t handle because of the branch size being cut. Boots and gloves. They protect you from many types of gardening injuries. Pick boots that will support your foot and ankle, and cushion the blow on your foot that you get from digging. Pick the gloves that fit properly and provide the protection needed.

Shears. Shears are handy for deadheading, hedge shearing, and cutting down plants in the fall. Keep them sharp for cleaner cuts.

Twine/string/bungee cords. For tying up plants (like ornamental grasses before cutting down) and debris from pruning. We prefer to use twine from an organic material.

Knife/scissors. Knives and scissors keep gardeners from using their hand pruners to cut things other than plant material.

5-gallon bucket. This handy item can be a tool carrier, watering can, container for garden debris, step/sit stool, carry-all for fertilizer spreading, plant-washing bucket when transplanting or investigating problems, and many other uses.

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for Part 2: Additional Handy Tools in the June 2014 issue of Michigan Gardener. Text and photos by Steven Nikkila, who is from Perennial Favorites in Waterford, MI (E-mail:


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

This specimen pine at Kyoto University in Japan is close to the building’s windows so that it may be seen year-round from both the inside and the outside.

This enkianthus shrub in Kyoto, Japan has been cared for to accentuate its interesting branching structure and is located at the garden exit.

Using specimen trees in a Japanese garden I n a Japanese style garden, a specimen cation. Additional strain may keep the tree tree is recognized as a focal point in in a state of continual decline. the landscape. With meticulous care, a • The availability of skilled labor or time it specimen tree is cultivated then embellished will take to maintain the tree’s form. to obtain an idealized asymmetrical form of My recommendation: keep it simple. Focus age and beauty. Many tree varieties will work on design and form rather than tree species as specimens, even natives. A few collection. The quantity of specimen better-known examples in Michitrees to use in a Japanese garden is gan are Japanese maples, star magnot strict. Consider the increased nolias, dogwoods, white pines, and need for maintenance on speciScotch pines. men trees. Will more specimens A specimen should not be constrengthen or weaken your intent? fused with an ornamental. OrnaThen there is always the essence mental trees have individual, definof the garden. Remind yourself what ing decorative features and are often it is about Japanese gardens that you used to create specimens because of Emaline like. What feelings are you trying to those qualities. The specimen tree Fronckowiak evoke? embodies an overall aesthetic, not Placing the tree just a specific aspect of the tree. Placement for a specimen tree in a JapaConsider these factors when using specinese garden needs to be considered carefully. men trees: To achieve the most impact and value, plant • The garden’s overall design intent or style. the tree in prime view from the main window • The size of the garden. or gathering room of the house. Specimen • Environmental stresses due to the tree’s lo-

trees require additional skill and time to care for them. Unless you have ample time or a large maintenance budget, it is not economical to properly care for the tree if it is hidden far from everyday viewing. Locate your specimen tree slightly off to one side of the main axial view. From there it will capture your gaze, allowing you to notice other important details close or underfoot, softly opening the landscape to the eyes. The proper distance from the window to the specimen depends on the garden, but you want to clearly see the tree from your viewing position inside the house, preferably sitting.

Selecting, planting, and pruning The elevation of the tree needs to be slightly higher than the foreground. This will help the tree have stature, appear aged, and provide better drainage. The “face” of the tree should be directed toward the main window view. You can distinguish the face of a specimen tree by following a few design principles: • Curves in the trunk go right and left.

This sketch illustrates three design principles to use when “facing” a specimen tree: 1) Curves on the trunk go right and left of view. 2) Main branches are located on the curves. 3) The tree has ample branches on the back. • Main branches are located on the curves. • The tree has ample branches on the back. Remember, the goal of a specimen tree is | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener

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This ornamental maple at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois, is located close to the window and can be viewed well indoors. Over time it may be developed into a specimen to increase its beauty. P h oto s a n d s k e tc h by Em a l i n e F r o n c ko w i a k

to enhance age and beauty asymmetrically. When you select the tree, make sure you keep characteristics of age in mind. It will make “facing the tree” much easier. Sometimes your tree will not be ideal for the facing criteria. This is why garden building in a Japanese style is a skill and art. You may need to compromise the guidelines in the beginning, but in time you will improve your eye for tree selection. When a specimen tree is in a mature form, it is an ideal time to place it in the garden. I prefer to plant trees and shrubs that have a slow growth rate when they look aged. It takes years for a young tree to develop a desirable form, even in the hands of a skilled aesthetic pruner. The ultimate size you allow the tree to grow will depend on the garden and tree species. Your home garden is an intimate place. Specimen trees should be kept to a height where they can be maintained using a tall ladder, with the ability to reach the top. Since trees are easily damaged, climbing should be restricted to a highly skilled professional. Large ornamental trees are a good addition to the background behind or on the outskirts of the garden. This will add more depth to the garden and allow you to incorporate existing trees that do not require as much maintenance.

Ongoing care Caring for the specimen that has been so diligently placed and faced requires a yearly progression to keep the tree evolving and complete the garden composition. Unless you have a very mature plant, the tree was not placed to look and stay exactly the same year

after year. Guide the tree to develop as a part of the garden. It needs to be nurtured and tailored to its new space. The proper maintenance technique will take time. Deciduous trees such as Japanese maples will require less maintenance time seasonally than a tree with needles like a pine. The more proper attention the tree gets, the better it will look. In Michigan we only have one growing season and the climate can be hard on specimens. Following exact Japanese pruning techniques is not advised for landscape specimen trees here. The variances between Michigan’s climate and Japan’s affect the trees in each environment differently. The last thing you want to do is weaken a weak tree. Educate yourself on Japanese techniques with the understanding that you will need to customize the practice for Michigan. If the idea of caring for the tree is overwhelming at first, seek some professional help for tasks beyond your own skill set or until you are comfortable with the work. A specimen tree in a Japanese style garden is recognized for cultivated age and beauty. The most successful gardens incorporate multiple factors: the number of trees used, which side is selected for the face, the location, and how each tree is planted and continually cared for. These are all equally important parts to the completed composition. With the right plan in place, specimen trees will add a tremendous amount of artistic value and enjoyment, whether you are creating a traditional Japanese garden or a stylized Michigan version. Emaline Fronckowiak is Director of Landscape and Design at AguaFina Gardens International in Sylvan Lake, Michigan.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

plant focus



continued on next page

Dummen Group

‘Estrella Voodoo Pink Star’

here are over 200 species of Verbena, originating primarily from the Americas and Europe. They have the common name vervain, but are almost always referred to as verbena. In the last 3,000 years or so, humans have used verbena in many ways. Just a few include warding off witches and vampires, creating teas and herbal sachets, and serving as the featured snack in Native American ceremonies. In the garden, many of us are only familiar with 2 or 3 species. Tall verbena (Verbena bonairiensis) is a tall, wiry, lavender-blue bloomer that flowers profusely in sunny locations. Some of us have the good fortune of having grown upright verbena (Verbena rigida), whose several varieties effortlessly produce flowers from pink to blue to pale lavender on 12- to 15-inch George tall plants. Papadelis In this Plant Focus, we will describe the most popular type of verbena and one of the most popular bedding plants in the world: the spreading verbena. Hybridizers have combined several species to produce plants with clustered flowers in outstanding colors on this mounding to spreading plant. The best verbena are grown from cuttings (i.e. “vegetatively,” and not from seed) and will thrive in any sunny position.

Many series of verbenas There are many series of spreading verbena that exist today. They have names like Donalina, Temari, Escapade, Aztec, Babylon, Fuego, Lapel, Tukana, Star Dreams, and many, many more. Several of these series have outstanding colors and very good performance, but growers have sifted through them and favored some of the newer, high performance genetics. The most popular series in the world today is the Lanai series. Most cultivars in the series are trailing plants that grow 8 to 12 inches tall with a spreading habit 18 to 24 inches wide. Some cultivars in the Lanai series include the word “upright” in the name and will grow about the same height but with a less spreading, more upright habit. The large-clustered flowers are available in many colors including purple, pink, red, magenta, blush white, blue, Proven Winners

‘Lanai Twister Pink’

Proven Winners

‘Superbena Royale Chambray’

continued on page 32

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

National Garden Bureau

‘Lanai Candy Cane’

National Garden Bureau

‘Lanai Twister Red’

continued from page 30 and rose. Some of the more unique colors include ‘Peach,’ the purple and white star-patterned ‘Purple Star,’ white-centered flowers like ‘Blue with Eye’ and ‘Purple with Eye,’ the baby pink and deep rose bicolored flowers of ‘Bright Eye,’ and the bicolored clusters of pink and white florets in ‘Twister Pink.’ Two exciting new Lanai cultivars were recently introduced. ‘Candy Cane’ has electric red and white bicolored flowers that will likely get your attention this spring. And ‘Lime Green’ has the first chartreuse/green flowers on a verbena. For 2014, we have ‘Vintage Rose,’ whose pink-centered flower clusters fade to an outer edge of white. The ‘Twister’ group of the Lanai series has a similar color pattern configuration in pink, purple, and the new one for 2014: ‘Twister Red.’ I am eager to see what exciting combinations gardeners are able to create with these new eye-catching colors. The Superbena series also contains several popular colors including red, blue, burgundy, pink, and purple. More recently, the Superbena line has grown to include high performance varieties denoted with the name ‘Superbena Royale.’ These include ‘Superbena Royale Iced Cherry,’ ‘Superbena Royale Red,’ ‘Superbena Royale Chambray’ (blue), and ‘Superbena Royale Peachy Keen.’ Both the Lascar and the Empress series have become very popular the last several years but the Estrella series has added a few striking selections that you have to see. ‘Estrella Voodoo Red Star’ has vibrant red and white, star-patterned flowers whose colors are exceptionally vivid—almost glowing. ‘Estrella Voodoo Pink Star’ has equally stunning flowers of rose and white. And ‘Estrella Voo-

Proven Winners

‘Lanai Purple Star’


Proven Winners

continued on page 34

Dummen Group

‘Estrella Voodoo Red Star’

‘Superbena Royale Iced Cherry’

Botanical name: Verbena (ver-BEE-nah) Plant type: Annual Plant size: 8-12 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide Habit: Spreading Flower color: Purple, pink, red, blue, rose, magenta, white, peach and bi-color combinations Flower size: Clusters (about 3 inches wide) of 1/2-inch wide flowers Bloom period: Spring into fall Light: Full sun Soil: Rich, well-drained Hanging baskets, containers, bedding plant, perennial beds Uses: Remarks: A low-maintenance, durable, and versatile plant. Verbena is one of the few annuals that can tolerate both light frost and extreme heat. Use verbena to provide spots of color in perennial beds; it is one of those annuals that combines well with perennials. Vegetatively-produced plants (grown from cuttings, typically offered in 4-inch pots or “superpacks”) generally perform better than seed-grown varieties (typically grown in flats).





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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Proven Winners

‘Superbena Royale Red’ continued from page 32 doo Salmon Star’ has less shocking but equally beautiful flowers of salmon-rose and white.

How to grow and care for verbenas Since verbenas are low maintenance, spreading, and heat tolerant, they are very versatile and valuable in the landscape. Three or four plants in a hanging basket will produce a beautiful trailing container. In container combinations, verbenas make an excellent spilling companion to your favorite fillers and thrillers. In annual beds, verbenas produce glowing masses of color at the base of any taller components such as salvias or geraniums. And in perennial beds, a mound of verbena could provide a long-lasting, low-maintenance splash of flowers to help add color from spring to fall. Verbenas will thrive in rich, well-drained soil where maximum sunlight is available. Plants that are fertilized are more likely to remain floriferous, so amend your soil with a time-release fertilizer or use a water soluble feed every 2 to 3 weeks. Among the many bedding plants that are available, verbena is one of the very few that will tolerate frost or a light freeze—while also enduring the extreme heat of midsummer. Plants will benefit from having the spent flowers removed, but should remain in flower even without any deadheading—especially when grown in full sun.

Dummen Group

‘Estrella Voodoo Pink Star’ Verbena can fall prey to damaging insects such as aphids and thrips. Both can be easily treated with insecticidal soap. Verbena is also susceptible to the foliar disease called powdery mildew. Wet foliage, high humidity, a lack of air circulation, and shade can all facilitate the proliferation of powdery mildew spores. Susceptibility does vary greatly from cultivar to cultivar. In 2014, a new series called EnduraScape will be readily available. This is the first series to tout plants that are mildew proof. In trials all over the country, this series has consistently been a top performer and certainly warrants consideration in any landscape. For 2014, EnduraScape will be available in purple, rose, and white blush. Seed-grown verbenas are common bedding plants found in flats every spring. The flowers tend to produce seed and then reduce or stop flowering. Therefore, the removal of spent flowers on seed-grown verbena is far more important, especially during the hotter weeks of the summer. In general, they are also much more prone to powdery mildew. When given the option, it is in your best interest to choose the vegetatively-propagated verbenas for the best results. George Papadelis is the owner of Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, Shelby Twp. and Pontiac, MI.

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May/June hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-5, Sun 10-4 Excellent selection of perennials, grasses, hostas, native plants, herb and vegetable plants, all grown here at our nursery. Heirloom tomatoes and interesting pepper varieties. Perennials from starter 3.5” pots up to 2-gallon size. Outdoor-grown perennials, acclimated to local weather conditions, selected for Michigan gardens. Complete catalog on our website. Knowledgeable, experienced staff.

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Herb of the Year: Artemisia There are many different varieties of artemisia. We use them in food and in medicine, as decorative additions to the garden and bouquets, and as insect repellents. Artemisias grow best in neutral or slightly alkaline soil, and in well-drained locations. They come in several leaf colors including green, silver, silver backed with dark green, golden, and variegated forms. It is not grown for its flowers, which are small, nondescript balls, and have wind-borne pollen that can cause allergies. Most of them die back to the ground in the winter, but the silver-leaved stalks look good in all seasons in the garden. They are wonderful for arrangements, both dried and fresh, and most of them have a slight but pleasant fragrance. Artemisias have been used for centuries in medicines and in the kitchen. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), for example, was used to make the festive roast goose less greasy, the Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum). A beer more tasty before the use of hops, as a French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus). A very good herb for cooking and vinegars. perennial shrub and highly aromatic herb. tea substitute, in the closet to protect against moths, fleas, and other insects, in pillows to predict the future when slept upon, in shoes to prevent tired, achy feet, and as a mild sedative in childbirth. In Michigan, mugwort grows into a five-foot shrub in one season, and dies to the ground in the winter. It is hardy, and is best divided in the spring if you want to propagate it. It makes a good backdrop in the garden for yarrow, daisies and other flowers that look good against its dark green leaves. It is pretty in bouquets, and dries well for decorative wreaths and dried bouquets. French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) does not set a viable seed and thus must be divided early in the spring or propagated by cuttings. If you see tarragon seeds for sale, they are for the Russian tarragon, a coarse and much less flavorful variety that will do nothing for your cooking. In Michigan, Roman wormwood (Artemisia pontica). This French tarragon is a hardy perennial that small perennial is a delight to grow. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). A very tall perennial shrub that has many uses in the herb garden. prefers full sun, good drainage, and to be left alone. It is not a beautiful plant, with green shoots that may reach two feet in height, and plant found on the sandy shores of the Great once used in Europe to help clarify the mind the carrier from germs, odors and bad smells it tends to sprawl around. It tastes like licorice Lakes. It is lovely when added to beach-gathand as an antidote for drunkenness. in the outhouses. when the fresh leaves are chewed, but when ered bouquets and beach-inspired potpourri, Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) White sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana) added to foods such as scrambled eggs, meat, as it is lightly scented. is not listed as hardy in Michigan, but ours contains the popular ‘Silver King’ and ‘Silver meat marinades, fish, salad dressings, poulWormwood (Artemisia absinthium) grows has been here for about 30 years and is still Queen’ varieties. It is hardy in Michigan, and try, and many vegetables, it loswell in Michigan where growing strong. In the garden it is a pretty, will establish itself into quite a large circle es much of the licorice flavor it is planted in perennial finely-leaved silver accent plant that grows if left alone. The various varieties and new and takes on a delicious taste gardens as a silver accent about two feet tall. It spreads by runners, and cultivars are frequently crosses between the of its own. It is the basis of the plant. It is the flavoring if any of the branches lean over and touch the kings and the queens, and are nearly imposgreat tarragon vinegar, and bébase for the liqueur called ground they will root too. It was reputed to sible for the backyard gardener to tell apart. arnaise sauce. It is said that to absinthe, which has been make old men young again, making hair grow There are some varieties that are more upbe a great cook, you must masbanned by the U.S. Food and increasing energy levels. It has been used right in their growth habit, and others that ter the subtleties of this herb. and Drug Administrato extract slivers and reduce swellings. The tend to get floppy. It is widely used in dried Beach artemisia or beach tion because it has been leaves are strong smelling and are still used bouquets, swags, and for wreath bases where wormwood (Artemisia caushown to cause severe in potpourri and sachets to repel moths and Jean & Roxanne P h oto g r a p h s by data) is what Michigan beachdamage to the mental fleas. In Victorian days, southerwood was J e a n a n d R ox a n n e R i g g s Riggs combers call this common system. Curiously, it was used in nosegays or hand sachets to protect | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener


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Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) in the fall. MI Gardener May 2014

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Silver Queen artemisia (Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Silver Queen’). This silver perennial is beautiful in the garden the entire year and dries well to use in arrangements. its lovely silver color is highly regarded. When the herb dries it retains flexibility, which makes it easy to wrap around a wreath ring all through the fall and winter months. Native Americans used it for throat infections and as a purification agent in many rituals. Roman wormwood (Artemisia pontica) is a shorter silver plant. With its finely cut leaves and fancy look, it is sometimes used as the gray accent plant in intricate knot gardens, where it tolerates regular clippings. It is aromatic and would lend itself to smaller wreaths and dried arrangements where it pairs well with stems of lavender. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) is a tall, annual, golden green variety that is very strongly scented and drives persons with

fall allergies to curse its existence. But some find the aroma intoxicating and it should be tried at least one season in an herb garden. If left unharvested, it will seed itself everywhere. But when dried, it keeps its color and fragrance. It is grown by seed that is very fine and dust like. Medicinally, it is being developed for an anti-malarial drug. In all, artemisias come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and are a welcome addition to herbal and perennial gardens, with their lovely foliage and many uses. This historically important herb deserves a special place in your garden. 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 2014 |

perennial perspectives


Upright or creeping: There’s a speedwell for every garden When one thinks of the genus Veronica, commonly referred to as speedwell, an image of an upright plant with spiky blue flowers comes to mind. While there are dozens of varieties that fit that description, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this very diverse genus. According to Wikipedia, there are nearly 450 different species of Veronica, and that does not even include cultivars, of which there are scores. As of the past few decades, the genus is even more diverse as a result of breeders creating crosses of many species Karen Bovio and existing cultivars. In fact, most of the hybrids available today have such mixed parentage that they can no longer be referred to by a species name at all. And unless you are a botanist or taxonomist, it matters little. What is important to gardeners is the focus on ornamental traits, such as flower color, length of bloom season, attractiveness of foliage, hardiness, minimal winter injury, and resistance to pests and diseases. From a horticultural perspective, speedwells can be grouped according to their growth habit, and they separate out quite neatly into two groups: the upright clumping sorts, generally with dense, spike-shaped inflorescences, and the prostrate, mat-forming groundcover types, which often have small flowers in loose clusters or short open spikes consisting of just a few flowers. The two groups also vary considerably in bloom time, with the spike types (generally derived from Veronica spicata and V. longifolia parentage) blooming in midsummer, and the prostrate types (derived from many species from all over the globe) blooming in the spring. While blue is the typical flower color associated with speedwell (most of the true species have blue or blue-violet flowers), breeders have greatly expanded the color range available to gardeners. In fact, among the newest cultivars, we find that pale pink, rose, lavender, and purple prevail over blue! This is a game-changer for the genus, because the expanded palette provides the opportunity for gardeners to use veronica in many more perennial combinations, without the risk of being boring.

‘Hocus Pocus’

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Recommended Veronica cultivars Spike-flowering types ‘Fairytale’ – Tall, pale pink spikes, disease resistant, 27 inches tall ‘Giles Van Hees’ – Short bright pink spikes, dwarf plants, 6 inches ‘Hocus Pocus’ – Violet-blue spikes, densely branched, disease resistant, 16-20 inches ‘Purpleicious’ – Purple spikes, excellent rebloom, disease resistant, 18 inches ‘Red Fox’ – Tried and true older dark pink cultivar, long blooming, 12 to 15 inches ‘Ulster Blue Dwarf’ – Dense blue spikes, compact plant, 12 inches

New cultivars to watch for: Varieties in the Atomic, Harmony, and Younique series. Cultivars in a wide range of colors, all well branched with greater disease resistance.

Prostrate-growing varieties ‘Blue Reflection’ – Blue flowers, fast-growing, vigorous, heat-tolerant, 3 to 5 inches tall ‘Georgia Blue’ – Early royal blue flowers, small dark leaves, good drainage, 2 inches V. prostrata ‘Mrs. Holt’ – Soft pink flowers on short 6-inch spikes, tolerant of dry soils V. ‘Aztec Gold’ – Chartreuse foliage, blue flowers in short spikes, 6 to 8 inches ‘Waterperry Blue’ – Scalloped bronze leaves in spring, lavender flowers, 4 inches

New cultivars to watch for:

‘Giles Van Hees’

‘Tidal Pool’ – Violet blue flowers, silver blue-tinged foliage, weather tolerant, 2 to 3 inches ‘Whitewater’ – Pure white-flowering form of ‘Waterperry Blue,’ blooms May-June

‘Red Fox’

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Spike-flowering types

The new cultivars of the spike-flowering type are especially garden-worthy because breeders have selected for longer bloom period and better growth habit, with less dieback of flowering stems after bloom, a potential for re-bloom, and flower spikes that go right to the base of the plant. Older cultivars sometimes developed “bare legs” at the bottom of the plant, necessitating a “skirt plant” in the foreground to cover the unattractive bare stems. The newer cultivars are branched from the base, with flower stems arising much lower on the plant, giving a fuller look. However, some older taller cultivars still have their place (and look great with facing skirt plants) when planted in a middle position in the perennial bed. Just don’t expect them to look perfect in their pots at the garden center.

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‘Younique Baby Red’ Sometimes foliar diseases, including powdery and downy mildew, leaf-spotting fungi and rusts can mar the foliage of the upright-growing speedwells. Problems are more prevalent in hot and humid summers, particularly in densely-planted gardens, or when moisture lingers on the foliage. One of the advantages of the newer cultivars is increased disease resistance. Nevertheless, it’s smart gardening to position speedwells in full to nearly full sun where they’ll have good air flow—in other words, not too closely spaced, nor too close to large, overpowering neighbors. They also require good drainage, the preferred soil type being an amended sandy loam. Winter wetness is a particular problem for all speedwells, with crown die-out being typical in soils that are too heavy. Planting in raised beds or on a gentle slope is helpful, but

the best approach is to amend heavy soils to increase porosity and drainage.

Prostrate-growing varieties

Similar soil conditions suit the prostrategrowing varieties, but some of these can take a bit more shade than their upright cousins. Many unimproved (non-hybrid) veronica species are well suited for use as groundcovers, and include Veronica chamaedrys, V. liwanensis, V. prostrata, V. pectinata, and V. surculosa among others. Rare-plant nurseries and seed companies that specialize in perennials may offer some of these species, but rarely will they be found in garden centers. There, you are more likely to find selections and cultivars that have been selected or bred for more dense foliage, particularly after flowering, as most of these types have a shorter (often profuse!) spring

bloom time. Since the foliage is the main feature for the duration of the growing season, care should be taken to choose cultivars that not only suit the site, but have attractive leaves, dense foliage habit, and good vigor. Dwarf cultivars of the spike-type speedwells are also available, particularly from specialist nurseries. These kinds are somewhat midway in growth habit between prostrate/spreading and upright/clumping. They typically form flat mats of foliage, often evergreen, with a slowly spreading habit and short, dense flower spikes in early to mid summer. They make perfect rock garden subjects. Indeed, with the great number of species and cultivars available, there’s a speedwell for nearly every type of garden. Karen Bovio is the owner of Specialty Growers in Howell, MI.



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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Cheryl M. English

Prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa)

Incorporating native plants into your traditional garden


ardening with native plants is becoming even hotter in gardening circles as more gardeners learn about the connection between our native plants and insects, and other animal species. Even diehard “traditional” gardeners are embracing the idea of including native plants alongside their exotic standards. Even though I garden with dozens of native species, I’m nevertheless a relative newcomer to this concept. In the ten years I’ve been focusing on expanding my selection of native plants, I have discovered— sometimes intentionally, sometimes by chance—some outstanding plant combinations that have worked every bit as well as any combination of traditional garden Cheryl M. plants ever did. In some cases, the natives English were selected to replace high-maintenance exotics, to even greater effect.

This group of natives and non-natives mingles well With a small front yard, I decided early on to keep the color scheme fairly simple, focusing on white, blues and purples with occasional yellow accents. The tree peony ‘Kamada Nishiki’ (Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kamada Nishiki’) is a showstopper for its flamboyant flowers, complemented by native prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa), whose bloom time overlaps and extends beyond Don Schulte

Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

Cheryl M. English

‘Loop de Loop’ German iris (Iris germanica ‘Loop de Loop’)

continued on page 44

Eckert’s Greenhouse & Perennials

English Gardens

34075 Ryan Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310 586-979-2409

22501 Kelly Rd., Eastpointe, MI 48021 586-771-4200 •

May/June hours: Mon-Sat 8:30-8, Sun 8:30-6 From the rare and unusual to the preferred and popular, you will find something extraordinary for your garden: Annuals, Geraniums, Hanging Baskets, Flower Pouches, Perennials, Collector’s Hostas, Roses (David Austin English, Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Shrub), Clematis, Vines, Alpine Plants, Woodland Wildflowers, Groundcovers, Butterfly Plants, Native Plants. Gorgeous hosta display gardens too!

Elya’s Village Gardens & Greenhouses 24200 26 Mile Rd., Macomb, MI 48042 586-749-9212 May/June hours: Mon-Sat 9-7, Sun 10-3 We do more than just sell you plants—our award-winning landscape designers will help you select the right plants for your home and garden. Annuals, perennials, many hosta varieties, trees and shrubs from top-quality Michigan growers. Familyowned garden center since 1966. Also full-service landscape installation.

English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd., Clinton Township, MI 48038
 586-286-6100 Hours – Thru Sun, June 8: Mon-Sat 8-9, Sun 8-6; Starting Mon, June 9: Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-6 Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, English Gardens is family- and locally-owned, operating six full-service stores, one seasonal store, and a full-service, landscaping company in Metro Detroit. Each full-service store has a nursery, garden center, patio shop, and seasonal Christmas center featuring the best value and finest quality products and services. For more information: 800335-GROW.

May/June hours: Mon-Sat 9-7; Sun 10-6 Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, English Gardens is familyand locally-owned, operating six full-service stores, one seasonal store, and a full-service, landscaping company in Metro Detroit. Each full-service store has a nursery, garden center, patio shop, and seasonal Christmas center featuring the best value and finest quality products & services. For more information: 800-335-GROW.

Hessell’s Greenhouse 14497 23 Mile Rd., Shelby Twp, MI 48315 586-247-4675 • Hours – May: Mon-Wed & Sat 8-8, Thu & Fri 8-8:30, Sun 8-7. June: Mon-Sat 8-7, Sun 9-5:30 Not your typical garden center, we specialize in annuals, perennials, unique hanging baskets, colorful planters, and vegetable plants, including many varieties of heirloom and “Around the World” vegetables. Also many unique gift and garden items. We grow our own plants on-site to offer you the best, freshest plants available.

Meldrum Brothers Nursery & Supply 29500 23 Mile Rd., New Baltimore, MI 48047 586-949-9220 • May/June hours: Mon-Sat 7-8, Sun 9-6 We are one of the oldest and largest landscape supply and garden centers in Southeastern Michigan. We carry a huge selection of plants, bulk materials, paving & wall stones, garden décor, fountains & statuary, and organic & traditional lawn/plant care products. We pride ourselves on offering the best service and advice in the area.

Rocks ‘n’ Roots 62520 Van Dyke, Washington, MI 48094 586-752-4900 • May/June hours: Please see website One of Michigan’s largest selections of landscape hardgoods, pond supplies, and outdoor lighting. All are on display, including waterfalls, ponds, decorative stone, paver walks and retaining walls. Free do-it-yourself seminars indoors, rain or shine. Familyowned since 1928, with over 100 combined years of hands-on experience to help with your project, big or small.

Young’s Garden Mart 27825 Ryan Rd., Warren, MI 48092 586-573-0230 May/June hours: Mon-Sat 9-7, Sun 10-5 Family run and operated since 1924, we offer a variety of annual, perennial, and tropical plants, as well as gardening gifts and tools. We are proud to be the area’s trusted garden center, open yearround. Our Christmas Shoppe, established in 1963, provides only the highest quality Christmas decorations.

a dv e r t i s i n g f e at u r e

Stone Cottage Gardens Specializing in Hybrid Daylilies

Huge selection of daylilies, hostas, ferns, perennials, grasses, vines, herbs, groundcovers & gardening tools ~ Garden art & accessories ~ Going “Up North” for the weekend? Check the Michigan Gardener calendar or our website for special events Open May 3 - Oct. 11 Mon-Fri 10-6 Sat 9-4 or by chance or appointment

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

Farm Compost Screened, sold by the bag or cubic yard. Also leaf compost and topsoil/compost blends. Delivery available.

Tuthill Farms & Composting 10505 Tuthill Rd., S. Lyon, MI 48178


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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Cheryl M. English

Perennial lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Cheryl M. English

‘Kamada Nishiki’ tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kamada Nishiki’)

Don Schulte

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Cheryl M. English

Purple tulips ascend through a groundcover of pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia). continued from page 42 that of the peony. The two plants’ flowers have similar coloration: a cool pink or warm pale purple, depending on your perspective. These two plants bracket pussytoes (Antennaria) and define a space that includes other native and exotic species that work together for a larger composition. Stout blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), perennial lupine (Lupinus perennis), and leadplant (Amorpha canescens) round out the natives, while white snowdrop anemone (Anemone sylvestris), blue wood hyacinth (Hyacinthoides hispanica; the white or pink of this species would work equally well in this planting), and iris (Iris germanica ‘Loop de Loop’) complete the exotic contingent. The longblooming phlox carries the garden into early summer with ease, with the leadplant taking over for most of the summer. All the plants provide nectar for native insects. The lupine is the host plant for the critically-endangered Karner blue butterfly. Both the lupine and the leadplant harbor beneficial bacteria in their root systems and are nitrogen-fixing plants, helping to improve overall soil health. Native birds will feed on the plants’ seeds later in the season. All the species prefer lean, well-drained soil and full sun. They are fairly drought-tolerant once established.

Accidental pairing One of my favorite “accidental” combinations consists of plantain-leaved pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia) and a tall, purple, small-flowered late tulip. I don’t even know the name of this tulip—I received it as a bonus to a bulb order I placed years ago. I initially planted them in the backyard, but I moved them to the front to grow in with my lamb’s ears, a plant I grew for its furry, silvery-green foliage. However, I did not care for their messy habit, aggressiveness, yellow flowers

Cheryl M. English

Golden yellow sand tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) and blue ‘Perle d’Azur’ clematis (Clematis x ‘Perle d’Azur’). (which seemed at odds with the foliage), or the fact that they weren’t really contributing much to the wildlife I wanted to support. The pussytoes, on the other hand, are host plants for the American lady butterfly, have slightly fuzzy, silvery green leaves, and adorable flowers that look like little cats’ feet. Drought-tolerant once established and amenable to lean conditions, the rosettes of leaves are tidy and stay low to the ground, making this an excellent groundcover. The flowers rise to

about eight inches and look lovely with the late-flowering purple tulips. Pair them with tulip varieties such as ‘Queen of Night,’ ‘Lilac Perfection,’ ‘Blue Parrot,’ or ‘Blue Heron’ for a soothing spring composition.

Complementary combo of blue and yellow Another serendipitous combination is exotic ‘Perle d’Azur’ clematis (Clematis x ‘Perle d’Azur’) and sand tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), the former a true blue, the latter a slightly orang- | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener

ish yellow: complements to one another. The lower-growing tickseed provides color at the vine’s base; its yellow flowers are borne on delicate stems above the rosettes of foliage. The clematis’s bloom period coincides with the first flush of blooms in the coreopsis. With deadheading, you can get a second and, sometimes, a third flush of blooms. Insects nectar on both; native birds feast on the coreopsis seed, which will volunteer freely. That is how the plant first appeared in this part of my yard, right at the base of the clematis. Any undesirable plants can be dug out (and transplanted!) quite easily, so its rambunctiousness is easily checked.

Late summer partners Come mid-August, exotic clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’ (Clematis heracleifolia ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’) is the diva of the front yard. A non-vining variety, this is a big plant, easily topping eight feet. I like to have it close to the border so visitors can better appreciate its delicate lavender flowers and mock orange scent, so I grow it up through an obelisk, from which it cascades down, tumbling through native purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica). I have seen dozens of species of native bees nectaring on the clematis, and numerous pollinators—especially swallowtail butterfly species—feeding on the coneflower and lobelia. The


coneflower also provides seed for goldfinches and other small native birds. These are just a few ideas for ways you can combine traditional garden plants with some of our native species. Some folks feel native plants don’t play well with long-time garden favorites or that they’re untidy. Others are uncertain about how to incorporate them into their existing gardens successfully. Just follow the same “rules” as you do with traditional garden plants: Group plants with similar cultural conditions together to improve ease of maintenance. Remember that warm colors advance visually while cool colors recede. Generally, place taller plants toward the back and shorter toward the front. Species such as columbine (Aquilegia) and coreopsis, whose stems rise above basal rosettes of foliage, work better in the front of the border despite—or perhaps because of—the height of their flowers. Consider putting off spring clean-up until May to protect overwintering insects such as swallowtail butterflies and various moth species. Plant in masses for greater impact. Finally... have fun with it! 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. Her typical urban lot has over 50 varieties of clematis and almost 200 species of native plants. She opens her garden to the public twice a year at her Annual Spring/Summer Garden Tours. The 2014 dates: May 31 and August 16. The tours are free and no pre-registration is required. Contact Cheryl to speak at your next meeting or event: cenglish@blackcatpottery. com. Follow Cheryl’s blog at and follow along at

Cheryl M. English

Don Schulte is an avid gardener and enjoys interpreting Michigan wildflowers and other garden favorites through his photography. Don and Cheryl have been working together to document the clematis, other traditional garden favorites, and native plants in her garden. See more of his work at and

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Don Schulte

‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’ shrub clematis (Clematis heracleifolia ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’)

Cheryl M. English

‘Perle d’Azur’ clematis (Clematis x ‘Perle d’Azur’)

Don Schulte

Blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

A collection of stores and gardens to shop and visit. Please call ahead for hours, as they may vary from season to season.

Columbiaville, Davison

Bay City, Burton, Clio, Gladwin, Midland, Saginaw

North Branch


Emmett Imlay City

Flushing Lennon


Grand Blanc





Clarkston Hartland

Holly White Lake Waterford

White Lake Highland




West Bloomfield

Walled Lake Wixom Brighton

Rochester Hills


New Hudson South Lyon

Whitmore Lake

Novi Northville

Bloomfield Hills Birmingham

Farmington Hills Farmington

Canton Wayne

Southfield Oak Park Ferndale

Taylor Romulus



Want to advertise your local business in Places to Grow? 2 options: You have 2 options:

H Denotes MG Advertiser addison twp H Yule Love It Lavender Farm 960 Yule Rd., MI 48367 248-628-7814

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4-line listing with your: • Business name • Address • Phone • Website or E-mail

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4-line listing PLUS highlighting: • Business name • Address • Phone • Website or E-mail

please contact us for info: publisher@ 248-594-5563

Brownstown Twp.

ann arbor

H English Gardens 155 N. Maple Rd, MI 48103 734-332-7900 H HillTop Greenhse/Farms H Lodi Farms H The Produce Station H Turner’s Greenhse/Garn Ctr Wild Birds Unltd

auburn hills

Drake’s Landscp & Nurs


Grosse Pointes

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brighton Southgate

Trenton Grosse Ile

Rockwood, Monroe


premium listing

Dearborn Dearborn Heights


New Boston Tipton

Sterling Hts.


Belleville Manchester

Clinton Twp.



Ann Arbor

New Baltimore


Livonia Redford



St. Clair Berkley Roseville Shores Madison Royal Oak Heights Warren


Cement City, Chelsea, Grass Lake, Jackson, Stockbridge

Shelby Twp.

Auburn Hills

Sylvan Lake Howell



H Haley Stone 3600 Lapeer Rd., MI 48326 248-276-9300 H State Crushing


Grand Oak Herb Farm

bay city H Begick Nursery & Garden Ctr 5993 Westside Saginaw Rd., MI 989-684-4210


Banotai Greenhse Gardeners Choice H Pinter Flowerland H Zywicki Greenhse


H Beauchamp Landscp Supp Bordine’s Brighton Farmer’s Mkt Cowbell Lawn/Gard Leppek Nurs H Meier Flowerland 8087 W. Grand River, MI 48114 810-229-9430 H Nature’s Home & Garden Ctr 106 W. Main St., MI 48116 810-224-5577

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clio H Piechnik’s Grnhse & Gdn Ctr 13172 McCumsey Rd, MI 48420 810-686-9211

columbiaville Hilltop Barn

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cement city

Hallson Gardens


bloomfield hills

H Garden Mill 110 S. Main St., MI 48118 734-475-3539 The Potting Shed

gladwin H Stone Cottage Gard 3740 West Willford Rd., MI 48624 989-426-2919

grand blanc Bordine’s

H The Weed Lady 9225 Fenton Rd., MI 48439 810-655-2723

grass lake

Busy Lizzies H Designs by Judy Florist & Grnhse 3250 Wolf Lake Rd., MI 49240 517-522-5050

grosse ile

H Westcroft Gardens


H Wild Birds Unltd

Fairlane Gardens

dearborn heights H English Gardens 22650 Ford Rd, MI 48127 313-278-4433


Allemon’s Landscp Ctr H Detroit Farm and Garden 1759 21st St., MI 48216 313-655-2344 H Eastern Market 2934 Russell St., MI 48207 313-833-9300

H Fraleighs Landscape Nursery 8600 Jackson Rd., MI 48130 734-426-5067

Canton Floral Gardens Clink Nurs Crimboli Landscp/Nurs H Wild Birds Unltd

H Arrowhead Alpines

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H Wojo’s Gard Splendors 7360 E. Court St., MI 48423 810-658-9221


Garden Central Backyard Birds

Michigan Koi H Tropical Treasures

Bruce’s Pond Shop Raupp Brothers Gard Ctr Ruhlig Farms & Gard H Walker Farms & Greenhouse 5253 E. Atherton Rd., MI 48519 810-743-0260

Casual Modes Home/Gard Green Thumb Gard Ctr H Flushing Lawn & Garden Ctr 114 Terrace St., MI 48433 810-659-6241

H English Gardens 44850 Garfield Rd, MI 48038 586-286-6100




clinton twp


Gerych’s Flowers/Gift H Heavenly Scent Herb Farm


Van Thomme’s Greenhses

Addison Twp.



Bordine’s Country Oaks Landscp I Lowrie’s Landscp H The Pond Source


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

Port Huron



Bancroft, Owosso


H Bloom! Gard Ctr Dexter Mill


Ariel’s Enchanted Gard H English Gardens 22501 Kelly Rd, MI 48021 586-771-4200 Semrau Gard Ctr


Backyard Birds

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Angelo’s Landscp Supp Farmer John’s Greenhse Loeffler Stone Ctr H Steinkopf Nurs

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Fowler’s Gift Shop


Krupps Novelty Shop


Bushel Mart Superior Growers Supp Valley Nurs


Altermatt Greenhses Boyka’s Greenhse Deneweth’s Garden Ctr H Elya’s Village Gardens Landscape Source Joe Randazzo’s Nurs Olejnik Farms Wade Nurs Wiegand’s Nursery


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H Wildtype Nurs


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H Milarch Nurs 28500 Haas Rd., MI 48165 248-437-2094


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Deneweth’s Garden Ctr


Christian’s Greenhse H Van Atta’s Greenhse


Colasanti’s Produce/Plant Fragments Highland Garden Ctr H One Stop Landscp Supp


H Rice’s Garden Ornaments

howell H Howell Farmer’s Mkt Dwntn Howell @ State & Clinton St. 517-546-3920 Penrose Nurs H Specialty Growers 4330 Golf Club Rd., MI 48843 517-546-7742

imlay city

H Earthly Arts Greenhse


The Hobbit Place

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Lake Orion Lawn Orn H Orion Stone Depot H Wojo’s of Lake Orion 559 S. Lapeer Rd, MI 48362 248-690-7435


H Iron Barn Gard Ctr

H Campbell’s Greenhouses Oldani Landscp Nurs


Begonia Brothers Gardenviews H Willow Greenhouses


Glenda’s Gard Ctr Stone City H Wild Birds Unltd

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Four Seasons Gard Ctr

oakland H Piechnik’s Garden Gate 1095 N. Rochester Rd., MI 48363 586-336-7200


Country Oaks Landscp II H Wojo’s Greenhse 2570 Oakwood Rd., MI 48462 248-627-6498


H Everlastings in Wildwood


Candy Cane Xmas Trees Oxford Farm/Gard


Backyard Birds Graye’s Greenhse Lucas Nurs H Plymouth Nursery 9900 Plymouth Rd., MI 48170 734-453-5500 | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener

Plymouth Rock Rock Shoppe Sparr’s Greenhse

H Eagle Landscp/Supp Lavin’s Flower Land Main’s Landscp Supp



Goldner Walsh Gard/Home H Telly’s at Goldner Walsh 559 Orchard Lake Rd., MI 48341 248-724-2300


Van’s Valley Greenhse


H Pinter Flowerland Seven Mi Gard Ctr


Fogler’s Greenhse Sherwood Forest Gard Ctr

rochester hills H Auburn Oaks Garden Ctr 3820 W. Auburn Rd, MI 48309 248-852-2310 Bordine’s H Haley Stone 3975 S. Rochester Rd., MI 48307 248-852-5511 H Shades of Green Nurs H Wild Birds Unltd


Marsh Greenhouses Too


Block’s Stand/Greenhse H Kurtzhals’ Farms H Schoedel’s Nurs H Schwartz’s Greenhouse 30705 Sibley Rd., MI 48174 734-753-9269


Dale’s Landscp Supp World Gardenland

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Billings Lawn Equip H English Gardens 4901 Coolidge Hwy, MI 48073 248-280-9500 H Wild Birds Unltd

saginaw H Abele Grnhse & Garden Ctr 3500 Wadsworth Rd., MI 48601 989-752-5625

saline H Nature’s Garden Ctr 6400 E. Michigan Ave. 734-944-8644 Saline Flowerland

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3 DDD’s Stand

H Ray Hunter Gard Ctr

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Decor Statuette H Eckert’s Greenhouse 34075 Ryan Rd., MI 48310 586-979-2409 Flower Barn Nurs Greenhouse Growers Prime Landscp Supp

Bushel Stop Panetta’s Landscp Joe Randazzo’s Nurs

white lake H Bogie Lake Greenhouses 1525 Bogie Lake Rd., MI 48383 248-887-5101 H Mulligan’s Landscp & Gard Ctr Sunshine Plants

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H Alexander’s Greenhses


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H AguaFina Gardens Intntl 2629 Orchard Lake Rd., MI 48320 248-738-0500


H Detroit Garden Works

taylor H Beautiful Ponds & Gardens 20379 Ecorse, MI 48180 313-383-8653 D&L Garden Ctr H Massab Acres H Panetta’s Landscp Supp


Mitchell’s Lawn/Landscp


Christian’s Greenhse H Brainer’s Greenhse Angelo’s Landscp Supp Milford Tree Farm Coleman’s Farm Mkt Lucas Nurs Margolis Nurs Materials Unlimited Sell Farms & Greenhse

Gardens to Visit H Matthaei Botanical Gardens/ Nichols Arboretum 1800 North Dixboro Rd., MI 48105 734-647-7600

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H Cranbrook Gardens 380 Lone Pine Rd., MI 48303 248-645-3147

H Uncle Luke’s Feed Store 6691 Livernois Rd., MI 48098 248-879-9147


Dale’s Landscp Supp Stone City

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H Suburban Landscp Supp


Beste’s Lawn/Patio Supp Garden Ctr Nurs H Young’s Garden Mart


Landscp Direct Miller’s Big Red Greenhse H Rocks ‘n’ Roots


Hoffman Nurs H Merrittscape H Oakland County Market 2350 Pontiac Lake Rd., MI 48328 248-858-5495


Artman’s Nurs

west bloomfield H English Gardens 6370 Orchard Lake Rd. 248-851-7506 Planterra


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Canton: 41816 Ford Rd. • 734-983-9130 Grosse Pointe Woods: 20381 Mack Ave • 313-881-1410 Novi: 47760 Grand River Ave • 248-374-4000 Rochester Hills: 3032 Walton Blvd • 248-375-5202 Royal Oak: 28558 Woodward Ave • 248-548-2424


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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

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May H Climate Resilient Communities Mon, May 5, 6-9pm, Pontiac. By MSU Extension at Oakland Co. Executive Office. $15. How government can slow down climate change. Register: events.anr.msu. edu/2014ClimateChange. Hardy Plant Society Meeting Mon, May 5, 7pm, Bloomfield Hills. By Hardy Plant Society at Congregational Church of Birmingham. $3. Discussion on native plants grown in urban gardens. 248-693-0334. Hydrangeas: Lots of Leaves, No Flowers Mon, May 5, 1-2pm, Farmington Hills. By Farmington Garden Club at Spicer House in Heritage Park. Joel Miller presents how to grow successful hydrangea varieties. H Birdwalk Wed, May 7, 6pm, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Go birding in our backyard with Rosann Kovalcik. More than 190 species have been sighted. 313-884-4222. Ferndale Garden Club Meeting Thu, May 8, 7pm, Ferndale. By Ferndale Garden Club at Kulick Comm. Ctr. Carol Olson presents how to build your own terrarium. 248-541-6427. Make & Take Tabletop Herb Garden Thu, May 8, 3-4:30pm, Clinton Twp. At Macomb MSU Extension. $7. Presented by Troy Huffaker of DTL Herbs. Register: 586-469-6440. Container & Patio Strategies Thu, May 8, 1-2:30pm, Clinton Twp. At Macomb MSU Extension. $7. Presented by Troy Huffaker of DTL Herbs. Register: 586-469-6440. H Mother’s Day Plant Sale & Fundraiser Sat, May 10 & Sun, May 11, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens. FREE admission. Hanging baskets & containers. All proceeds benefit the Arb & Gardens. Spring Plant Sale Sat, May 10, 8am-noon, Chelsea. By Chelsea Area Garden Club at Chelsea Community Fairgrounds. Perennials, hostas, wildflowers, ornamental grasses & experts on hand. Michigan All State Bonsai Show Sat, May 10 & Sun, May 11, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Peter Tea, bonsai artist & instructor, headlines this year’s show. 616-957-1580, www. Heirloom Tomato & Herb Sale Sat, May 10, 9-11am, Southgate. By Master Gardeners of West. Wayne Co. at News Herald parking lot. Plant exchange & heirloom plant sale. 313-719-1181. H Plant Sale Sat, May 10, 10am-2pm, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. Wide selection! Annuals, Conifers, Hosta, Native Plants, Trees, Shrubs & more. www.HiddenLakeGardens.msu. edu, 517-431-2060.

For information about Public Gardens, please visit Click on "Resources" then "Public Gardens." Spring Meeting & Plant Sale Sat, May 10, Pinckney. By NARGS at 11836 McGregor Road. Meeting & plant sale. Time TBA. www.glcnargs. com. H Plant a Flower for Mom! Sat, May 10, 10am-3pm, Plymouth. At Plymouth Nursery. FREE. Kids can stop in the greenhouse & plant a flower for Mom. Water Conservation 1 Sat, May 10, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. At Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. FREE. Explore water conservation in home & community gardens. Register: www.projectgrowgardens. org. Advice to Grow With: Ask a Master Gardener Sat, May 10, Noon-4pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Master Gardeners will be in the Peter M. Wege Library ready to answer your gardening questions. 9th Annual Plant Sale Sat, May 10, 10-4pm, Taylor. At The Taylor Conservatory. Silent auction Sun, 10am-2pm. Unusual varieties of perennials, native & butterfly plants/vines & more. H Flower Power Sat, May 10, 10am-noon, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. $10/child. Adults FREE. Ages 4-8 learn all about flowers. Mother’s Day Wildflower Hike Sun, May 11, 1-2:30pm, Ann Arbor. At Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. $5/person, Moms FREE. Guided wildflower hike. Register: 734-997-1553. Mother Nature’s Dirty Little Secret Mon, May 12, Noon, Mount Clemens. By Mount Clemens Garden Club at Mount Clemens Public Library. $3. Presentation by Linda Pegg. Register: 586-228-8921. Limber Up for Gardening Tue, May 13, & Wed, May 14, Noon, North Farmington. By North Farmington Garden Club at North Farmington Library. Dr. Ronald Jettie demos limbering up for the season. 248-722-4503. H 42nd Annual Spring Plant Sale Tue, May 13, 10am-7pm & Wed, 10am-2pm, Bloomfield Hills. At Cranbrook House & Gardens. FREE admission. Native plants, organics & much more. 248-645-3149. Meadow Brook Garden Club Plant Sale Wed, May 14, 9am-2pm, Rochester. By Meadow Brook Garden Club at Family Garage Court Yard. Shop & silent auction., 248-364-6210.

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


June 2014 May 15, 2014 July/August 2014 June 15, 2014 | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener


Garden by the Lake Landscaping with Herbs for Large & Small Spaces Wed, May 14, Noon-2:30pm, Troy. By Troy Garden Club at Big Beaver United Methodist Church. $7. Use herbs as part of your landscape. Light lunch included. Register: A Glimpse of Japan Wed, May 14, 11:30am-3pm, Southfield. Ikebana International Detroit Chapter at NW Unitarian Universalist Church. $15. Floral art demos, Japanese calligraphy & more. H Containers & Cocktails Thu, May 15, 5-8pm, Pontiac. At Telly’s. $22, plus materials. Free your planting spirit & learn to create & maintain gorgeous containers. 21 years+. 10% off containers/plants. 248-689-8735. H Sunset in the Garden Thu, May 15, 8-9:30pm, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. $7. Experience the beauty of Dogwood, Viburnum & Serviceberry at dusk. Henry Ford Estate Plant Sale & Garden Market Fri, May 16, 10am-3pm & Sat, May 17, 9am-1pm, Dearborn. At Henry Ford Estate. Unique perennials, wildflowers, culinary herbs, annuals, water plants, garden art & more. 313-701-2240. H Growing it Greener Sat, May 17, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden Ctr. FREE. Eliminating chemical & synthetic products in your yard & garden., 734-284-2500. H Wildflower Walks Sat, May 17, 11am-noon, Tipton. At Hidden Lake Gardens. $5. Walk through the wildflowers that adorn the natural areas of Hidden Lake Gardens. www.HiddenLakeGardens. Exploring Bees! Class 4 Sat, May 17, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow at Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. $10. Splitting hives & preventing swarms. H DIY Brick Paver Seminar Sat, May 17, 10-11am, Orion. At Orion Stone Depot. FREE. Learn how to install a full patio or garden wall from the pros. Register: 248-391-2490. H Kitchen Favorites Sale & Fundraiser Sat, May 17, & Sun, May 18, 10am-4:30pm, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Herbs, containers & heirloom vegetables. All proceeds support Cultivating Community. H Rose Gardening Made Easy Sat, May 17, 10am-3pm, Plymouth. At Plymouth Nursery. FREE. Learn everything you need to know to grow stunning roses from Jerry Amoroso of Week’s Roses. H Spring Open House Sat, May 17, & Sun, May 18, 9am-5pm. At Specialty Growers. FREE. Sat, 1pm, Laura Zigmanth presents “Using Native Plants to Attract Birds & Butterflies”. Sun, 1pm, Susan Bryan presents “Establishing a Rain Garden”. Vendors & more., 517-5467742. Vegetable Gardens & You! Sat, May 17, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. FREE. Gardening in raised plots & mixing herbs with veggies., 734-284-2500. Advice to Grow With: Ask a Master Gardener Sat, May 17, Noon-4pm, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. Master Gardeners will be in the Peter M. Wege Library ready to answer your gardening questions. H Night Creatures Sat, May 17, 10am, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Discover the fascinating features & survival tools of Michigan’s native nocturnal animals.

Spring Perennial Exchange Sat, May 17, 9-11am, Royal Oak. By Royal Oak Garden Club at Mahany/Meininger Community Ctr. Please bring labeled plants, bagged or potted. 248-398-4996. Growing Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes Organically Sat, May 17, 10am-noon, Ann Arbor. By Project Grow Community Gardens at Leslie Science & Nature Ctr. FREE. Raise different varieties from seed or tuber. Heirloom Tomato, Herb & Flower Sale Sat, May 17, 9am-2pm, Wayne. At MSU Extension at MGWWC. Final plant sale for the season. Belle Isle Plant Sale Sat, May 17, Belle Isle. By Agriscience Advisory at Belle Isle Greenhouses. Naturally-grown vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials., 313-824-3316. H Plant Sale Sat, May 17, 7am-2pm, East Lansing. By MSU Horticulture Gardens at Plant & Soil Sciences Building. VIP Member Sale on 5/16 from 5-7pm (membership available at the door). Great deals on perennials, grasses, herbs & much more. H Customer Appreciation Weekend Sat, May 17 & Sun, May 18, North Branch. At Campbell’s. Join us for a weekend full of sales, raffles, music, hot dogs & refreshments! 810-688-3587, H Eastern Market Flower Day Sun, May 18, 7am-5pm, Detroit. At Eastern Market. One of the largest flower shows in the country. Vendors, artisans, food & much more. H Heirloom Vegetables Sun, May 18, Noon, Pontiac. At Telly’s. $5. Jean Smith shares her passion for growing & cooking with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, & more using tested organic methods. 248-689-8735. H Kurt Smith Forest Presentation Sun, May 18, 2pm, Troy. By 4 Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Kurt Smith demos how to create a forest. Bring your trees for expert tips. David Nash: From Kew Gardens to Meijer Gardens Fri, May 23, Through Aug 17, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. The only venue outside London to host this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Tuber Sale Sat, May 24, 8am-4pm, Midland. By Dahlia Hill Society of Midland at Dahlia Hill, 2809 Orchard Dr. $2/each or 6/$10. Expert volunteers on hand. Iris Show Sat, May 24, & Sun, May 25, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens. View a lovely variety of irises, from old favorites to some of the newest hybrids. 616-957-1580, H “Easy Grows It!” Sat, May 24, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. FREE. Make gardening easier by including the use of low-maintenance garden plants., 734-284-2500. H Camp Constellation Sat, May 24, 8pm, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Future astronomers, bring your parents for a fun-filled night exploring our night sky. H Starry Night Thu, May 29, 9pm, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Bring your sweetheart to sample wine & hors d’oeuvres & enjoy live music. Shiawassee County Master Gardener Plant Sale Sat, May 31, 10am-2pm, Owosso. By Shiawassee County Master Gardeners at 1535 N. Hickory Rd. Great plants at great prices. continued on page 50

A lush display garden situated on the shore of Lake Huron

3 ACRES TO EXPLORE • Winding woodland paths traverse an acre of rhododendron, hosta & hydrangea displays • Rambunctious sunny borders • 1 acre meadow in bloom from March to Sept • Hydrangea borders in shade and sun • Tranquil shade gardens

ELEGANT GARDEN PARTIES • Antique bone china or chic stoneware for more casual affairs • Pretty glassware for every beverage • Summery cotton napkins and tablecloths

ALSO AVAILABLE • Classes and lectures • Photo ops for Grads, Families and Brides

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Unique plant varieties

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Need a focal point in your landscape? Plant collector? Looking for something a little different? Then Shades of Green is the place for you! Shrubs and trees are a long-lived investment, so start with quality plants that have been well cared for. Visit Shades of Green, meet our knowledgeable staff, and see our superior quality.

496 East Avon Rd • Rochester Hills 3 MILES NORTH OF M-59, BETWEEN ROCHESTER & JOHN R


Westcroft Gardens Plant Nursery

Trees • Shrubs • Perennials Annuals • Herbs • Vegetables Azaleas • Rhododendrons • Botanical Gardens • Farmers Market • Halloween Rides

Iron Railings

21803 West River Rd. Grosse Ile • 734-676-2444

Michigan’s Largest Bonsai Nursery

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Open: Saturday & Sunday 9am-4pm or by appointment

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8600 Jackson Road

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Monroe, MI 48161


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

Iron Work for the Home & Garden

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


Sign up today for our FREE e-newsletter! Visit and simply enter your e-mail address at the top of the page next to the Michigan Gardener logo. You will receive a few e-mails each year containing handy tips, events, expert Q&A and much more. Don’t miss the contest in each issue for your chance to win garden prizes. You can win FREE items like Michigan Gardener apparel, books and more!

continued from page 49 Tuber Sale Sat, May 31, 8am-4pm, Midland. By Dahlia Hill Society of Midland at Dahlia Hill, 2809 Orchard Dr. $2/each or 6/$10. Expert volunteers on hand. H Fairy Garden Make-it & Take-it Workshop Sat, May 31, 11am, Southgate. At Ray Hunter Florist & Garden. $20. Make your own miniature garden. Space is limited. Register:734-284-2500. H The Master’s Garden Sat, May 31, 9a-3pm, Bloomfield Hills. By MANRESA at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. $35. Marketplace, speakers & more. Learn to save the Earth by starting in the backyard. H Stained Glass Tree Sat, May 31, 10am-12:30pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $94.75. Create an inspirational piece of art for your garden. Bring wire cutters, gloves & needle nose pliers. 810-629-9208. 10th Heavenly Hosta Sale Sat, May 31, 9am-2pm & Sun, Jun 1, Noon-2pm, Ann Arbor. By Multiple Mission Groups at First Presbyterian Church. Many varieties, master gardeners on-site. H Creepy Crawlers Sat, May 31, 10am, Grosse Point Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Come on a bug safari to find the many creepy crawlers that live here., 313-884-4222. Hardy Plant Society Meeting Mon, Jun 2, 7pm, Bloomfield Hills. By Hardy Plant Society at Congregational Church of Birmingham. $3. Meet & greet, plant exchange, tea/punch on the patio & more. 248-693-0334. H Brenda’s Butterfly Habitat Opening Thu, Jun 5, Westland. At Barson’s Greenhouse. Butterfly life cycle & native host/nectar plants., 734-421-5959. H Sunset in the Garden Thu, Jun 5, 8-9:30pm, Grosse Pointe Shores. At Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. $7. Experience the beauty of Hawthorn & Crabapples at dusk. Clarkston Perennial Plant Exchange Sat, Jun 7, 8:30am, Clarkston. By Clarkston Farm & Garden Club at Village Parking Lot. Bring well-rooted, tagged perennials., 248-620-2984. Franklin Garden Walk Wed, Jun 11, 10am-4pm or 6-9pm, Franklin. By Franklin Garden Club at Historic Franklin. $15. Self-guided walk & artisan market., 248-855-1941. 10th Annual Art & Garden Festival Wed, Jun 11, 10am-3pm, Saginaw. At Andersen Enrichment Center. Over 35 art & garden vendors & more. 989-759-1362 ex 221, Rose Show Sat, Jun 14, Grand Rapids. By Grand Valley Rose Society at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Hybrid teas, miniatures, floribundas & old-fashioned types. 24th Annual Ann Arbor Garden Walk Sat, Jun 14, 10am-4pm, Ann Arbor. By Ann Arbor Branch of the Woman’s National Farm & Garden Association at 6 private gardens. $15. Benefits Leslie Science & Nature Center & Edible Avalon. H Rhubarb Leaf Fountain Sat, Jun 14, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $99.75. Create a 15” leaf shaped concrete fountain. Dress for mess & pick your fountain up in a week. 810-629-9208. H Canning Jams Wed, Jun 18, 6-9pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $58.75. Learn the basics of canning & make an herbal infused strawberry jam. Take home a small jar. 810-629-9208. Rochester Garden Tour Thu, Jun 19, 10am-6pm, Rochester. By Rochester Hills Museum & Rochester Garden Club at private area gardens. $14. Open Aire Market & presentation by Kathy Miller. 248-656-4663.

Master Gardener College Fri, Jun 20 & Sat, Jun 21, East Lansing. By MSU Extension at MSU. Gardening tours, workshops & educational sessions. 23rd Annual Grosse Pointe Garden Tour Fri, Jun 20, 10am-4pm, Grosse Pointe. By Grosse Pointe Garden Center, Inc at 6 area gardens. $15. Master gardeners & artisans. 313-881-7511 ext. 206, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Garden Walk Sat, Jun 21, 10am-4pm, Northville. By The Gardeners of Northville & Novi at 7 area gardens. $10. Rain or shine. Refreshments, vendors, raffle & more. gcnorthvillenovi@ Milford Garden Walk & Market Sale Sat, Jun 21, 10am-6pm, Milford. By The Milford Garden Club at 6 Milford area gardens. $12. Rain or shine., 248-698-7841. H Fairy Day Sat, Jun 21, 11am-3pm, Saline. At Nature’s Garden Center. FREE. Fairy Day activities. Frequent Fairy & Nature Bucks rewards cards. Enchanted Fairy Club for kids. 734-9448644. H DIY Brick Paver Seminar Sat, Jun 21, 10-11am, Orion. At Orion Stone Depot. FREE. Learn how to install a full patio or garden wall from the pros. Register: 248-391-2490. Crocker House Garden Walk Sat, Jun 21, 9am-4pm, Mount Clemens. By Macomb County Historical Society at Crocker House Museum. $15. Walk, breakfast & presentation. H Appreciation Sunday Sun, Jun 22, 11am-4pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. Enjoy cake & tea. Garden gifts given away every 15 minutes. 810-629-9208. H Fairy Day Sun, Jun 22, Noon-3pm, Brighton. At Nature’s Garden Center. FREE. Fairy Day activities. Frequent Fairy & Nature Bucks rewards cards. Enchanted Fairy Club for kids. 734-944-8644. Annual Bonsai Show Sat, Jun 28, & Sun, Jun 29, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Bonsai exhibit & beginner-toexpert level workshops. Raffles & auctions. H Cobblestone Planter Sat, Jun 28, 10am-noon, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $58.75. Create a cobblestone planter with clay pot feet & take it home that day. Dress for mess. 810-629-9208. Historic Springwells Park Garden Tour Sat, Jun 28, Dearborn. By Springwells Park Neighborhood Association at 19 area gardens. Unique neighborhood built in the Edsel Ford area. 313-425-0304. Clarkston Garden Walk Wed, Jul 9, Noon-8pm, Clarkston. Clarkston Farm & Garden Club at 6 area gardens. $18. Featuring art & music., 248-620-2984. 40th Annual Troy Garden Walk Wed, Jul 9, 9:30am-3pm & 5pm-8:30pm, Troy. Troy Garden Club at 7 private gardens & Troy Historic Village. $15. Rain or shine., 248-540-4249. 21st Annual Garden Walk Wed, Jul 9, 9am-4pm, Northville. By Country Garden Club of Northville at Mill Race Village & 5 private gardens. $10. Rain or shine. 248-380-8881, Flower Arranging Seminar Thu, Jul 10, 10am, Rochester Hills. By Rochester Garden Club at Rochester Hills Museum. $10. Includes refreshments. Featuring the work of floral designer Patricia York. 586-336-3239. Daylily Show Sat, Jul 12, Grand Rapids. By Grand Valley Daylily Society at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Growing tips, arrangements & more. South Lyon Area Garden Walk Sat, Jul 12, South Lyon. By Four Seasons Garden Club of South Lyon at 6 area gardens. $10. Walk begins at the South Lyon Library. 248-437-5523, 248-437-5405. | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener


GR EENHOUSE “Where Beautiful Gardens Begin...” The cost of gardening: a bit of your time and energy. The rewards: priceless! H Toad Stools & Toad Houses Sat, Jul 12, 10am-12:30pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $87.75. Create 3 toad stool structures using fortified concrete & a rhubarb impression. Dress for mess. 810-629-9208. H LACASA’s Garden Tour Weekend Sat, Jul 12, & Sun, Jul 13, 9am-4pm, Livingston County. By LACASA at 12 area gardens. $20. Scavenger hunt, raffles & more. Proceeds benefit abused victims of violence. 2014 Summer Garden Tour Sun, Jul 13, 10am-5pm, Fenton & Linden. Fenton Open Gate Garden Club at 7 Gardens in the Fenton & Linden area. $10. Skilled gardeners on hand to answer questions. 810-240-4321. H Garden Delight Tours Tue, Jul 15 & Wed, Jul 16, 11am-1pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $28.75. Enjoy a 1 hour tour & buffet lunch. 810-629-9208. 16th Annual Charlevoix Garden Walk Wed, Jul 16, 10am-4pm, Charlevoix. By Charlevoix Area Garden Club at 6 Charlevoix area gardens. $15. Standard Flower Show open to the public. 231-547-2119, navar@ H Herbal Vinegar Wed, Jul 16, 6-7:30pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $29.75. Create a 10 oz. bottle by using cider vinegar & a blend of herbs. 810-629-9208. 32nd Annual Garden Walk Thu, Jul 17, 11am-7pm, Traverse City. By The Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City. $10. www. Blooms ‘n Birds Flower Show Thu, Jul 17, during Library hours, Spring Lake. By Tri-Cities Garden Club, Inc at Spring Lake District Library. FREE. Horticulture exhibits, floral designs & more. Shelby Township Garden Walk Sat, Jul 19, 10am-5pm, Shelby Twp. By Shelby Garden Club at area gardens. Starts at the Heritage Gardens. $12. 586-726-7529. Garden Walk Mon, Jul 21, 10am-4pm, Ferrysburg. By Tri-Cities Garden Club, Inc. at Ferrysburg & Spring Lake gardens. Evening in the Garden Tue, Jul 22, 7pm, Rochester Hills. By Rochester Garden Club at Rochester Hills Museum. FREE. Tour, herbal refreshments & a presentation by Barbara Dziedzic. Register: 248-656-4663.

Advertiser Index Abbott’s Landscape Nursery.............35 Aguafina Gardens International.........11 Alexander’s Farm Mkt/Greenhses.23 Auburn Oaks Gard Ctr............................31 Barson’s Greenhouse.............................33 Beauchamp Lawn & Landscape...........5 Bloom! Garden Ctr................................... 14 Blossoms......................................................39 Bogie Lake Greenhouses.......................19 Bonide........................... Inside Back Cover Campbell’s Greenhouses.....................39 Contender’s Tree/Lawn Specialists...13 Cranbrook House & Gardens..............16 Detroit Garden Works............................. 9 Earthly Arts..................................................51 Eastern Market/Flower Day................19 Eckert’s Greenhouse..............................33 EcoChic Landscape Design..................12 Edsel & Eleanor Ford House...................7 English Gardens...............................Page 3 Espoma..........................................................16 Everlastings in the Wildwood.............26 The Flower Market.................................50 Fraleigh’s Landscape Nursery...........50

Harrison Township “Inspirations” Garden Tour Sat, Jul 26, 9am-4pm. Harrison Twp. By Harrison Township Beautification Commission at beautiful area gardens. $15. Starts Tucker Senior Ctr. VIP bus tickets available. 586-242-3868. Bonsai Mentor Workshop Sun, Jul 27, 2pm, Troy. By Four Seasons Bonsai Club at Telly’s Greenhouse. Bring your own bonsai event where beginners are paired with experienced members. H Outdoor Garden Parties Tue, Jul 29 to Thurs, Jul 31, 11:30am-1:30pm. Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $29.75. Enjoy an afternoon lunch/tea & create a wire button flower set in a clay pot. 810-629-9208. H Garden Day Sat, Aug 2, 8am-4:15pm, East Lansing. By MSU Horticulture Gardens at Plant & Soil Sciences Building. $85. Presentations by author Amy Stewart. Register: Stroll in our Garden Sat, Aug 2, 1-6pm, Bay Country Area. By Valley Garden Club of Bay County at 8 area home gardens. www., 989-686-3803. H Outdoor Garden Tea Parties Tue, Aug 5, Tue, Wed, Thur, 11:30am-1:30pm. Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $29.75. Enjoy an afternoon lunch/tea & create a wire button flower set in a clay pot. 810-629-9208. H Canning Pickles Wed, Aug 13, 6-9pm. Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $58.75. Learn to make dill, bread-n-butter & brine pickles. Then learn to pickle garden veggies. 810-6299208. Dahlia Show Sat, Aug 23, Grand Rapids. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Experts on hand, arrangements & more. 616-957-1580. H Herbal Summer Faire Sat, Aug 23, 10am-5pm, & Sun, Aug 24, 11am-5pm, Fenton. At Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. $2. Master Gardeners on hand, delectable lunches & more. www. Ann Arbor Bonsai Show Sat, Aug 23 & Sun, Aug 24, 10am-4pm, Ann Arbor. At Matthaei Botanical Gardens. www.

Garden by the Lake................................. 49 The Garden Mill........................................35 Garden Rhythms......................................35 A Garden Space.......................................... 6 The Greenhouse Catalog.................... 49 Haley Stone Supply..................................31 Heavenly Scent Herb Farm..................37 Hessell’s Greenhouses...........................19 Hidden Lake Gardens............................. 41 Howell Farmer’s Market...................... 43 Iron Barn Iron Work...............................50 Kat’s Koi.......................................................... 8 LACASA Center........................................19 Matthaei Botanical Gardens...............23 Meier Flowerland..................................... 41 Merrittscape...............................................31 Michigan Irrigation.................................48 Michigan Nurs/Landscp Assoc........26 Milarch Nursery........................................47 Mulligan’s Garden Ctr............................ 14 Nature’s Garden Ctr...............................48 Oakland Cty Market...............................39 Organimax...................................................31 Orion Stone Depot...................................29 Osmocote...................Inside Front Cover

Make us your next destination for quality plants at a reasonable price. Amazing selection of cutting-edge Terra Nova shade perennials! Visit our Facebook page for a complete list

7445 Imlay City Rd, Imlay City • 1 mi E of M-53 • 810-724-1932

Bulk Subscriptions • Great for clubs and retail stores outside our regular circulation routes. • Have Michigan Gardener delivered in bulk and give copies to your members and customers. • These copies are sent directly to the address you specify. • The cost is much lower than the individual subscription price. • It’s a great way to provide another benefit to your members and customers. The order form is available at or please contact us for an order form: • 248-594-5563

Precipitation March 2014

Piechnik’s Greenhouse...........................12 Plymouth Nursery...................................37 Proven Winners Color Choice............15 Ray Hunter Garden Ctr.......................... 41 Rice’s Garden Ornaments....................39 Rocks ‘n’ Roots...........................................33 Schuman Landscape Lighting...........48 Schwartz’s Greenhouse.........................21 Shades of Green Nursery.................... 49 Specialty Growers.................................... 41 State Crushing...........................................23 Steinkopf Nursery....................................10 Stone Cottage Gardens........................ 43 Suburban Landscape Supply.............. 41 Sunny Fields Botanical Park................10 Telly’s Greenhouse....................................4 Tropical Treasures...................................29 Turner’s Landscp & Gard Ctr...............21 Tuthill Farms & Composting.............. 43 Uncle Luke’s Feed Store........................33 Van Atta’s Greenhouse..........................21 The Weed Lady.........................................23 Westcroft Gardens................................50 Wild Birds Unlimited..............................47 Wojo’s.............................................................21

Normal Monthly 2.28 1.91 2.06

Normal Yr. to Date 6.26 5.02 5.18

Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Monthly 1.49 1.21 1.69

March 2013 Deviation from Normal -0.79 -0.70 -0.37

2014 Year to Date: Jan 1 - Mar 31 Detroit Flint Lansing

Actual Yr. to Date 7.23 5.22 5.61


Monthly 2.28 1.91 2.06

Actual Monthly 0.74 0.77 0.96

Deviation from Normal -1.54 -1.14 -1.10

2013 Year Total: Jan 1 - Mar 31


Deviation from Normal 0.97 0.20 0.43

Yr. to Date 6.26 5.02 5.18

Actual Yr. to Date 7.02 6.23 6.18

Deviation from Normal +0.76 +1.21 +1.00

Temperature March 2014

March 2013

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. High 45.2 43.1 43.5

ACTUAL Avg. High 37.6 36.5 35.5

Deviation from Normal -7.6 -6.6 -8.0

ormal N Avg. High 45.2 43.1 43.5

ACTUAL Avg. High 42.4 39.9 38.2

Deviation from Normal -2.8 -3.2 -5.3

Detroit Flint Lansing

Normal Avg. Low 28.5 24.3 24.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 19.7 15.4 16.0

Deviation from Normal -8.8 -8.9 -8.3

ormal N Avg. Low 28.5 24.3 24.3

ACTUAL Avg. Low 26.9 24.2 23.5

Deviation from Normal -1.6 -0.1 -0.8

Data courtesy National Weather Service

Made in the shade

Michael built this deck, pruned the flowering crab (original to the house), and added many hostas, including ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘Queen Josephine,’ ‘American Halo,’ ‘Fragrant Bouquet,’ and ‘Delta Dawn.’ A slender hinoki cypress stands sentinel at left.

Michael Maitner enjoys painting with oils on canvas, and with plants in his woodland property


painter needs a medium and Michael Maitner of Grand Rapids uses two: a traditional painter’s oil and canvas, and a shade garden to hold his plant collections and sculptural plant art. Not surprisingly, Maitner paints landscapes. Not ordinary landscapes, but fantasy houses, billowy clouds, and flowing streams in a style he calls regionalism. His garden is also a reflection of his artistic eye and his desire “to create a living sculpture.” There was no garden when Michael and his wife Kay moved in 12 years ago. The backyard had grass Sandie Parrott and a few trees. Michael immediately removed the sod and a fence, and started a garden. “I have no use for grass; there is none in the back garden. My previ-

p h oto s by S a n d i e Pa r r ot t

ous three houses had perennial gardens and I wanted something different. I didn’t want flowering plants,” Maitner explained. “I was inspired to do something different, where flowers were incidental and plant size, shape and texture took precedence.” He refers to a book that inspired his gardens: Creating Japanese Gardens by Alvin Horton for Ortho’s All About series. He claims the pictures were more the inspiration, as opposed to the text. He also credits his mother as a gardening influence in his life. He grew up with her annuals and large rose gardens. Maitner’s gardens have the same elements he uses in art, such as scale, color and composition, along with an Asian influence. He makes sure to explain the distinction between a true Asian philosophy and his use of some Asian plantings and accents: “Unlike my paintings, a garden grows

This circular Zen garden is located in a prime backyard location that has a small spot of sunlight.

Michael and Kay standing at the highest point in their garden under his favorite specimen, a honeysuckle tree that came with the property and its crooked trunk. | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener


Most “man caves” are indoors—not this one. Built about a dozen years ago, Maitner uses it to sketch his paintings, relax, and review the garden. and changes with time; that is why it is never done. Moving plants around is a must to maintain balance,” he stated. Maitner started the progression of gardens by buying plants. “I never buy from catalogs; I’m a touchy, feely kind of person. If I saw a plant that was different, an odd shape, or could be trimmed like sculpture (and I love to prune), I bought it. If it grew in the shade, I bought it,” Maitner laughingly admitted. “I love conifers too, but most don’t grow in the shade. But the new place has more sun.” The gardens proceeded to emerge from the backyard to the woods, where he removed the scrub, but no trees. This doubled the size of the garden. He then created gardens on both sides of the house and finally in front. The front garden has more perennials, blooming plants and traditional grass. “I had no master plan, but decided to build one section at a time, allowing one area to influence the next, making adjustments along the way.” “My soil is gravelly, so I have to water a lot,” Maitner lamented. “I buried hoses and attached sprinkler heads. These all join in one area. This makes it a lot easier than moving hoses, but it still takes me all day to water.” His other problem is weeds, “I hate weeds. Mulch

This hillside of hostas has a dazzling array of foliage colors and variegations.

continued on next page


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

continued from previous page This weeping blue atlas cedar and a found bird sculpture stand along a wooden path, with a Buddha garden in the left background. continued from previous page helps; I purchase about 12 yards of hardwood mulch every year.” Early on, he brought in garden soil with peat to enhance certain areas of the garden. He rarely fertilizes. Most men want a man cave—Maitner built his in the garden. It is a raised wood and screen house that overlooks the garden. “I use it for sketching. It feels like you are up north— a getaway. I’m happy sitting there with a beer, cigar and a sketchpad. It would be heaven if I also could use a fishing pole,” he smiled. Maitner loves plants. When asked what is his favorite plant, he replied, “The next one.” That said, he loves hostas and ferns. His garden has over 250 varieties of hostas and around a thousand plants. His wife Kay keeps a list, so they avoid duplicating purchases, but they don’t have an actual count. He especially likes the hostas ‘Guardian Angel,’ a large, slugresistant variety with a green-centered leaf and a blue edge, and ‘June,’ a medium-sized, slug-resistant plant with a creamy yellow-centered leaf pattern with a dark blue edge. His favorite ferns are Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), a glossy dark green, sharp-edged, medium-sized fern with foliage resembling a holly, and autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) with reddish copper

V Website Extra Go to and click on “Website Extras” for: • More photos of the Maitner garden

early growth; it is a smaller fern that gradually spreads by underground runners. Favorite trees include Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata), weeping larch (Larix decidua ‘Pendula’), and hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa). His absolute favorite plant is one he never purchased. “My favorite planting, I didn’t plant at all. It is a honeysuckle that grew wild in the woods. All I had to do was shape and trim it. Now it is a standout in the garden,” Maitner gushed. He also has a lot of groundcovers such as thyme and golden oregano. The garden draws hummingbirds because of the hosta and honeysuckle flowers; butterflies are attracted to a butterfly bush. Maitner is most proud that he designed, built and maintains everything himself. Kay helps with design, shopping and deadheading. They shop together and decide what new plant or item would look good. Several tours have come through the gardens, especially the Michigan Hosta Society, which brought in people from all over Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Maitner is virtually always being productive. He typically paints in the mornings and works in the garden in the afternoon or evening. “There is always something to do; I can’t keep still.” Maitner delightfully summed things up by defining gardening as, “The rearrangement of nature to meet your needs, and nature is a rearrangement of your garden to meet its weeds.” Sandie Parrott is a freelance garden writer and blogger, living and chasing weeds in Oakland County, Michigan.

Maitner places conifers in the sunny spots in his garden. From left to right, this blue spruce is pruned to stay small, white-flowering bugbane (Cimicifuga or Actaea), and Japanese umbrella pine on the right. The flowering crab in the background is the only plant originally in the yard when Maitner started his garden.

Contrasting textures and colors make great gardens. Here, a large Japanese maple, weeping white pine, azalea, and falsecypress do just that. | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener

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Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

continued from back cover species in cultivation, but about 100 known in the wild. Unlike some plant groups with wide variation in looks, hydrangeas are pretty consistent in appearance. If you saw one in the wild while walking in a Himalayan forest, through a hilly Chinese woods, or along a Central American stream, you’d probably recognize the bloom. Most hydrangea flowers have 5 petals, although there are some 4- and 6-petal species. Flowers are produced in clusters, often with two different types of floret in each group. Where there are two types, those at the center of the cluster are fertile and usually much less showy than the sterile, larger flowers that ring the center. Fertile and sterile flowers often contrast in color.

Hydrangeas hardy in southern Michigan Here are the hydrangea species that grow and bloom well in southern Michigan gardens (hardy to USDA zone 5), with notes about some of the currently offered varieties in each species.

Climbing hydrangea (H. anomala subsp. petiolaris) A fragrant, June-blooming, self-clinging vine. The big, flat, cream-colored flower clusters are very showy with a scent like apricots that draws the butterflies. The glossy, disease-free foliage is a plus, and the peeling cinnamon color bark is a great winter asset. Give the plant well-drained soil and a bit of shade during the heat of the day. Planted on a west- or south-facing wall, it’s likely to bloom a week earlier than those in an east or north exposure. Although the plant is an effective rockscrambling groundcover in the wild, allowing it to spread along the ground horizontally can delay the production of flowering branches above, so clip off the ground-hugging parts to reduce the wait for bloom. The straight species H. anomala is not as hardy as subspecies petiolaris, so look for that third name on the plant tag before you buy, if

Perhaps you wouldn’t recognize this as a snowball hydrangea, the species that gave us the big-ball variety called ‘Annabelle.’ Yet you should be able to tell it’s a hydrangea because the flowers fit the pattern. Sterile, showy blooms stand around and above the smaller, central cluster of fertile florets. you’re gardening in zone 5. They’re not often sold but there are varieties of climbing hydrangea worth hunting. ‘Firefly’ has foliage with pale yellow margins. ‘Brookside Littleleaf’ and ‘Cordifolia’ are slow-growing miniatures.

Smooth hydrangea, Snowball hydrangea (H. arborescens) These 4- to 5-foot shrubs with big, white, ball flowers in July were part of every grandmother’s garden from zone 3 to zone 9. Since the blooms develop on this year’s new wood you can cut the plant back to the ground every spring if you like, without losing flowers. Yet cut-back is not necessary and the shrub will carry on just fine if you leave it alone except to water, weed and keep a cool mulch on the root system. Water is critical. This and most hydrangeas evolved in the edges of moist woods, with sun

The central flowers in this lacecap hydrangea inflorescence are the fertile flowers, equipped with all parts necessary to make the urn-shaped seed pods that form Hydrangea as a scientific name, from the Greek for “water” and “vessel.”

Hard to imagine: Plant espionage Japanese leaders reacted to Western cultural and religious interference by shutting the borders in the mid-1600s. Japanese who left the island, as well as uninvited foreigners, faced the death penalty. During the two centuries of isolationism, the Dutch East Indies Company was allowed limited trade, although the colony of traders was sequestered on an island. Collecting botanical information and plants was a very lucrative business during this time, but not allowed. So the company employed naturalists with medical training as “ship’s surgeons” and had them study the flora on the sly. One, Bavarian Philipp Von Siebold (honored in Hosta sieboldiana, Viburnum sieboldii), traded patient treatment and European medical information for plants and information. Swedish Carl Peter Thunberg (black-eyed Susan vine Thunbergia alata, dwarf Spiraea thunbergii) sent servants to interesting places to collect fodder and hay for his goats, then studied the baled plant matter. German Engelbert Kaempfer (Japanese Iris kaempferi, Japanese larch Larix kaempferi) tactfully parlayed his medical skill to not only study plants but publish his observations (Flora Japonica) and send seeds to Europe (including Ginkgo biloba).

Some hydrangea species have sterile flowers that are showy but non-functional when it comes to seed-making. In many flowering species, plant fanciers admire only the showy sterile portions of a flower. However, in hydrangeas, the contrast between the texture and color of the two flower types is often a primary attraction. | May 2014 | Michigan Gardener


The plants most often mistaken for hydrangeas are viburnums, yet the two genera are not closely related. Snowball hydrangea (H. arborescens), left, and snowball viburnum (V. opulus ‘Sterilis’), right, have flowers arranged similarly, but it’s the structure of an individual flower that counts in plant relationships.

Panicle hydrangea may be the largest hydrangea you grow, the hardiest, the latest to bloom, and your favorite of them all. This is H. paniculata ‘Tardiva’ in summer and winter, allowed to grow to its potential in a half-shady spot.

Climbing hydrangea (H. anomala subsp. petiolaris).

for much of the day, but cooling shade during the hottest hours. Grown dry and hot, they succumb to pests and diseases you might otherwise never see. The white-flowered, fully-double ‘Annabelle’ dominates the market, which is unfortunate since its blooms are too large for its weak stems. At bloom time, the shrub flops in all directions. Far more graceful and every bit as floriferous are the lacier varieties that bear both fertile and sterile florets in sturdy stems. Look for White Dome and H. arborescens subsp. radiata. Invincibelle Spirit is a pink form, and Bella Anna a pink reblooming snowball. Stake these shrubs before bloom, or the flowers will arise from a tangle of splayed limbs. Incrediball is large-flowered like ‘Annabelle’ but with sturdier stems. That’s truer in its first years than with age. As the years go by, keep the shrub thinned to promote young, strong stems. Cull the oldest, crowded,

and weak stems. If you cut the shrub to the ground each year, revisit to thin the shoots.

Panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) This is one of the largest hydrangeas you can grow, easily reaching two stories. Even if cut to the ground each spring it is likely to be 5 to 6 feet tall at bloom time in August. The pyramidal flower clusters develop later than the oakleaf, snowball or mophead, so it’s indispensable for late summer bloom. The flowers bloom white and age to pink. It’s also indispensable in the northern garden, hardy to zone 3. The old standard in panicle hydrangea is peegee, or PG, short for H. paniculata ‘Grandiflora.’ Pass this variety by, as you can do better and avoid the dense flower heads that invariably drag the perky branches down. ‘Tardiva’ remains our favorite, with huge flower heads but widely spaced florets. It’s airy, upright in bloom, and blooms weeks

later than its kin (thus the ‘tardy’ moniker). ‘Pink Diamond’ is also an improvement over peegee, but not so late to bloom as ‘Tardiva.’ A new age of smaller shrubs with bigger blooms is upon us, giving us Vanilla Strawberry as an earlier, pinker peegee, and ‘Limelight’ with its pistachio flowers. Go for the more compact varieties if you must, but we prefer the more open, graceful flower clusters such as on Quick Fire.

Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) Some people say you can’t get a better plant than an oakleaf hydrangea. It’s branches are attractive in winter in a craggy, honey-colored way. The foliage is huge and beautiful, from its felty spring entrance to the maroon autumn glow. The flowers are like conical ivory towers in early summer, turning pink and then tan with age. continued on next page


Michigan Gardener | May 2014 |

logs, you will need a vacation home on Cape Cod or the lee side of a Great Lake. Certainly you can grow and bloom these plants if you cover them from ground to several inches above their tips with loose leaves each fall, or upend and bury them for winter, or grow them in pots that you move into a shed for the cold months. In all of these cases, protect them from frosts once you uncover them in spring. If you care to do all that, you can choose any of the varieties offered. If you do that plus need to keep them smaller than the 5 to 6 feet they aim to be, check my notes in the next issue for pruning assistance.

Using hydrangeas in the landscape

Tree-form peegee hydrangeas are common lawn ornaments throughout the eastern U.S. Many are 50 to 100 years old and still vigorous. continued from previous page An oakleaf’s bloom is the rub for a zone 5 gardener. There at the northern edge of its hardiness, the branch tips die back over winter in perhaps 2 years out of 5. Since this species blooms from those mature tips, in the tip dieback years there is no bloom. The foliage can be disappointing if a gardener ignores this plant’s cultural needs. It’s a woodland plant, not happy in full sun or dry soil. It loves moist soil but struggles in soggy places. So give it midday shade and a loose, rich, irrigated bed. If it doesn’t start suckering by year three and thereby tells you the site’s nice and homey, make some changes. It’s also a bigger plant than most gardeners expect, reaching up to 10 feet and suckering to fill that same space horizontally. It can be

pruned to stay smaller but only if the gardener is well informed and sticks to the schedule. So it’s great that there are some dwarf forms of this plant. Just don’t be fooled by the term—anything smaller than the species’ normal 10 feet qualifies as dwarf. ‘Snow Queen’ has fuller flowers than the species. ‘Pee Wee’ and ‘Sikes Dwarf’ are not only smaller in stature (expect 3 to 4 feet and 4 to 5 feet for the height, respectively, and as wide as you allow) but have scaled down flowers as well. ‘Snowflake’ has very double flowers, which sometimes drag the branches down. Its fall color is said to be more reliable than the average oakleaf, but all the shrubs we’ve watched seem equally variable in that department.

The macrophylla myth Here it is: The blue- and pink-blooming

mophead and lacecap hydrangeas (selections and hybrids of H. macrophylla and H. serrata) are not bud hardy/branch hardy in zone 5 and only marginal in zone 6. Their roots are hardy and they will grow lush new foliage every year even if killed to the ground each winter. Yet they bloom only if their branch tips have matured at year-end and then also overwinter. They are also not well suited to inland regions, preferring the mild, buffered conditions of a coast. So even when winter cold doesn’t nip the branches back, dry air and sudden temperature changes usually will. So these plants typically don’t bloom reliably for Michigan gardeners. That applies even to varieties selected for their tendency to produce a second, later, smaller flush of flowers from new wood. If you want the lush, smothered-in-flowers look you see in cata-

Hydrangeas are perfect for the shrub border. If cut back hard every year to restrict their size, they fit right in with summer perennials such as butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) and late season flowers of contrasting form, such as stately upright cardinal flower (Lobelia x speciosa). You can even plant a hedge of snowball or other hydrangeas or cover a wall with climbing hydrangea—one vine can spread to cloak 30 feet of fence or more. Given adequate water, all the hydrangeas can be grown in large pots, to be moved into place at bloom time and stashed in a protected spot for winter. If potted plants suit your garden, do be sure to give the plants an adequate cold period—at least 60 days at 40 degrees F or less. Hydrangeas that do not have a sufficient cold rest may fail to form flower buds the next summer. Chances are good that once you have one or a few hydrangeas you will want more, and even pack them in. In that case, care and pruning are not only important but critical issues. We’ll cover all that in the next issue. Editor’s note: Stay tuned for Part 2 in the June issue of Michigan Gardener: Hydrangea care and pruning. 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

Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia). Here, the early summer flowers (left) make their transition from post-bloom pink to winter tan (middle) as the leaves take on their autumn hue (right). A gorgeous plant.

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| May 2014 |

janet's journal

The Wonderful World of Hydrangeas Part 1 of 2: Choosing hydrangea varieties


n the early 1700s, hydrangeas had been Japan’s strict isolationism cracked and then garden mainstays for a thousand years shattered. in Asia, yet were unknown in Europe. At the same time, plant hunters were beThen from North America an exciting new ginning to collect with gusto in mainland plant arrived in London in 1739: the smooth Asia. The North American hydrangeas took a hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), native quick back seat in Europe’s excitement for all to the huge forest that encompassed much of the Asian novelties. the continent from the Appalachians to the Mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, varieties Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. It quickly and hybrids of H. macrophylla and H. serrata, took that Old World by storm with its big, flatwere the new stars. They were introduced topped lacy blooms (eventually to become with the warning, “of doubtful hardiness,” gigantic balls in selections called “snowball” yet they swept the market. Easy to grow and hydrangea), a willingness to grow thrilling even as disposable pot vigorously even in shaded gardens, plants, everyone, including gardenand welcome color for the late sumers in cold winter areas (inland mer. Europe, equivalent to USDA zone 6 Since then, barely a year has and colder), could use them to add gone by without a hydrangea of bold summer color. They became one kind or another making an enthe world’s darlings and remain so trance and immediately grabbing a today, with hundreds of varieties top spot on horticultural wish lists. available. With so many now available, it can Some came in from Asia with less Janet be confusing to choose the best for fanfare but still beat out the “old” Macunovich your garden. Here’s a bit of help. North American species on the basis of novelty. Among these were two climbing Hydrangea history: Old World hydrangeas (H. anomala subsp. petiolaris and After only about ten years, the expat H. petiolaris aka H. scandens) and the tree-like smooth hydrangeas had the company of panicle hydrangea (H. paniculata) with its pyNorth American cousins in European garramidal flower clusters. Collectors working dens. H. radiata, a smooth hydrangea subspefurther south in Asia sent along zone 7 H. incies, and oakleaf hydrangeas from Georgia volucrata with big, sometimes double fertile (H. quercifolia) settled in there in the 1750s florets, zone 6 H. heteromalla sporting peeling and 1790s. Their new owners displayed them bark and some near-yellow varieties, and zone proudly, but the limelight didn’t last. 7 H. aspera, a lacecap with central fertile flowIn the early 1800s, plants from Japan, and ers ranging from white to deep purple ringed from China by way of Japan, began to arrive by sterile flowers in white to rose. on the European scene. It was a trickle that 100 cousins who can’t deny their kin became a flood as two centuries of Imperial There are less than two dozen hydrangea P h oto gr a p h s by s t e v e n n i k k i l a

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Big, bold summer color on easy-to-grow shrubs. What could be better than hydrangeas? Reliable, hardy hydrangeas will give you the most satisfaction and best show for the least trouble.

May 2014  

Plant Focus: Verbena, New annuals for 2014, Birds: The essential role of water, Specimen trees in Japanese gardens. Perennials: Upright and...