Consumer watch: must have shrubs and water-loving plants

June 25, 2008
Written by

phlox-paniculata
 Phlox paniculata ‘Mount Fuji’
bugleweed
 Bugleweed
coppertina
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Mindia’ Coppertina
 
PHOTOS COURTESY
PROVEN WINNERS

The summer issues of Canada’s popular gardening magazines are already out on stands and are filled with information to let gardeners know how to deal with problem areas and ways they can make their gardens thrive. Here’s a look at some of the topics gardeners are reading about and the varieties they’ll be looking for at your centre.

The Planning 2008 edition of Ontario Gardener compiled a list of the top 10 flowering shrub “must haves” this year. The shrubs were selected based on their relative hardiness and how easy they are to care for, and featured a mix of new varieties as well some tried and tested shrubs. Making the list is the Abelia mosanensis, a fragrant species with pink-red buds that open to white flowers in May and June; Cornus alternifolia ‘Wstackman’ Golden Shadows; Forthergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’, a blue-leafed shrub that takes on red and orange shades in the fall; Hibiscus syriacus ‘America Irene Scott’ Sugar Tip, a selection that flowers and can reach a height of 10 feet; and Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’. Rounding out the top five, the list continued with Itea virginica ‘Morton’ Scarlet Beauty; Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’; Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Mindia’ Coppertina, a variety that boasts copper foliage in the spring, turning to warm red in the summer; Viburnum trilobum ‘J.N. Select’ Redwing; and Weigela florida ‘Verweig’ My Monet, a new selection that caught the eye of gardeners last year and is likely to be in demand this year as well.

The Early Summer issue of GardenWise celebrated the beginning of summer by highlighting a number of varieties that simply ooze romance. No garden of love would be complete without the Dicentra spectabilis, a.k.a. the bleeding heart, one of the season’s earliest bloomers. Nigella damscena also makes the list due to its bright-green foliage that creates a mist-like effect. Other lovely varieties featured in the magazine include Phlox paniculata ‘Mount Fuji’, the bearded iris and Viola odorata.

The issue of GardenWise also looks at how gardeners can think inside the box with a vertical planter to showcase some of the season’s hottest succulents. When the patio and garden is simply filled to the brim with pots and containers, the magazine recommends hanging a vertical planter on the wall filled with succulents like Sempervivum or Echeveria, or even mosses and small ferns.

With summer, comes the inevitable mowing of the lawn, although some consumers are beginning to seek out low-maintenance alternatives to grass. Canadian Gardening’s Summer 2008 issue names bugleweed (Ajuga reptans), Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Least stonecrop (sedum lydium) and thyme (thymus praecox) as great groundcovers to try.

In the backyard, many gardeners have chronic wet areas and moisture can seep to the low-lying corners. Canadian Gardening has compiled a list of moisture-loving plants to deal with these conditions. The aforementioned bugleweed and bleeding heart make the cut for this list, as does ‘Gold Spangle’ Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisiferia ‘Gold Spangle’), ‘Ruby Spice’ Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’), common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Southern Belle Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos Southern Belle Group) and ‘Chocolate Wings’ Featherleaf Rodgersia (Rodgersia pinnata ‘Chocolate Wings’).


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