Consumer Watch: Super succulents, fabulous foliage and a return to juniper

July 31, 2008
Written by
phloxstarbrite
Phlox ‘Star Brite’
The dog days of summer will soon come to an end and Canada’s consumer gardening magazines are letting gardeners know how they can get the most out of the plots in the coming months, as well as what they can look forward to in 2009. Here’s a look at what varieties, trends and tips your customers are reading about right now.

The summer 2008 edition of GardenWise labels exotic succulents as the “new black in temperate zone gardens.” Their ability to withstand drought and a little neglect over a summer holiday has made these plants popular with gardeners. The issue features bright and bold photos of citrus-coloured and deep red coloured varieties such as Echeveria ‘Princess Lace’, Sedum ruprestre ‘Angelina’, Senecio serpens, Sedum x rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’, Crassula coccinea ‘Pagoda’, and Sedum morganianum. The magazine labels Aeonium arboretum as a favourite due to its palm tree like appearance – as it grows taller, the lower leaves are shed, leaving a central stem that supports the head of leaves. GardenWise says succulents can work as the perfect container plant because of their sculpture like form and eye-catching colours and advises that gardeners to use a simple pot like terra cotta, a hanging basket or planter.

And with going green always on top of mind with gardeners, GardenWise suggests that people use recycled glass or colourful rocks as an eco-friendly way to brighten the garden, add texture or for use as a valuable mulch. A hard mulch will deter animals like cats and dogs from fussing with the soil, prevent weeds, protect roots from hot and cold conditions and help the plants retain water. When used on indoor tropicals, the recycled glass or rocks will prevent pests from laying eggs on top of the soil and allow for dust to be easily rinsed away.
sedumruprestre
Sedum ruprestre ‘Angelina’

In the latest edition of Ontario Gardener, foliage is king. The magazine has compiled a list of the top foliage plants with variegated leaves for both the sun and the shade. Making the list are Artemisia ‘Oriental Limelight’, Athyrium niponicum ‘Pewter Lace’ for it its colourful variations in foliage and silvery hue with dark veining, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and Eryngium variifolium, a spikey plant that boasts both structure and texture. Other notable varieties include Hosta ‘Revolution’ with leaves coloured in green splotches and paired with cream centres, Oenothera fruticosa ‘Fruhlingsgold’, Polemnium caeruleum ‘Blanjou’ and Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Berries and Cream.’

In the August/September issue of Canadian Gardening, the magazine selected phlox as its star plant pick due to its flexibility in both dry and moist soils as well as in sun and shade areas. The garden plant will flourish in summer and early fall and can also be used as a cut flower. The top varieties of phlox listed in the issue are ‘Chattahoochee’ Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata spp. laphamii ‘Chattahoochee’), ‘Natashca’ Wild Sweet William (Phlox maculata ‘Natashca’) and ‘Apple Blossom’ Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata ‘Apple Blossom’). Perennials can act as the perfect complement to phlox and Canadian Gardening names Ruby Star Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Rubinstern’), ‘Autumn Blush’ Coreopsis (Coreopsis ‘Autumn Blush’) and ‘Summer’s Kiss’ Blanketflower (Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Summer’s Kiss’) as perfect phlox partners.
echeveriahybrid-
Echeveria hybrid
‘Sovereign Blue’

The fall issue also features the juniper as a plant with “remarkable diversity of form, texture, size and colour.” As water restrictions grow tougher across Canada, the magazine predicts that junipers might be situated to make a comeback because they can tolerate the drought, pollution, salt and poor soil conditions found in many urban areas. The six commonly known juniper species in Canada are Chinese (Juniperus chinensis), common (Juniperus communis), creeping (Juniperus horizontalis), savin (Juniperus sabina), flaky (Juniperus squamata) and eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). However, Canadian Gardening highlights a few of the newest and latest species such as the Gold Star juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Bakaurea’) a cultivar with bright yellow growth that can be used for foundation plantings, banks and slopes and the Blueberry Delight juniper (Juniperus communis var. depressa ‘AmiDak’) a plant with blue decorative berries, dark green foliage and silvery blue highlights. Other cultivars to make the list include the ‘Limeglow’ juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Limeglow’) with its feathery new foliage that appears in a bright chartreuse colour and turns to golden copper in winter, the Icee Blue juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Monber’) which stays dense and silvery blue year round and perfect for an alpine garden, near a retaining wall or draping a slope and the Moor-Dense juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Monard’).

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