Consumer Watch: Garden Lookers, Pond Picks and Drought Survivors

March 26, 2008
Written by Amanda E Ryder
Hibiscus ‘Luna’
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners
Arctotis Pink Sugar
Snow-in-summer (Cerastium)
‘Purple Emperor’ Stonecrop
As winter months begin to drop off, gardeners across Canada are starting to gear up for the 2008 growing season. To prepare for spring, these greenthumbs are turning to the many consumer magazines to see what varieties will work great in their gardens and at the same time, make their neighbours green with envy.

In the Early Spring 2008 issue of GardenWise, writer and gardening expert David Tarrant shares his “Plants to Grow For Show” – plants that look stunning in the garden and when picked – for all four seasons. This plays well into the trend of making nature a part of home décor,  as Tarrant’s selections are plants that can be easily pruned and dropped into a vase for inside.

First off, Tarrant names Forsythia, Lindera obtusiloba and Corylopsis sinensis all as perfect shrubs for the spring, which are hardy to zone 6. Bulbs also top his list and he names Narcissus ‘Fortune,’ Iris latifolia and parrot tulips as attention grabbers. When it comes to delphiniums, the Belladonna Group cultivars and ‘Piccolo’ make the cut. Summer brings astilbes like ‘Superba’ as well as ‘Stauntonia hexaphylla.’ Tarrant rounds out the following two seasons by recommending varieties such as ‘Aconitum carmichaelii,’ Celtica gigantean, Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion,’ Virburnum farreri and Garrya elliptica.

GardenWise also looks at which varieties are new for 2008. It’s list includes:

• Verbena ‘Lascar Patio Red Surprise’

• Echinacea ‘Double Delight’

• Hibiscus ‘Luna’

Micanthus sinensis Stardust

• Bracteantha Mohave ‘Yellow’

• Rosa ‘William P.J. McCarthy’

• Verbena ‘Tuscany Lavender Picotee’

• Arctotis Pink Sugar

• Oriental Trumpet Lily ‘Red Dutch’

Heianthus annuus ‘Chocolate’

• Tall Sunflower

Canadian Gardening has put out its Annual 2008 issue of Fantastic Garden Projects and one of the features looks at how gardeners can start their own water garden. The magazine examines several types of water garden plants and selects a few plants to fit under each category. The article names Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) as an ideal submerged pond plant while ‘Marliacea Albida’ Water Lily (Nympheae ‘Marliacea Albida’) works well as a deep-water plant. Jointed Rush (Juncus articulatus), Pickeral Weed (Pontederia cordata), Water Strawberry (Potentilla palustris) and Soft Rush (J. effuses) all fall under the category of marginal pond plants. For those gardeners looking to include floating pond plants in their water gardens, Canadian Gardening selected Duckweed (Lemna minor). And last, but not least, the article finishes with a long list of appropriate bog plants like Astilboides (Astilboides tabularis syn. Rodgersia tabularis), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) and Common Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus).

The April 2008 issue of Canadian Gardening looked at what varieties gardeners can plant to keep a dry shade bed looking lush all summer long. The magazine recommends that readers go with variegated green-and-white or cream foliage to cast a bright light on the shady area. In order to produce a fully covered shade bed, Canadian Gardening provided readers with a shopping list of varieties that included:

• ‘Bressingham Beauty’ Astible (Astible x arendsii ‘Bressingham Beauty’)

• ‘Jack Frost’ Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’)

• ‘Hot Lips’ Turtlehead (Chelone Iyonii ‘Hot Lips’)

• ‘New Hampshire Purple’ Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum ‘New Hampshire Purple’)

• ‘Aspen Gold’ Hosta (Hosta ‘Aspen Gold’)

• ‘Miss Manners’ Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’)

• ‘Snow and Sapphires’ Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum ‘Snow and Sapphires’)

• ‘Raspberry Ice’ Lungwort (Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Ice’)

• ‘Purple Emperor’ Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’)

• ‘Degroot’s Spire’ Cedar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroots’s Spire’)

The latest edition of Ontario Gardener caters to the environmentally conscious and water savvy group of gardeners with an article on plants that thrive in times of drought. And while in the middle of March it’s hard to imagine the dry, thirst-quenching days of summer, drought-resistant plants are sure to become even more popular in the coming years. Consumers will be looking for drought-tolerant deciduous trees such as green ash, bur oak, Amur maple, chokecherry, Russian olive and Manitoba maple. When it comes to evergreens, the magazine highlights Junipers, Mugo, Scots, lodgepole pine, Siberian larch and Colorado spruce as varieties that can all go an extended period without rain. Other picks include Monkshood (Aconitum), Snow-in-summer (Cerastium), Tri-coloured sage, baby’s breath (Gypsophila) and sneezewood (Helenium).

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