Your Rhododendrons are not DEAD!

Your Rhododendrons and Hollies are not dead! Yes, I know they look horrible but what we are looking at is winter damage often referred to as Winter Burn. These last two weeks we have seen lots of gardeners bringing in pictures or samples of their damaged evergreens like rhododendrons, hollies and mountain laurel. The picture I used for this blog is from my own garden of benign neglect here in Lunenburg and these rhododendrons are 14 years old!

The most visible effects of winter burn are the dried out, brown leaves on evergreens. The damage is due to desiccation – water evaporating from the leaves that cannot be replaced because the root system is dormant and the ground is frozen.

I know the foliage looks horrible now but new growth by mid-spring will most likely restore the plants appearance because the damaged leaves will drop-off and new growth will take their place. The most important thing you can do for your evergreens right now is be patient! Wait until all the new growth is out in June to prune out what looks dead now. If you are unsure if a branch is truly dead, scratch the bark with your thumbnail and look for green (live) tissue underneath.. If the steam is brown under the bark (dead), use sharp pruners to cut the branches within a quarter inch above a live bud or to the branch of the nearest live piece.

Still not sure what to do? Stop in with some pictures or samples and we can help! And while you are in, check out all of our new spring plants. We’ve got lots of great new varieties waiting to get adopted out to your garden!

What’s New This Spring?

When I go shopping for shoes at my favorite stores I’m inevitably drawn to the reassurance of the known brands that are on display. I know what brands work for me and what ones don’t, and I imagine most gardeners use the same brand confidence technique when shopping for plants.

Whether it is Plants that Work®, White Flower Farms®, Proven Winners or Sara’s Herbs. there’s a natural confidence that comes with choosing a brand that we recognize or have tried before. Alec, Angela and I know plants. We know it’s a supertunia and know exactly how it will perform regardless of it being in a white Proven Winner pot or a green Plants that Work one.

But what happens when we are faced with a plethora of confusing brands, or brands that you haven’t come across before, or worse still, a bench filled with new plants that look interesting, but have little information on the tags and is therefore is suspect?

Add to this the dreaded feeling of vulnerability that comes with shopping for something that you know little about. I love those boots but have never heard of the brand, will they be comfortable after a few wears and most importantly – will they hold up? I hate buyers remorse which is what happens when I get home and regret having spent money on something I’m not 100% happy with!

Wouldn’t it be great if plants came with some sort of symbol or insignia that certified that they have gone through a testing and trialing procedure? If you knew right away that Alec, Angela and I had handpicked this plant just for you?

Welcome to our new Handpicked for You® plant selections!

An incredible amounts of new plants are being introduced into the market each year. We travel to botanical gardens, trial gardens and industry trade shows to be on the front lines of this innovation and we get many of these new plants before they hit bigger markets.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the newest and best of those cool, unique Handpicked For You Plants® that will be ready to make your garden shine starting in the spring of 2019.

Echinacea Kismet® Raspberry and Intense Orange. Let’s face it. It has been a bumpy road traveled by the new and colorful Echinacea over the years. Some of the best, most exciting colors seemed to have been married to the some of the most questionable plants meaning both color and plants tended to be fleeting in the garden. Persistent breeding has paid off with the Kismet® series of Echinacea especially with Intense Orange and Raspberry. Dense, full, compact plants really put on a show from late spring through early fall with unrelenting clouds of colorful daisy flowers on each. Intense Orange is ablaze with brilliant orange bloom while Raspberry sports waves of delicious colored bloom that look good enough to eat. Best of all, both varieties are outstanding in the garden and will continue to bring that cool factor for years to come.

Echinacea Sombrero® Orange, Lemon Yellow Improved, Salsa Red & Sangrita. Why are the Sombrero® Echinacea cool enough to list when we have already talked about the Kismet® Echinacea? Well, there is nothing cooler than having plants that are just as well suited to the garden as they are to growing in a mixed container for a deck, patio or balcony. The Sombrero® Echinacea thrive in both worlds. They are outstanding in the garden with compact, well branched plants that beg to be grouped to produce waves of summer garden color until frost. In a container, they are magical in the way they can mix with other perennials to put on a non-stop show without overpowering their container mates. Whether it is the brilliance of Sombrero® Orange, the soft, warming glow of Lemon Yellow Improved, the mucho caliente shades of Salsa Red or the richness of the burgundy-red Sangrita, the Sombreros® will make you look like a gardening savant without even trying!

Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’. There is nothing cooler or more innovative than gardening for a cause. ‘Jeana’ is a selection of the native Phlox paniculata that has been tested to be the most attractive Garden Phlox to native pollinators according to the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware. Besides making it the perfect plant to help transform your garden into an oasis of nectar for pollinators, ‘Jeana’ also will make your garden come alive with color in the summer. Rounded towers of lavender pink, sweetly scented flowers stay appear throughout the summer on tall, upright plants that are highly mildew resistant. Plant a group of these in the back of the garden and watch your garden come alive while feeling good that you are helping save our very crucial pollinators!

Sedum ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. How can any Sedum be so cool you might ask? It is true, there seems to be an endless amount of Sedum selections so what makes ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ so special? Let’s start with form. Many other Sedum varieties spread rampantly, open up or look more than somewhat unkempt making the fact that they are garden survivors seem a little less important. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ has none of those issues forming the most perfect pincushion of a plant with shiny, deep green foliage. Even better, when its yellow flowers open in early summer, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is, well, the sunniest, most brilliant plant in your garden! Perfect in groups in the landscape or adding the warmth of the sun in container, this selection has a very high cool factor.

Rosa ‘Miracle on the Hudson™’. People have a love/hate relationship with Roses. People love their bloom and hate the fact that, in the past, they have been poor garden performers that have been disease magnets. ‘Miracle on the Hudson™’ is the antithesis of that ‘old school’ rose description. Dreamy, deep green, disease free foliage backs a seemingly never ending stream of single, real red flowers from May through frost. To add to its beauty, a light trim will produce a new flush of nearly red foliage that is almost as colorful as the bloom that appears soon after its flush. If people looked at ‘Miracle on the Hudson™’ as a flowering shrub instead of a rose they would likely say it was the best performing, most colorful shrub in their garden. How cool is that??

Stay tuned for many more Handpicked for You introductions! 2019 is going to be a great year to get out there and plant something!
Michelle and Team Lakeview