Plant Highlights, Monarch Butterfly Series
We're now officially open for the 2015 season!
Bud’s been busy. He starts off in July looking for new varieties for the following year. Each year we have the same conversation. He’s excited for all the new plants and I’m freaking about all the new work coming down the pipe. It takes a ton of work to get them into our system, writing descriptions, making photos, and getting all the horticultural information pulled together. It takes time.
But once it’s done, it is so worth it. It’s exciting to see the new varieties coming in, planting and taking care of them while they grow. It’s one of the best parts of the job.
This year was an exceptional busy one for Bud. He managed to sneak in 174 new varieties before I could catch him. Sure, we still have the classics and the one’s that did well last year coming in again. We ended up with a ton of new varieties for 2015. I think this year is one of the biggest in terms of new plants. Part of that is because we're trying hard to source from more local growers for our baby plants that we grow. It just makes better sense and is more environmentally responsible.
I’m particularly fond of Coleus. In general, this is a plant with which you can’t go wrong. I like to simply plant one in a pot and watch it grow all season long. You can pinch the growing tips and plant those directly in the ground and they’ll take root. It’s amazing. I usually plant up several and arrange them on the deck and move them around like furniture, as they get larger. It makes for a continually fresh and interesting ‘container garden arrangement’ all season long.
New this year for us, Terra Nova nurseries have introduced some fantastic coleus.
They are the folks we get all the funky Coral Bells from each year. They have a hot series called, Wildfire. We’ve managed to get a hold of three varieties from that set. This series is bred to spread, keeping a low, dense habit while showing off some spectacular coloration.
Ignition has bright red and pink leaves that are sometimes edged in green or charcoal. It will stay low and spread about twice as much as it is tall. It’s been rated at 8”h x 16”w so it is not a super large coleus. It would make a wonderful filler or spiller in containers.
Flicker is bright yellow, splashed with red, edged in lime green. It’s habit is round and tight reaching 14” high and wide.
Flash is vigorous and delicately toned in cream, edged in green with a vibrant red veining in the center and on the stems. This one definitely spreads. Reaching only 8” high it will spread three times that height to 24”w.
Another amazing grower, Hort Couture has introduced another in it’s Under the Sea line.
Bone Fish is my favorite for this year so far. I am in love with the vibrant coloring on this plant. This one is taller than wide. Reaching between 15 to 18” tall it will stay narrow at between 10-12” wide.
There has been a lot of talk about the Monarch situation lately.
Monarchs arrive in Illinois starting in May. These travelers are making their return trip to Illinois after overwintering in Mexico. In May, we will feature a four part Digger Blog series on the Monarch, called "May is for Monarch".