Tag Archives: garden design

New Plants for 2014

Well I know it doesn’t seem like it but we’ll be out gardening before we know it.  There are alot of exciting new plants out this year and I thought I would share.   I’m always looking for plants that fit well in our small city gardens.   Growers and suppliers are really starting to come around and are realizing the need for such urban plants.   Here are some of these plants that are new to the market in 2014.

Here are few from Monrovia that would be nice additions to Chicago gardens.

Deutzia x ‘Nikko Blush’ (NA74356)

USDA Zones 5 – 8

Deutzia A delightful new hybrid from the U.S. National Arboretum, this blushing beauty will herald spring with a profusion of soft pink blooms. A compact shrub with an excellent, multi-branched form, it is perfect for foundation plantings or to create a low hedge. Bright green foliage on arching branches displays deep burgundy fall color. Deciduous. Moderate growing to six to eight feet tall and six feet wide



Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’ P.P.A.F.

USDA Zone 5 – 9

HydrangeaEnchantress® upstages other reblooming Hydrangeas with her huge mophead flowers atop unique ruby-black stems. Blooming on old and new wood, clusters are up nine inches across; blue in acid soils, pink in alkaline soils. Her tall, dark stems are pencil thick, making excellent cut flowers in an arrangement or for drying. The stems are stunning against as the flowers as they fade to cream-splashed green. The ruby-colored stems look super all winter. Great in warmer climates and cold hardy to Zone 5. A rounded habit, it will reach three to five feet tall and wide.

Tsuga canadensis ‘MonKinn’ P.P.A.F.

USDA Zones 4 – 7

HemlockA dwarf shrub with an outstanding low, mounding form, this new selection shows improved sun tolerance. A wonderful choice for woodland, rock garden or container specimen, plant in mass for a truly dramatic effect. It will reach three to four feet tall and three to five feet wide. Prefers a dappled shade position in the garden. 


Here are some other choices from other growers.

(Muhlenbergia reverchonii): Hardy to USDA zones 5-10. 

GrassThis selection of long-lived grass was brought from the southern Great Plains by Lauren & Scott Ogden. Graceful fine-textured gray-green mounds are topped by clouds of tiny ruby flowers that glow brilliantly when backlit in autumn. Persistent winter beauty, superb in mass plantings; also for accents and erosion control.  Plants are 15-18 inches tall; up to 30 inches in flower. Grows in full sun in moderate to dry conditions.


(Penstemon x mexicali) Hardy to USDA zones 4b-8.

penstemon mexicaliRuby-red or garnet-colored tubular flowers with striped throats nearly all summer long. Narrow, glossy green leaves form an attractive mound. This selection  was developed by Kelly Grummons and grows 15 inches tall by 12-15 inches wide in full sun to part shade with moderate water.




(Scutelliaria resinosa ‘Smoky Hills’) Hardy to USDA zones 4-9.

ScuttelariaForms tidy mounds of greenish-grey leaves covered with bright purple-blue flowers tipped with white during early summer. Thrives in hot, sunny locations with well-drained soil. This durable shortgrass prairie native was named for the Smoky Hills of north central Kansas where it was first collected and was originally introduced by Great Plants™ in 2004.  Plants grow 8-10 inches tall and 10-14 inches wide.


(Iris hookeri) Hardy to USDA zones 3-8.

IrisForms a compact, tidy clump with attractive green foliage framing large, porcelain-blue flowers in late spring and early summer. It is one of North America’s most beautiful native irises, and provides excellent foliage and textural accent for small gardens. Grows 8-12 inches tall and wide.

Allium schoenoprasum ‘Snowcap’ Hardy to zones 2-9

ChivesThis semi-dwarf variety has wispy, pristine white flowers. Fine, grassy gray-green foliage looks nice all season long. Plant it in well-drained soil. Holds up well in the heat and humidity of summer. Deadhead to prevent reseeding. Grows 12-15 inches tall and wide.

I’m looking forward to being able to use some of these in Urban Renewal designs and will be on the lookout for them as soon as things become available.  Happy Gardening!

Spring vegetables for Chicago gardens.

jalapeno-seedlingsI recently started contemplating what I want to grow in the garden this year and figured I’d blog about it and share any ideas/insight with you novice Chicago gardeners out there.

This should be an interesting year for produce because of the California drought and water shortage.  Vegetable prices will inevitability be higher and inventory will be scarcer.   So why not grow your own and know exactly where your food is coming from.  Plus, you will have a great time doing it.

February is a good time to start sowing seeds indoors for later transplant to your garden.   Most summer vegetables can be sown indoors to maximize your yield potential come harvest time.   If done correctly you can be harvesting long before everyone else and enjoying an abundance of vegetables.   The cool season vegetables include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, endive, lettuces, kale along with many more.   They can be started indoors now and then transplanted to the garden as soon as the soil can be worked which is typically mid to late march.  These vegetables will usually start to decline with the hot July heat and can be re-sown in late July for a fall harvest.    The warm season vegetables can be started indoors also.  They include cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.  These warm season vegetables can’t be planted for around 8 weeks, which is usually towards the end of May when there isn’t any threat of frost.  This can give you a good sized healthy plant that is bigger then  your options at local garden centers thus ensuring you a sooner harvest and longer harvest duration.

Once we get into March you can start thinking about other vegetables that can be sown directly into the ground.   These include arugula, mache, mustard, peas, radishes, spinach, beets, carrots along with many others.  They can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. March is also a good time to start cucumbers and melons indoors for transplant later.

In zone 5, after the first week of April passes, beans, squash and corn can be planted outside. They are planted directly in the garden and 1 week before the last frost is expected. After the seed germinates and presses through the soil, be sure to cover the delicate plant if frost occurs. Beans take several months to mature and can be planted in successive planting up until 3 months prior to the first fall frost. In zone 5, the first expected frost date is October 15th. So all beans should be planted by July 15th to ensure they have time to reach maturity before it gets cold.

Hope this info helps.  Now you can’t complain about having nothing to do on the weekend.