Thursday, June 12, 2014

These are a Few of Our Favorite Plants

What's your favorite plant? We've asked this question of each other several times this year. Some of the answers have stayed the same each time they've been asked. Others change from season to season. Here are a few of our staff's favorites.

Owner Andy Foard spends the spring procuring plants for our annual greenhouse and shadehouse and assisting customers with their plant choices. He is a big fan of Dragon Wing begonias and the large-leaved Whopper and Big begonias.
We first saw these Whopper begonias at a field trials site
All do a tremendous job in sun and shade, are deer resistant, somewhat drought tolerant and are easy to maintain.

At his home in North Baltimore County, Andy has planted many varieties of hydrangea. His favorite is Hydrangea paniculata Limelight.
One of a few spectacular Proven Winners varieties
 Limelight grows six to eight feet tall and wide. It blooms on new wood, so is best pruned in late winter. This hydrangea is very hardy, drought and sun tolerant and a true star performer in the garden.

Colleen Harlan and Ruth Engel enjoy the bright, colorful blooms of  Gerber Daisies. Gerbers are nice container plant that loves full sun and plenty of space to allow for good air circulation.

Gerber Daisies add tons of color to our greenhouse each spring 
The color range of these gorgeous daisies is just part of the reason for their popularity. Ruth likes to take them home and grow them indoors where the daisy flowers freely for a month or more. Ruth suggests watering Gerbers early in the day and fertilizing them with a plant starter when planted out in the garden, following up with Osmocoate fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Cindi Fielder loves all orange flowers. Luckily, plenty of flowers are available in her favorite color, including pansies, violas, petunias, begonias, fuchsia, vinca, coleus and so much more. Her singular favorite this year was the Santa Cruz Sunset begonia.
Begonia Santa Cruz Sunset is great for full sun or part shade
If it was up to Cindi, our entire plant selection  would be featured in color-blocked displays, with orange taking center stage.

Nurseryman Scott Carbone had a hard time picking just one. He likes the perennial Asclepias tuberosa, also known as butterfly weed. Butterfly weed is both a larval host plant and a nectar producing plant for Monarch butterflies. Sometimes called orange milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa does not produce milk.

Even young plants on our perennial benches attract Monarch butterflies

Our water gardens and store manager Tim McQuaid choose one of his favorite plants to be---surprise--- a water lily.

So many tropical water lilies are blooming right now in our water gardens 

It has unique variegated foliage and knock-your-socks-off lavender flowers.The tropicals do have to be protected over the winter. Tim does a seminar each year on winterizing the water garden and always provides wonderful tips to overwinter plants.

So, what's your favorite? We know that the hardest part of choosing your favorite plant is narrowing down the choices as we have gotten to know so many of them. We will revisit this subject again soon.