February 22, 2007



Yesterday Spring Break came to Chicago. The sun and balmy 50 degree temperatures beckoned me outdoors. I put on my good shoes and tried out my new bionic feet by walking a good country mile or so to Gethsemane Garden Center. The shot I made above shows the last of the rapidly disappearing snow cover.

I met with the Chief Honcho of Trees and Shrubs and persuaded him to give me the names of his purchases of the new woody plant introductions for 2007. It didn't take too much arm-bending to get him to give me his selections. He was pretty pleased with himself.

Being a big fan of Hydrangeas, I'll start with them. Hydrangea Quercifolia ( Oak Leaf Hydrangea ) ' Little Honey ' is a chartrese-leaved shrub that performs wonderfully in shady locations. New foliage is infused with red veins and fall color is more of a rose/raspberry than the standard cinnamon/maroon.

Hydrangea Macrophylla ( Big Leaf Hydrangea ) ' Lemon Daddy" is a gold-leaved, pink flowering, mop head for shady locations. Another big leaf is Hydranagea Macrophylla 'Forever and Ever' , a red mophead with great glossy foliage and handsome flower heads.

Hydrangea Paniculata ( Panicle ) ' Pinky Winky ' , has large two-toned flower heads that are white when they emerge, turning shades of pink while new flowers keep pushing out throughout the growing season.

I'm also keen on the evergreen shrubs, Taxus ( Yews) of which there are many varieties. This are not your Grandfather's yew, but new improved varieties and are great for background, specimen or structure in the garden. Taxus x Media 'Citation ' is a tight version of a columnar yew that is cylinder- like in shape and only reaches a mature height of 9 feet by 4-5 feet wide. Height can be controlled by clipping. For a new twist on a vintage shrub, Taxus cuspidata 'Golden Treasure' is a bushy form with bright gold foliage and is great for shady locations that need a color pick-me-up. It tolerates shade or sun and regular pruning, if need be.

And while I'm on the subject of evergreens, Juniperus ( Junipers ) are another fave that thrive well here in Zone 5. A new introduction I've got to get for my own garden this year is Juniperus-Communis 'Sentinel ' This is a tall, skinny evergreen that looks like Italian Cypress. Great for hot, sunny locations and can handle sun, wind, heat and snow. Grows only 1-2 feet wide by 7-9 ' tall.

These are my picks from his list and there will be more to come in future posts.


  1. This looks good and the content is great. Thanks for the update on Gethsemane.

  2. I look forward to more! Wasn't this week nice! I don't want to see all the rain this weekend though! We are pretty dry here in southern IL so I guess we do need it. The photo is beautiful and I can't wait to see more. Will have to try sometime to get there.


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