Yesterday the doorbell rang and these two boxes greeted me as I looked out through my glass front door. These are Proven Winners plants and they came from Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, MI. Spring Meadow called me earlier in the week to let me know they were on the way. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning with anticipation. This is my second shipment from Proven Winners. This selection includes some of my favorites like Limelight Hydrangea and the new OSO EASY roses. My first shipment, the end of April this year, was for new cultivars that are doing nicely right now.
Before I put a single plant in the ground, I prepared my beds. Leaf mulch, mushroom compost, fine bark chips, and Espoma Plant Tone were mixed in the beds until I had a very rich soil that easily drained. I started out with hard clay. I prefer mushroom compost in the Spring and Cow Manure in the Fall. Mushroom compost grows mushroom roots called haphae. Conditions are not right in your garden to grow the actual top mushroom or cap. The underground hyphae is a rich environment for your plant roots. It creates spaces for your bedding plants roots to grow, it traps moisture and nutrients that would normally wash away, and there are certain organisms that feed off the hyphae that benefit your plants. Cow Manure when put down under mulch will help decompose the mulch in to fine soil for Spring planting. So there you have why I do one in the Spring and the other in the Fall.
If you scroll down a ways to just a few post below, you can see the pictures of the plants ordered and shown here in these boxes. The plants today are in 5″ pots but most are fast growers and will reach mature height in the next two years if not sooner. Only a few will take several years longer.
It’s important to get them out of this box and watered. We are having hot humid days and these plants are already stressed from the long drive south from Michigan to the mid part of North Carolina. They came UPS. Only one plant didn’t make it and arrived with all the dirt shaken out of the container. It was my Spirea Pink Parasols and I’m depressed about it. The 16 other plants are alive and healthy.
I removed them from the box and watered them completely leaving them in the shade to acclimate. In the evening, my husband planted them for me. I may have to move a few after the annuals have died back and more space is revealed in the garden. Right now, it was important to get them in the ground as soon as possible.
I take this testing seriously with Proven Winners. I want to be able to tell you how a plant performs for Zone 7. If it is very difficult to take care of, then I will be honest about it. If it requires more than the standard care with which I share with my other plants, that information will be passed along to you. Some of the 09 plants being tested for Proven Winners in my garden are doing fantastic. The new Supertunia Silverberry is almost 6ft in diameter.
Today! This plant is a monster—
No deadheading, signs of stress or diseases!
The Supertunia Vista Silverberry bloomed right up to frost. When the frost came, it stopped blooming but didn’t die. I seriously considered keeping it till the first snow. But I didn’t want to be pulling out dead plants in freezing temps. Here is the last pic of took of a couple of weeks ago toward the end of Nov/08
The Citrus Blend Lantana is 4ft.
Below is an update on the Citrus Blend Lantana just before the November frost–it got huge!
The blooms were beautiful and turned bright red as the cold same on.
There is also a Lo and Behold Blue Chip Butterfly Bush growing slowly because I had to transplant it to a sunnier location.When I transplanted it, there was a very large root coming from it like butterfly bushes do and I had to cut into it. So right now, it’s going through transplant shock but looks fine. I will probably see it perform more next year. Here is the before from April and the now. I know it doesn’t look like much==but that is the reality of getting plants this small and waiting for them to mature. The annuals get big quickly but the perennials and shurbs take much longer.
Just added this on 11-24-08…the Lo and Behold grew in its transplanted spot and did beautifully.
The Lo and Behold only grows about 3 feet total–so it’s not going to get huge like the others. It bloomed non stop and the butterflies loved it.
Also a new Lace Cap Hydrangea that blooms on new and old wood. It’s Called, Let’s Dance Starlight—My plant is currently about 3ft and looks like it might be setting blooms. It was in a spot too sunny for it and I moved it to a shady spot with filtered light. ( It did set quite a few blooms and was beautiful. The cold this week, Nov 24th, did it in for this year..but I bet it grows a lot next year.)
Here is what mine looked like when I got it in April and then today.
Here are the blooms that it produced toward the end of September. That is a bit late but it did go through a shock when I first planted it–then I moved it to a shadier location and it did very well–so this is a pic from toward the end of the summer–
I like growing the test plants for Proven Winners and in the next two months will be posting pictures of the progress on these plants as they bloom more. I’ve already been able to share about the Lantana and Supertunias. Some plants didn’t make it because we had 100 degree temps for weeks. I’m still waiting to see if I can bring back to life the lobelia and begonias. ( They didn’t make it. The begonias picked up a bit as the cooler weather set in–but they never bloomed much. I think our summer was just too hot for it.)