What's New for 2014

Every year growers entice gardeners with new plant varieties that are sure to make a splash in the garden. Here are some new varieties for 2014 that are sure to inspire you.

Black Tower Elder (Sambucus racemosa ‘Eiffel’)

Height: 6-8 feet Spread: 3-4 feet

A narrow upright variety with rich dark purple-black foliage. Produces large clusters of light pink flowers in the summer followed by black berries. A hardy, adaptable shrub for the landscape.

Tiny Wine Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘SMPOTW’)

Height: 3-4 feet Spread: 3-4 feet

A new dwarf selection that have a compact growth habit and small bronze-maroon leaves. This hardy durable shrub produces masses of pinkish white flowers along the stems in the spring.

Pucker Up! Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera ’Neil Z’)

Height: 3-4 feet Spread: 3-4 feet

A compact red-stemmed dogwood that has unique glossy, puckered dark green leaves. Produces clusters of white flowers in late spring. This striking new variety is deer resistant.

Parkland Pillar Birch (Betula platyphylla ‘Jefpark’)

Height: 23-26 feet Spread: 6-8 feet

A very narrow columnar tree with a dense branching habit. Excellent choice for small spaces, as a screen or in groups. Rich green leaves turn yellow in the fall, showy white bark adds winter interest.

Royal Crown Maple (Acer ginnala ‘JefUM’)

Height: 20 feet Spread: 15 feet

A showy tree with three-lobed green leaves that turn reddish-purple in the fall. This small tree makes a great specimen in small yards and is resistant to chlorosis and tolerant of alkaline soils.

Northwind Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’)
(Perennial Plant of the Year 2014)

Height: 4-6 feet Spread: 2-2.5 feet

This stunning grass forms a tall, narrow clump of olive-green leaves that procures airy heads of tiny green flowers in the late summer In the fall the leaves turn a golden yellow then fade to tan. A great plant for winter interest.

Buttered Rum Foamy Bells (Heucherella ‘Buttered Rum’)

Height: 7 inches Spread: 15 inches

A colourful perennial that forms a clump of deeply-cut, maple-shaped foliage that begins caramel, changing to a rose-red in the fall.

Kit Kat Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Kit Kat’)

Height: 12 inches Spread: 24 inches

A floriferous perennial that forms a compact rounded mound of aromatic grey-green foliage. Produces fragrant blue flowers from spring through fall. A great choice for the border.

Cherry Tart Sunsparkler Sedum (Sedum Sunsparkler ’Cherry Tart’)

Height: 3-4 feet Spread: 3-4 feet

A showy perennial that forms a compact, mound of fleshy cherry-red leaves. Produces large clusters of dark pink flowers from late summer through the fall. Attracts butterflies.

 

Pruning

February is a great time to get outside and prune, as the energy is still stored in the plant's roots and one can study the visible branch structure. The weather is usually warmer as the winter teases us with thaws.

Always keep your tools clean and sharp to reduce stress and disease transmissions. Sanitize your tools between cuts, especially when pruning diseased sections, with a 10% bleach solution or Lysol, which is less corrosive than bleach on your metal blades.

No more than a third is to be removed from the plant. Start with any dead or dying, diseased, or damaged branches. Step back and study where you will be making your cuts, do not leave stubs and make your pruning cuts to an outside facing bud to direct the growing direction.

Always work safely and wear your protective eye wear. If you are taking on a pruning project out of your league please consider a professionally trained arborist.

Benefits of Pruning:

  • Improves the shape, structure, allows light and air to penetrate into the interior
  • Encourages new growth for flowering and therefore fruiting, especially on those plants that flower on new wood, such as Annabelle hydrangea, potentilla, and some spirea.
  • Encourages the new wood that is colourful, for example Red-Twig dogwoods
  • Corrective pruning can assist in managing wind and snow damage

Plants that should not be pruned at this time of year are lilacs, double flowering plum, nanking cherry, forsythia and some types of clematis, as they all develop their flower buds on previous years growth. If these are pruned, you will be disappointed with the flower show in the spring. It is recommended that birches and maples not be pruned until early July when they are fully leafed out due to their high sap flow. Elms are not to be pruned during the months of April to October to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.