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Five things you didn’t know about arborvitae

  1. Arborvitae (pronounced ar-bor-vye-tee or ar-bor-vye-tuh) is the plant’s common name. It’s scientific name is Thuja (pronounced thoo-yuh). It’s a rare case of a plant’s common name being more complicated than its scientific one, but both have poetic meanings: arborvitae means “tree of life” in Latin, and thuja refers to a tree that was used to make fragrant incense in ancient Greece.
  2. Arborvitae is native to the US. Sometimes known as Eastern red cedar, Thuja occidentalis can be found over a huge portion of the eastern US and Canada.
  3. Its foliage is delightfully fragrant. If you have one in your yard, crush its foliage and see – it has a refreshing, fruity scent.
  4. Arborvitae have one of the fastest growth rates of all evergreens. Once they’ve developed a good root system, they can grow up to 3’ per year. That means when you plant an arborvitae hedge, you get privacy, quickly.
  5. There’s an arborvitae for every climate. If you live in chilly zones 3 and 4, opt for an Eastern arborvitae like ‘Wintergreen’ or ‘Emerald’. If you live in warm zone 8, ‘Green Giant’ is ideal. And if you live in zone 5-7, you can take your pick – any of them will do great for you!

Thinking about planting a hedge this season? Now you have some fun trivia to share with friends, family and neighbors. And if you’re looking for big, ready-set-grow plants, we’ve got you covered.

Fun facts about ‘Walker’s Low’ nepeta

‘Walker’s Low’ nepeta has been a best seller for us since day one – that’s over ten years. It’s beautiful, long blooming, deer resistant, and super easy to grow. You probably already know that, but did you know these five fun facts about this garden classic?

  1. Nepeta is its scientific/botanical name. It derives from the town of Nepetenow known as Nepi, in Italy, which is about an hour north of Rome.
  2. Its common name is catmint and it is indeed closely related to catnip.
  3. It is in the mint family, and shares some of that family’s most common characteristics: square stems, fragrant foliage, stacked leaves, and tubular flowers with a showy lip.
  4. The name ‘Walker’s Low’ does not refer to its stature – it’s actually about the same size as other popular catmints. Rather, it comes from the garden in Ireland where it was discovered, Fernhill. The owners of Fernhill were the Walkers, and this variety with its soft, silver-green foliage and long bloom time appeared by chance in their lower garden.
  5. Introduced in Europe in the 1980s, it found its way to the US in the 1990s, where its popularity grew quickly. It was awarded the prestigious Perennial Plant of the Year award in 2007.

How to grow ‘Walker’s Low’ nepeta

This plant is high performing yet easy to grow – the Chicago Botanic Garden gave it the highest ranking in its nepeta trial! Here are a few tips for success:

– plant where it will get at least six hours of sun each day
– needs little to no supplemental water
– long lived and long blooming
– does not need pruning, but reblooms if trimmed after flowering
– very resistant to deer and rabbits
– hardy to USDA zone 3, heat tolerant through zone 8

Seven Surprising Plants for Winter Beauty

Look out the window. What do you see? Snow? Ice? Okay, besides that. Any plants out there catch your attention? If not, there should be!

There are lots of perennials, shrubs, and even succulents that stick around during winter to bring a bit of interest to this otherwise dreary time. In fact, there are too many for us to list them all, so here are seven rather surprising suggestions to get you closer to a more beautiful winter next year.

‘Limelight’ Panicle Hydrangea

Hydrangeas rule the summertime, but all things considered, they’re pretty stellar in winter, too. Super-hardy panicle hydrangeas like ‘Limelight’ create an elegant scaffold for catching snowflakes, and provide shelter for birds, bringing an extra level of cheer. ‘Limelight’ can grow in sun or part shade anywhere from chilly USDA zone 3 to steamy USDA zone 9.

‘Boulder Blue’ ornamental grass
Also known as blue fescue, Festuca glauca is an evergreen (or should we say everblue?!) ornamental grass that keeps its color and shape all winter and looks especially appealing surrounded by fluffy snow.

Sprinter® boxwood
Sprinter boxwood (Buxus microphylla‘Bulthouse’) is one of the best hardy boxwood. It stays greener in winter than other selections and naturally grows about 1.5x faster than other selections, too.

Tassel fern
An evergreen fern? YES! And tassel fern is one of the most beautiful, with highly textured leathery foliage to tide you through winter and very unique fiddleheads in spring. Shade tolerant + deer resistant!

‘Pink Frost’ hellebore
Though its bloom time is still a few weeks away, their handsome, leathery foliage makes winter much more tolerable. This plant is very resistant to deer and highly shade tolerant – a real problem solver!

Hens & Chicks
Their botanical name, Sempervivum(which translates to “always alive” in Latin) doesn’t just refer to their durability. It’s also because they’re around all winter, all the better to accent their striking geometric form.

‘Winterglut’ pigsqueak
We don’t know what we like better about this plant, also known as bergenia – its pink spring flowers or its big, leathery, cabbage-like leaves in winter. Either way, we’re awfully glad to have it around come January.

Sedum Plum Dazzled-Fun Modern Color. An Eye-Catching Touch!

Sedum Plum Dazzled – an exciting new easy to grow Sedum will provide season long foliage color!

Butterfly Loving Sedum that is deer and drought proof!

Plum Dazzled (PPAF) is a new selection of Sedum from Chris Hansen, breeder and originator of the SunSparkler Series of Sedum.  Plum Dazzled is a sport of Sedum Dazzleberry with all the same features but with plum color foliage. Sedum Plum Dazzled  is 40% darker in color compared to Sedum Dazzleberry.

Better Home and Gardens (BHG) wrote in a recent article call Creating Colorful Foliage Gardens “In Garden design, leaves….prolong a border’s attractions through the season, giving it depth, flow and personality. ”

Plum Dazzled is a choice plant for garden design growing only 8″ tall and 18″ wide with giant 6-8″ raspberry flower heads in late summer.    Sedum Plum Dazzled is a perfect for the front of the border, in containers.  Combine with yellow flowering plants such as Daylilies, Coreopsis for a great look. So many possibilities!  Drought & Deer tolerant, the butterflies will swarm to the easy care hardy perennial. (Zone 4-9 hardy)

Growing Tip:  Sedums will thrive in poor, but well drained soil.  They need little water to do well.  Plant Plum Dazzled in full sun for best color. Part shade may reduce the intensity of the color.

Buy Sedum Plum Dazzled today and spice up your garden with season long color!

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Try Carex for a gracefully shaped blue groundcover

Blue Zinger Carex certainly has a subtle zing with its tufted long blue foliage and color that last all season long.

Carex are grasslike plants (called sedges) with mostly evergreen foliage as the main attraction. They are increasingly becoming invaluable plants when it comes to landscape design as their low growing habit & narrow leaves compliment well with bold leaved Shrubs, Hostas and many other plants.

Where most Carex like a moist environment, Blue Zinger Carex thrives in a wide range of soil types and exposures. You got to love blue foliage plants that are easy to grow, add instant color, and spreads (in a moderate fashion), while thriving in a dryer site.   Think about adding a river of blue beneath a  Hedge planting, along a paved walkway, as a “filler” between other plants, or as a  mulch-alternative in sun or shade.

An easy Carex to grow that is both deer proof and drought tolerant. You love the instant color of the groundcover with no wait time.  Blue Zinger grows 8-16″ tall and will spread 12-24″ depending on the site.

Learn more about Carex Blue Zinger

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  • Our Succulent artist made an example of what you can do with our hand-selected Succulent Medley pot. No planting or prep needed. Just put it into your favorite pot, give it a little water, and you're good to grow!
  • A Sempervivum Pacific Devil's Food we've started to propagate for the upcoming Fall season. Shipping start September 10th! See you then!
  • Say hello to a new member of our GGP family, Nepeta Kitten Around! A shorter and sweeter version of our bestselling, Nepeta Walker's Low. Only grows to about 12-14 inches in height which will be perfect for small gardens or filling in that small gap to complete your project. Be sure to check it out and stay tuned for more exciting new arrivals at Great Garden Plants coming this Fall!
  • Sedum Plum Dazzled is a New SunSparkler Sedum.  40% darker than Dazzleberry Sedum. Great new groundcover for all season color.
  • One of our favorite succulents!