Monrovia Plant Savvy
design, inspiration and practical ideas from the plant experts. April 2013
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New Plant Varieties for 2013

Dear Savvy Gardener,

 

Spring is finally here (the groundhog got it wrong!). Do you feel like your garden needs a complete makeover? Well, don't let it overwhelm you. As with any large project, the best approach is to carve it up into smaller, manageable tasks. In the garden, you can create vignettes that will draw the eye or solve a problem. Then you'll be inspired to try another. Transform a ho-hum border in a side yard or path to your front door by layering in some colorful shrubs and perennials of varying heights. For easy care, abundant blooms, include Flower Carpet® Roses, available in a variety of colors; Pink Poppet Weigela, or Lantana Teenie Genie, which stays nice and compact with little pruning. Golden Zebra Daylily has bold striped leaves, so it looks great even when not boasting deep yellow blooms. More ideas for colorful foliage include Golden Ruby® or Crimson Ruby® Barberry, Limemound® or Magic Carpet Spirea. For slightly shady spots, add Midnight Rose Coral Bells, Hydrangea Pink Elf, or the lovely new Wild Swan Anemone.

More of Our Latest and Greatest
  Canna Tropicanna® Gold
leafgif   out the kitchen window

Are you often looking out the kitchen window as you cook? Plant something that you'll love to look at from that window. Perhaps it's a specimen tree with an interesting shape like Feelin Blue Deodar Cedar or Henry Lauder's Walking Stick. Or eye-catching perennials in colorful containers, like the Canna Tropicanna® series, or shrubs like the new Hibiscus Red Darling® or bright Hibiscus Erin Rachel. A fast-growing Sapphire Indigo Clematis can spill beautifully from a container, alone or combined with a Japanese Maple such as Coral Bark or Crimson Queen. An Angel Red Pomegranate has gorgeous blooms and fruit.

 

 
  Bird of Paradise
 

a view from the den

For a nice view out a larger window, consider making a haven for hummingbirds and butterflies. In the background, plant Honeysuckle ,and Trumpet Vines like Balboa Sunset® or Madame Galen. Then add plenty of nectar and fragrance with Bluebeard and Butterfly Bushes, Brunfelsia or Princess Flowers. In front, tuck in some Lemon Leigh Spanish Lavender. Want to make it more water-wise? Easy to grow Bird of Paradise attracts hummingbirds, as do Santa Barbara Salvia and the brightly colored Heatwave™ Salvias. This garden fix will be colorful and fragrant, plus you can enjoy watching these cute little pollinators all season long.

 

 
  Variegated Box-Leaf Azara
 

donuts are for breakfast, not trees

Do you have a donut around your tree? That little ring of annuals planted at the base? It takes effort to keep it looking decent, and the effect is underwhelming. Perhaps it's time to dunk that donut! Try creating a seating area under a tree, with a small bench or two chairs. Or perhaps a bird bath. If the soil isn't great because of large tree roots, nestle in some containers with shade-loving plants like the stunning Triostar Stromanthe, with pink, green and cream foliage. For texture, include Hosta and Ferns ; or bright, lush All Gold Japanese Forest Grass. The new Bloom-a-thon® Azaleas will provide plenty of color; or Star Jasmine for a heavenly fragrance. Design tip: for the best balance, always have an odd number of containers.


 
  Red Darling® Hibiscus
leafgif   portable color

Container plantings are a great way to get a splash of color in otherwise needy spots in the garden. And, you can move them around as your needs change. A few flowering patio trees can make such an impact, look for some like Flower Carpet® Roses; or brightly colored Bougainvillea like Oo-LaLa®, Bengal Orange or Purple Queen®. Big colorful shrubs look great in a pot, without a lot of effort. We like Rose of Sharon varieties Blushing Bride, Helene and Minerva . More winners are low maintenance Knock Out® Roses. For a shady spot, Azaleas will deliver with long-lasting blooms. Phoenicia, Southern Charm, George L.Tabor or Brilliant are good choices.

 

 
  Red Darling® Hibiscus
Get creative with containers!
leafgif   recycle by repurposing

In honor of Earth Month, instead of sending that old wheelbarrow or watering can to the landfill…try planting in it. Be creative about what you can beautify with plants. A chest with drawers pulled out at varying lengths and planted with colorful trailing plants. Old file cabinets, with drawers out and laid on the ground make sleek, modern containers that can be painted bright colors. Here's a clever idea for turning extra concrete pavers into contemporary (and sturdy) containers. Check out our Pin Board with more great ideas.

 

 
  Red Darling® Hibiscus
leafgif   hot and dry, but not hopeless

Frustrated with a hot dry patch in the garden? Succulents to the rescue! There are so many shapes and colors and they're all so easy to grow. Get creative with Aloe, Stonecrop, Echeveria and more. A popular workhorse of the water-wise garden is Ice Plant which tolerates poor soil, heat, cold and is good for firescaping. The best news? It provides a pop of color with vibrant, long-lasting flowers. Try the colorful Mesa Verde®, Fire Spinner® or Red Mountain®. Check out our Succulent Collection with options for all climate zones.