Staff Picks 9/4-9/11

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 at 7:08 am

As fall approaches it gets harder to source quality material. In an effort to keep you in the loop and introduce you to new material, we’re introducing Staff Picks – A short weekly to biweekly list of plants we love!


Zach Sargent – Ginkgo Biloba (Maidenhair Tree)

zack_sargent– “Outstanding color and a great green throughout the season too! You’ll fall for this tree once you see the fall color!” (Salem Lake Farm)

Ginkgo biloba is an excellent multi-use deciduous tree. Uniquely fan shaped leaves emerge somewhat fluted and unfurl and remain a steady emerald green color all season long. In fall, trees become a vibrant glowing yellow and leaves persist for a short time before all falling off within a 48 hour period, creating a beautiful golden carpet on the ground. Talk about a dramatic exit! Multiple cultivars exist for this species that vary in habit from columnar varieties that mature to 45 feet tall to dwarfs that reach 5 feet at maturity. The species can reach nearly 100 feet at maturity!

Pictured: Ginkgo biloba 'Grindstone' 2 1/2"

Pictured: Ginkgo biloba ‘Grindstone’ 2 1/2″

Mike Kwiatek – Sedum ‘Dynomite’ (Dynomite Stonecrop)

michael_kwiatek – “The name’s perfect – the flowers look like little embers above dark foliage. The color is fantastic. Best of all, it stays pretty small! It’s like if ‘Pure Joy’ had a handsome older brother” (Chicago)

This compact variety of Sedum spectabile is pretty new on the market. Maturing to only 7 inches tall (with flowers) and 11 inches wide, it’s a good choice for the foreground of a dry perennial border.


Gail Marik – Diervilla ‘G2X885411’  (Kodiak Red Bush Honeysuckle)

gail_marik – “Over the weekend I planted Diervilla Kodiak Red in my yard. The shrubs I purchased were full of yellow blooms and red new leaf growth. I enjoyed watching bumble bees gathering pollen from the flowers and butterflies checking out the blossoms. I chose Diervilla because they are not fussy about location. They are a native that will tolerate drought, sun or shade. The shrubs provided instant screening. I can’t wait to see the expected fall color. It is easy to recommend a shrub that offers so much color in spring, summer and fall and will grow almost anywhere.” (Prairie View)

Gail sums it up nicely! Diervilla is a great native to plant just about anywhere to benefit native pollinators and for great fall color. It shows some salt tolerance too!


Bill Hope – Thuja ‘Wintergreen’ 10-12′ (Wintergreen arborvitae)

bill_hope – “Beauties! Perfect shape and height.” (Bolingbrook)

This narrow, somewhat columnar arborvitae is a great choice for hedges or as stand alone evergreens in our area. Growing 30 feet wide and 10 feet wide at maturity, Wintergreen can easily become an imposing plant, but for the right spot, it can bring a landscape together!



Brian Dulian – Magnolia ‘Jim Wilson’ 8′ (Moonglow Sweet Bay Magnolia)

brian_dulian– “Holds onto its leaves better than other Magnolias and the fruit is cool!” (Indianapolis)

Moonglow Magnolia is a more vigorous and upright variety of Sweet Bay Magnolia with good cold hardiness and larger flowers than the species. Maturing to 35 feet tall and 18 feet wide over several years, Moonglow makes an excellent specimen for Zones 5b through 10. Leaves are semi-evergreen.


With many more great looking plants in our yard, it’s hard to name them all. Come back next week for a new list of staff picks!

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