Category Archives: Plant Varieties

A dialogue about plants.

Snow Drops


Snow Drops

On a dull cloud covered rainy winter day I noticed that the Snowdrops ‘Galanthus nivalis’ that I planted 20 years ago were coming up and starting to bloom. This is in contrast to last year as they waited until it was February before they poked the little heads out of the ground to bloom and announcing that spring was coming.

Snowdrops are one of the first spring bulbs that flower followed by Grape Hyacinths and Crocus. In reality, there are twenty types of snowdrops only three are in commercial production.   The standard is ‘Galanthus nivalis’ but if you can find ‘G. nivalis Flore plena’ you will have a great show of white spring flowers. Their cold requirement is 15 -18 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees, this why they bloom early.  They can even bloom under the snow, however in extreme cold with no snow cover the blooms seem to give up the ghost.

Planting of Snowdrops is done in the fall, which is when they are harvested, then shipped to a location near you. Snowdrops are hard to find in the fall in most garden stores. They do not count for high dollars in the store but add great beauty in the early spring. The best effort to find a retail mail-order garden catalog that sells many types of fall bulbs. If you are looking for one let me know I have several.

Frequently Snow Drops like several other early winter spring flowers are left out of landscape design because their bloom time is before people are active in the yards. If you find a garden location as you travel in the winter going in and out of your house that is the best place because you will be able to enjoy their beauty. Planted around trees is another great location.  In some areas when planted in the grass as they have gone before lawn mowing has commenced. The bulbs are small and when planted they should be groups of five to six they will make larger clumps over the years and give that early hello that spring is coming.

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer 2015

Flowering Dogwoods

Preparing for Spring

Pink Dogwood Enhanced

One can gain knowledge of what spring-flowering dogwood trees will be like from looking at what is occurring in the fall. In the late summer tree Dogwoods or (Cornus florida) or (Cornus rubrum) types start their groundwork for a grand spring flower show. This requires both proper water and temperatures. Several years ago when we had hot temperatures in August and with little or no rain there were little or no spring dogwood blooms the next spring. Supplementary watering should have been given early to mid-August in order to offset the dry summer. This also will intensify the brilliant fall red colors of the dogwood leaves. As seen in this picture the buds are set for a spectacular show next spring.

Native dogwoods grow at the edge of the forest and in clearings. In urban settings placed into too much shade, the tree will be thin and blooms will be meager. Yet in the full sun they tend to struggle, this is also the situation is enhanced by poor soils. One solution is using more mulch around the tree roots as this holds moisture and keeps the roots cool like as on a native forest floor.

Flowering Tree Dogwoods come in a number of common types and varieties (Cornus florida) or (Cornus rubrum)

WHITE; (Cornus Florida), (Cornus Florida Appalachian Mist), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Princess), (Cornus Florida Cloud Nine), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Daybreak with variegated leaves), (Cornus Florida Holman Gold), (Cornus Florida Pendula), (Cornus Florida Prairie Splendor).

RED; (Cornus florida Cherokee Brave), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Chief), (Cornus Florida Cherokee Sunset with variegated leaves.

 PINK: (Cornus rubrum).

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer 2014

Bucks’ Unlimited Oak


‘Bucks’ Unlimited Oak

In an age of small dominative plants that do not drop anything on to the manicured lawn of urban America, it is refreshing to see a tree that produces large amounts of acorns being triumphed is astonishing. However, this fast-growing Swamp White Oak was selected not for the urban homeowner but rather for the wildlife and to be used in areas where the is deer and turkey populations abound. The attributes of this new and great tree are earlier flowering and fruiting large number of acorns thus giving wildlife, turkey and deer and waterfowl a good diet of natural food, making this an excellent tree to put into your food plot for the wildlife.

This unique and great find was made by the late Bill Yoder of the Missouri Department of Conservation State nursery. Production and sale of this tree are with forest keeling nursery. It was also found by John Burk, Wildlife Biologist that deer would move past Northern White oak to dine on Swamp White Oak, once again making this a superior tree for attracting deer.

Known as ‘Bucks’ Unlimited Oak, this natural selection offers consistent annual yields with heavy, early production. This beautiful, long-lived oak species will develop a stately profile and live as long as 300 years on a variety of sites from upland forests to floodplains. And, while the main claim to fame for Bucks’ Unlimited Oak is its wildlife-attracting mast, this tree will also produce top-quality timber. This new Find Buck’s Unlimited Oak is a natural selection that will be a great addition to the vast line of Oaks.

Swamp White oaks are a great asset to be used in parks and large areas where their massive beauty can be appreciated.

A portion of sales of Buck’s Unlimited Oak by Forest Keeling will be returned to the Center for Agroforestry for more research and ongoing studies

This entry was posted in New VarietiesPlant Varieties and tagged Buck’s UnlimitedNativeNew PlantNew PlantsOaks on November 18, 2014, by Ken WilsonEdit

A portion of sales of Buck’s Unlimited Oak by Forest Keeling will be returned to the Center for Agroforestry for more research and ongoing studies

Five New Echinacea

This was the year of the Echinacea and it has brought us five new Echinacea This plant known as the coneflower has several species native to the North American Continent. Out of several of the species have come 78 varieties. Many of these new varieties look like their native cousins. This year five new varieties have been introduced.

Echinacea ‘Aloha’ is one of the prairie Series from Terra Nova. It is patented and cannot be propagated.   This yellow-flowered and bushy habit has a long bloom period this will make it a great addition to the yellow-flowered Echinacea’s

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is a seed strain of Tomato red, magenta, golden yellow, fluorescent orange and white. This color range and its growth habit will make this a must-have coneflower to put into a garden next to some grasses. To give it a native prairie garden look. Trouble it is a mix, so getting all colors one must buy several plants.

Echinacea ‘Colorburst Orange’ PPAf is series of coneflowers called Colorburst. This is another outstanding introduction from Terra Nova. This Echinacea has large orange pompom flowers. This is a fragrant variety that attracts butterflies. It is a well-branched plant with an excellent variety of mass summer flowers.

Echinacea ‘Purple Emperor’ PPAF is from the Butterfly series by Arie Blom. It moves into the series with ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Julia’. It has large saturated magenta-purple flowers. These flowers are born on clumps of bushy green foliage. This plant is stunning in mass plantings.

Echinacea ‘Secret Affair’ PPAF is in the SECRET series of coneflowers. This is another great introduction from Terra Nova. These sizeable flowers stay on from midsummer until late in some areas frost. The coneflower will be great for cut flower bouquets that will enhance any room.

These five new Echinacea’s are a great improvement to the many coneflowers that are already on the market.

©Ken Wilson &Gardening Whisperer 2014


While doing research on my article on new varieties I ran across this variety Clematis recta SERIOUS BLACK™ (AKA Clematis recta ‘Lime Close’) (Bush Clematis)—Completely different than all the other Clematis offered, SERIOUS BLACK™ is a bush type rather than a vine type and it can stand up on its own but also is the perfect companion for taller perennials. It is easily grown in decorative patio containers as well. The name SERIOUS BLACK™ references its extraordinarily dark purple new foliage which matures to deep olive green. In late spring to early summer, antique ivory colored blossoms about the size of a nickel appear in clusters reminiscent of Sweet Autumn Clematis. They often reappear in midsummer, blooming on the deep purple new growth, and silvery seed heads follow in fall. You can imagine how the light-colored blossoms jump out against the dark foliage. The effect is stunning and would add great interest to the garden. This would add another purple leaf plant to the garden.

In contrast to bush clematis, also called upright clematis, most gardeners think of clematis as vines that twine around a trellis or arbor, producing large flowers in great profusion. The plants described here are the shrub clematis, which is excellent for the bed or border. Clematis is a Greek word for “brushwood” and refers to the plant’s branches.

Another bush clematis would include; “Clematis recta purple”, “Clematis recta White” and Clematis recta mini White” All of these plants offer another aspect to your perennial garden.

Clematis Serious Black is rather new and could be hard to find in the US, so we recommend ordering early to be able to obtain one for your collection.

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer