Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

May, 2009
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Japanese Forest Grass
For once, I'm right in line with the Perennial Plant Association! One of my all-time favorites is hakonechloa (also one of the hardest to pronounce), and they've named Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' the 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year. This lovely ornamental grass has bright golden foliage that thrives in partial shade. It is small, only about 15 inches tall with the same width and thrives in rich, organic, moist soil. It brings an absolute glow to shady spots, and I wouldn't be without it as a specimen in my woodland garden.

Clever Gardening Technique

Grow Greens Year-Round
Even in our cold climates, you can grow greens year-round with a little ingenuity. Lay out a bed of wood chips about six inches deep and then lay about six inches of high-quality compost on top of that. Worm casting compost is the best if you can get it. Then seed in lettuce, spinach, mustard, chard and any other greens that you enjoy. As fall approaches, cover the bed with hoops of PVC pipe and then plastic sheeting. In this rich mix, you will be able to grow greens the entire winter.

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