Resource of the Week: Midwest Groundcovers Midwest Solutions
Most of us are not landscape designers or architects, but are asked to provide micro-design solutions to our landscape. Maybe a perennial bed needs to be refreshed, or a small project has changed existing beds enough that a new design is required. Not enough work to justify hiring an LA, but (if you were honest with yourself) enough to completely overwhelm you.
I’ve inherited plenty of beds that just looked sad, had poor original plant selection, or were thinning out for a variety of reasons. I wanted a simple, sharp looking solution that would be easy to maintain, and fill an entire space (= no room for weeds). My problem was that my background was in turf and trees, not annuals and perennials, and the pressure of filling a perennial bed with plants that would look great and thrive was overwhelming.
Midwest Groundcovers in St. Charles, Illinois offers a wonderfully helpful catalog with a number of useful resources. The most useful, by far, is their Midwest Solutions Plant Partners which offer very specific plant combinations that will help you conquer that problem spot. Sorted into a variety of heights, light demands, and soil types, you should be able to find a plant combination that fits your space. If you have some extra difficult spaces, they also list plants that are useful in problem areas, such as; Deer Resistant plants, Salt Tolerant, Drought Tolerant, Attracts Butterflies, and others.
I had a landscaping bed in the middle of a paved walkway. At about 300 sq. ft., it was curbed with a few shrubs and a tree in the planting area, but the perennials had mostly died out. What remained were some random coral bells that provided little groundcover. I filled the bed with the Amsonia hubritchii/Salvia ‘May Night’/Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ combination. The first year it was just nice to see plants in the space. The next year, though, they took off and created a beautiful and full bed. I received so many compliments on that bed and began to use the Midwest Solutions Plant Partners in other areas of campus.
- Because I don’t know all of my perennials perfectly, I couldn’t quite visualize a mature bed just by looking at the listed plants. I did a quick Google search for each plant combination, copied an image, and pasted it into a document next to other plants in that group. Once finished, I would laminate and keep the photos with the catalog. It would look something like this:
2. The staff at Midwest Groundcovers is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. Give them a call and find out for yourself. If one of the Midwest Solutions combinations doesn’t seem to fit, they can help you develop a planting scheme that will work for your site.
3. They also deliver throughout the Midwest. See pages 260-263 for delivery details.
4. Check out MGC’s Plant Calculator if you need help knowing how many plants to order.
You can find links to Midwest Groundcovers and other useful sites at The Campus Green Resource Center. Do you have other helpful tools you use in your landscaping? Please share in the comments below.