I was just telling my husband recently that I wished our shrub rose was ever-blooming or at least bloomed more than once during the season. It’s loaded with pretty smallish pink blossoms. It’s a heritage plant that I rescued from my neighbor’s yard when he passed many years ago. I hold it dear and think of him each year when it blooms.
I’m scanning gardening publications the other day and I come across an online publication that is produced by the University of Minnesota called Minnesota Hardy. The U of M has developed just such a shrub rose, well actually 3. These three hardy shrub roses produce constant bloom throughout the summer, need little winter preparation, and are aptly named Sven, Ole, and Lena! LOL They are hardy in Zones 3 and 4.
The other plant I love for diversity in the garden is an ornamental grass. There are very few hardy for cold climates and even fewer that tolerate shade. Well, don’t you know, The U of M has also produced a hardy grass called Blue Heaven™ (also called Little Bluestem) which landscapers and home gardeners alike have readily embraced. It does require full sun, though.
The grassy leaves of Blue Heaven are bluish-green in color and the foliage turns a gorgeous orange in the fall. It features beautiful spikes of light green flowers rising above the foliage in late summer. The indian red seed heads are displayed from early fall right through to late winter and the brick red stems add winter interest.
For the U of M, breeding such plants goes far beyond producing a hardy plant. The process also involves evaluating disease resistance, color, taste, growth habit, and uses. The results number well over 400 proven hardy varieties! Minnesota’s drive to discover has formed the foundation for over a two-billion-dollar horticultural industry, spanning the borders from Roseau, MN grass seed growers south to Lanesboro, MN vineyards.
What is your favorite Zone-hardy shrub or plant?