Wednesday, December 23, 2015

January Plant Health

As we roll into 2016 with a new year and a few resolutions, we need to be certain to include winter plant health on the list. There are few plants that need a bit of care in the winter but seem to be forgotten about until it becomes too late and there are problems.
Grasses can be cut back at this time or burned if you can do it without getting a fire truck called out on you. They will dry out and begin to shatter soon.  It is much easier to cut them back at this time.

Hydrangea, crapemyrtle and other late blooming plants should have the flower heads cut off now.  Removing the extra weight will protect them should we have ice loads in January, February or March.

Arborvitae care in the winter can be a little time consuming but these multi stemmed trees may need to be tied up for winter support. Heavy snow loads can bring them to the ground and they will look like a fountain instead of a columnar tree.

Tree wrap is important for crabapple, maple, linden, locust and all young trees. Tree wrap will help protect young crabapples from rodent damage on the trunks should we have extended snow coverage.  With the slow shut down and late freeze this year, thin skinned trees need to have the bark protected from sunscald.  Keeping the sun off the trunk in the winter will help moderate the temperatures and prevent the trees from waking up early.  Fluctuating temperatures in the late winter, early spring can cause the sap to flow on warm days causing damage to the trunks.

Successful planting requires that care be given to the root system. Don't get lethargic in the winter and dig the hole and then slam the plant in the ground.  Care should be given with the roots of container plants to ensure good root to soil contact.  Break up any girdling roots with your bare hands, pruners, or a knife.  Amend the backfill with good compost.  Water in thoroughly, allowing the water to overflow the hole.  Following these steps will prevent creating air pockets around the roots and help alleviate freeze drying the root system.  Caring for the root system of all container plants is recommended as the plants will establish much faster and will perform better once the heat gets turned up on them that first summer.

Looking forward to seeing all your faces at the Western on January 21-22. Chad and I are presenting a learning center session in Loma Vista's booth -  Do it Right, Planning to Planting.  We are including design, plant choices, hauling plants, and planting tips in our presentation.

Have a great new year!

Don Mann, KS Certified Arborist, KS Certified Pesticide Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Creating a Festive Winter Container

Last year’s Winter Wonderland article paved the way to a practice what I preach moment. This fall I transplanted into a newly created berm in the front yard most of what became overcrowded in my 24” container garden from last winter. It was important that I included with my new perennial planting the much anticipated spring bloom of both hyacinths and tulips; beautiful reminders of when spring has arrived.

What remained in the container was a 2 ½ year old Juniperus ‘Wiltonii’ along with new April additions of Abelia Sunshine Daydream and Veronica ‘Waterperry Blue’ and a big empty spot in the middle. To fix the hole I added a Buxus ‘Green Mountain’ #3 with a nice full base. As you can see, with winter on its way, the need for some vibrant color.

One inexpensive way to dress up a winter container is to make a popcorn–cranberry garland. After gathering up the needed essentials of fresh cranberries and air popped popcorn, I grabbed some cookies and milk to keep from eating the intended popcorn trim. Calculating the length of the garland was simple as I wrapped measuring tape from around the base to the top of the Boxwood. I surprisingly had a little over 9 foot of string to cut. Tying string around the first and last cranberry in the strand holds the garland together well. Simply alternate the red and white colors in any sequence. Tip: if the needle gets stuck in the popped kernels, have a pair of pliers ready to pull it through.

It’s quite easy to make your own holiday decorations. In the photo below, red 20 gauge wire was twisted to assemble three bells together and bent to create a hanger. Tape your pliers or risk scratching the coating on the wire when you twist and bend it. A wire cutter is needed to trim off the wire from the roll.

It was key for me to create a full transformation of the existing container into something much more - a look that is bold and vibrant, festive and inviting of the holidays to the neighborhood and my guests. The contrasting color of red was chosen to enhance the containers charm. Therefore, stem picks and stems containing bright red berries are used for interest and to fill in voids. A drooping stem of pine cones with an iced appearance adds to the overall winter container form, balance and theme. Even with the floral picks and stems, bells and lights added; something is missing…

…the draping of the popcorn–cranberry garland is the final touch in the creation of this outdoor winter container - taking it from a mere bland beginning and turning it into something grand and festive. An added benefit of the garland is attracting feathery friends. Subtle illumination brightens the container at night with the soft white LED micro lights chosen for their outdoor use and thin, silver decorative wire that works well with the fine foliage of the boxwood. The battery operated lights include a convenient 6 hour on and 18 hour off timer.

As you can see in the creation of an inviting and festive outdoor winter container, multiple species can be used besides some of the more traditional arborvitae, pines, spruces and holly. This is a great time to start planning for 2016 fall and winter container decorating workshops and classes at your nursery or garden center and what live containers you will need.

Sheila Balaun, Inventory Control, Loma Vista Nursery

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winter Interest for the Landscape

November has passed, and December is upon us. While this can seem like a dull and gloomy time of year for our landscapes, we can also be excited about the winter interest that plants have to offer us. Loma Vista has several options to give you and your customers that extra pop of color or texture in the cold winter months.

Gold Mop Cypress  
These evergreen Chamaecyparis pisifera plants are a fantastic option to add texture and color all winter long.

‘Indian Magic’ Crabapple   
I was driving through the trees today and turned around to check out this Malus. It really puts on a show with its plentiful red-orange berries.

Maiden Grass  
I remember the first time I saw (and actually took notice of) Miscanthus with snow-covered plumes. It is still one of my favorites in the wintertime.

Heritage® River Birch Clump  
Among all the exfoliating barks out there, Betula nigra is one of the most powerful forces in the landscape. These trees are a beautiful sight always, but even more so after a fresh layer of snow.

Arctic Fire™ Dogwood  
You can’t beat these beautiful fiery red branches, especially when they are showcased by a background of white snow in the wintertime.

Weeping Norway Spruce 
These trees look really great. Every time I’m in our pot-in-pot section, I can’t help but stop and admire them for a moment.

Brooke Stamm, Production Coordinator, Loma Vista Nursery

Lessons Learned From Fall 2014

Unlike last November when we had an early hard freeze, this fall we had a nice November with a slow cool down and a timely rain.  Last year, going into winter, we saw what happens when temperatures plummet and the foliage froze on the branches.  The frozen foliage did not damage the plants, new spring foliage came on just fine.  We did learn that plants we all thought to be cold and drought tolerant, including magnolias and weeping cherry, did not survive the brutal cold drop or experienced severe die back.  

Though we received ample moisture Thanksgiving weekend in the Kansas City area, winter water will still be critical with new landscapes and evergreens. Wilt Pruf will be in stock in December. Landscapes with many delicate evergreens, azaleas, holly and boxwood plantings will benefit from repeat applications through the winter months. 

Our fall harvest is underway though the recent rain will slow it down this week.  Truck loads of fresh dug b&b trees are arriving daily. Our selection of container trees is also strong and helps us keep ones in stock that are fall dig hazards.  

Have a great fall planting, enjoy the holidays, and be certain to join us for our Holiday Open House on December 16.

Don Mann, KS Certified Arborist, KS Certified Pesticide Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perennial Pizzazz

Who is excited for Thanksgiving?!  I know I am excited for my father-in-law’s smoked ham and turkey, getting to spend time with my family and the amazing nap from the turkey coma. I have to say that is the best nap that everyone can ever have when you eat too much turkey and your body makes you sleep it off. But, you guys are probably more interested in talking about the new perennials coming in spring.

Echinacea Sombrero Baja Burgundy, Echinacea Sombrero Blanco and Echinacea Sombrero Hot Coral are the new additions to the Sombrero series. You can see in our Reference Guide the basic characteristics of all of the Sombrero series. They are well branched, bright flowers that increases the flower power along with compact foliage. Below are some pictures that I took back in June of the flowers and the branching.

Sombrero Baja Burgundy is above and Blanco is below. Look at the rich colors and these pictures were both with new blooms. You can see in the Blanco picture that was the first of four blooms.

This little beauty above is Sombrero Hot Coral. It will add some amazing color to any landscapes or combination planting in a landscape.

The picture above is the wonderfully colored Penstemon Dark Towers.

I am so excited to be growing these in addition to one of my favorites, Penstemon Husker Red. There are a few differences between the two. The color of the foliage, color of the flowers and the spread of the plantings in the landscapes. Husker Red will stay between 12-18 inches and Dark Towers will spread 18-23 inches in the landscape. Husker Red has reddish purple foliage with white blooms with pinkish tints to the blooms. Dark Towers has a more deep purple foliage and pink with red tinted flowers as you can see from the picture.

The last plant I wanted to talk about is Veronica Pink Eveline. This plant reminds me of a beautiful meadow where the flowers are calm and quiet. I just adore this plant. It is full sun like other veronicas and it could be 18-23 inches tall and about 12-18 inches wide, image courtesy of

These are just a few plants that I will be growing in spring and there are more to come. Stay tuned for more information about what we are doing to improve our growing cycles and the ways we are trying to give you, our customers, more of what you need. 

Annuals, the newest babies, are being added to the specialty department of plants at Loma Vista. Below are pictures of some of these newest additions to the Loma Vista Family.

The picture above is of the very beautiful Angelonia Serena Purple. It is a full sun plant that is great as cut flowers and can add some extra attention to anyone’s curb appeal. 

This picture above is one of six different combo baskets that we will grow for Spring 2016. This is called Confetti Garden Calypso. It is actually a multi-liner plug. It has three plants per plug so we will be able to give our customers a good overall coverage of color and more importantly flower power.

This little beauty above is Lantana Bandana Red and is as fun to say as it is to look at it. This amazing baby is a powerhouse of a grower and will be wonderful in pots, large planters and even on its own in the landscape.

All of the annuals will be sold at our Olathe LDC and our North Location. We will grow 12 inch hanging baskets for spring. Rescape trays and 5 inch pots of 22 different varieties of annuals will also be in production. It might not seem like much, but we are continuously working to think of the best ways to help our customers by having everything you need to have a successful year with your landscapes.

Now that I have gushed about my new babies, I can still share some news about my original love, perennials. Here in Ottawa, we have wrapped up all of the perennials for the fall season and I am finishing up all of the plans for spring.  We are already planning for their arrival and will have a more in-depth system in 2016 so everyone will know when to expect plants with buds and blooms.   

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fall Color Options

There are several plant selections for great fall color when it comes to design, landscaping and stocking a garden center. Below are just a few pictures taken at our container farm in the past few weeks. When the blooms are spent, get that additional color pop from the many shrubs and perennials grown by Loma Vista Nursery at our centrally located container farm in the Midwest.

All are welcome to visit our container farm. If that doesn't work for your schedule, we're happy to bring views of the container farm to you.  We have added hundreds of images of the container farm and crops to Flickr.  LVN on Flickr.

Loma Vista container farm


Berberis ‘Gold Pillar’ #3PW

Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ #3

Chamaecyparis ‘Gold Mop’ #3

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lets Dance Moonlight’ #3PW

Euonymus fort Coloratus #1

Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ #1

Heuchera ‘Caramel’ #1

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ #5

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers' #3

Jeremy Amos, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Winter Preparation for Spring Success

Greetings, my name is Michael Sellars, I am the new production manager for the container division at Loma Vista Nursery.  I have passionately been in the nursery business for the greater part of my adult life, a container grower of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals for 15 years in Oklahoma, more recently in the Kansas City area. I am excited by the opportunity and proud to be part of a successful team at Loma Vista Nursery.

We draw to a close another growing season in the Midwest. There are many key procedures for winter preparation for our plants that facilitate a successful spring container crop.

Main factors that transition plants into dormancy is the combination of temperature and length of daylight hours. As this transformation occurs, fall cultural practices preceding dormancy will ensure healthy, viable plants for the coming season.

First and foremost, a healthy plant has the best chance to survive the winter.  We have a widespread nutrition program at the nursery to promote plant health, which includes soil incorporated time-released, liquid drench and foliar applied fertilizers.  The objective is to reduce the amount of available nitrogen to the roots of the plant by correctly slowing the release of fertilizer, along with the reduction of heavy irrigation a few weeks prior to the first frost. New flushes of growth during this period will not harden off sufficiently and will be damaged by freezing temperatures. 

Irrigation, as mentioned, can be challenging in the fall. Plants must have enough water to lightly saturate the entire root ball, while avoiding standing water in the bottom of the container which can promote soil borne pathogens and root disease. On the other hand, plants that go into winter under dry conditions have a greatly increased chance for failure from desiccation or drying out. Landscape and nursery plant material must have available water both prior to and following a hard freeze.  Transpiration continues throughout the winter and without available water plants will have a difficult time surviving.

Exposure to wind and intense direct sunlight on a cold day can also be extremely detrimental to plants during the winter months though desiccation. Loma Vista has embarked on a large scale project this fall by constructing an additional 160 temporary cold frame structures (18,000 linear ft.), which when covered with white plastic, will provide protection to our shrubs from these elements.

These are but a few practices that we employ, carried out by our conscientious staff, to bring the very best quality trees and shrubs to the marketplace. We look forward to a continued and successful relationship over the coming months and years.

Thank you.

Mike Sellars, Production Manager, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Big or Small, Grasses for All

Fall is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but from a landscape perspective, I always love the various colors and textures that ornamental grasses add to the landscape.  There really isn't an ornamental grass I don't like for one reason or another. Whether it is the graceful arching habit and various colors of reliable plumes from Maidengrass, or the great variety of fall colors we get from Switchgrass and Little Bluestem varieties, or the great golden color of most dormant grasses through the winter, grasses are a must in the landscape.

For 2016, Loma Vista is adding more varieties of ornamental grasses to our already great lineup of varieties to give you more options for your customers.

Switchgrasses are probably my favorite ornamental grasses, and with the addition of Thundercloud and Cloud Nine, we now have the large switchgrass category covered! 

Cloud Nine Switchgrass

Cloud Nine is a larger version of Northwind, with its blue-grey wide-blade foliage, and will tower above most ornamental grasses at 8-feet tall at maturity.  Great golden fall and winter color and a loose vase form.

Panicum Thundercloud

Thundercloud, which is a cross between Cloud Nine and Northwind, is similar in stature to Cloud Nine, but has slightly greener foliage than Cloud Nine, tighter upright vase form, resists flopping with wind or rain load, and has a heavier panicle production in the fall for a better show.

Stepping down in size, and to give you more options for smaller ornamental grasses, the new lineup will include Beyond Blue Fescue, Blonde Ambition Grama and Bowles Golden Sedge.

Festuca Beyond Blue
Festuca glauca 'Casca11' otherwise known as Beyond Blue Fescue, is a short 12-18" mounding cool season ornamental grass that is fine-textured with intense steel-blue foliage.  Tolerant of heat, humidity, poor soils and drought, this small grass makes a great groundcover, border mass, mixed planting change of color, or container thriller.  Known as Intense Blue Fescue in Europe.

Carex Bowles Golden
Carex elata 'Aurea' or Bowles Golden Sedge is a cool season variegated grassy foliage plant that is well suited for moist or wet areas in sun or shade.  It will actually take up to 3-inches of standing water, but it will also tolerate slightly drier soils in the shade, making it a widely adaptable selection.  The bright yellow foliage color is best in full sun.  This 24" x 24" grass is great in containers or in the landscape in massings.

Bouteloua Blonde Ambition
Lastly, Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' or Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass is most noticeable in the fall when it is covered with an incredible amount of golden seed heads that are lateral and dance in the wind.  This warm season grass that matures to 12" tall and 32" with the seed heads is very tolerant of dry sites with poor soil and can handle drought where it outperforms most other grasses. It is best used in massings in naturalistic plantings, or as a lawn replacement.

Consider adding these or any of our other ornamental grasses to your spring order.  And for your larger projects that require big numbers of grasses, consider allowing us to contract grow the varieties and quantities you need to ensure you get what you need when you need it to make your project even that much more successful!

Chad Weinand, Business Development, Loma Vista Nursery

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Colorful Attributes

As a child, I remember being fascinated with the leaves changing color in the fall. Then, as I grew older and became more intrigued with plants, I seemed to appreciate more and more plants for their autumn beauty. This season, Loma Vista has further opened my eyes to beautiful fall color. I am discovering that there are so many plants out there that don't get much credit during the rest of the year, but in the fall they make up for it with their colorful attributes. Sometimes we get so caught up in the production of our plants that we see right through them and don't stop to admire them. Here are a few plants I have taken extra notice of this year at the container farm.
Diervilla lonicera 
Diervilla lonicera, or bush honeysuckle, is great if you are looking to naturalize an area or are in need of a drought-tolerant plant. During the majority of the year, this plant doesn't do much to separate itself from the crowd, but this fall color is a really nice addition to any landscape.
  Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

Little bluestem is another one of my favorites.  Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' is putting on a show right now at the nursery. The blue-green foliage has changed to fiery red, and the group as a whole makes for a striking sea of autumn color.

Euonymus coloratus
Purple wintercreeper, Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus', is another plant that does very well in the Midwest. While it is a simple green groundcover for most of the year, wintercreeper looks beautiful in the fall with its varying hues of red, green, and purple.

Caryopteris Sunshine Blue

 Sunshine Blue®. This plant has bright yellow foliage year-round and is a late summer and fall bloomer.  The bees were all over this crop as I stopped to take a picture. Sunshine Blue® is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the landscape.  

Proven Winners has a few more introductions that Loma Vista is growing for this upcoming spring.

Diervilla Kodiak Black  

The Kodiak® Series Diervilla is proving to be a vigorous and easy-growing group of plants. Kodiak® Black features dark purple foliage, and Kodiak® Orange shows off its bright orange foliage, especially in spring and fall.

Another new plant to Loma Vista isCephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack®, or buttonbush. This native shrub attracts bees, and butterflies with its fragrant white flowers that bloom all summer long.
As nursery and landscape people, we are fortunate to notice more about plants than the average person does. Take advantage of that and be sure to take a moment during your busy fall season to recognize the beauty that this time of year has to offer.

Brooke Stamm, Production Coordinator, Loma Vista Nursery