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Four New Trees, Shrubs And Vines For Your 2014 Garden
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

November 17, 2013

Above: the Regal Petticoat maple (Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Tunpetti’, photo courtesy of the owners of the patent; and the new Parkland Pillar Asian white birch (Betula platyphylla ‘Jefpark’, photo courtesy of Jeffries Nurseries. Below: Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’ shown with its developer, photo courtesy of Proven Winners; and Endless Summer Bloomstruck Hydrangea, photo also by Proven Winners..

Even though I have already written several articles on the topic of new plants for your 2014 garden, it seems like it may be a busy season for new introductions this coming spring. Therefore I have four new woody plants (trees and shrubs) to tell you about this week.

I’ll begin with the Regal Petticoat® maple (Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Tunpetti’) about which I have known for a number of years now, but only in 2014 is there really any availability of this exciting new tree.

Regal Petticoat® originated from a group of chance seedlings discovered near Hubbards, Nova Scotia on Au-gust 12, 2002. Selection of 'Tunpetti' from the discovered seedlings was based on leaf colour and leaf size. The tree has an upright and well branched growth habit, a medium branching density and medium to vigorous rate of growth.

Spring brings a bird-of-paradise effect as the new leaves on Regal Petticoat® unfurl dramatically. Summer sees leaves with a deep glossy green surface and velvety royal purple underside. The tree has spectacular colours in the fall—ranging around reds and yellows—and is said to be resistant to tar spot. As far as growing conditions, it is salt-tolerant and thrives in calciferous soil. It achieves a height of 12 m (40’) with a spread of 9 m (30’). It is hardy to zone 4.

Trials for Regal Petticoat® were conducted in both the field and containers during the spring-summer of 2009 in Strathroy, Ontario. The trees were grown from buds grafted on Acer pseudoplatanus rootstock.

Availability next spring will be through a number of large and small garden centres. If you are unable to find it you can tell your garden centre manager to obtain if from J.C. Bakker & Sons in St. Catharines, Ontario.

My second tree this week is primarily grown for use on the Prairies since it is hardy to Zone 3 and is a nice narrow columnar-shaped birch--known as Parkland Pillar Asian white birch (Betula platyphylla ‘Jefpark’). It was selected by Duane Beck of Parkland Nurseries of Red Deer, Alberta. This tree features dark-green foliage and attractive white bark. Its fall foliage is a golden yellow. It will grow best in full sunlight or partial shade and it prefers well drained, medium-textured soils with adequate moisture. Mulch at the base of the tree will help to maintain soil moisture levels and provide a cooler root system.

Parkland Pillar Asian white birch, like most birches, shows susceptibility to Bronze Birch Borer under dry conditions.

Jeffries Nurseries, who are introducing the tree, is located in Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba.

My next suggestion for your garden next year is not a tree or shrub, rather a Clematis vine. First, though I am unsure as to exactly what its parents are, it does not seem to be related at all directly with the many current ‘large flowering cultivars’ that most gardeners know and have in their gardeners. This one is called ‘Sweet Summer Love’ and will definitely be available from a large number of plant sellers in the spring because it is being offered by the large distributors, Proven Winners. If you happen to be in the London Ontario area you’ll definitely find it the highly recommended Canadale Nurseries, actually located on Sunset Drive (or Highway 4) just south of the St. Thomas city limits.

The developer of this plant was Polish plant breeder Szczepan Marczynski. Its flowers are a sort of deep cranberry violet and according to catalogue descriptions, they’re fragrant too, smelling like a cross between vanilla and almond. The flowering begins about a month earlier than what appears to be its close relative: Sweet Autumn Clematis, and continue right into the fall. It will grow in full sun or partial shade and is hardy even in Zone 5. Its growth height is easily 3 m (10’).

Pruning of this Clematis is simple, just cut it back severely in the early spring.

Finally today, another in the Endless Summer® series of Hydrangea macrophylla Hydrangea shrubs that bloom on new as well as old wood, and thus will flower in climates as cold as Zone 4. The original one either blooms pink or blue depending on whether you have acid or alkaline soil. You can change the colour of the blooms to pink on your plant by simply applying a soil acidifier such as hydrated lime to the soil at the recommended rate (which may depend on just how acidic/alkaline your soil actually is). If your plant is already pink-flowered, go to your garden centre and obtain some Soil Sulfur and apply it in much the same way. For existing plants, just apply it and mix it in with the top few centimetres of soil all around the plant in what is usually referred to as the root zone, where the edge of the plant’s leaves are. It is best not to apply it close to the plant’s main stem.

So, the first of these new hydrangeas is referred to as ‘The Original’ and then came Blushing Bride, which of course is almost pure white except the blooms take on a slight pinkish tinge as they get older. Then came Twist-n-Shout® with pink or periwinkle-coloured flowers, but produced through virtually the entire season, and also hardy to Zone 4. The next one was Bella Anna®, not a macrophylla Hydrangea but rather a Hydrangea arborescens with pink flowers. This plant is easily pruned by cutting it down to within 15 cm of the ground each spring.

Then finally, new this year is Endless Summer® Bloomstruck™. Its blooms range from 6 to 12.5 cm (3.5 to 5”) in diameter. They are in an intense rose-pink, violet or blue heads. With loads of big mophead blooms, striking ru-by stems, thick, glossy foliage and remarkable resistance to wilting, BloomStruck lives up to the promise of end-less blooms, and then some. For those who have had problems with Hydrangeas regularly showing signs of wilt-ing (after all they do have ‘water’ making up the main part of their name!) Bloomstruck promises to be some-what less subject to the wilting as the soil becomes dry!

So, there are four new plants, and I expect I’ll have another four next week.

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