Our Eternal Quest for the Perfect Plant


In 1995 I wrote an article on the quest for the perfect plants for your landscape. Today, it is truer than ever. Updated for the early 21st century.

Quercus x toogoodtoobeetrueous – ‘Trueuss’ Oak Tree

This magnificent oak grows rapidly 3 -5 feet per year and ceases growth at 50 feet with an oval-oblate crown. (Shape of the crown is determined during the first 5 years of growth, so have a professional arborist prune it to create the shape you desire. Non-professional pruning results in weird abstract growth patterns.) Since it is a sterile hybrid of four Wisconsin NATIVE species, it produces no pollen, acorns or catkin messy flowers. (Limited squirrels due to no nuts and the 3 years old branches are covered in a very slippery bio-decaying waxy lubricant.) The beautifully shaped leaves emerge intense burgundy, darken in to a deep lustrous green during the summer. The Autumn foliage color is vibrant red with purple and pink shading lasting for nearly 6 weeks – dropping in late October or the first night with a 12 degree frosty temperatures. Autumn raking is quick and easy. This very strong sturdy oak is hardy from USDA Zone 2 through 8. Sorry, it just cannot stand the oppressive heat and humidity of Zones 9 and 10.  Tolerant of almost every imaginable environmental condition, inducing those infected with Phytophora, Gnomonia,Pythium, Aermillaria, Fusarium, Sternum, Polyporus, Fomes, Fistulina, Strumella, Phaeobulgaria, Endothia, Hypoxylon, Polyporus, Sudden Oak Death and of course Certocystisfagacearum – Oak Wilt. While it is resistance to Chestnut Borer, Gypsy Moth, and Japanese Beetle, it is not resistant to Utilitush­ackeolus and Rodeous saltineous.


Our next endeavor is Rosa x hybridigustus ‘Impetuousus’

This incredibly handsome rose requires absolutely no winter protection in USDA Zones 3-6. It is totally disease and bug FREE. The only known cause of death is Fumesvehicularis var. dieseolous. This 25 petal true coral color rose emits the most beautiful rose scent that even Faberge has ‘gotta have it’. Blooming equally in 40% natural shade as well as in full sun, its long pointed perfectly shaped buds open to a 4.38” diameter blossom of pure true coral grandeur with the perfect blend of ivory at its base. No pollen is produced. Each bloom lasts for 2 weeks, after which the flowers fall off, including the pedicel and peduncle (to the second leaf with five leaflets, and decomposes within 3 days of contact with the soil. (When dropping onto to white gravel mulch, it will require 6 months to decompose). Since the flowers are self cleaning, no distracting hips are produced. The new foliage emerges a glossy brassy-bronze, providing the near perfect background to the blossoms. Growing to the perfect height of 39.36” and blooming from Early May until the first 20 degree Autumn frost, this truly remarkable rose is never without glory. Tolerant of most soils, except those along highways, driveways, concrete patios and public walks, your garden will be graced by this perfect totally hardy rose. With regret, it has thorns. (Others colors are pending further research.)


Our Spring hopeful is Tulipa x kohlarium ‘Bucky Badger’

This pure red intensely fragrant tulip with a charcoal black base rises 28.6” from the ground subtended by heavily textured and burgundy marbled foliage. Blooming for 4-6 weeks in late April though May, the 4.78” high blossoms open to a 9.39” diameter. The bulbs’ very sturdy stems, leaves and flowers are laced with a natural occurring foul tasting non-odoriferous sap that deer, rabbits, and other vermin just cannot stomach. ( I understand it tastes kind of like spoiled caviar form the Cuyahoga River during the 1960’s.) Upon tasting this sap, the varmints do all sorts of acrobatics and will never come close to the plants again. Remember, other plants in the immediate area may be damaged by their antics. (When cutting these tulips make sure you do not accidentally taste the sap. Washing your hands in Chablis wine and then drinking the rest of the bottle will cut the taste.) After 1 week after flowering, the entire plant dies to the ground and in about 2 weeks decomposes into a dark brown chaff. These tulips perform beautifully in 60% natural shade to full hot sun. They even tolerate having water loving impatiens planted on top of them during the summer, provided the soil mediums are well drained to gravely. They are resistant to:  Bulb Thrips, Tulipa breaking virus, Tobacco necrosis virus, Fusariumoxysporum var. tulipa, Botrytistulipa, and Phytophoracactorum. These permanent tulips do not require digging out and curing during the summer. ‘Bucky Badger’ is truly a low maintenance spring blooming delight.

originally published 2007 V21 #2

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