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2014 Indoor Display Garden

Every year at Greenland, we create an indoor garden in our retail greenhouse so that visitors can dream of spring as winter takes its last breaths. This year’s garden has a modern contemporary design, consisting 100% of plants that are hardy in central Alberta. It has clean lines and muted colors – with the occasional splash of bright color – to give a calming effect, relying primarily on differing textures for great contrast. We get a lot of inquiries on what actual plants were used in the design, so we wanted to discuss them:


Dakota Pinnacle Birch – Betula platyphylla ‘Fargo’

This is an excellent alternative to Swedish columnar aspen for moist to wet areas, with its tall and slender habit. Looks great planted in short rows to define edges of beds or properties. This year we will also be introducing an even narrower version called ‘Parkland Pillar’ birch. 30’ x 7’, zone 3. (see item 8 on above image)

Focal Point/Topiary

Youngii Weeping Birch – Betula pendula ‘Youngii’

This dwarf form of weeping birch can be topped off to any desired height, and will simply fill out below that point, with beautiful cascading branches. The catkins will stay on the branches over winter, which, combined with the peeling white bark, creates great interest at that time of year. This is an excellent choice for moist to wet areas. (Height as trained) x 8-12’, zone 3. (see item 9 on above image)

Walker’ Weeping Caragana – Caragana arborescens ‘Walker’

The long weeping branches and feathery foliage on this plant are excellent for breaking up heavier textures and for adding a little height to an area that needs it. Bright yellow, pea-like flowers in summer are followed by green seed pods that mature to brown. This plant is extremely hardy and tolerant of dry, poor soils. (Height as trained) x 4-5’, zone 2.


Little Gem Spruce on Standard – Picea abies ‘Little Gem’

‘Little Gem’ spruce is a true dwarf evergreen, forming a small, dense mound of short, deep green needles with contrasting bright green new growth. Here we have it grafted on a standard, so a short trunk is topped with a mound of needles. This is great for a adding a little bit of vertical definition to an area where you don’t want anything too large, and looks great with groundcover planted underneath it. Plant in a sheltered location. (Height as grafted) x 2-3’, zone 4.

Weeping Eastern White Pine – Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’

A fabulous focal point or accent, this evergreen has cascading branches of graceful, long, powder-blue needles and contrasting deep brown cones and bark. It can be trained to any desired height and fills out beautifully with age. (Height as trained) x 8-10’, zone 3. (see item 6 on image at top of page)


Scots Pine (Topiary Form) – Pinus sylvestris

Scots pine is one of the hardiest evergreens available in topiary form. Bare branches extend out horizontally, in bonsai-like fashion, with balls of needles on the end of each. This creates a very interesting looking focal point in the form of a relatively compact dwarf tree, which is excellent for hot and dry areas. These trees must be pruned lightly to maintain their shape and size each year, and get fuller, but not much bigger, than they are at time of purchase. Zone 3.

Snowball (Tree Form) – Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’

The snowball Viburnum is a very popular shrub that is commonly confused with hydrangea because of its showy, ball-shaped clusters of pure white flowers. Also available as a shrub, the tree form gives you vertical definition without becoming too large, and with the foliage forming a spreading ball at the top of the trunk, you can plant shorter companions underneath. This is a sterile cultivar that will not form berries. 8-10’ x 6-8’, zone 3.


Ivory Halo Dogwood – Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’

A compact shrub with refreshing green and white variegated foliage, and contrasting red twigs that also provide winter interest. Keep your dogwoods looking great by giving them a “haircut” every couple of years. 3-4’ x 3-4’, zone 3. (see item 10 on image at top of page)

Isanti Dogwood – Cornus sericea ‘Isanti’

This larger dogwood cultivar has lush green foliage and bright red twigs. Excellent for hedging or for use as a backdrop. 8’ x 8’, zone 2. (see item 1 on image at top of page)

Limelight Hydrangea – Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

One of the hardiest and showiest hydrangea varieties, this robust shrub bears enormous clusters of tightly packed, chartreuse flowers in summer, which eventually take on a pink blush later in the fall. The flowers last from July until fall frosts, making this one of the longest-blooming hardy plants. Tolerant of sun or shade, but requires moist, well-drained soil. 4-5’ x 4-5’, zone 3. (see item 2 on image at top of page)

Hakuro Nishiki Willow – Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’

A vigorous shrub that has beautiful and unusual foliage. New growth emerges a bright flamingo pink color, maturing to a bright green with white markings. For much of the season, this shrub will be tri-colored! Prefers moist soil, full sun, and an area that gets good snow cover. 4’ x 4’, zone 4.


Snowmound Spirea – Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’

Spireas are easy to grow and give you substance and color in a compact package. This cultivar is loaded with pure white flowers in early summer on gracefully arching branches. It appreciates an annual trimming to maintain a dense, bushy form. The bluish green foliage is quite attractive on its own as well. 3-4’ x 3-4’, zone 3.

Dwarf Korean Lilac – Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’

This compact lilac is dainty in every way. The nickel-sized, bright green leaves are arranged neatly along the branches, and are accompanied by clusters of purplish-pink, sweetly fragrant flowers in late spring to early summer. These can be pruned into a bonsai-like form, but always prune shortly after blooming has finished. 5’ x 5’, zone 3.

Mme. Lemoine French Lilac – Syringa vulgaris ‘Mme. Lemoine’

If you enjoy the fragrance of a lilac, this is one you’ll love. ‘Mme. Lemoine’ is one of the most celebrated lilacs for fragrance. The pure white, double flowers have double the scent. This is a robust shrub that is free-blooming, easy to grow, and very hardy. 8-10’ x 8-10’, zone 2.


Sungold False Cypress – Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Sungold’

False cypress is an evergreen that grows very slowly, and in warmer climates will eventually become very large. In our climate however, it stays a dwarf shrub, forming a low mound of thread-like, lime green branches that will take on a brilliant gold cast in sunny areas. When planted in a warm microclimate, they can occasionally get larger than we estimate here. 2-3’ x 2-3’, zone 3.


Youngstown Andorra Juniper – Juniperus horizontalis ‘Youngstown’

This is a very handsome evergreen groundcover that has rich green foliage in summer, turning a plum color in winter. This is one of the most dense spreading juniper varieties. Like all junipers, this is excellent for hot and dry areas, and poor soil. 1’ x 6’, zone 3.



Calgary Carpet Juniper – Juniperus sabina ‘Monna’

A low-growing spreader that is one of the most rugged junipers for our area. Deep green evergreen foliage is held almost flat to the ground, slowly spreading to form a mat. Trimming the soft new growth on the ends in early summer will discourage “balding” in the center. 6-8” x 8-10’, zone 2.


Dwarf Mugo Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Pumila’

This compact evergreen forms a low mound of deep green needles. It gives excellent texture in hot, dry areas, especially where space is a concern. Prune the “candles” annually to maintain a rounded form and dense growth. 3-4’ x 3-4’, zone 2.

Oregon Green Austrian Pine – Pinus nigra ‘Oregon Green’

Dwarf pyramidal pines are becoming very popular in our area because they still give you the aesthetic and year-round interest of a regular pine tree, without taking up the space and absorbing the amount of water and nutrients from your soil that their larger brethren do. This selection is densely covered in deep green needles, with contrasting bright mint-green “candles” in early summer. 10-15’ x 8’, zone 4.


Emerald Cedar – Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd

This cedar remains very popular because it has the tightest pyramidal form and most lush, vibrant green color of any cedar. As with all cedars it should ideally be planted in an area that is sheltered from winds and afternoon sun, and that gets plenty of moisture but is not soggy wet. 12’ x 3-4’, zone 3. (see item 5on image at top of page)

Techny Cedar – Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’

‘Techny’ is one of the hardiest cedar varieties. Its unique open branching habit and graceful evergreen foliage make it a superior accent in almost any setting. If you experience winter injury on your cedars, we recommend spraying with Wilt-Pruf in mid to late winter, while it is above zero. 12’ x 8’, zone 2. (see item 4 on image at top of page)


Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grass – Calamagrostis x acutifolia ‘Karl Foerster’

Always a favorite, this incredibly dainty perennial grass maintains a tall, narrow form, with gracefully arching, green blades and tan flower spikes that sway in the wind. This plant is very hardy and will not outgrow its allotted space. Excellent for hot and dry areas and poor soil. 4-5’ x 2’, zone 3.

Max Frei’ Cranesbill – Geranium sanguineum ‘Max Frei’

This is a superior cultivar of cranesbill that forms a low mound of divided green foliage, which is topped with large pink-purple blooms in summer. The foliage turns bronzy-red in fall. Easy to grow and excellent for edging or rock gardens. 6-8” x 18-24”, zone 3.


Aureola’ Japanese Forest Grass – Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

An unusual tufted grass that has incredible arching blades in a bright yellow color with deeper stripes. Unlike many other grasses, this one prefers a shady area and moist, well-drained soil. Good snow cover or winter mulch is recommended as well. 1-2’ x 18-24”, zone 4.

Hosta – Hosta spp.

There are a number of different Hosta cultivars in the display garden, including ‘Wide Brim’ and ‘Olive Bailey Lingdon’. All are must-have foliage plants for shady areas – they are so easy to grow and hardy, and there is such a wide selection to choose from. Hostas come from miniature plants that are excellent for fairy gardens, to gargantuan specimens with leaves nearly a foot across. They also have a wide variety of colors and color patterns. 4-48” x 4-48”, zone 2-3. (see item 7 on image at top of page)

Caesar’s Brother’ Siberian Iris – Iris sibirica ‘Caesar’s Brother’

Siberian irises are great perennials for average to moist or wet sites. They have grass-like foliage, and in early summer are adorned with beautiful flowers; this particular cultivar has deep blue flowers with silvery-white and yellow markings on the falls. These are vigorous clump-formers that put on quite a show after a few years. 3’ x 2’, zone 2.

The Rocket’ Rayflower – Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’

We love rayflowers for the back of a shady mixed border. They are tall and stately plants that have both flowers and foliage that demand your attention. This cultivar forms a clump of green, arrowhead-shaped leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers in summer. Rayflowers require consistent moisture, so don’t plant them in dry areas. 4-5’ x 3’, zone 3.

Ostrich Fern – Matteucia struthiopteris

One of the hardiest and most vigorous ferns for our climate, this quickly forms large clumps in a moist, shady site, but also tolerates drier, poor soils. Excellent soft foliage for a backdrop in a mixed border. 3’ x 3’, zone 2.

Joan Senior’ Daylily – Hemerocallis ‘Joan Senior’

Daylilies are amazing perennials because they are so easy to grow and so hardy. They are great for sunny, hot and dry areas, and flower for an extended period in summer, with lily-like blooms. This cultivar has large, white flowers with a pink blush, and a green center. 2’ x 3’, zone 2. (see item 3 on image at top of page)

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