Greetings Friends! 


Welcome to the May issue of the Leaf in Brief! This month we discuss new, different, oddball, and almost-forgotten plants that we have at the nursery. From unique crabapples to espalier beeches, Carrie Hennessy shares some of her favorites with you.


In the spirit of Mother's Day, the Plant of the Month is a strong, beautiful, and fragrant tree, Malus 'Coralburst' (Coralburst Crabapple). One of these in the yard with its showy, coral-pink flowers will remind Mom how much you love her!


The old saying, "April showers bring May flowers" seems to be a bit off schedule this year. Don't let the May showers get you down, they will surely lead to a floriferous latter part of the month. In the meantime, we are enjoying the return of migratory birds at the nursery.


Speaking of birds, we are excited to share a brand new episode of "The Dirt" with Carrie Hennessy. Watch and learn how to create a spring and summer "Birdscape"!


Thank you for reading. Enjoy!


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In This Issue

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And Now For Something Completely Different 
by Carrie Hennessy, Horticulturist/Landscape Designer

Every spring we hear from eager customers, "What do you have that is new this year?" I'll admit, I have fallen into the same trap. Even though I know the tried and true plants will not steer me wrong, I'm always curious to see what new beauties are on the market. Or sometimes it is the thrill of finding a tree that has not been available for the longest time and now it can be mine. This year we have some exciting surprises for you in our Menomonee Falls holding yard!


Malus 'Cranberry Lace' - flowers
Malus 'Little Troll'
Malus 'Orange Crush' - spring foliage
Malus 'Woven Gold' - spring bloom

Ornamental Crabapples:

My favorite time at the nursery is when the crabapple trees are in bloom and around every corner I can smell the epitome of spring. Brisk winds release the petals in showers that get stuck in my hair as souvenirs. So I was pleasantly surprised to see some hard to find, nearly one-of-a-kind, crabapples make their way from our Jackson fields to the Menomonee Falls nursery. If one of the following crabapples peaks your interest, as they did mine, give us a call because we have limited quantities.


Cranberry Lace Crabapple

If you have a small yard, this narrow, upright hybrid will fit perfectly. Deep rose buds opening to varying shade of semi-double to double flowers give way to red-green, disease-resistant foliage, and abundant red fruit. (25ft. tall x 13ft. wide)  


Golden Dream Crabapple 

Another good hybrid for smaller spaces; disease-resistant, clean green foliage with pale pink buds that open to loads of single white flowers. Bright yellow fruit turns a coppery-gold after freezing and is persistent until late winter (when they soften for the birds to eat). (20ft. tall x 25ft. wide)


Little Troll Crabapple

A compact, weeping habit with tiny orange-red fruit that is loved by birds. Glowing red buds open to white flowers that cascade down the branches. (20ft. tall x 20ft. wide)


Moon Glow Crabapple 

While my favorite time at the nursery is when crabapple trees are in bloom, Moon Glow makes me eager for the fruit. The excellent reference book Flowering Crabapples, the Genus Malus by Father John Fiala describes them best as "lime-chartreuse with rosy cheeks, turning to pale lemon with rose-coral cheeks, firm, persistent". (25ft. tall x 25ft. wide)


Orange Crush Crabapple 

As sweet as a soda, Orange Crush has unusual orange-crimson flowers against dark green-purple leaves. The spreading habit of this tree is gracefully loaded with deep maroon fruits. (22ft. tall x 22ft. wide)


Woven Gold Crabapple

The delicate, semi-weeping form of Woven Gold makes a lovely specimen in the yard. Carmine-red buds open to single, snow-white flowers. But the most stunning display is when the firm, persistent gold fruit creates a cascade effect on the branches late in the season. (22ft. tall x 22ft. wide)


Espalier Fruit Trees:

Espalier trees have been around for centuries, but this year it seems they are going through a renaissance. Pronounced "is-PALL-yay", these trees have been trained to grow flat against a support, such as a wall or trellis. We currently have or will be stocking espalier fruit trees in the following varieties: Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Spartan, and Hat Trick. 

Espalier Apple Trees - Notice the "screen" form

For more information on these varieties, read our 2015 Fruit Tree Stock brochure.


Beech Trees:

We also have varieties of beech trees in espalier (like above) and weeping forms. My own yard seems to be calling out for a gorgeous, single-stem, Tri-color Beech. The branching structure alone is quite picturesque. But then add the purple spring foliage edged with irregularly rose-pink margins, and you have a real stunner. The foliage becomes green-edged with light pink and cream in hot weather.

Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain' - Notice the "weeping" form.
Fagus sylvatica 'Rohanii' - spring interest foliage
Fagus sylvatica 'Tricolor' ('Roseo-marginata')


Asian Maples:

Some very intriguing Japanese Maples like Viridis Laceleaf, Tsuma Gaki, and Tobiosho have made their way to the holding yard. However, because Japanese Maples can be quite finicky in southeastern Wisconsin, I am most excited about the Northern Glow® Maples. Introduced by Professor Emeritus Ed Hasselkus at UW-Madison, Northern Glow® is a cross between Acer pseudosieboldianum and Acer palmatum. The Korean Maple parentage makes them much more tolerant of full sun and cold winters, however they will also be well-suited to a shade garden.

Acer pseudo. x palmatum 'Hasselkus' (Northern Glow Maple) - Notice the leaf form and stunning fall color.
Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Viridis' - in autumn
Acer palmatum 'Tobiosho' - great color contrast


Sigh. I think I'm going to need a bigger yard.


PLANT OF THE MONTH:POM Malus 'Coralburst'
Coralburst® Crabapple 
Malus 'Coralburst'

A rarity in the world of crabapple trees is a true pink flower. Coralburst stands out from the pack with loads of bright, coral buds that open to a clear pink color. The spreading, defined, compact branching structure makes it a beautiful accent in the landscape, especially in a Japanese-themed garden. Don't like fruit on your crabapples? Coralburst does not fruit heavily and the fruits are tiny, bronze, and inconspicuous with very few viable seeds in them. It has excellent resistance to scab and fire blight. (15-20ft. tall x 15-20ft. wide.

Reverend John L. Fiala was born in 1924 and was a parish priest and a college professor of psychology and education. In the world of horticulture, however, we know him as the "Father of Lilacs and Crabapples". In his spare time, Father Fiala was an avid plant breeder. His name is often listed behind many well-known varieties of Crabapples and Lilacs, an indicator of its originator. He wrote two of the best books on the subject: Flowering Crabapples: The Genus Malus and Lilacs: The Genus Syringa. He took two of the most old-fashioned plants and gave them new life. In his preface of Flowering Crabapples, he writes, "...I have learned that it is not merely the writing of a book that is important; rather, an author must live the book first and then write, with conviction, the contents of his or her knowledge and heart. A book without knowledge is foolishness; a book without heart is empty and cold." Father John L. Fiala died in 1990, leaving behind a sweet legacy that lives on at our nursery and in countless yards across America.
John L. Fiala (1924-1990) 



from The Dirt with Carrie Hennessy
Duration 4:21

Increasing the bird population in your yard can be as easy as planting a single tree, shrub or perennial, but which plants are best? Learn more.

Subscribe to Johnson's Nursery on YouTube and follow us on Facebook.

from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 1:20

Bark mulch in your beds suppresses weeds, maintains moisture, protects roots through winter, and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. But fresh layer of bark mulch also creates the perfect backdrop. Learn more.

from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 2:37

Improper watering is one of the leading causes of plant fatalities. Carrie discusses proper watering procedures for a very dry forecasts. Watering newly installed plants is crucial to their survival and future growth. Learn more.

Offering the expertise of our Horticulturists, this custom design service is provided at no cost to you.   
This is the best do-it-yourself program if you're a homeowner looking to design and plant your own project. We Plan-You Plant offers the helpful assistance of our experts, who will create a professional landscape design--at no cost--when you purchase your plants at Johnson's Nursery. Watch the videos on our website and get started today. Learn More.

Saturday, June 13, 2015 
Wild Ones Native Plant Sale 

15% OFF Wisconsin Native Plants 
+5% more for Wild Ones Members 
Join us for the Annual Wild Ones Native Plant Sale. Enjoy tours of our nursery and concessions while you shop and discuss Native Plants!
Learn more.
Landscape-Plastics Recycling Available All Season 


Did you know? If you toss the plastic containers and trays that your plants arrive in into the garbage, they sit in the landfill and do not get recycled!

Johnson's Nursery and the Waukesha County Recycling Department have created a hassle-free program for you to bring your plastic containers to Johnson's Nursery in Menomonee Falls--for free--all season long!

Recycle. Act locally, think globally. Learn more.
Visit our archive to read previous issues of The Leaf in Brief.

Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
Nature's Best to You.®
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