Greetings Friends!

Welcome to 2016 at Johnson's Nursery! Thank you for returning. We have an exciting lineup of new content, great videos, and some terrific plants to spotlight in this month's Leaf in Brief.

Pantone named both Rose Quartz and Serenity as 2016's Color of the Year. These colors perfectly describe the Endless Summer™ series of Hydrangea macrophylla, which have the ability to be either of those two colors. We also chose three hydrangeas from that series as our Plant(s) of the Month. The Leaf Lore explains that a sweet tea is prepared from the leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla, and is used in Buddhist culture in celebrations.

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Color of the YearFA
by Carrie Hennessy, Landscape Designer
A new year means new colors. Pantone Color Institute© has thrown a curve ball and announced the official color of 2016 is actually two colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity. These shades of light pink and light blue remind me of when there used to be only two choices of cotton candy colors at carnivals. The executive director of Pantone Color Institute© describes, "Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler, tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace". One could even go so far as to suggest that the colors represent a shift in society, where gender roles (pink for girls, blue for boys) are becoming blurred. The following is a list of plants with either blooms or foliage reminiscent of our 2016 colors that can be paired together and allow you to ride the wave of harmony and create a balanced garden too.

Sunny Location
  • Sentinel Crabapple (Malus 'Sentinel') with Silver Juniper (Juniperus virginiana 'Glauca') - Trendy green screen in spring
  • (pictured right) My Monet Weigela (Weigela florida 'Verweig' PP16,824) with Sester Dwarf Blue Spruce (Picea pungens 'Sester Dwarf') - Good for a small area
  • (pictured right) September Charm Anemone (Anemone japonica 'September Charm') with
    Sky Blue Aster (Aster azureus)- Pretty autumnal display
  • Nodding Pink Onion (Allium cernuum) with Blue Hill Salvia (Salvia nemorosa 'Blue Hill') - The bees will adore this.
  • Pink Cotton Candy Lambs Ear (Stachys officinalis 'Pink Cotton Candy' PP21,436) with Kit Kat Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Kit Kat') - Two long-blooming perennials that will happily share the spotlight
  • Carefree Delight Rose (Rosa x 'Carefree Delight' PP 8841) with Lacy Blue Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Lisslitt' PP22,845) - Especially pretty and effective when massed on a berm.
  • (pictured right) Pink-a-licious™ Fritsch Spirea (Spiraea fritschiana 'J.N. Select A') with
    Willowleaf Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) - Complimentary floral displays in June (then in October the leaves turn beautiful shades of autumn)
Shady Location
  • Bigleaf Hydrangea(Hydrangea macrophylla) varieties - One plant, twice the color! Acidic soil will give you blue blooms, alkaline soil will give you pink blooms. In SE Wisconsin, you will often end up with a combination of the two. The epitome of balance, embodied in one plant, all summer long. See more in the Plant of the Month section below.
Rose Quartz (left) and Serenity (right)
My Monet Weigela (top)
with Sester Dwarf Blue Spruce (bottom)
September Charm Anemone (top)
with Sky Blue Aster (bottom)
Pink-a-licious Fritsch Spirea (top)
with Willowleaf Amsonia (bottom)
PLANT OF THE MONTH: Hydrangea macrophylla varietiesPOM
Acidic soils produce blue blooms.
Alkaline soils produce pink blooms. 
Bigleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla varieties
Baileys Nursery in Minnesota revolutionized shade gardening in 2004 with the introduction of Endless Summer™ Hydrangea. It was the first macrophylla hydrangea that could survive a Zone 4 winter, bloom on old or new wood, and consistently produce flowers for an extended time. Before this, you could only get flowers the first year the shrub was planted, and though the roots might survive the cold and push new stems, you would merely have large leaves where you previously had impressive blooms. For this reason be aware when purchasing forced pink or blue potted hydrangeas from the florist at Easter and Mother's Day. These varieties may be more suited to a warmer climate.

Johnson's Nursery carries three varieties of Bigleaf Hydrangeas, to help you bring the shades of Rose Quartz and Serenity to your yard. Remember, acidic soil (low pH) = blue flowers, alkaline soil (high pH) = pink flowers. If you have a lot of clay in your soil, you will end up with pink flowers unless you lower the pH with a soil additive like granular sulfur. 
The leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla contain the natural sweetener phyllodulcin, which is 400 times sweeter than sugar (research has shown this compound helps protect the plant from leafminers). In Japan, the leaves are used to make "Ama-cha" or "sweet tea" to celebrate the Buddha's birthday during the Flower Festival (Hana-Matsuri) on April 8th. Legend says on the day Queen Maya gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha, she and the baby were showered with blossom petals and two streams of sweet water. To celebrate during the Flower Festival, temples are decorated with flowers surrounding a Buddha statue, where visitors ladle the Ama-cha over the head of the Buddha, then celebrations continue at home by sharing this holy tea amongst family and friends. 

Hana-Matsuri - Buddha's Birthday 
from Carrie's Quick Tips
Duration 0:55

In cold temperatures, bending branches are not as flexible and will often snap. It is important after a heavy, wet snowfall to remove... Learn more.
from The Dirt
Duration 4:15

If you're looking for some privacy in your yard, watch this episode of The Dirt, where Carrie talks about the living fence option. Learn more.
from The Dirt
Duration 4:19

Carrie shows you some smaller, winter interest favorites that help transform a boring landscape into a winter wonderland... Learn more.
'How To' Guides
Selecting a guide below will take you to our website, where you will find more videos,  information, and downloadable content.

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We Plan-You Plant offers the guidance of our experts, who will use information gathered from you to create a professional landscape design--at no cost--when you purchase your plants at Johnson's Nursery.


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If throw certain landscape plastics (i.e #2, #5, #6) in the trash, they will sit in the landfill and will not get recycled. You can return them to us--for free--all year long. Act locally, think globally. Recycle.

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Johnson's Nursery, Inc.
W180 N6275 Marcy Road. Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 (map)
p. 262.252.4988