Lungworts are grown for their attractive foliage and flowers. The leaves of most species and varieties are hairy, ovate to elliptic in shape and spotted with silver or white. However, some of the newer varieties have silver or white leaves with green spots or margins. Lungworts also produce clusters of funnel-shaped flowers in early spring.Flowers may be red, violet, blue, pink or white.
What is frost heaving, you ask? Actually it’s not much different than it sounds. Due to wide temperature fluctuations, exposed soil surfaces freeze and thaw repeatedly. This repeated freezing and thawing causes the soil to expand and contract, which can lift up or heave some perennials out of the soil. Heaving may break off some of the plant’s roots. It also exposes the plant’s crown and remaining roots to cold temperatures and drying winds. Freezing and drying injury to a plant’s roots and crown may seriously damage or destroy perennials.
One such award winning plant is Golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’), the 2009 Perennial of the Year. Every year members of the Perennial Plant Association vote for a winning plant entry. Perennials that are nominated must be attractive, suitable for many areas across the country, low maintenance, pest and disease resistant, and readily available to the public. This year’s winner is the latest in a long line of good perennials for the garden.
If your lawn failed to live up to expectations this summer, don’t wait until next spring to take action. The late summer/early fall season is a great time to rejuvenate your lawn. It’s important to keep in mind that even the most attractive lawns don’t look that way on their own. Creating and caring for a beautiful lawn takes time and effort. Performing a few key maintenance practices now will help get your lawn back in shape and prepare it for next spring and summer. Controlling perennial weeds, fertilizing, establishing new turf with seed and aeration are basic maintenance practices commonly performed during the next couple of months.
Perennials can be grown in nearly any garden location – sunny, shady, wet, dry, border or background. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulture specialists recommend perennials to meet specifications of many gardeners.