MANTS 2015

January can be a grey time in many gardens but the colorful and textural displays at MANTS, The Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show held last week in Baltimore, helped inspire us for the upcoming planting season.

OvS staff are perennial attendees at MANTS since we value the opportunity to reconnect with our colleagues in the nursery industry each year. The 2015 show included many of our favorite nurseries from the area and around the country who were showing exciting new plants and many tried and true favorites. Kurt Bluemel, Inc had a beautiful display highlighting the textural qualities of some of our favorite plants such as panicum, hellebores, heuchera, and bamboo. A group of OvS staff talked with Chris Bluemel Betz about the new introductions.

We are interested in trying the new Muhlenbergia reverchonii ‘Undaunted’ that both Kurt Bluemel Inc and North Creek Nurseries presented. The soft clouds of flowers are less pink than other muhly grasses.

Panicum ‘Cape Breeze’ has a more compact habit and early flowering than the native switchgrass and was also highlighted by North Creek and Kurt Bluemel Inc. We’re looking forward to see how its beautiful texture can add movement to our gardens.

At Sunny Border Nurseries, Steve Taylor introduced us to Heuchera ’Pinot Bianco.’ He felt that this was an important plant to try since the bright green foliage has great heat tolerance in sun and part shade due to the purple underside of the leaf.

We are always looking for elephant ears that hold up well throughout the summer so we were excited to see Alocasia ‘Regal Shields’ at Excelsa Gardens. It has sturdy stems and strong, large dark leaves that don’t tear in typical windy conditions. We’re looking forward to trying it in our large planters this summer.

Many nurseries were featuring the new “Ever” series of Carex. Hoffman Nursery of North Carolina’s display emphasized the variety of colors and variegation in this new series.

Although most of the nurseries at the show sell to the trade only, you should be able to find these plants in your local garden centers this spring and summer.