Story Starters Culled from World Travels

February 27, 2012

Back By Popular Demand – Tesselaar Offers Garden Writers Story Content and Quality Images Culled From World Travels


Need story ideas and images fast? These  ‘Story Starters’ include a Garden Challenge Cheat Sheet, choosing roses and easy-care garden beds!


In a pinch and need a gardening story now? Pressed for time?  Here are five handy “Story Starters” gathered by Tesselaar Plants cofounder and president Anthony Tesselaar.


Each ready-made story idea offers copy on a popular gardening subject, along with expert quotes and hi-res images large enough to reproduce in print. Images and videos can be easily downloaded from Flickr with the links listed under each story.


All content is copyright free and you can use as many images as you’d like – (it’s not necessary to credit us for images, but we’d appreciate if you could mention the Tesselaar plant name in the caption).  Hope these Story Starters help you out!


Story Starter 1: Right plant, right place

How do you find a plant for those less-than hospitable places in the yard? Here are a few such spots and the perfect plants for them, according to Dave Epstein of how-to gardening video site Growing Wisdom and Anthony Tesselaar.


LOCATION: Driveway and/or side of road.

Flower Carpet Roses in mass plantingSOLUTION: Next Generation Flower Carpet® roses for continuous, season-long blooms, salt tolerance and outstanding heat and humidity resistance.

Quote: “It’s a nice greeting for people as they come in from the road, and you’re taking a lot of heat off the driveway,” says Epstein in his new video, “How to Find a Plant for Any Location.”

Hi-res images:

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme along road

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme in landscape setting

Fact sheet: Next Generation Flower Carpet roses

Video:  “How to Find a Plant for Any Location” by Growing Wisdom’s Dave Epstein.


LOCATION: Narrow space that could use some color.

SOLUTION: Tropicanna® cannas, which offer psychedelically colored foliage all season long.  Mix with a variety of annuals and perennials or plant “en-masse” for maximum impact.

Hi-res images: 

Tropicanna planted along walkway

Tropicanna planted in small garden bed

Fact sheet: Tropicanna cannas


LOCATION: Hot, sunny walkway that needs softening

SOLUTION: Storm™ series of agapanthus (including the deep blue-flowered Blue Storm and the white-bloomed Snow Storm).

Blue Storm agapanthus

Blue Storms agapanthus in mass planting

Quote: “If you’ve got a piece of hardscaping like pavers or a walkway, the ground around it tends to heat up even more,” says Anthony Tesselaar. “In these spots, the Storm agapanthus series is a great choice, especially if you’re looking for something different with an exotic, architectural look.” The Storm series, he adds, is the only variety of agapanthus to have survived the Dallas Arboretum’s famous plant “trials by fire” in intense heat, drought and humidity. “Unlike other agapanthus, it also has a shorter, denser, clump-forming habit and has been known to rebloom two to three times a gardening season.” 

Hi-res images

Blue Storm agapanthus planted at side of a building
Blue Storm planted along a walkway

Snowstorm and Flower Carpet White standards



Story Starter 2: Right rose, right place

“In a nursery, you may be a little bit overwhelmed with all the roses you have to choose from,” says Dave Epstein in his new “How to Choose Roses” video. “Well, the reality is, you need the right rose for the right location.”

In the video, Epstein demystifies the rose selection process with an overview of three popular, easy-care landscaping rose lines – Flower Carpet, Knock Out and Drift – and shows how each can be used to its best in the garden.

Epstein recommends a little research before you shop, so you know you’re choosing the right plant for the right place: “Remember, when you go to the nursery, all the roses may look the same in the pot, but in a few years, they’re going to look a lot different.”  Here are more details from Epstein’s video:

Flower Carpet Rose

Flower Carpet Roses in mass planting


Flower Carpet roses: Because they’re salt- and drought-tolerant, they’re perfect alongside roads and driveways. Their season-long blooms and full, sprawling, bushy form also make them ideal for filling out large blocks of color. Because they can grow up and around things, they’re also good for softening visual elements like fence posts, chain link fences, rocks, and hardscapes.


Quote:  “It’s more of a creeping rose than something that’s going to get high,” says Epstein.

Hi-res images: 

Next Generation Flower Carpet Pink Supreme along driveway/road

Flower Carpet Pink around swimming pool

Fact sheet: Flower Carpet roses

Newer Shrub rose varieties:  Because of their tall, vertical nature, they’re great behind a fence, at the back of a border or walkway or anywhere else they can be used as a tall screen or canvas upon which you can layer levels of shorter plants.

Quote: “Wherever you plant them, just make sure you’re OK with them getting this high,” says Epstein, standing behind a shoulder-height Knock Out shrub.  Drift and other smaller varieties: “They stay smaller than Flower Carpet roses,” says Epstein. “They’re best suited for a small container on the patio or balcony.”



Story Starter 3: Garden Challenge Cheat Sheet

To every problem there’s often more than one solution. Here are some tried and true tips for some of the biggest garden challenges:

PROBLEM: Slope or hill

SOLUTION: “The simplest solution for landscaping a slope – which people often want to fill with something besides turf grass, because they don’t want to mow – is groundcovers,” says Tesselaar. “There are many foliage-only options out there, but if you want season-long color and blooms, an excellent choice is Flower Carpet groundcover roses.” They root deeply, explains Tesselaar, and therefore provide erosion control. Salt and drought tolerant, they’re also perfect for slopes by the road that get sprayed with road salt in winter, and any slope in summer (since the water runs off of steep grades, making slopes very quick to dry out in the heat). And when planted in masses, Flower Carpet roses provide quickly spreading coverage.

Hi-res images:

Flower Carpet Pink and Appleblossom mixed planting on steep slope

Flower Carpet Pink Supreme on a rocky slope in Maine

Fact sheet: Flower Carpet roses



SOLUTION: While no plant is completely deer-proof, there are clearly some that aren’t their first choice on the salad bar. One is Festival Burgundy cordyline, which creates an ebullient fountain effect of burgundy-colored foliage in the landscape and because of its drought-tolerance, is also great for containers. Agapanthus is also deer-resistant, according to Texas A&M and Oregon State universities (check out the Storm series – the only agapanthus to have survived the Dallas Arboretum’s famous “trials by plant fire” in extreme heat and humidity).

Hi-res images:

Festival Burgundy in landscape

Blue Storm planted alongside a building

Fact sheets:

Festival Burgundy cordyline

Storm series of agapanthus


PROBLEM: Dry, hot site

SOLUTION: Use xeriscaping strategies like mulching, soil amendments, turf grass reduction, land contouring to catch rainfall, irrigation control technology and proper plant placement and spacing. In the landscape and in containers, also use waterwise plants, like Next Generation Flower Carpet roses (specially bred to withstand extreme heat and humidity) and the architectural Storm series of agapanthus. Like the Storm series, Flower Carpet roses have also earned high marks in the Dallas Arboretum’s plant trials in extreme heat. Festival Burgundy cordyline (see above) is also a good choice. Other sustainable plants include maiden grass, ‘Elijah’ blue fescue, little bluestem, leatherleaf sedge, pampas grass, muhly grass, blue panic grass, Oriental fountain grass, Japanese blood grass and dwarf bamboo ‘Sunset Glow’ (noninvasive).

All three varieties of Tropicanna Cannas

All three varieties of Tropicanna Cannas


PROBLEM: Wet conditions

SOLUTION: Use one of today’s modern, disease-resistant plant varieties that resist fungal problems thriving in wet weather, like Festival Burgundy cordyline, Tropicanna cannas or the Storm series of agapanthus, for instance. Flower Carpet roses, meanwhile, have earned many All-Deutschland-Rose designations – the world’s highest honor for disease resistance against fungal diseases like black spot.

Hi-res images:

Flower Carpet Scarlet

Tropicannas in mass planting

Tropicanna – 3 colors

Fact sheets:

Volcano Phlox

Flower Carpet roses


Story Starter 4: Attract birds, butterflies – and kids! – to your garden

The garden comes alive with wildlife, adding sights and sounds to the sensory experience. It’s also a great way to pique the interest of kids, who enjoy spotting and feeding these pretty, winged friends. Here are some bird- and butterfly-friendly plants to try at home.

Volcano Phlox

Volcano Phlox planting


Phlox: “Garden phlox may be old-school gardening, but the butterflies don’t seem to care,” says Debbie Hadley, guide to insects on, in her post “12 Perennials That Butterflies Love.” “With clusters of fragrant flowers on tall stems, garden phlox offers nectar in summer and fall,” she continues. “Plant Phlox paniculata and expect visits from clouded sulphurs, European cabbage butterflies, silvery checkerspots, and all kinds of swallowtails.” Try one of today’s modern, mildew-resistant varieties, like Volcano phlox, which also attracts hummingbirds, according to Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery.


Hi-res image:

Volcano phlox – mixed in garden

Fact sheet: Volcano phlox


Agapanthus: Hummingbirds love to feed on the nectar from agapanthus like the Storm series, as seen in this YouTube video. “I just love my agapanthus, all of them – because the hummingbirds love them, too,” says eHow gardening expert Yolanda VanVeen. Avent also recommends cannas for attracting hummers, and the Tropicanna series, with its colorful foliage, is his top seller.

Hi-res images:


Snow Storm agapanthus

Snow Storm agapanthus

Fact sheet: Storm series of agapanthus


Story Starter 5: Add a splash of color to your water garden with cannas

Did you know cannas can grow in a pond, just like any other water plant? “I grew a canna in my little pond for the last two summers, and it did great!” says Our Little Acre garden blogger Kylee Baumle, who uses the colorfully foliaged Tropicanna cannas in her Ohio garden.

Tropicanna Cannas

Tropicanna Cannas in outdoor planting


“We suggest you grow them in containers first and once the leaves and new shoots become 5 to 8 inches tall, your Tropicanna can be moved into the pond,” says Anthony Tesselaar, cofounder and president of Tesselaar Plants.


Then, he says, use clay or a commercial pond soil or a combination of 20 percent potting soil and 80 percent sand mix. “Use any plastic or clay pot you have – it doesn’t need to be more than 10 to 12 inches high, but should be large enough to allow for the rhizomes to grow and multiply.” If the pots have holes in them, line the bottom with burlap, newspaper or some other heavy-fibered material.


Mix this soil with water from the pond till it reaches a “mudpie” consistency, continues Tesselaar. Then, remove your Tropicanna from its original pot, rinse off the soil and place it into the new pot, spreading the roots (make sure the crown is 2 to 3 inches below the rim). Then fill the pot to about 2 to 3 inches from the top with your “mudpie” mix. Leave 2 to 3 inches between the soil line and the rim of the container and add gravel to give the plant a more finished look and to help keep the soil inside of the pot. Tamp the pot on the ground a couple of times, then lower it into the pond, keeping the top of the pot a few inches below the top of the water. Fertilize monthly with aquatic fertilizer.


Baumle overwinters her Tropicanna canna in its pot in a cool greenhouse at 55 degrees (a basement would also do) and doesn’t water it until spring.

Hi Res Images

Tropicanna in pond

Tropicanna in small water pond

Tropicanna in small water feature

Download this Press Release/Story Starter as a Word Doc:

(Right-click and Save-Link-As) Download Link



About Tesselaar

Tesselaar Plants searches the world and introduces new plants for the home garden, landscape, home décor and gift markets. Tesselaar Plants undertakes extensive research and development of its varieties and, once selected for introduction, provides marketing and promotional support for its plant brands through its grower and retail network. Tesselaar’s portfolio of plants is small by design, given rigorous standards that result in high-quality, dramatic, prolific plants that are also environmentally friendly and exceptionally easy to grow.

The Tesselaar philosophy is to introduce exceptional plants while “making gardening easy” for everyone, and so it makes them widely available as possible. Tesselaar believes that the more gardeners there are, the better it is for everyone.



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