Story Starters Gleaned from World Travels

November 29, 2017

Back By Popular Demand – Tesselaar Offers  Story Content and Quality Images Gleaned From Gardening Experts and World Travels.  Need story ideas and images fast? These  garden tips ‘Story Starters’ include a Garden Challenge Cheat Sheet, suggestions on how to choose the right plants for the right location and more!


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!


With high heat in warm climates and road salt in cold climates, curbside plantings can be a challenge.

With high heat in warm climates and road salt in cold climates, curbside plantings can be a challenge. Here Flower Carpet Pink Supreme stands up to both.

Story Starter 1: 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 “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.”


landscape plants

Flower Carpet Pink makes a colorful yet easy-care poolside planting option.

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


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.


Hi-res image: Flower Carpet Pink around swimming pool

Image Album: Flower Carpet in the Landscape

Video: How to Choose Roses for Any Location

Plant Profile: Flower Carpet roses



Bullet proof roses

Finding the right plants for each spot in your garden can be a challenge.

Story Starter 2: 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.


road salt-tolerant plants

Flower Carpet thrives along this New England driveway

LOCATION: Driveway and/or side of road.

SOLUTION 1: Next Generation Flower Carpet® roses for continuous, season-long blooms, salt tolerance and outstanding heat and humidity resistance.  “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. Other heat tolerant plants for driveways include Angelina stonecrop, Silver Mound artemisia and creeping juniper.  These can all be interplanted with Flower Carpet for a more textured look.


Festival along top of driveway_0012

Festival cordylines hold up to high heat along this elevated driveway planting.

SOLUTION 2: Festival™ cordylines stand up to high heat and are ideal as a curbside or driveway planting in warmer climates.


Hi-res image: Flower Carpet Pink Supreme along driveway

Image Album:  Curbside Planting Ideas

Plant Profile: Flower Carpet roses

Plant Profile: Festival Cordylines

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




Tropicanna canna

Add impact to small spaces!

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. It looks great when interplanted as a backdrop with large-leafed caladiums (warm climates) and bright marigolds (cooler climates).


Hi-res image:  Tropicanna in border

Image Album:  Small Space Gardens

Plant Profile: Tropicanna cannas




malibar spinach

Photos courtesy of UGA and Cornell Extension services.

LOCATION: Unsightly poll or fence.

SOLUTION: Malabar Climbing Spinach is a drought-tolerant spinach (great for polls in hell-strips) and grows to 6-8 feet in one season. Although this heat-loving vine is edible, it’s grown as much for its ornamental charm, especially the red-stemmed variety (Basella ‘Rubra’). The University of Georgia Extension Service tells us “Germination is a bit slow and it takes a few weeks after germination before it starts running.  But once it does, watch out!  It does great on a trellis or arbor but can also quickly cover an area as a groundcover.”

Available in many seed catalogs, including Park Seed, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds.


Plant Profile from Cornell University



LOCATION: Hot, sunny walkway that needs softening

drought tolerant plants

This sun baked garden bed at LAX is cool and welcoming thanks to Blue Storm agapanthus, the hero under a stand of palms.

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

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 image: Blue Storm agapanthus planted at side of a building

Image Album: Extreme Weather Plants

Plant Profile:  Storm Agapanthus



good plants for slopes

Flower Carpet Coral thrives on this Sacramento area slope

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:



A mixed planting of Flower Carpet was the solution for this steep slope.

A mixed planting of Flower Carpet was the solution for this steep slope.

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:

Image Album: Slope Plantings

Plant Profile: Flower Carpet roses



drought tolerant roses

Flower Carpet Pink and Red roses thrive in this northern CA winery entrance.


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 water-wise plants, like Flower Carpet roses and the architectural Storm™ series of agapanthus and Festival™ cordylines.


Like the Storm series, with their two-tiered root system, Flower Carpet roses have also earned high marks in the Dallas Arboretum’s plant trials in extreme heat and have been featured in a number of drought gardens and trials in California. Festival Burgundy cordyline 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).


Image Album: Drought-Tolerant Plants

Image Album: Extreme Weather Plants



PROBLEM: Wet or damp conditions

Tropicanna does well in damp or wet conditions

Tropicanna cannas

SOLUTION: Use one of today’s modern, disease-resistant plant varieties that resist fungal problems thriving in wet weather, like Festival 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.  The Next Generation Flower Carpets have been bred for even greater heat and humidity tolerance.


Hi-res images:



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.

Swallowtail on Volcano Phlox

Swallowtail on Volcano Phlox


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.


Hi-res image:  Volcano phlox in garden

Image Album: Phlox in the Landscape

Plant Profile: Volcano phlox


Flower Carpet Amber_bee cropped

Flower Carpet Amber with bee

Other Pollinator Favorites: 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.  Because they don’t require any chemicals to keep them thriving, Flower Carpet roses are also a favorite of bees and other pollinators.


Hi-Res Image: Bee on Flower Carpet Blossom

Image Album: Pollinators in the garden




Tropicanna cannas add color, even when not in bloom

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

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 thrive in water features

Tropicanna thrive in water features


“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 Image: Tropicanna in pond

Image Album: Tropicanna in Water Gardens

Plant Profile: Tropicanna® Cannas




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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