Author Archives: Susan Martin

About Susan Martin

Susan Martin is the director of marketing communications at Walters Gardens in Zeeland, Mich. She can be reached at

Better Bloomers: Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ vs. ‘Going Bananas’

In twenty years, breeders can make big advancements, and ‘Going Bananas’ is living proof. Twenty years after the introduction of ‘Happy Returns,’ one of the most popular daylilies of all time, there’s a new variety on the block named ‘Going Bananas.’ And it’s threatening to take over the neighborhood. Although the two daylilies share a

Euphorbia Polychroma vs. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’

When old fashioned cushion spurge, Euphorbia polychroma, was used in the past, it was mainly grown for its brilliant sulfur yellow bracts in spring.  Beyond that, it didn’t hold a lot of interest in the garden.  Over the past five years, many exciting new euphorbias like ‘Ascot Rainbow’ have come onto the market, and they

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ Versus ‘Little Goldstar’

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ has been a top-selling perennial for ages and has won multiple awards since its introduction, including the Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999. So why try something new? While ‘Goldsturm’ is a nice choice, it does have flaws. In Michigan, one of the biggest problems is its susceptibility to Rudbeckia Leaf Spot. 

Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ versus ‘Desert Plains’

For years, Pennisetum ‘Hameln’ has been the go-to grass for landscapers across USDA Zones 5 to 9. When it was introduced many years ago, it represented a genetic advancement over the straight species. But now there’s something even better. Enter Pennisetum ‘Desert Plains.’ This plant, hybridized by Gary Trucks in Zone 5 Michigan, is an

Battle of the Hibiscus: ‘Summer Storm’ vs. ‘˜Kopper King’

One of the most important achievements in hibiscus hybridizing over the past five years has been the development of indeterminate blooming cultivars such as Proven Winners’ ‘SUMMERIFIC Summer Storm,’ which produces flowers at the top three to five nodes up the stems. Because hibiscus flowers last just one day, many buds are needed to prolong