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Extension > Garden > SULIS > Plant Selection > Credits and References

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About Plant Elements of Design

The Plant Elements of Design plant selection program was developed in 1998 as software available on CD for use in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest / North Central United States. The goal was to support the landscape design process by providing a tool for selecting plants based on their characteristics and match them to appropriate site characteristics.

New plants and new technology have allowed us to create a web-based tool and add more plants, better images and more diverse selection options to the program. The new tool can serve users from around the world on any web platform.

This program is useful as a reference for landscape designers, landscape architects, Master Gardeners, plant nurseries, garden centers, educators, landscape contractors, grounds managers, maintenance firms, as well as home gardeners.

While the Plant Elements of Design program is intended primarily for plant selection, it may also be used, to a limited extent, for plant identification and site evaluation.

Plants are chosen based on plant type, height, width, texture, seasonal interest, and other characteristics. All perennial plants in the database are considered hardy in USDA zone 4. Adjoining zones are also indicated.

The information provided for each plant is based on the knowledge and experience of University of Minnesota specialists, experienced gardening educators, and industry professionals.

Credits and Acknowledgements

Produced by University of Minnesota Extension and the Department of Horticultural Science

Plant Elements of Design (web version) Project manager: Julie Weisenhorn

Plant Elements of Design (web version) Contributors: Julie Weisenhorn, Extension Educator - Horticulture, University of Minnesota; Karl Foord, Extension Educator - Horticulture, University of Minnesota; Lindsey Miller, photographer, 2015-2016; Melissa Bownik, student, 2014, University of Minnesota; Elizabeth Bache, student, 2002-07, University of Minnesota; Dr. David Zlesak, University of Wisconsin - River Falls; Dr. Jim Luby, Professor, University of Minnesota; Kathy Zuzek, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota; Brad Pedersen, Professor emeritus, University of Minnesota; Diana Alfuth, Instructor, University of Wisconsin - River Falls; Dr. Jim Calkins, landscape consultant and instructor.

Plant Elements of Design (web version) Technology & Graphic Design
Programmer: Josh Brekke
Graphic design: Julie Weisenhorn
Project consultant: John Hobday, HC Interactive
University of Minnesota Extension Technology: Tomas Alvarez, Erik Bremer, Neil D. Anderson, Tom Stanoch, Billie Wilson, Danny Sussman, Amy Baker, Director.

Plant Elements of Design (version 1) Project manager: Brad Pedersen

Plant Elements of Design (version 1) Contributors: Dean Englemann, Owner, Tangletown Gardens, Minneapolis, MN; Norman Evers, Instructor emeritus, Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape & Parks, South Dakota State University; Robin Fruth-Dugstad, Instructor, Rochester Community and Technical College, Rochester, MN; Dr. Dale E. Herman, Professor emeritus, Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University; Dr. Mary Hockenberry Meyer, Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota; Gary Johnson, Professor, Department of Forestry, University of Minnesota; Mary Maguire Lerman; Martin W. Maca, ASLA, Associate director - McCory Gardens, South Dakota State University; Bob Mugaas, Director of Horticulture, Rosemount Research & Outreach Center, University of Minnesota; Clayton and Michelle Oslund, Plant Pics LLP, Horticulture Photography and Publishing, Duluth, MN; Dr. Harold Pellet, Professor emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota; Dr. Ronald C. Smith, Professor emeritus, Department of Plant Sciences, North Dakota State University; Dr. Bert Swanson, Swanson's Nursery Consulting, Park Rapids, MN; Karrie Bitner; Mike Zins, Professor emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota.

Plant Elements of Design (version 1) Technology & Graphic Design
Programmer: Scott Franzen
Graphic design: Peter Fabian
Project Manager: Richard Sherman
Project Assistance: Anita Dincesen

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The information given in this publication is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by University of Minnesota Extension is implied.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this publication/material is available in alternative formats upon request. Direct requests to sulis@umn.edu or 800-876-8636.

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References and Resources

Bachman's Nursery Wholesale Catalog. 1998, 2003
Bailey Nurseries, Inc., Wholesale Catalog. 1997, 2004
Clausen, Ruth Rogers and Nicolas H. Ekstrom. Perennials for American Gardens. Random House, New York, 1989.
Dirr, Michael A. Manual of Woody Plants. Stipes Publishing, Champaign, IL, 1990.
Earthworks River Farm Nursery. 1995 Catalog.
Gilman, Edward F., et. al Dianthus x 'Telstar Series' Telstar Dianthus, Telstar Pinks, University of Florida IFAS Extension. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp175. Accessed 30 December 2015.
Haas, R., Olson, J., and Whitman, J. Growing Roses in Cold Climates. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2012.
Heger, Mike and John Whitman. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. Chicago: Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., 1998
Heger, Mike, Debbie Lonnee, and John Whitman. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., Chicago, IL, 2011.
Heger, M., Lonnee, D., and Whitman, J. Growing Perennials in Cold Climates. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2010. 2nd edition.
Lonnee, D., Rose, N., Selinger, J. and Whitman, J. Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2011. 2nd edition.
Meyer, M. Hockenberry. Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates. St. Paul, University of Minnesota Extension, 2004, 2011, 2012.
Meyer, M. Hockenberry, D. B. White and H. Pellet. Ornamental Grasses for Cold Climates . University of Minnesota Extension, St. Paul, MN, 1996.
Taylor, J. Lee, Anne M. Hanchek, Lowell Ewart and William Carlson. Growing and Using Annuals and Bulbs. Michigan State University, 1992.
Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. "Perennials for Outdoor Living," 1996.
Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. "Woody Plants," 1996.
Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. "Annuals-Plants for Outdoor Living," 1997-1998.
Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder
Olson, Jerry, and John Whitman. Growing Roses in Cold Climates. Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1998.
Pedersen, B., et. al. Plant Characteristics of Woody Plants Database. 1982, revised 1989. Pedersen, B. et. al. Plant Elements of Design ver. 1.0. 2000
Rose, Nancy, Don Selinger, and John Whitman. Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates. Chicago: Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., 2001.
Smith, W. Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN. 2008.
Snyder, Leon C. Trees and Shrubs for Northern Gardens. St. Paul: University of Minnesota Press, 1980. Revised by Richard T. Isaacson. Chanhassen: Andersen Horticultural Library, 2000.
Snyder, Leon C. Native Plants for Northern Gardens. Chanhassen: Andersen Horticultural Library, 1991.
Still, Steven M. Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants. Champaign: Stipes Publishing, 1994.
White Flower Farm. The Garden Book. 1997.
University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Horticultural Research Center, Chaska, MN
Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, IL
Royal Botanic Garden, Toronto ON, Canada
Noerenberg Gardens, Wayzata, MN
Rotary Gardens, Janesville, WI
USDA Plants Database
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