‘Pow WowWhite’ Coneflower is a compact, heavily flowering selection with flat white petals surrounding the round orange cones. Since the ‘PowWow’ series does not require vernalization, ‘PowWow White’ and ‘PowWow Wildberry’ start blooming early in summer and keep going well into August. The compact habit and sturdy stems makes this Coneflower an excellent choice for the front of perennial beds and rock gardens. Insects and song birds use Echinacea significantly as a food source.
‘PowWow Wildberry’ Coneflower blooms for a very long period starting in June and continuing into August. The vivid rose pink flowers have flat petals surrounding the orange cone and are held up on thick sturdy stems. The ‘PowWow’ series of Echinaceas are from seed, but their compact habit and clear colors are consistent, unlike many seed strains. Introduced by PanAm seeds, and reliably hardy in sunny dry sites in the Northeast.
PRN Preferred: Compact habit, overwinters very well.
'Rocky Top' Tennessee Coneflower is a nursery-grown selection of the rare native which is on the Endangered Species list for wild plants. Echinacea 'Rocky Top' was selected from a seed grown population because of its greater vigor and larger pink coneflowers. The blooms appear above the long narrow leaves in June and July. It grows best in sunny, well-drained sites. This rare Southeastern native is a good source of food for both Goldfinches (seed) and butterflies (nectar).
'Leilani' Coneflower starts blooming in July, and produces tall bright yellow non-fading flowers with many horizontal petals surrounding the orange prickly cones. The flowers appear in great numbers for a long time throughout the summer. The seedheads in the fall are an important food source for songbirds, and butterflies flock to the fragrant blooms in summer. Echinacea 'Leilani' is an excellent addition to the back of a perennial border, and is great as a cut flower because of its long sturdy stems.
PRN Preferred: Dark yellow flowers, overwinters very well. We have trialed this plant successfully for numerous years and have been very impressed.
Paper Bush has amazingly fragrant clumps of little yellow tubular flowers (it's in the Daphne family!) on the tips of branches from January to March. Long tropical-looking deciduous green leaves, must be in a very protected site (and keep mulch away from the base of the plant) but the winter fragrance of Edgeworthia chrysantha flowers on a warm day makes it worth it.
The beautiful violet flowers of 'Lilafee' Barrenwort are large in size, over neat, delicate foliage in April. Epimediums thrive in dry shade and 'Lilafee' is semi-evergreen. An interesting fact about Epimediums is that they are in the Barberry family (hence deer resistant).
PRN Preferred: Heavy bloomer, flower color stands out in spring gardens.
'Purple Pixie' Barrenwort was found by Dr Richard Lighty in his own garden, as a surprising sport of Epimedium grandiflorum 'Alba'. The delicate flowers are a deep violet purple with extended white spurs, and they hover over the fine green foliage in April. 'Purple Pixie' makes an excellent semi-evergreen clump in shady dry locations, and the refined, heart-shaped leaves emerge in the spring in shades of burgundy and purple. 'Purple Pixie' performed very well in the Chicago Botanic Garden's Epimedium trials.
PRN Preferred: Showy spring foliage topped by purple flowers, received very high ratings in the Chicago Botanic Garden's trials.
Epimedium grandiflorum 'Rose Queen' has rosy pink flowers of large size in April, making it a very showy Barrenwort. It thrives in dry shade and is semi-evergreen. The flowers look like miniature Columbines hovering above the leaves.
'Domino' Barrenwort comes from the prolific hybridizing work of Darrell Probost, the 'Epimedium King'. Epimedium x 'Domino' is a very heavy bloomer in April and May, producing a multitude of airy flowers displayed on burgundy stems. The blooms have long white spurs which end in rose purple cupped centers. The spikes emerge from toothed evergreen leaves which are mottled with large burgundy spots. This is one of Tony Avent's favorite 'Fairy Wings' because of its heavy reliable flower production.
'Pink Champagne' Barrenwort blooms heavily in April, producing many long graceful panicles covered with delicate hovering blooms. The spurs are long and white, surrounding deep pink cups. The molted evergreen foliage continues the show after the bloom period with dark purple splotches decorating the fine green leaves. Another striking contribution from the prolific breeding work of Darrell Probost. Like all Epimediums, this makes an excellent long lived groundcover for dry shade.
'Pink Elf' Barrenwort blooms in April, with lots of delicate pink flowers hovering over the fine evergreen foliage. The spurs are pale pink and the cups are a darker bronzy pink. The leaves are heart shaped, and new growth in the spring starts out with attractive pinkish flecks. This interspecies hybrid comes from Robin White and makes an excellent compact groundcover for shady areas.
'Frohnleiten' Barrenwort has butter yellow flowers with good strong color in April and May. It does well in dry shade and is semi-evergreen. The new leaves have red veining in spring, which shows up again in the fall.
'Galadriel' Barrenwort provides showy red blooms with white spurs and centers in April. The flowers hover over the emerging red tinged leaves. Epimediums make excellent slowy spreading groundcovers for shady areas, and Epimediums x 'Galadriel' also adds an attractive fall element with bronzy semi-evergreen leaves.
Purple Lovegrass is a short warm season grass which is best planted in mass. The effect is stunning when Eragrostis spectabilis comes into bloom in August and September. The airy panicles are bright shades of reddish purple, making a showy carpet over sandy, dry and infertile soils. In the fall the foliage takes on shades of reddish bronze. This tough native provides good erosion control.
‘Big Blue’ Sea Holly is an amazingly different color addition to the well-drained garden. It has silvery green thistle-like foliage which is topped by glowing blue stems and flowers. The blooms in June look like tiny blue artichokes, and are held well above the leaves. Thriving in dry sandy sites, Eryngium ‘Big Blue’ is also deer resistant.
Rattlesnake Master is an interesting oddity for unusual perennials borders, with grayish green spiny leaves from which spring its very tall flower spikes in July and August. The blooms are a pale silvery blue and look somewhat like round thistles. Tolerant of both dry and moist conditions, this dramatic looking native got its name from the formerly held theory that its sap cured rattle snake bites. As Dr. Alan Armitage says so succinctly, "Fat chance". Butterflies love it.
'Phantom' Joe Pye Weed was hybridized by Herbert Oudshoorn of Holland to produce a compact but heavily flowering Eupatorium. The flower clumps emerge wine red in July, and mature to a strong pink. The shorter size produces stronger stems supporting the showy compound flowers, which are an attractive addition to a cut flower arrangement. This tough native is a great butterfly attractant in mid to late summer, and it also is deer resistant. (New genus name is Entrochium)
PRN Preferred: All the great attributes of a Joe Pye Weed but a more compact form.