The list below contains plants new to our production for this year, or those which are being reintroduced into production after being unavailable for several years.
Acer saccharum Legacy® is a large, oval shade tree prized for the fiery red and orange autumn colors that adorn its dense crown of foliage. This sugar maple is tolerant of drought conditions, and its thick, glossy leaves are resistant to tattering caused by wind, as well as leafhopper damage. Utilized both for its ornamental value in the landscape as well as for the syrup produced by its sap, this particular cultivar of sugar maple is a fast grower and great for use as a specimen tree, shade tree, or street tree where it will not interfere with electrical wires or be heavily impacted by salt spray.
Upright spikes of uniquely shaped azure blooms of Aconitum fischeri appear mid-August to late October, taking on a tall vertical form in the garden and pairing nicely with other fall blooming perennials that prefer moist conditions. The flowers, which resemble the hoods of medieval monks, are wonderful for attracting many beneficial insects and are a primary food source for Old World bee species. Known for deterring deer, rabbits, slugs, and undesired insects due to its high toxicity. Spent flower spikes can be deadheaded to promote a second bloom, and deeply lobed foliage remains attractive in the fall.
Agastache x ‘Pink Pearl’ is an easy growing, drought-tolerant perennial that produces beautiful, dense spikes of fragrant, light pink blooms from early June to late September. The profuse blooms and mounding habit make this cultivar great for planting in the front of a perennial border or in containers, where it will attract hummingbirds and other pollinators throughout its long blooming period.
Finally, a beautiful, bright gold Bugleweed to rule them all! A selection from the Feathered Friends™ series, Ajuga ‘Tropical Toucan’ features not only large, electric yellow foliage on reddish stems, but bright cobalt blue flowers from April to June that contrast beautifully in the landscape. ‘Tropical Toucan’ Bugleweed is a fast growing and low maintenance evergreen groundcover, helping to suppress weeds with its spreading, low-growing habit. Besides being deer and rabbit resistant, Ajuga ‘Tropical Toucan’ is also shown to be relatively heat tolerant and is capable of handling full shade.
If a low-maintenance, multi-seasonal shrub with an upright form is what you’re after, look no further than RAINBOW PILLAR® Serviceberry! Amelanchier canadensis ‘Glennform’, sold as RAINBOW PILLAR®, is a large deciduous shrub or small tree that performs well in a wide range of soil conditions. RAINBOW PILLAR® Serviceberry is taller than the species, typically reaching heights of around 20’ with a width of only around 6’. Small, lightly fragrant, five-petalled white flowers appear from April to May, attracting early spring pollinators and making quite a show in the landscape. Following its bloom time, RAINBOW PILLAR® Serviceberry will produce blackish purple fruits starting in June, which are attractive to birds, and can be eaten raw or processed into jams and jellies for human consumption. It receives its rainbow namesake due to the array of fall colors that take over the foliage, ranging from red, orange, yellow and purple all at once.
Considered to be one of the major “Keystone Species”, Amelanchier canadensis is as ornamentally interesting as it is ecologically valuable. Small, white, fragrant flowers appear in April and May, which are visited by bees and other early emerging pollinators. In June and July, purple drupes emerge that are enjoyed by birds and small mammals, and are also culinarily valuable to humans. The fruits can be processed into jams and jellies for baking. In autumn, foliage turns varied shades of red and orange that add a lovely splash of color to the landscape. Canada Serviceberry is highly adaptable to a wide range of soil types, typically preferring medium, well-drained soils but able to tolerate clay and soils with higher moisture content. This is a host plant for the larval stage of the Viceroy butterfly as well as the Red-spotted Purple butterfly. Despite its fruits being loved by wildlife, Amelanchier canadensis tends to be mostly deer resistant.
Native to much of the East Coast and found as far west as the Rocky Mountains and as far south as New Mexico, Anemone canadensis is a fast-growing herbaceous perennial that is known for its rapid, low-growing abilities that make it a suitable groundcover for the naturalized garden. Capable of spreading by rhizome as well as by seed, windflower can become a dense matrix of attractive basal foliage topped by a profuse bloom of white, apetalous flowers with yellow stamens from early May to mid-June. This particular species prefers moist soil conditions, and is tolerant of streambanks, river beds, low meadows, and other wet sites, where it may occasionally become aggressive. Like its cousin, Anemone virginiana, Anemone canadensis deters deer and rabbits. It is the larval host plant for the veiled ear moth, as well as the one-lined Sparganothis moth.
Anemone virginiana is a native perennial wildflower known for its chaotic upright flowers of white with yellow stamens that stand 3-4’ tall in the landscape during their late April to June bloom period. This fast-growing, low maintenance Thimbleweed gets its common name from the persistent seedheads, which resemble… you guessed it, thimbles. When left to spread naturally, colonies of Thimbleweed act as a nice protective cover for small mammals and birds. Anemone virginiana does not spread quite as aggressively as its cousin Anemone canadensis, but can establish itself as a wonderful groundcover when allowed to naturalize. Deer and other grazing animals tend to leave this plant alone.
Cultivated in Britain and part of the popular and profusely blooming Swan Series, Anemone x ‘Dainty Swan’ produces large, two-toned blossoms of white tinged with purple-pink on the reverse side and golden yellow centers, which appear in June and continue into October. Perfect for refreshing the cottage or wildlife garden late in the season. Prized for maintaining its clumping habit, this windflower variety is a great addition to the mixed border or when planted in mass. Flowers can be used for fresh cut arrangements, and should be deadheaded as they fade to promote more blooms.
Antennaria plantaginifolia is a full sun loving, semi-evergreen native that is perfect for sites with well-draining, rocky soils. Woolly gray stems held above basal rosettes of paddle-shaped foliage produce the namesake fluffy, white flowerheads from April to June, which are a primary source of nectar for the American lady butterfly and are also visited by solitary bees. The life cycles of two different fly species are reliant on the leaves of this plant as a nesting site. Tolerant of poor soils and drought, pussytoes will create an excellent groundcover where many other low-growing perennials may have difficulty.
Perfect for the part-shade cottage or rock garden, this heat-tolerant, low-growing perennial snapdragon boasts sprays of pastel pink blooms from June to mid-September. Antirrhinum hispanicum ‘Roseum’ is a wonderful companion to other, more brightly colored summer-blooming plants, with its fuzzy silver-green foliage and soft, rose pink flowerheads making a show in the garden all season long.
Columbine is an all-time gardener’s favorite for its compact, low-maintenance attitude and unique, bell-shaped flowers. Aquilegia canadensis ‘Corbett’ has all of the red-flowering variety’s best attributes, with the added benefit of light, popcorn-yellow flowers resembling tiny illuminated lanterns overtop of soft, velvety-green foliage, and a mature height of 14-18”. Various bee species as well as Ruby-throated hummingbirds visit the flowers for nectar during its late April to early June bloom period. During summer and into the autumn months, ‘Corbett’ Columbine may sporadically produce flowers at the same time that its attractive seedheads are also visible. This yellow-flowering variety was discovered by Lawrence Clemens and named in honor of the Corbett Historic District in Maryland.
The silvery gray foliage of GardenGhost™ wormwood is outstanding in the landscape, adding texture and contrast while maintaining its compact, mounding habit. This variety of Artemisia is highly disease and heat resistant, having been bred as an improved version of the ‘Silver King’ variety.
Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen European fern with a tropical feel, perfect for spicing up the shady border, winter garden, cottage garden, or container with its strappy, bright green fronds that stay lovely and lush all year round. A winner of the coveted Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society for its low maintenance, compact habit and outstanding, long-lasting performance in the garden. The centipede-like brown sori on the undersides of the fronds give this plant its specific epithet, which comes from the Greek term “skolopenda” to describe the creepy-crawlies. Meanwhile, its common name, Hart’s Tongue Fern, refers to the apparent resemblance of the wavy, strappy fronds to a deer’s tongue (a “hart” is a red male deer, also called a “stag”, that is generally older than five years of age). Tolerant of heavy shade, rabbits, and deer browsing.
Aster ericoides ‘Bridal Veil’ is a no-fuss, profuse fall-blooming native perennial that will steal the show from August to October! Stunning, dense clusters of small, white, daisy-like blooms with brownish-yellow centers blanket the multi-branched stems throughout its fall bloom period, inviting a plethora of bees, butterflies, and other pollinator species to delight in the late season nectar. The blooms tend to be so numerous that they completely cover the small, finely textured foliage, which gives almost a bright green, lavender-esque quality to the landscape when not in bloom. It is this delicate, tiny foliage that gives this plant its common name, Heath Aster, for resembling the similarly shaped foliage of Erica (Heath). This plant is tolerant of drought once established, and makes for an excellent addition to the gravel or rock garden. (New name is Symphyotrichum ericoides 'Bridal Veil').
Begonia grandis, commonly referred to as Hardy Begonia with its hardiness zone of 6-9, is the only Begonia capable of surviving through Mid-Atlantic winters. Drooping clusters of fragrant, pink inflorescences attract pollinators from July to October. Hardy Begonia is a great consideration for woodland sites with Black Walnut trees due to this plant’s resistance to the allelopathic properties and its capability of handling partial to heavy shade. Begonia grandis prefers moist, well-drained, organic soils, and will reproduce by small bulblets as well as by self-seeding in ideal conditions. Plants will do best if given winter protection.
Bergenia x DRAGONFLY ‘Sakura’ is a versatile, evergreen groundcover that is great for adding color to borders, pathways and mass plantings with part or close to full shade. Upright clusters of semi-double, hot pink flowers reminiscent of cherry blossoms appear from mid-March to early May, and make excellent cut flowers when used in fresh arrangements. Likewise, the foliage, a dark greenish-purple that turns a deep blackish, reddish purple in winter, is also an excellent addition to floral arrangements. The common name of this plant, Pig Squeak (which is arguably the greatest common name ever), refers to the sound the leaves make when rubbed together due in part to the thick, rubbery, foliage texture.
It’s no surprise that the specific epithet of Bouteloua gracilis means “graceful” – the gentle sway of peculiar-looking seedheads in a warm summer breeze certainly brings a sense of grace to the garden. Highly tolerant of nutrient-poor, dry soils and drought once established, Blue Gramma grass is naturally adapted to prairie conditions and can be found growing throughout the Great Plains of North America. Bouteloua gracilis is a warm-season native grass that explodes with color in autumn, following the arrival of the bronzy purple eyebrow-shaped inflorescences between June and August. These inflorescences, which are situated to one side of the stem, persist throughout autumn and often into winter, changing from a warm purply overtone to a sandy-colored seedhead appearance that is perfect for adding to dried arrangements. Blue Gramma grass can be used as a lawn alternative, and is capable of handling some light foot traffic as well as occasional mowing.
If you’re looking for a roundy-moundy, compact Boxwood, look no further than the reliable Buxus ‘Green Mound’. Basically, this Boxwood has all of the classic qualities that are constantly sought after in this particular plant: year-round, glossy evergreen foliage, an incredibly round, dense, compact habit that doesn’t require much re-shaping, and natural deer resistance that keeps Buxus ‘Green Mound’ a tidy, immaculate specimen throughout the seasons that gets about as wide as it does tall, between 2-3’ all over. Some foliar bronzing may occur during the cooler months, although ‘Green Mound’ boxwood tends to hold on to its glossy green color in winter better than other Boxwood varieties.
Amongst some of the most popular perennials are the Bellflowers with their nodding, indigo-purple, cup-shaped flowers. A wonderful choice for edges, borders and container plantings, the trailing habit of Campanula portenschlagiana ‘Birch Hybrid’ makes an adaptable groundcover and can be used for planting in wall crevices. This low-growing dwarf hybrid produces vigorous blooms throughout the summer into the fall, from June to September, and will undergo an extended bloom period if spent flowers are removed. Considered to be evergreen in mild winter climates, and prefers part shade in warmer summer climates.
Rare and endangered in its natural habitat, Carex eburnea is a gem of a native sedge that provides fine, delicate texture to the shady, dry landscape. In areas with partial to full shade and rocky or sandy soils, Bristle-leaf Sedge can be used as a lawn alternative, although it is most commonly used as a soft textural accent to the front or edge of the rock garden or dry shade border. Carex eburnea makes a lovely groundcover when allowed to naturalize, and if left to its own devices in a large space, may colonize by rhizome. Deer tend to ignore Bristle-leaf Sedge, leaving its elegant foliage intact, although this particular species requires partial shade in order to thrive.
One of the most common and widespread sedge species in North America, Carex vulpinoidea, known commonly as Fox Sedge for its bushy fox-tail-like inflorescences, is a native obligate wetland species that can often be found along moist streambanks, pond edges, and low-lying meadows. Fox Sedge is a wonderful naturalizer, and is a prime groundcover candidate for wetland restoration and bioremediation projects. Narrow, finely textured blades can reach lengths of 1-3’, often cascading over and creating a windswept visual when planted in large swaths. Carex vulpinoidea is a host plant for various Skipper butterfly species, and the long, thin blades also create a protective shelter and habitat for songbirds, small mammals, and insects.
Rising Fire® (‘Uxbridge’) American Hornbeam originated in Ontario and was introduced by J Frank Schmidt and Sons. Carpinus Rising Fire® has all the great attributes of Carpinus caroliniana, but the habit is columnar and tight. Its neat green summer leaves take on shades of orange and red in fall, and its 2” hanging seed bracts provide food for wildlife in the fall and winter. American Hornbeam is a very adaptable tree which will thrive in both woodland and urban sites.
Fringed, thistle-like flowers emerge from scaled buds above silvery gray foliage from May to July, attracting bees and butterflies to the cottage garden or mixed border. Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst Dream’ is a showy, herbaceous perennial that offers striking contrast between the shaggy, royal purple blooms and the soft gray foliage that make great additions to containers and cut flower arrangements. Spent flowers can be deadheaded to prolong bloom period. An introduction by Blooms of Bressingham, and a ‘RHS Plants for Pollinators’ selection by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ is a very cold hardy perennial known by many common names: Bachelor’s Button, Mountain Bluet, Mountain Cornflower, and Knapweed, to name a few. ‘Amethyst in Snow’ Bachelor’s Button features bi-colored flowers with white outer petals and purple-indigo centers that appear first between mid-May and early June and will often rebloom sporadically throughout summer and into the fall when the weather begins to cool. This showy mountain-dweller’s white-and-purple blooms have given this plant notoriety as the first two-toned Centaurea montana introduced and marketed to the green industry. It has also been revered for its vigorous, outward-growth habit that is capable of naturalizing in a small, spready mound of soft, silvery-green foliage and flamboyant white-and-purple blooms over time, and will perform well even under poor, dry soil conditions.
The rosy red flower spikes of Red Valerian bloom for an extended period in early to mid-summer. This plant prefers sterile, limey soils and does well in rock gardens and walls. Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions, to prevent self-seeding and to encourage additional bloom, remove spent flower stems. Centranthus ruber var. coccineus is more compact in size and has darker red flowers than the straight species. An old-fashioned, easy perennial.
Chrysanthemum Mammoth™ ‘Coral Daisy’ is a Hardy Mum variety that produces large, semi-double, coral-colored flowers with bright yellow centers consistently throughout the fall, from August to November. A member of the Mammoth™ series, no pinching or pruning is required to ensure a long bloom season, and its tall mounding habit makes this Mum is a great addition as the seasonal backdrop to smaller fall-blooming species. Aromatic, dark green foliage tends to deter deer. Best when planted in spring so that root production can establish prior to winter. The Mammoth™ series was previously published under My Favorite™ and Maxi-Mums, all cultivated as shrub cushion growth habit varieties by the University of Minnesota – so you know they are cold hardy!
A fall favorite of butterflies, Chrysanthemum Mammoth™ ‘Lavender Daisy’ is a Hardy Mum variety that produces large, semi-double pinkish lavender flowers from August to November. A member of the Mammoth™ series, no pinching or pruning is required to ensure a long bloom season, and its tall mounding habit makes this Mum is a great addition as the seasonal backdrop to smaller fall-blooming species. Aromatic, dark green foliage tends to deter deer. Best when planted in spring so that root production can establish prior to winter. The Mammoth™ series was previously published under My Favorite™ and Maxi-Mums, all cultivated as shrub cushion growth habit varieties by the University of Minnesota – so you know they are cold hardy!
A prolific fall bloomer, Chrysanthemum Mammoth™ ‘Red Daisy’ is a Hardy Mum variety that produces large, deep red, semi-double flowers from August to November. A member of the Mammoth™ series, no pinching or pruning is required to ensure a long bloom season, and its tall mounding habit makes this Mum is a great addition as the seasonal backdrop to smaller fall-blooming species. Aromatic, dark green foliage tends to deter deer. Best when planted in spring so that root production can establish prior to winter. The Mammoth™ series was previously published under My Favorite™ and Maxi-Mums, all cultivated as shrub cushion growth habit varieties by the University of Minnesota – so you know they are cold hardy!
Chrysanthemum Mammoth™ ‘Dark Bronze Daisy’ is a Hardy Mum variety that produces dense displays of daisy-like flowers with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals of rich, autumnal hues consistently throughout the fall, from August to November. A member of the Mammoth™ series, no pinching or pruning is required to ensure a long bloom season, and its tall mounding habit makes this Mum is a great addition as the seasonal backdrop to smaller fall-blooming species. Aromatic, dark green foliage tends to deter deer. Best when planted in spring so that root production can establish prior to winter. The Mammoth™ series was previously published under My Favorite™ and Maxi-Mums, all cultivated as shrub cushion growth habit varieties by the University of Minnesota – so you know they are cold hardy!
North American native Clematis virginiana is a fragrant, autumn-blooming vine with a rapid growth habit. It typically occurs in woodlands, thickets, and other low-lying areas, and scrambles up other vertical plants or structures for support. Without support, this prolific grower will sprawl in a dense, tangled mat along the ground. Small, fragrant white flowers cover the vine from August to October, at which point fluffy seedheads will begin to display. Woodbine is known to be an aggressive self-seeder and can be quick to establish by suckers, making it a great selection for quickly covering trellises, vertical supports, or acting as a native groundcover in areas with moist, rich, well-drained soil. Flowers are attractive to pollinators including hummingbirds and the foliage is often used as nesting habitat for many songbirds.
A selection of the Mountain Frost™ series by Darwin Perennials, Dianthus hybrida Mountain Frost™ ‘Ruby Glitter’ (‘KonD1400K6’) is an eye-popping variety of bi-colored Cheddar Pinks that is sure to add visual interest to the sunny border or rock garden. Deep red petals with splotches of light pink rebloom continuously from June to November over top a tidy mound of silvery blue-green foliage. Capable of handling wet and rainy conditions as well as drought once established.
Dianthus hybrida Mountain Frost™ ‘Ruby Snow’ (‘KonD1400K6’), a selection by Darwin Perennials, is a unique and versatile variety of Pinks that features creamy white petals with ruby red eyes in the centers. Like the rest of the Mountain Frost™ series, these Alpine Pinks are known for their consistent mounding habits and long reblooming period from June to November. Characteristic silvery gray-blue foliage contrasts nicely in the rock garden or sunny border.
A selection by Darwin Perennials, Dianthus hybrida Mountain Frost™ ‘Red Garnet’ (‘KonD1335K1’), is chosen for its striking, deep red blooms that first appear in late spring around early June and continually bloom through summer and fall, as late as mid-November and early December in mild winters. Tidy, mounding habit exhibits silvery, blue-green foliage and makes a wonderful accent to the pathway or pollinator garden. Once established, this plant can tolerate periods of drought and dry conditions.
Introduced by Kieft-Pro Seeds in 2002, Echinacea purpurea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ boasts a beautiful, uniquely mixed palette of red, pink, yellow, orange, cream, white and purple flowers with brown centers. Full bloom occurs from June to August, with sporadic blooms occurring into September and October. If spent flowers are not deadheaded, blackened Coneflower seeds make a nutritious food source for Goldfinches and other songbirds in winter. Winner of the All-American Selections® award in 2013, and Europe’s FleuroSelect Gold Medal award for its performance in the garden. This selection is great for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to the pollinator garden, and can used in fresh and dried cut flower arrangements. Echinacea purpurea types are host plants for the larval stage of Chloryne nyceteis, the silvery checkerspot butterfly caterpillar.
Despite being a North American native, Equisetum hyemale brings a unique vertical quality to the landscape with its starkly upright, cylindrical aerial parts. Dating back to prehistoric eras as one of the first vascular plant species according to the fossil record, Equisetum hyemale, known commonly as scouring rush and horsetail, rides the line between fern-relative and perennial-relative. Small, fertile, terminal cones produce spores typically in mid-summer, encouraging a healthy reproduction of the species not only by environmental factors but by prolific rhizomatous growth as well. Although it may become somewhat aggressive in wet, poorly drained areas, horsetail remains evergreen throughout the winter and adds an interesting textural component to the rain, wetland, or a low-lying spot in the medicinal garden.
Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’, also known as Bronze Fennel, is a strongly aromatic flowering perennial that is known as an ornamental as much as it is a culinary herb. Finely textured, feathery, fragrant foliage emerges purple and later becomes gray-green, followed by upright umbels of yellow flowers from June to July. The yellow blooms contrast beautifully with the purple foliage in the naturalistic or herb garden amongst other mid-summer flowering perennials. If spent flowers are not deadheaded, they will become aromatic, anise-scented seedheads, which will later self-seed in the garden. Fennel is a host plant for Swallowtail Butterfly larvae.
Introduced by Princeton Nurseries in 1967, Ginkgo biloba Princeton Sentry® is a columnar, male cultivar of Gingko that is tolerant to many adverse conditions. Capable of handling urban sites, polluted and compacted soils, as well as saline conditions, this Ginkgo cultivar is a popular choice as a street tree. Chartreuse, two-lobed foliage turns a uniform golden yellow in autumn and persists on the tree for several weeks, eventually dropping and creating a golden, halo-like carpet around the base.
Found around an abandoned homestead in the mountain town of Boone in Avery County, North Carolina by State Extension Agent, Jeff Owen, Gladiolus dalenii ‘Boone’ is noted for being an adaptable, long-lived, and cold hardy – that’s right, COLD HARDY – perennial Gladiolus. Upright flower spikes display a gradient of pastel peach-apricot to pale yellow with red-tinged throats at the centers, emerging atop soft blue-gray spear-shaped foliage from June to July. Known to remain upright throughout the bloom period without flopping, so staking is not necessary. Attractive to hummingbirds and bees, and multiplies easily by underground corms.
Hibiscus x ‘Valentine’s Crush’ is Proven Winners® solution to ‘Cranberry Crush’ of the Summerific® collection, with brighter red flowers and a more upright, columnar habit than its predecessor. Open blooms are large, flat and showy at 7-8” across, showcasing purple eyes with yellow anthers at the center of cranberry-red petals. This North American native is perfect for acting as the “thriller” in a container planting, or for being the standout specimen in the garden during its long blooming period from July to October. Rose Mallow is a great consideration for planting at the edge of the sunny pond edge or bog garden where soil is consistently moist and fertile.
The twisted, corkscrew-like stems of Juncus effusus ‘Big Twister’ are a showstopper in the wetland garden or pond edge where it will provide a tangled textural quality with its dramatic clumping form. This North American native Rush is capable of handling some standing water, and due to its low maintenance requirements and ability to adapt easily, can also be used in containers as an accent plant, or as a filler in cut flower arrangements.
Native to a vast expanse of North America, this diminutive and inconspicuous Path Rush is an ideal groundcover for wetland restoration or areas that receive consistent moisture. A fantastic option for sites where heavy clay soils dominate, and can also handle tough conditions such as roadsides or where soils tend to be compacted. If given the right conditions, Juncus tenuis is capable of becoming slightly weedy and should be considered for wet, sunny areas where reseeding and spreading are desired.
Easy to grow and a prolific summer bloomer, Kalimeris integrifolia ‘Daisy Mae’ is a must-have, low maintenance perennial that bees and butterflies adore. White, daisy-like flowers with golden yellow centers bloom continuously from July to September over a compact mound of dark green foliage. This dutiful perennial is highly tolerant of drought conditions, and thrives in both heat and humidity. Birds will consume the leftover seedheads if spent flowers are not cut back.
Breaking away from the traditional floral color gradient of the genus, Kniphofia x ‘Gold Rush’ boasts pure, brilliant yellow blooms all summer long from June to September. The tropical appearance of this drought tolerant perennial is a great addition to the full sun perennial border, or container planting, where it can act as the linear element of a composition with its overall height of 4-5’. Unique, sunshine yellow blooms stand upright above blue-green, grass-like foliage, and are often visited by hummingbirds and butterflies.
Kniphofia x ‘Backdraft’ is a selection from the Pyromania® collection by Proven Winners® which features a stunning gradient of bright, fiery reds and oranges that fade to a creamy yellow on upright flower spikes. Bringing serious drama to the summer landscape, the bold inflorescences persist in the garden with a remarkably long bloom time from June to September. The tropical appearance of this cold hardy South African perennial adds an air of exoticism to the full sun garden or container with its slender, grass-like foliage and explosion of color when in bloom.
The perfect vertical accent to the full sun perennial border, Kniphofia x ‘Hot and Cold’ of the Pyromania® collection is covered with upright, bi-colored flowers over its long blooming period from June to September. The coral-tangerine to creamy white bi-colored flowers add drama and a tropical feel to the landscape, contrasting against the blue-green grass-like foliage. This South African native is highly drought tolerant, and is known to deter deer and rabbits while attracting pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.
Perfect for adding the vertical accent to the full sun perennial border, Kniphofia x ‘Rocket’s Red Glare’ is a selection from the Pyromania® collection that presents a fiery, rainbow palette of sunrise red to creamy yellow with its long-lasting blooms. From June to September, the unique, exotic-looking blooms continuously appear above strappy, arching blue-green foliage. Like the other Red Hot Poker types in the Pyromania® collection, the blooms remain sturdily upright throughout the bloom season and do not require staking. This South African native requires good drainage and can tolerate sandy or rocky soils.
A golden yellow flowering member of the Pyromania® collection, Kniphofia x ‘Solar Flare’ promises consistent blooms from June to September that are sure to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the full sun perennial border or container garden. This Red Hot Poker selection brings drama to the landscape with its upright spikes of long-blooming, bright yellow flowers over top of slender, arching, grass-like foliage. This cold hardy perennial is a great consideration as a backdrop or as a central, vertical accent to shorter, summer-blooming perennials.
Beautiful, bold, black-leaved Lagerstroemia Thunderstruck™ White Lightning™ ('JM4') is a fast-and-easy-growing, cold hardy Crapemyrtle that is prized for its stunning, glossy, dark burgundy-black foliage and prolific white blooms from June to September. The tallest of the black-leaved Crapemyrtles, this particular selection is a cross of the popular Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’ with Lagerstroemia ‘Ebony and Ivory’, boasting a wider canopy and taller stature than ‘Natchez’, as well as the similar, dramatic, darkly-colored foliage of ‘Ebony and Ivory’. This is a wonderful specimen tree that can (and should!) be admired for its appearance – from the color contrast between the creamy white blooms and dark foliage, to the finely exfoliating bark that provides winter interest.
Limonium latifolium is a sun loving, salt tolerant perennial known commonly as Sea Lavender for the sprays of tiny, blue-lavender flowers that rise above basal rosettes of leathery, semi-evergreen foliage between July and September. Long lasting, heat tolerant blooms make a great textural addition to the well-drained garden bed, and make an excellent cut flower in arrangements. The Latin name Limonium refers to the Greek term “leimon”, meaning “meadow”, and specifically refers to salt meadows in the case of this sea-side European native perennial.
White Cardinal Flower has all of the attributes that are known and loved in the red-flowering straight species, with the addition of pure white blossoms instead of the typical scarlet red. From July to October, the white, two-lipped flowers emerge overtop of a basal rosette of chartreuse foliage, attracting both hummingbirds and butterflies. The foliage color of White Cardinal Flower is also lighter than the straight red species, taking on more of a chartreuse hue than the typical green. This late season bloomer is tolerant of clay soils and works well along the stream bank or in other moist, low-lying areas.
Showstopping royal purple and white spikes of bi-colored flowers stand erect over velvety, blue-green, palmate foliage, blooming from late April to June. The sturdy, upright structure and mounding habit that Lupinus polyphyllus Westcountry™ ‘Blacksmith’ has to offer make it the perfect vertical accent to shorter early-summer flowering perennials, with the deep purple contrasting nicely with the typical white, pink and yellow flowers of the mid-to-late spring. Lupines are known to attract butterflies and even the occasional hummingbird, but are typically deer and rabbit resistant.
Like the warm rays of light pouring out of city windows at night, the stunning creamy yellow and burgundy-purple bi-colored flowers of Lupinus ‘Manhattan Lights’ of the Westcountry™ series stand tall and noble above blue-green palmate foliage, blooming from mid-May to early June. The floral colors of this mounding perennial are truly something to behold, a feat of many years of trial and error in Lupine cultivation. The striking and unique floral color of this Lupine cultivar as well as its upright, sturdy, mounding habit make it the perfect mid-garden vertical accent where it can act as the backdrop to smaller, late-spring blooming perennials. Lupines are known to attract butterflies and even the occasional hummingbird, but are typically deer and rabbit resistant.
Bold spikes of deep red, upright flowers with hints of creamy white emerge above mounding blue-green palmate foliage from late May to early June. Lupinus ‘Red Rum’ of the Westcountry™ by George Russell of West Country Nursery. The erect, sturdy flowers of this Lupine cultivar make for the perfect vertical accent to the pollinator garden or mid-garden border, where it will be appreciated by butterflies and hummingbirds alike.
Revered for its glossy, deep burgundy foliage, Monarda bradburiana ‘Midnight Oil’ is the first North American cultivar of the species to be offered in the green industry, originally introduced in 2022 by Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Illinois. Early flowering some three to four weeks prior to other tall Bee Balms, with blooms persisting from mid-May to late June. Spidery, two-lipped, light pink blooms with magenta splotches transform into ornamental seedheads that remain on the plant until the winter months, unless removed to prolong flowering in the late spring or early summer. Monarda bradburiana ‘Midnight Oil’ is a vigorous, easy growing, heat and drought tolerant selection that attracts hordes of pollinators over its blooming period, and is capable of handling some light shade.
Pachysandra procumbens is a groundcover that is native to the Southeastern US and parts of the PA-NY-NJ tri-state area. It forms a dense carpet, spreading slowly by rhizomes over time to form colonies. Whorled foliage emerges from a fleshy stem, starting as a blue-green and mottling with bronzy-silver through the growing season. A perfect consideration for the woodland or shade garden, this deer resistant, semi-evergreen groundcover is tolerant of, and adaptable to, many different soil types as long as it has full to partial protection from harsh sun. Pachysandra procumbens is known to be drought tolerant once established as long as it is protected by full shade. Fragrant white blooms appear in early April and are somewhat inconspicuously concealed by the new flush of spring foliage. Allegheny Spurge is a great native substitute for over-used, aggressive groundcovers such as Vinca or English Ivy, and is generally considered to be more attractive than its Japanese cousin, Pachysandra terminalis.
Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Kaoukamon’ is known for producing beautiful, dark maroon flowers with golden yellow stamens that emerge in mid-to-late spring, usually around mid-April, and last until mid-to-late June. The lightly scented blooms are smaller than other Tree Peony varieties but are a wonderful option as the focal point for the pollinator garden, where they’re sure to be visited by butterflies. This long-lived perennial will bloom best in full sun, but can handle part shade and moist - but not overly saturated - soils. Finely lobed foliage takes on a lovely color in the fall, ranging from golden yellows, to brilliant oranges and reds, making this Tree Peony a multi-seasonal favorite. The dark maroon buds and open blooms make excellent, dramatic additions to both the garden as well as to fresh cut flower arrangements.
Penstemon calycosus, commonly called Calico Beardtongue or Long-Sepal Beardtongue for… well… its long sepals, is a favorite of various pollinators including Sphinx moths, butterflies and long-tongued bees that visit its pink-mauve flowers from June to July when it’s in bloom. Native to eastern North America and parts of the Midwest, the snapdragon-like, lipped flowers range in color from pink-mauve to lavender to light purple with a white inner lip, standing upright over glossy, semi-evergreen foliage. Foliage forms in a low-growing, basal-rosette and takes on a gorgeous, bright red fall color. Calico Beardtongue is shade tolerant, but less drought tolerant than other Penstemon species, and prefers moist but well-drained soils.
Penstemon hirsutus, known commonly as Hairy Beardtongue, is a highly versatile perennial that gets its name for the hairy, protruding lower lip of the trumpet-shaped flowers on upright stalks, producing a showy display of soft lavender-violet from May through late June. The foliage of Hairy Beardtongue is the larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly, and the late spring flowers attract various bee species, hummingbirds, and other pollinating insects. The foliage puts on a lovely display of red color in the fall. Penstemon hirsutus is highly adaptable to both full sun and full shade, as well as both moist and dry soil conditions.
Phlox paniculata Luminary® ‘Backlight’ is the bright white flowering showstopper in the Luminary® collection, which was bred to produce a prolific flowering tall Garden Phlox with exceptional color as well as disease resistance. From July to September, showy upright panicles of brilliant white flowers over dark green leaves attract various pollinators to the center of the perennial border or moonlight garden, where the glow of the moon illuminates the stark white petals and gives this upright perennial its namesake. This particular selection prefers full sun, but is tolerant of very light shade conditions, as well as high heat and humidity.
The shining star of the Luminary® series, Phlox paniculata ‘Opalescence’ offers stunning upright panicles of cotton candy pink flowers with dark pink centers that bloom consistently throughout several weeks in midsummer over top of lanceolate, dark green foliage, typically from mid-July into early September. This selection is highly resistant to powdery mildew and is also tolerant of part sun conditions, making it a wonderful tall Garden Phlox for mass plantings or as a group in the perennial border. Fresh blooms make an excellent cut flower as the “thriller” in an arrangement, and are attractive to various pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and the occasional hummingbird.
Phlox paniculata Luminary® ‘Ultraviolet’ is the improved version of Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’, featuring vibrant, fluorescent magenta blooms that appear prolifically over bronzed, dark green foliage from July to September. This tall Garden Phlox remains upright and has high powdery mildew resistance, making it a great selection for the mixed perennial border. While best bloom set will occur in full sun conditions, this particular Tall Garden Phlox is tolerant of part sun conditions. The brightly colored, consistent blooms attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and make for a great addition to fresh cut flower arrangements.
Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’, meaning ‘daybreak’ in Japanese, is a lovely, small deciduous tree that provides multiple seasons of interest and attracts birds to the specimen or cottage garden. Delicate, light pink double blooms appear in early spring around late March to early April, filling the canopy with a soft mist of blooms that is akin to the pastel palette of an early spring morning sky. Small black fruits follow in the summer, that are a favorite of native and migrating bird species alike. Its glossy, dark green foliage achieves a rainbow of beautiful reds, oranges and yellows in autumn before dropping. Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’ was introduced to the trade in 1925 by W.B. Clarke Nursery in San Jose, California. Seedlings of the cultivar were provided to the Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin in the National Mall, where they intermingle amongst some 2,000+ other Yoshino Flowering Cherry trees in order to signify the cordial relationship between Japan and America. In fact, in Japan, the ‘Akebono’ cultivar is called ‘Amerika’.
Pulmonaria x ‘Raspberry Frost’, which was introduced as a sport variety of Pulmonaria x ‘Raspberry Splash’ by Terra Nova Nurseries, features vibrant raspberry to coral-red blooms in early spring from March to May. This discovery is noted for its attractive foliage that remains semi-evergreen through mild winters and exhibits splotchy variegated patterns of silvery green and creamy white, as well as creamy white leaf margins, which distinguish it from its original form. Lungwort tends to be deer resistant, but is attractive to hummingbirds and will provide early season interest to the pollinator garden where it is tolerant of part to full shade conditions.
As its common and species name imply, Rhododendron atlanticum is a deciduous Azalea that is native to the coastal plain regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and along the Eastern seaboard as far south as Georgia. A small-to-medium sized shrub that typically ranges from 2-3’ but can occasionally reach 6’ in height, Coastal Azaleas are also sometimes considered to be Dwarf Azaleas due to their short stature. Light pink to white blooms appear in terminal clusters from April to May and produce a somewhat musky fragrance – in fact, the potent aroma of Rhododendron atlanticum is a sought-after trait for many Azalea breeding programs, and is often used to help cultivate sweet-smelling Azalea varieties. Flowers attract various pollinators including hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. The Azalea Society of America lists this species as one of the seven in the “White Group” category, the majority of which are native to the Eastern United States.
Rhododendron austrinum, known commonly as the Florida Azalea or Florida Flame Azalea, is a native woodland shrub that produces clusters of gorgeous, fragrant blooms from April to May which give this plant its namesake. An explosion of yellows, peaches, and orange-reds appear in terminal clusters on top of loose, rangy branches, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. It is also possible to grow this species as a houseplant. Deciduous foliage takes on a range of yellow and bronze-orange in the fall. Florida Azalea is a Winner of the American Rhododendron Society’s Rhododendron of the Year Award for 2011.
Rodgersia pinnata ‘Bronze Peacock’ is sure to add drama to the part shade garden with its large, glossy, dark bronze foliage in areas with consistent moisture. Introduced and developed by Harini Korlipara of Terra Nova Nurseries, Rodgersia pinnata ‘Bronze Peacock’ is the naturally occurring form produced by tissue culture taken from Rodgersia pinnata ‘Ideal’ specimens. This Rodgersia produces lovely palmate foliage in the mid-May that emerges as a bronze-purple and becomes a dark, glossy green with a bronze leaf margin during the summer months – the darkest of all Rodgersia foliage! Attractive pink plumes akin to Astilbe flowers arrive between June and early August, standing upright above the plant’s compact form. While the flowers remain as attractive seedheads into the fall, the real star of the show throughout the growing season is the foliage.
Rosa palustris, known commonly as Swamp Rose, is a deciduous shrub that produces lovely, fragrant, light pink to medium pink five-petalled flowers with yellow centers throughout June and into July. Swamp Rose is native to wet sites, swamps, and bogs throughout much of North America to the East of the Rockies, with a broad list of faunal associations and high ecological value for many insects in their larval stage. Bright red rose hips appear in late summer to early fall, when they are enjoyed by various mammals and birds. Lush green foliage takes on shades of reds and yellows in the Autumn, making this shrub a multi-seasonal star in the rain or wetland garden.
Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Autumn Sun’ is the perfect vertical solution to the back of the border garden! This Cutleaf Coneflower is a long-blooming perennial producing bright, golden yellow flowers from July through September, that stand anywhere from 4’ to 7’ tall at maturity. The abundance of attractive blooms invites a plethora of pollinators, including various bee, skipper, and butterfly species, such as the revered Monarch butterfly. If spent flowerheads are left to persist on the plant following its bloom period, songbirds such as the American Goldfinch can be found enjoying the nutritious seeds. Despite its tall stature, this particular selection manages to remain upright in areas with good drainage, and doesn’t typically require staking.
An introduction of the Walters’ Gardens FASHIONISTA® collection of couture perennial Meadow Sages, Salvia pratensis ‘Moulin Rouge’ produces dark rose to fuchsia-pink flowers that bloom profusely from May to July. This variety of Meadow Sage is known for having the most stunning, dark pink blooms available for perennial sages, which are attractive not only to butterflies and bees, but the occasional hummingbird as well. This selection makes a wonderful matrix when planted in a mass, performing best in full sun and preferring average soil moisture. As with many Meadow Sages, Salvia pratensis ‘Moulin Rouge’ tends to be deer and rabbit resistant, as well as heat and drought tolerant, making it a hardy and dependable addition to a variety of gardens.
Sanguisorba officinalis has been utilized in herb gardens for centuries, for its ornamental as well as its medicinal and culinary purposes. Known commonly as Greater Burnet, Sanguisorba officinalis is a clump-forming, hardy perennial with medium green, pinnately compound foliage and interesting dark red to dark purple flowers on upright spikes from May to July. Both the young leaves as well as the flowers can be eaten in salads, soups, or a variety of other culinary preparations, where they are said to impart a mild cucumber flavor. Ironically, despite its human palatability, this plant tends to deter deer. Greater Burnet makes an excellent addition to the edible garden, as well as to the full sun perennial border, where it will happily self-seed if spent flowers are not removed.
Introduced in 2022 as a top performing Hybrid Skullcap, Scutellaria x ‘Appalachian Blues’ is a shade-adaptable perennial that produces large, purple-and-white bicolored flowers between May and June and will continue to bloom sporadically throughout the summer. Flowers are attractive to various bee species, blooming for several weeks and growing to an ultimate height of 24” over top of deep green leaves with darkened margins. This particular selection was bred by West Virginian horticulturist Peter Haus as a cross between Scutellaria ovata and Scutellaria serrata, keeping the clumping habit and shade tolerance of the latter, the ultimate height and ability to handle dry sites of the former, and the pollination services of both.
Part of the Rock ‘N Grow® collection by Walters Gardens, Inc., Sedum x ‘Back in Black’ is the perfect dark-colored Stonecrop to mix among lighter blooming summer and fall perennials as an accent in the border or rock garden. Large clusters of rosy, garnet flowerheads begin to emerge in August, contrasting against the dark purple-black succulent foliage. If left to persist on the plant, seedheads provide textural interest to the winter landscape, and may be utilized as a food source for birds. A low-maintenance and drought tolerant perennial, Sedum x ‘Back in Black’ is a great option for xeriscaping and waterwise gardens. Sedum x ‘Back in Black’ is the 2021 recipient of the National Garden Bureau Green Thumb Award.
Silene caroliniana, also known as Wild Pink, is a semi-evergreen groundcover that produces eye-catching clusters of bright pink flowers starting in May and lasting into June. Phlox-like, five-petalled flowers attract bees, butterflies, nocturnal moths, and occasionally hummingbirds. Although this plant likes full morning sun, it prefers partial shade in the afternoon, and can be quite drought and dry soil tolerant. Wild Pink makes a great addition to the rock garden or at the front of cottage or pollinator garden, where it assumes a clumping and lightly mat-forming habit. While Silene caroliniana is native to much of the central and eastern United States, it is considered endangered in Florida.
Solidago caesia is a native, summer blooming perennial with arching, blue-green to purple-green stems that produces showy clusters of golden yellow flowers from September into October that are attractive to a multitude of pollinators. Bluestem Goldenrod thrives in woodland conditions with dry to mesic soils and can handle partial sun or partial shade, making it a great addition to the edges of the wildlife or shade garden where it may still receive a few hours of sunlight daily. Solidago caesia can tolerate some drought, and generally tends to deter both deer and rabbits. Bluestem Goldenrod is a larval host species for the Wavy-lined Emerald moth. Seedheads that remain on the plant following the bloom period are a food source for songbirds such as the American Goldfinch and Indigo Bunting in late fall and early winter. Flowers make an excellent addition to seasonal bouquets, and can be harvested for both fresh and dried cut flower arrangements.
Solidago odora, known commonly as Sweet Goldenrod, or Anise-scented Goldenrod, is a native perennial with fragrant, dark green foliage that is topped by golden yellow, arching plumes in late summer. From July to October, the showy display of flowers invites a variety of bee and butterfly species to the garden. Flowers also make an excellent addition to both fresh and dried cut arrangements. Sweet Goldenrod’s ability to handle more shady conditions than other species in the Solidago genus makes it adaptable to partially shaded woodland sites. Solidago odora can tolerate clay soils, as well as poor, dry soils, and once established can tolerate drought conditions. Songbirds will eat the seedheads if left to persist on the plant following its bloom period. Due to the presence of volatile oils which give it its sweet licorice-like fragrance, the leaves of Sweet Goldenrod can be used in tea, and in fact were utilized by colonists as part of a tea substitute following the Boston Tea Party. Solidago odora was declared the Official State Herb of Delaware in 1996, and is considered a threatened species in New Hampshire, Ohio, and Vermont.
Stachys spathulata, known as Dwarf Betony, is an adorable and underutilized South African perennial groundcover that produces an abundance of cheery rose-purple flowers spikes from June into July. Dwarf Betony’s diminutive form typically reaches only 4-8” in height, although when planted along the border or in the rock garden, it can make for a lovely groundcover that attracts butterflies. While it is capable of handling some light shade especially in hot climates, this plant performs and flowers best in full sun. Crinkled, dark-green leaves with scalloped margins add texture to the garden when the plant is not in bloom. Like others in the Stachys genus, Dwarf Betony is mostly deer and rabbit resistant.
True to its name, Verbascum ‘Honey Dijon’ is a fast-growing perennial that produces masses of pale yellow to peachy-orange flowers with dark reddish-purple centers in early Spring from May to June. This Mullein is a brightly flowering cultivar created by a cross of Verbascum ‘Jackie’ and Verbascum phoeniceum, tending to stay low-growing with basal foliage reaching heights of only 8”, and flower stalks emerging to an ultimate low height of 1-1.5’. Its short stature and ability to handle full sun in somewhat dry, poor soils makes it a wonderful addition to the front of the perennial border or rock garden, where it will typically remain unbothered by deer and rabbits.
Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Hot Pink’ is a bright-pink flowering cultivar of Rose Vervain that is revered not only for its incredibly long and floriferous bloom period, but its ability to trail happily as a groundcover. Preferring full sun and well-draining soils, this mildew resistant Rose Vervain attracts butterflies to the garden all season long, blooming from May through to early October. In warmer climates, Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Hot Pink’ is capable of handling some light shade. Being both deer resistant and drought tolerant makes this dutiful bloomer a great consideration for areas requiring a low-growing perennial groundcover.
Semi-evergreen and prostrate Veronica peduncularis ‘Whitewater’ is the gardener’s year-round solution to edging borders, walkways, and paths with minimal maintenance. A great replacement for boring turf where light foot traffic may occur, the small, glossy foliage is capable of handling some minor trampling and grows densely enough that you may find it smothering pesky weed species. A blanket of small white flowers with yellow-green centers begin to appear from April to June overtop of a mat of burgundy-green foliage. This hardy perennial makes a great groundcover in full sun to partial shade areas with average soil moisture, and also makes a great specimen scrambling over rock walls or in the container.
Vinca minor ‘Illumination’ takes all of the best parts of Periwinkle and cranks them up to eleven – variegated, bright gold foliage with dark green margins remains stunning throughout the year on this creeping evergreen groundcover, while indigo-blue flowers appear in April and sporadically bloom through summer and into the fall. Easy to grow, highly adaptable, and resistant to both deer and rabbits, Vinca minor ‘Illumination’ is the plant lover’s answer to low maintenance gardening. Due to its ability to handle both full sun to partial shade as well as dry soil conditions, ‘Illumination’ Periwinkle can be used for a multitude of purposes, from combating soil erosion on slopes, to creating a groundcover matrix beneath taller perennials and shrubs.
True to both its common and scientific names, Golden Alexander, Zizia aurea is a native perennial in the carrot family that is a larval host for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Beautiful, upright umbels of small yellow flowers appear from April to June over compound foliage, and are a wonderful nectar source for springtime pollinators. Golden Alexander’s specific epithet, “aurea”, literally means “golden”, in reference to the abundant blooms that make for quite a show both in the garden as well as in fresh cut flower arrangements. Easily adaptable to various soil and light conditions, Zizia aurea is a fast grower that will happily spread by both seed and rhizomatous growth, occasionally forming dense colonies in ideal locations. Zizia aurea is the recipient of the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s NC Wildflower of the Year Award in 2012 for its outstanding performance in the landscape.