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. These plants were not included in the current year’s catalog.
‘Golden Jubilee’ Purple Giant Hyssop combines large showy lavender blue flower spikes with stunning yellow foliage. Both the flowers and the leaves are fragrant and attractive all summer, especially if deadheaded periodically. Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ performs best in well-drained sites, and will self-seed nicely in sunny sites. ‘Golden Jubilee’ is a great addition to perennial gardens and meadows.
‘Blueberry Muffin’ Bugleweed is a vigorous dark purple groundcover which is crowned by 8” deep blue flower spikes in spring. The foliage is tight and lustrous, resulting in a thick carpet of purple leaves in shady locations. An introduction from Terra Nova® Nurseries.
‘Pink Lightning’ Bugleweed is a departure from most Ajugas in having short mauve pink flower spikes instead of blue in mid spring. The crinkled leaves of Ajuga ‘Pink Lightning’ are an attractive soft green with creamy white edges, and they are colorful almost all year. ‘Pink Lightning’ was a sport found and introduced by Sunny Borders Nursery of Connecticut. A spring nectar source for hummingbirds and pollinators.
‘Lavender Bubbles’ Ornamental Onion has deep purple drumstick flowers in late summer and blooming in masses above the blue green twisty foliage. The seedheads remain throughout fall. Both the blooms and the leaves are scented and as a result not touched by deer or rabbits. Hummingbirds and pollinators, however, love Allium ‘Lavender Bubbles,’ which provides a good source of food at an important time of year. ‘Lavender Bubbles’ is a good container plant for sunny locations, and a great addition to rock gardens
‘Pink Planet’ Ornamental Onion was introduced by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens for its numerous large lilac pink drumstick flowers. Allium ‘Pink Planet’ has blue green flat leaves which are topped by 18” blooms in mid summer. The seedheads turn tan when the bloom season is over, and make interesting dried elements in the fall and winter landscapes. Allium ‘Pink Planet’ was hybridized by Brent Horvath. A good choice for well-drained rock gardens and pollinator gardens.
‘Windy City’ Ornamental Onion is a showy introduction by Brent Horvath and Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. The globular dark purple flowers are held above the green flat leaves on 18” sturdy green stems in mid summer. The seedheads turn tan in the fall and persist well into winter. They make an attractive addition to dried arrangements. Allium x ‘Windy City’ is a good addition to green roofs, sunny balconies and well drained sunny perennial gardens.
Standing Ovation™ (‘Obelisk’) Saskatoon Serviceberry was introduced by Valk Plants of the Netherlands and is part of the First Editions® series. Amelanchier Standing Ovation™ differs from the species by having thicker, rounder leaves on a more upright habit. The white flower racemes appear in April and are followed clumps of purple berries in June which wildlife and people eat enthusiastically. The fall color is shades of orange and red, and the upright habit makes Standing Ovation™ a good candidate for native hedges.
Our native Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis blooms in April and May, producing beautiful downward facing flowers of red and yellow. They hover above the attractive biternate green foliage, and serve as an important source of nectar for hummingbirds on their northern migrations, as well as native pollinators. Aquilegia canadensis seeds itself well in meadows and edges of the woods, and adds a lovely graceful note to spring flower displays.
Whorled Milkweed is a tough native perennial which serves as a critical food source for all stages of Monarch butterfly development. The delicate white umbel shaped flowers appear from June through August, on top of the narrow leaves. The common name ‘Whorled’ refers to the way the leaves circle the stems. Because of Asclepias verticillata’s white sap, Whorled Milkweed is not eaten by deer or rodents. The silky seeds are released in fall from the pods (also useful in dried flower arrangements).
‘Snow Flurry’ White Heath Aster is a native groundcover which performs beautifully in late summer and early fall. The short sturdy stems become covered with white daisy-like flowers which attract pollinators and songbirds. Because of its vigorous stoloniferous habit, Aster ericoides ‘Snow Flurry’ makes a good erosion control choice. The species name ‘ericoides’ refers to the heather-like appearance. (New name is Symphiotricum ericoides ‘Snow Flurry’).
‘Dark Chocolate’ False Indigo blooms for an extended period in late spring. The flower spikes are covered with dark brown to purple pea-shaped flowers, crowning the compact habit of Baptisia x ‘Dark Chocolate’. The showy blooms are followed by dark round seedpods in the summer. ‘Dark Chocolate’ False Indigo is another long-lived perennial from the breeding work done by Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens.
‘Freckle Face’ Blackberry Lily has several seasons of interests, with flowers in late summer followed by seedheads in fall and early winter. The 2” showy flowers are produced in quantity, displaying bright orange petals with lots of red dots. The seedheads emerge in fall and look like blackberries because of the shiny black berry clusters. Belamcanda chinensis ‘Freckle Face’ is an improvement on the pale orange species, and comes from Walters Gardens in Michigan.
Pugster Pinker™ (‘SMNBDB’) Butterfly Bush has large deep pink fragrant flower spikes on a compact, sturdy plant all summer. The Pugster® series shows good cold tolerance and does not require pruning because of the neat compact habit. Megan Mathey is the breeder and Spring Meadow Nurseries is the introducer through the Proven Winners® program.
Pugster White® (‘SMNBDW’) Butterfly Bush is a compact but sturdy Buddleia, with large fragrant white flowers. The short stature means that the Buddleia x Pugster White® does not need the pruning that earlier large cultivars have required. Also, the Pugster® series is somewhat more cold tolerant than several earlier Buddleia cultivars. This would make a good potted plant for sunny patios in summer.
Pearl Glam® (‘NCCX2’) Beautyberry produces purple foliage starting in spring. The small white flowers are held all along the branches in summer, and they mature in the fall to lots of bright purple berries. Callicarpa x Pearl Glam® is another amazing hybrid from Dr. Tom Ranny’s tireless work at NC State University, and can be used as a hedge plant or as a garden specimen. A Proven Winners® introduction.
Wine Cups or Purple Poppymallow is a native groundcover which forms a wide sprawling mat of green dissected leaves. The large magenta-purple cup-shaped flowers appear from late spring through summer, and are especially showy on sunny days. Callirhoe involucrata produces a deep tap roof, which makes it tolerant of dry conditions but difficult to move. Host plant for Gray Hairstreak. The sprawling habit would make Wine Cups a good candidate for walls and rock gardens.
‘Kanjiro’ Camellia blooms in late fall and early winter, producing masses of semi-double cerise pink flowers. The evergreen foliage is lustrous and dark green. Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’ is a zone 7 Camellia, so it needs to be planted in a protected location, avoiding exposure to afternoon sunlight and winter winds. The reward for siting it correctly will be lots and lots of flowers.
‘Blue Angel’ Clematis produces a quantity of large sky blue flowers on vigorous twining stems for an extended period throughout the summer. An introduction from the breeding work of Brother Stephan Franczak of Poland. Clematis ‘Blue Angel’ can be pruned in late winter or early spring.
Nubia™ (‘Evipo079’) Clematis is a beautiful introduction from Raymond Evision. The large flowers are a deep crimson red, on a somewhat compact vine. Clematis Nubia™ is part of the Boulevard® series, and performs well on trellises and fences. A very cool use for Clematis is in combination with shrubs, where the plants can support the vine and display the flowers. Nubia™ should be pruned in late winter or early spring.
‘Erica’s Appalachian Sunrise’ Flowering Dogwood is another good selection from the Tennessee Agricultural Experimental Station’s breeding work. Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Sunrise’ produces deep pink bracts which have white centers surrounding the actual flowers. The foliage emerges in spring in shades of burgundy, maturing to green in summer and red in fall. The wildlife-friendly red fruit in fall is also showy. Cornus ‘Erica’s Appalachian Sunrise’ is mildew resistant, so it is a good grower in the Northeast.
‘Dixie Colonade’ Flowering Dogwood was found by Don Shadow in Alabama. The flower parts are surrounded by the classic white bracts, but Cornus florida ‘Dixie Colonade’ is unusual in that its habit is distinctly columnar. The red fruit in fall is complimented by reddish foliage. This is a Cornus florida for small gardens and tight spaces.
‘Little Poncho’ Kousa Dogwood is a compact Korean Dogwood which blooms heavily in spite of its small size. The showy white bracts surround the actual flower parts in May and June. These are followed by large red fruits in fall which look like little hanging Christmas ornaments. The clean disease-resistant green foliage turns attractive shades of red and purple in the fall. This is a good Dogwood for smaller gardens and spaces.
Kelsey’s Dwarf Redosier Dogwood is a dwarf Cornus sericea, with an attractive rounded habit and the characteristic red twigs in the winter. The small white flowers (cymes) appear in late spring and are followed in late summer by white berries (drupes) which are attractive to birds. Cornus sericea ‘Kelseyi’ has attractive yellow fall foliage, and with its short rounded habit makes a good foundation plant as well as a short winter interest hedge.
‘Spanish Ballerina’ Montbretia blooms in mid summer, producing tall arching stems with beautiful orange and yellow star-like flowers. The foliage is sword-like and the flower panicles are displayed well above the leaves. When the blooms are finished, the stems of seedheads continue to be interesting. Crocosmia x ‘Spanish Ballerina’ grows from corms similar to Gladiolus, and benefits from being divided every 3 to 5 years.
Fringed Bleeding Heart combines pink heart-shaped pendant flowers held on arching stems with attractive dissected gray green leaves. Dicentra eximia starts flowering in late spring and continues blooming well into the summer, especially if the weather is cool. The ferny foliage is attractive all summer, unlike Dicentra spectabilis. Under moist conditions Fringed Bleeding Heart will often rebloom into late summer, especially if deadheaded. It grows best in well drained shady locations. Visited by hummingbirds and long tongued native bees.
‘Ruby Gold’ Bleeding Heart has the beautiful yellow foliage of Dicentra ‘Gold Heart,’ but the plant is topped by red “bleeding heart” flowers on reddish stems in late spring. Dicentra spectabilis ‘Ruby Gold’ needs shady sites with reliable moisture and good drainage. All Dicentra spectabilis cultivars tend to go dormant in the hot summers, but the foliage will sometimes reemerge as the weather cools down. The new name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Ruby Gold.’
‘White Gold’ Bleeding Hearts combines the vivid yellow foliage of Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’ with the classic pendant heart-shaped flowers, in white. Dicentra spectabilis ‘White Gold’ appeared as a spontaneous seedling in the garden of Margaret Dalton in New York. It is an excellent addition to spring shade gardens, as the combination of chartreuse foliage and arching stems of white flowers in April and May really light up the landscape. Like other Dicentra spectabilis cultivars, the foliage of ‘White Gold’ tends to become dormant in hot weather. New name is Lamprocapnos.
Purple Coneflower produces pink to light purple daisy-like flowers throughout the summer. Since Echinacea purpurea is propagated by seed, there is a wide variation in height and flower color, so this is a great candidate for naturalistic settings like meadows and wildflower gardens. The cones should be left on the plants after blooming when possible, as Echinacea purpurea is a significant fall and winter food source for songbirds.
'Bandit’ Barrenwort is a beautiful new Epimedium with ethereal clusters of white flowers over delicate green leaves accented with burgundy borders. The showy borders and hovering flowers appear in early spring, and the neat foliage matures in summer to shades of green. Epimedium grandiflorus var. higoense ‘Bandit’ makes a perfect groundcover for dry shady sites because of its tolerance to deer, rabbits and dry conditions. It was brought to the US by We Du Nursery years ago, but selected and named by Darrell Probst for its gorgeous foliage.
‘Wudang Star’ Barrenwort was collected by Roy Lancaster on Wudang mountain in China. The evergreen foliage has bronze flecks in spring, and is topped in April by delicate white flowers displayed on 18” fine stems. Epimedium stellulatum ‘Wudang Star’ is appropriately named because the blooms hover like tiny stars above the clump of foliage. A great choice for rocky sites with good shade.
‘Pink Panther’ Barrenwort is an introduction from Thierry Delabroye, the great French Heuchera breeder. Epimedium x ‘Pink Panther’ produces delicate lavender pink flowers on arching stems above spiny evergreen foliage in April. The leaves are dark green and leathery, making an interesting addition to shade gardens even when not in bloom.
‘Merlin’ Young’s Barrenwort starts blooming in early spring, producing delicate lavender purple nodding flowers that resemble tiny Columbines. The small heart-shaped leaves also emerge in early spring in shades of wine and purple, turning green in early summer. Epimedium x youngianum ‘Merlin’ was found as a chance seedling in the garden of Amy Doncaster in England. ‘Merlin’ is slow growing but forms a tough, pest resistant mat in time.
Cushion Spurge is stunning when in bloom, producing cymes of sulfur yellow bracts at the tips of the stems in April and May. The green foliage is neat and completely pest free, since all Euphorbs have toxic sap that no animal eats. Euphorbia polychroma’s habit is cushion or dome shaped, particularly in full sun. It forms a taproot which helps it handle drought and rocky soils well. The fall color is attractive shades of red. Prune spent flower heads to discourage self-seeding.
‘Ascot Rainbow’ Martin’s Spurge has semi-evergreen foliage which has yellow and green variegation. Euphorbia x ‘Ascot Rainbow’ produces interesting yellowish green bracts with small red eyes in the actual flowers’ centers in April and May. Since the white sap of Euphorbias is quite toxic, ‘Ascot Rainbow’ makes a good choice for deer issues as long as the drainage is good, and it also has attractive red to orange fall color.
Legend of the Fall® (‘Alice’) Fothergilla is a two season plant, with spring flowers and fall color. The white bottlebrush flowers appear in April and May, attracting native pollinators and honeybees. The neat green summer foliage turns stunning shades of yellow, orange, red and purple in fall, lighting up both sunny and shady spots. This is a low maintenance native, requiring no pruning to look its best.
‘Crane Dance’ Spotted Cranesbill produces showy lavender blue flowers in late spring and early summer, floating over the attractive dissected green leaves. In the fall the foliage of Geranium maculatum ‘Crane Dance’ takes on bright shades of red and bronze. Spotted Cranesbill is a great native plant for woodland settings, where it will naturalize by seed. A stunning introduction from Walters Gardens.
‘Karmina’ Cambridge Geranium is a neat groundcover which flourishes in sunny well drained sites. The mat of green leaves and trailing stems is topped in May and June by rose pink flowers which emerge from red buds. The green leaves turn shades of red in fall and are semi-evergreen. Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ is a good addition to rock gardens and pathway edges.
‘Bleeding Hearts’ Smooth Oxyeye is a showy native selection from Jelitto Seed, combining dark purple foliage with bright red to orange daisy-like flowers. The blooms are held on dark purple stems above the leaves, making good flowers for cutting. Heliopsis ‘Burning Hearts’ is not a long-lived perennial but will seed itself readily, making it a good addition to sunny meadows and natural looking perennial beds. Leave the spent flower heads on, as finches eat the seeds in fall and winter.
‘Redstone Falls’ Foamy Bells is an intergenetic hybrid between Heuchera and Tiarella. It shows its Heuchera parentage in its beautiful bronzy red colored leaves, and it shows its Tiarella parentage in its vigorous spreading growth habit. Heucherella x ‘Redstone Falls’ can be used as a groundcover or in a container because of its attractive trailing habit. The flowers are a fluffy white spike in spring, with some fall reblooming. The fall foliage takes on showy red and orange tones.
‘Sunrise Falls’ Foamy Bells is a vigorous spreading Heucherella, with bright yellow maple-like leaves with red veins. The habit is trailing, so Heucherella x ‘Sunrise Falls’ makes a vivid shade groundcover or an unusual trailing container plant. The flowers are foamy white spikes appearing over the foliage in late spring and early summer. The fall color is amber with tints of red. From Terra Nova® Nurseries.
‘Evening Rose’ Rose Mallow is a showy addition to Proven Winners® Summerific® Series. The large flowers are a vivid hot pink, set off by very dark burgundy maple-shaped leaves. Hibiscus x Summerific® ‘Evening Rose’ comes from the tireless work of Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens and is an “indeterminate” bloomer, which means you get the 8” blooms along the 48” stems rather than just the tips. This is a tropical looking beauty which will light up wet sites as well as regular gardens.
‘French Vanilla’ Rose Mallow produces large creamy white flowers with bright red eyes. The buds of Hibiscus x Summerific® ‘French Vanilla’ are a soft yellow before fully opening, and since it blooms from mid summer to early fall, this color breakthrough persists. The green maple-shaped leaves are held on reddish petioles. All Hibiscus emerge late in the spring, but they keep blooming for a long time and are low maintenance additions to the garden. Another great Walters Gardens introduction.
‘Angel Falls’ Plaintain Lily has large rippled leaves with dark green margins and showy 2” creamy centers. Hosta ‘Angel Falls’ is a sport of Hosta ‘Niagara Falls’ and is introduced by Walters Gardens. The flower scape is 25” and blooms lavender in mid summer.
‘Autumn Frost’ Plantain Lily is part of the Shadowland® series. The leaves have wide yellow margins surrounding frosty blue centers. The yellow margins are really bright in spring and gradually mature to shades of cream. The lavender flowers are held on 16” stems. Since the habit is somewhat compact, this would make a good choice for a shady patio container. Hosta x ‘Autumn Frost’ is a sport of Hosta ‘First Frost’.
‘Blue Ivory’ Plantain Lily is a beautiful sport of Hosta ‘Halcyon’, with wide white margins surrounding steel blue centers. The mid-sized habit of Hosta ‘Blue Ivory’, combined with the vivid colored foliage, makes this an excellent patio container candidate for shade. In July and August the oval shaped leaves are topped by 20” stems of lavender flowers. A Walters Gardens and Proven Winners® introduction.
‘Designer Genes’ Plantain Lily is a wonderful combination of chartreuse yellow leaves displayed on red petioles or stems. The color combination is most impressive in spring, although Hosta ‘Designer Genes’ keep its yellow color well into the summer, slowly aging to light green. The flowers are lavender-purple, and are produced in late July and August. ‘Designer Genes’ was hybridized by Arthur Wrede of Maryland.
Invincibelle® ‘Ruby’ (‘NCHA3’) Smooth Hydrangea produces ruby red to soft pink mophead flowers starting in early summer. Hydrangea arborescens Invincibelle® ‘Ruby’ has strong stems supporting the flowers, and it blooms intermittently throughout the summer, especially if deadheaded. Since it flowers on new wood, you can prune it hard in the spring without compromising the flower display. Another improvement by Dr. Tom Ranney of NC State University.
Cherry Explosion™ (‘McKay’) Bigleaf Hydrangea has large, cherry red lacecap flowers all summer. The flowers have strong, deeply saturated sterile petals which surround the pink fertile florets. Hydrangea macrophylla Cherry Explosion™ comes from Thomas Buechel and McKay Nursery of Wisconsin, so you know it’s cold tolerant. The foliage is dark green and lustrous in the summer, taking on purple tones in the fall. Introduced by Star® Roses.
‘Fiesta’ (‘Crowthyp’) St. Johnswort is a good groundcover Hypericum that combines showy buttercup yellow summer blooms with dazzling chartreuse yellow and green variegated foliage. Hypericum calycinum ‘Fiesta’ is stoloniferous, so the arching stems and stolons make a large patch, especially in humus-rich sites. This St. Johnswort is easily maintained with a vigorous spring pruning to promote showy new growth.
Snowsation™ Candytuft is an evergreen groundcover which blooms heavily in mid to late spring. The large white flower clumps are flat and cover the green mat of foliage. Iberis sempervirens Snowsation™ is a good choice for rock gardens and walls because of its spreading habit and preference for good drainage. An introduction from Darwin Perennials.
‘Compacta’ Japanese Holly has small shiny oval leaves on short dense branches. Since Ilex crenata ‘Compacta’ has a neat compact round habit, it seldom requires any pruning. A good choice for foundation plantings, as this is a Holly which will not get “out of control”. Evergreen and sun-loving, with good winter hardiness.
Wildfire™ (‘Bailfire’) Winterberry Holly is part of Bailey Nurseries’ First Editions® series of introductions. Ilex verticillata Wildfire™ is a female Winterberry with good production of large red fruit. Wildfire™ is a vigorous, adaptable native which can be used as an excellent source of cut branches for decoration in the fall and early winter. The preferred pollinator is ‘Jim Dandy.’
‘Centennial Girl’ Meserve Holly is an interspecific hybrid between Ilex centrochinensis and Ilex aquifolium. Bred by K. Meserve and introduced by Conard-Pyle Nursery, it has proved to be a prolific fruit producer and more winter hardy than English Hollies. Ilex x ‘Centennial Girl’ has glossy dark green evergreen leaves that have only 6 spines, and an upright habit which makes it a good hedge or specimen. Blue Holly males are good pollinators for ‘Centennial Girl.’
Yellow Anise Tree is a native of Florida, but this broadleaf evergreen shrub grows well in shady protected locations in the Northeast. The lustrous scented foliage is beautiful all year, and even better, the deer don’t touch it. The unimpressive yellow-green star-shaped flowers appear in late spring, and are followed in fall and winter by interesting star-shaped brown seed capsules (not edible, unlike the Chinese Star Anise).
‘Eco Bluebird’ Dwarf Crested Iris produces its showy lavender-blue flowers in April and May. They are displayed above the ground-hugging fans of light green blade-like leaves. Iris cristata ‘Eco Bluebird’ is very showy in spring, and less so as summer progresses because the foliage is ephemeral. The rhizomatous habit makes this delicate looking native a good seasonal groundcover for woodland settings and shady rock gardens.
‘Firebreather’ German Bearded Iris is well-named, with beautiful orange standards and falls. The large flowers make a striking show in spring and fall gardens, since Iris germanica ‘Firebreather’ is a rebloomer. Best in sunny well-drained sites.
‘Jurassic Park’ German Bearded Iris produces flowers with large yellow standards topping purple falls. Iris ‘Jurassic Park’ is a rebloomer, with a great bloom display in both late spring and early fall. Needs full sun and good drainage.
‘Violet Turner’ German Bearded Iris has large bicolor flowers, with lavender standards above dark purple falls. Iris germanica ‘Violet Turner’ is a good rebloomer, flowering in late spring and early fall. Deer resistant, salt tolerant and best in sunny well-drained sites.
‘Fringe of Gold’ German Bearded Iris blooms in May and June. The large showy flowers have bright white falls with wide yellow bands on the edges, and the standards are the same bright yellow. A welcome addition to the late spring garden, in sunny well-drained spots.
‘Spicy Cajun’ True Water Iris blooms in late May and June, producing showy mauve, purple and yellow flowers on stems above the green blade-like foliage. Iris louisiana ‘Spicy Cajun’ flourishes in wet conditions, and since it has a thick root system, ‘Spicy Cajun’ would help with stream and pond erosion. A good choice for sunny rain gardens and bioswales.
‘Night Thunder’ Eye Shadow Iris is a cross between Iris pseudacorus (‘Yellow Flag Iris’) and Iris ensata (Japanese Iris). This cross comes from Japanese Iris breeder Hiroshi Shimizu, and the species name indicates both parents. ‘Yarai’ means ‘Night Thunder,’ paying tribute to the unusual color combination of peach, yellow and dark purple veining. Iris pseudata ‘Yarai’ performs beautifully in wet sites, even standing water. The unusual flowers are borne above the green sword-like foliage in late May and June.
‘Blue Arrows’ Rush is one of Hoffman’s Nursery’s Fantastic Foliage™ series, and this is a very showy evergreen selection. The straight blue green leaves or blades are very dramatic in wet sites or containers. Juncus inflexus ‘Blue Arrows’ thrives in rain gardens bioswales and stream sides, as well as average garden soils. It makes a dramatic central plant in a mixed container. Prune back old growth in spring.
‘Sea Green’ Chinese Juniper has arching branches on a compact spreading form. The foliage is a somewhat dark green which darkens further in the winter. This is a good filler for big spaces, as it makes a nice consistent mass planting. Female form, so it often has silvery fruit.
Mountain or Fraser Magnolia is an Appalachian Mountain range native and one of the “Umbrella Magnolia” group. The leaves are very large, growing in a whorled pattern and topped by 10” scented creamy white flowers in spring. Red seed cones are showy in the fall, producing bright red seeds which are eaten by wildlife. The attractive bark is smooth and grey. Magnolia fraseri adds a tropical look to the landscape.
Celtic Pride® (‘Prides’) Russian Arborvitae is a Proven Winners® introduction. Microbiota decussata is an excellent evergreen groundcover for dry semi-shady locations, and Celtic Pride® shows improved vigor and disease resistance. Microbiotas look like groundcover Junipers, but the foliage is more fern-like and not prickly. An added benefit is the winter color, which is shades of plum and purple. Must have excellent drainage.
‘Siskiyou’ Evening Primrose has excellent tolerance of dry gravelly sites, and its vigorous spreading habit makes it a good groundcover for tough sunny sites. The finely dissected green foliage is crowned in summer by soft pink saucer shaped flowers which open in the evening. Since Oenothera berlanderi ‘Siskiyou’ blooms during the night, it is attractive to moths as well as butterflies. A good choice for green roofs, rock gardens and road sides, but it can be an aggressive groundcover.
‘Kent Beauty’ Ornamental Oregano starts blooming in early summer and continues to flower until early fall if deadheaded. The pendulous bracts are a rosy pink, displayed over silvery green neat foliage. Origanum x ‘Kent Beauty’ needs good drainage so it is a good choice for rock gardens and green roofs. Although ‘Kent Beauty’ is not a culinary herb, its attractive flowers dry well.
‘Mandarin’s Coat’ Herbaceous Peony is an early blooming compact plant which produces stunning Anemone form flowers in late spring. The guard petals are bright pink surrounding a center of crinkled gold and pink staminodes. Paeonia ‘Mandarin’s Coat’ makes a beautiful cut flower. It was introduced in 1978 by Allan Rogers.
‘Red Charm’ Herbaceous Peony blooms in late spring, producing scarlet red double ‘bomb form’ flowers on short thick stems. The blooms of Paeonia ‘Red Charm’ are sterile and as a result hold their petals well as a cut flower. Introduced in 1944 by Peony breeder Lyman D. Glasscock. ‘Red Charm’ won the APS Gold Medal in 1956.
Switchgrass or Panicum virgatum is a lovely native ornamental grass. Because there is a lot of variation in seedling populations, a number of wonderful variants have been selected and named (‘Shenandoah’, ‘Heavy Metal’, ‘Northwind’, ‘Purple Tears’ to name a few). Panicum virgatum handles a very wide range of soil and site conditions, and keeps its attractive habit well into the winter. Switchgrass is a very important food source for wildlife in fall and winter. A popular winter forage for birds and bees overwinter in base. It is also a food source for skipper caterpillars.
‘Purple Tears’ Switch Grass was found by Piet Oudolf in his garden, and is presumed to be a seedling of Panicum ‘Shenandoah’. The seedheads are stunning, starting with tiny reddish seeds in August which mature to shades of smoky purple and then tan as fall progresses. The green stems are upright and hold up well under winter conditions. Panicum virgatum ‘Purple Tears’ is definitely one of the showiest Switchgrasses to grow.
‘May Breeze’ Woodland Phlox has clusters of pale blue to white fragrant flowers above delicate green mats of foliage. Phlox divaricata ‘May Breeze’ flourishes in April and May, and is somewhat ephemeral when hot weather sets in. Although ‘May Breeze’ is a North American native, this selection was introduced by Piet Oudolf.
‘Bruce’s White’ Moss Phlox came from a wild population of Phlox stolonifera found by Mary Bruce Shinn. The delicate white flower clusters cover the mat-like green foliage from early spring to early summer. Phlox stolonifera ‘Bruce’s White’ needs good air circulation to avoid mildew problems. This would be a good candidate for shady rooftop gardens or rock gardens.
Tiny Wine® ‘Gold’ (‘SMNPOTWG’) Ninebark is a compact form of the native shrub Physocarpus, displaying bright yellow foliage starting in spring. The white to pink delicate flower clumps appear in late spring through early summer. Physocarpus Tiny Wine® ‘Gold’ tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, from sandy to wet, and makes a good compact hedge in sunny locations. Because of its compact stature, this showy Ninebark also works well as a foundation plant.
‘Miss Manners’ Obedient Plant looks like a Snapdragon, producing lots of white spikes of flowers above the glossy green foliage. Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ blooms for an extended period, from June to September, and attracts pollinators all summer. Darrell Probst selected ‘Miss Manners’ from the native Physostegias because the habit is more compact and less of an aggressive spreader. A long blooming choice for sunny raingardens, meadows and mixed borders.
‘Pink Manners’ Obedient Plant is taller than ‘Miss Manners’, but the lavender pink flowers have the same Snapdragon look and the same sturdy spikes. Unlike the native species Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana ‘Pink Manners’ is not an aggressive spreader, which is why Darrell Probst selected and patented it. ‘Pink Manners’ blooms from June to September, and makes a showy addition to the higher levels of sunny rain gardens.
‘Stairway to Heaven’ Creeping Jacob’s Ladder was found by Bill Cullina while at New England’s Garden in the Woods. Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is a variegated selection of our native Jacob’s Ladder, which adds showy yellow and green foliage to the spring display of blue nodding flower clusters. Polemonium flourishes in moist woodland settings, and is somewhat ephemeral in hot summer weather. The royalties go to support the Garden in the Woods.
Creeping Jacob’s Ladder is an attractive woodland native, producing drooping clusters of small blue flowers in April. The clusters (corymbs) are followed in summer by buff and tan fruits which songbirds eat. Polemonium reptans makes a groundcover mostly through seeding, as it is not stoloniferous. The delicate stems are laddered with small green leaves, making an attractive filler or naturalizer in woodlands and moist shade gardens.
‘Weston’s Innocence’ Swamp Azalea is a pure white Rhododendron viscosum introduced by Weston’s Nursery in Massachusetts. The graceful white flowers are fragrant and showy, appearing above the deciduous green leaves in May and June. The foliage is mildew resistant and turns shades of reddish burgundy in fall. Birds and pollinators are drawn to this lovely cold tolerant native. Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Innocence’ will light up moist woodland sites in late spring.
‘Millie Mac’ Florida Azalea blooms in May, producing extremely fragrant yellow to orange flowers in delicate clumps. The blooms appear before Rhododendron x ‘Millie Mac’ is fully leafed out, making the plants very showy in semi-shaded areas. This deciduous native Azalea was found in Alabama, and tolerates heat and humidity well, as well as mid Atlantic winters. Enjoy this heavenly fragrance in the May garden.
‘Lee’s Dark Purple’ Catawba Rhododendron has deep purple buds which open to rosy purple trusses in April and May. The dark green leathery leaves are evergreen, making a nice setting for the showy flower clumps. Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Lee’s Dark Purple’ is a native, but its breeder was John Lee of England, who hybridized it in the mid-1800s. The habit is somewhat compact and the cold tolerance is good.
‘Boursault’ Catawba Rhododendron blooms in late May and June, producing showy trusses of lavender bell-shaped flowers. The blooms crown the large oblong evergreen leaves, and Rhododendron ‘Boursault’ is a reliable bloomer in the Northeast because of its good cold tolerance. All Catawba Rhododendrons need excellent drainage as well as consistent moisture.
‘Weston’s Ribbon Candy’ Swamp Azalea is a late blooming deciduous Azalea. The flowers are bright pink with white center stripes, and are held in showy trusses above the bluish green leaves. Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Ribbon Candy’ is aptly named, because the bicolored flowers do look like old-fashioned candies. Like other viscosum Azaleas, the fragrance is delicious. The June blooms are followed by good bronzy fall color.
‘Purple Robe’ Black Locust produces 4” pendant racemes of lavender purple fragrant flowers in May and June. The actual flowers are pea-shaped, and like other members of the pea family (Fabaceae), Robinia ‘Purple Robe’ is very adaptable because of its nitrogen-fixing abilities. The pinnate leaves emerge a somewhat bronzy red in spring, rapidly maturing to green. Like other Black Locusts, ‘Purple Robe’ can produce suckers which should be removed. An early introduction by William Flemer III.
Tequila Gold® (‘Meipojona’) Shrub Rose produces semi-double bright yellow blooms throughout the summer. The flowers retain their yellow color well, over glossy green foliage. Foliage is black spot resistant. An introduction by Meilland in 2012.
‘Sun Flare’ (‘JACjem’) Shrub Rose produces clusters of lemon-yellow double flowers starting in June. The blooms are fragrant and hold their yellow color well. William Warriner hybridized Rosa ‘Sun Flare’ in the 1980s while breeding Roses for Jackson and Perkins. The habit is relatively low and wide, with good clean green foliage.
‘Pink Pavement’ Rugosa Rose has mauve pink ruffled flowers over disease-resistant dark green foliage. Rosa rugosa ‘Pink Pavement’ starts blooming in June and reblooms in late summer, especially if deadheaded after the first bloom flush. The Pavement series were introduced in the 1980s by Karl Baum of Germany, and are useful as tall groundcovers because of their suckering habits. Rugosa Roses tend to be somewhat deer resistant because of the many tiny thorns.
‘Bumbleblue’ Meadow Sage is one of the ‘Bumble’ Series of Salvias from Walters Gardens. The flower spikes are a deep clear blue, covering the compact plant profusely from late spring through early summer. Pollinators of all kinds are drawn to Salvia nemorosa ‘Bumbleblue’ when in bloom, and deer and rabbits leave it alone. This is a good plant for sunny containers as well as garden borders.
Flirty Girl™ (‘Minsnow3’) False Hydrangea-vine is a fast-growing vine that produces lots of flowers for an extended period in summer. The blossoms have large white sterile florets surrounding the wispy fertile florets in a flat lacecap form. The green foliage is held on woody vines which will attach to stone walls. Schizophragma hydrangeoides Flirty Girl™ was selected by Pepinieres Minier of France.
Hoary Skullcap blooms in mid summer, producing floriferous racemes of deep blue two-lipped flowers on tall square-edged stems (mint family, of course). Scutellaria incarnata is an adaptable native that looks best in natural settings like meadows, stream edges and the edges of the woods. Hoary Skullcap is drought tolerant when established, but also thrives in moist rich soils. Scutellaria is attractive to pollinators but not to deer.
‘Short and Sweet’ Wild Pink blooms heavily in April and May, producing bright pink 5 petaled flowers on short delicate stems above the carpet of leaves. Silene ‘Short and Sweet’ makes an effective groundcover for sunny and shady sites with good drainage. When in bloom, this produces a quantity of nectar for pollinators and hummingbirds. A good addition to rock gardens and green roofs.
‘Golden Rockets’ Goldenrod is a seedling selection introduced by Jellito Seed. Solidago rigida ‘Golden Rockets’ produces dense rounded umbels of bright gold flowers in late summer and early fall. The habit is compact and slowly spreading (rhizomatous), making it a good choice for mixed borders, meadows and sunny banks. Since ‘Golden Rockets’ has excellent salt tolerance, it functions well near roads and walkways. Like all Goldenrods, this is a very important food source for native bee’s and pollinators.
‘Summer Crush’ Betony produces tall spikes of delicate two-lipped pink and white flowers in June and July. The bicolored flowers make good cut flowers because of their long leafless stems, emerging from dark green wrinkled basal foliage. Stachys x ‘Summer Crush’ is rhizomatous, so it can be used as an attractive deer resistant groundcover. An introduction from Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennials.
Summer Charm® (‘DTR124’) Pekin Lilac was introduced a long time ago by noted nurseryman Bill Wandell, but is still a great ornamental tree choice. Syringa pekinensis Summer Charm® is a subspecies of Syringa reticulata, with lustrous dark green foliage and lovely creamy white fragrant flowers in June. The panicles take on shades of pale yellow as they age, and they are followed by interesting brown seed capsules in clusters. An added interest comes in winter when Syringa Summer Charm® has amber exfoliating bark and a neat upright oval habit.
Green Whisper® (‘JFS-SGPN’) Baldcypress is an introduction by JF Schmidt + Sons Nursery. Taxodium distichum Green Whisper® is pyramidal in habit and covered with soft green deciduous foliage in summer. The fall color is very attractive as well, in shades of russet and orange. Green Whisper® Baldcypress tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, including wet, dry and clay soils.
‘Wentworth’ American Cranberrybush Viburnum blooms in late spring, producing white flat-topped or lacecap cymes over large green maple-like leaves. They are followed by showy fruit which changes from yellow in late summer to shiny red fruit in fall and winter. Viburnum trilobum ‘Wentworth’ was one of the 3 seedlings (selected from 3,000 seedlings) introduced in 1922 by the USDA for the large fruit. ‘Wentworth’ bears the largest fruit, which has been used to make preserves and jellies (let us know if they’re edible…).
Blue Puffball™ (‘PIIVAC-IL’) Chastetree has clean green foliage that is topped by short blue flower spikes in mid to late summer. The habit is compact and rounded. Since Vitex x agnus-castus Blue Puffball™ blooms profusely for a long time and is tolerant of dry conditions, this would make an excellent small shrub for large sunny containers. An introduction by First® Editions Shrubs and Trees.
Delta Blues™ (‘PIIVAC-1’) Chastetree is a midsize Vitex from First® Editions Shrubs and Trees, producing a quantity of bluish purple flower spikes starting in mid summer. The habit is neater than tall blue Buddleias, with silvery green new growth and disease-resistant green leaves. Vitex x agnus-castus Delta Blues™ tolerates salt and deer, and flourishes in dry sunny locations.