Indian Rhubarb is an unusual dramatic foliage perennial which also has attractive pink flower clusters in April. The delicate flower clusters emerge on hairy stems before the leaves emerge, and are retained for a long period. The round lobe leaves are very large and broad, and have been likened to inside-out umbrellas. Darmera peltata has a thick rhizomaceous root system, and since it thrives in very wet sites, it works well as a stream stabilizer. The fall color of the foliage is often red. This is one of Jerry Fritz's favorite plants for its dramatic appeal. Umbrella Plant is a West Coast native. It will tolerate full sun if planted in a wet site.
Cooper Hardy Ice Plant has magenta flowers over silvery evergreen succulent foliage. Delosperma cooperi needs full sun and a dry site and is perfect for the xeriscape landscape. We are impresses with its cold hardiness in our display beds, and it blooms throughout the summer starting in late June into fall. Avoid planting in heavy soils or soils with poor drainage.
Fire Spinner™ Ice Plant has truly amazing flowers, with multiple flat petals that start orange at the outer edges and end up magenta at the base. Starting in early June, Fire Spinner™ blooms for a month on every sunny day over the attractive fleshy green succulent foliage. Found at high altitudes in southern South Africa, Delosperma dyeri Fire Spinner™ was brought to the US by Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Garden. Rock gardens and green roofs are great places to use this eye opener.
Tall Blue Larkspur is a Delphinium that actually thrives on the East Coast! This native woodland plant blooms in mid summer, with tall spikes of deep bluish purple flowers which are an important source of nectar for hummingbirds. Rich, well drained soil and partial shade are what Delphinium exaltatum likes best, and deer will leave it alone.
Hay-scented Fern has lacy green foliage that will take somewhat dry, relatively sunny sites. Dennstaedtia punctilobula is a deciduous spreader that can handle poor soils well. When the fronds are brushed against, they release the smell of fresh cut hay. Native to open woods and wooded banks in the eastern and midwestern US.
'Goldtau' Tufted Hairgrass is a compact form of this lovely cool season native grass. The name 'Godtau' means 'Golden Dew', which refers to the airy quality of the yellow inflorescences appearing in July to September. The dark green blades are semi-evergreen and happy in shady locations. Deschampsia 'Goldtau' is beautiful in mass plantings or mixed with ferns and other woodland perennials. The fall color of the seedheads is bronze.
'Nikko' Slender Deutzia has delicate white flowers in April and May. The low growing neat green leaves turn purple in fall. Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' makes an excellent flowering groundcover or foundation plant for sun and shade. A wonderful National Arboretum introduction. The cultivar name 'Nikko' appears to have been coined by British nurseryman C.G. Hollett of Greenbank Nursery, Cumbria, England.
PRN Preferred: A three season groundcover shrub, a real garden workhorse. Continues to perform year after year.
Yuki Cherry Blossom® (‘NCDX2’) Slender Deutzia is a color breakthrough by Dr. Tom Ranney of NCSU. Normally a white flowered groundcover shrub, Yuki Cherry Blossom® is covered with delicate soft pink flowers in April and May. The small green leaves are borne on graceful arching branches which root where they touch the ground, making Deutzia x Yuki Cherry Blossom® an excellent low maintenance groundcover. The fall color is bronzy purple, which adds another season of beauty.
Yuki Snowflake® ('NCDX1') Deutzia blooms heavily in April and May, covering this low mounding shrub with a multitude of bell-like white flowers. The delicate green leaves are held on arching branches which root when touching the soil making Deutzia x Yuki Snowflake® an attractive shade tolerant groundcover. The foliage turns shades of burgundy in fall and is most colorful when grown in full sud. A lovely hybrid from the work of Dr Tom Ranney of NC State.
'Nikko Blush' Slender Deutzia is a cross made by the US National Arboretum between Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' and Deutzia x rosea 'Carminea'. The result is a plant long sought by plant lovers, with bright pink buds opening in April and May to abundant soft pink flowers on arching low growing branches. Like 'Nikko', 'Nikko Blush' makes an excellent groundcover, and would be particularly attractive growing down a wall. The fall color is shades of burgundy.
Clusterhead Pinks is a Dianthus oddity hailing from the alpine regions of central and southeastern Europe. Like all Dianthus, D. carthusianorum prefers soil with sharp drainage but the brilliant pink flowers of this gem stand 2-3 feet above the foliage, not unlike one of our favorites Verbena bonariensis. Equally at home in a prairie or rock garden, this exciting Dianthus species deserves much more attention that it currently gets in the trade. It probably owes its name to the Catholic order of the Carthusians, who cultivated it early on in their monastery gardens and as medicinal plant.
'Firewitch' ('Feuerhexe') Cheddar Pinks has shocking pink fragrant flowers, low growing blue foliage, and is an excellent repeat bloomer. The fragrance is wonderful, like so many of the Carnation family. Developed in Germany, 'Firewitch' is more tolerant of heat and varying soil conditions, and is one of the longest flowering. Native to Cheddar Gorge, England, hense the common name. 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Kahori, meaning fragrant in Japanese, is a Cheddar Pinks that has been around for several years without the attention it truly deserves. A repeat bloomer from late spring through summer this Dianthus boasts deep pink flowers that just never know when to quit. Oh yeah, it’s also fragrant in case you were wondering! Low mounding, medium green foliage stays clean when other lesser Dianthus start to look ratty in the heat.
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. A native wildflower of the eastern United States that typically occurs on forest floors, rocky woods and ledges in the Appalachian Mountains. 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 spreads by self-seeding and seed dispersal by ants. It grows best in well drained shady locations. Visited by hummingbirds and long tongued native bees.
The pink and white flowers of Bleeding Heart have a long bloom period in late spring. The entire stems can be used for cut flowers, lasting up to 2 weeks in a vase. Foliage fades away by late summer. This is the classic Bleeding Heart we all remember from our childhoods. Native to eastern Asia (northern China, Korea and Japan). New name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis.
White Bleeding Heart has white flowers for a long bloom period in late spring. The large pendant flowering stems light up shade gardens beautifully. Foliage fades away by late summer. New name is Lamprocapnos spectabilis 'Alba'.
'Gold Heart' Bleeding Heart has the classic pink and white heart-shaped pendant flowers, but they hang from pink stems which rise from electric yellow foliage in the spring. The leaves light up the shade garden beautifully. By mid summer the foliage matures to chartreuse green. Introduced by Nori Pope of England.
PRN Preferred: The contrast between the classic pink and white flowers and the vivid chartreuse foliage in spring is really amazing.
‘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.’
A wonderful improvement over the typical species, 'Valentine' Bleeding Heart produces deep red flowers as opposed to the soft pink of straight Dicentra spectabilis. The foliage is beautifully and deeply dissected and is accompanied by arching stems of stunning red flowers in late spring. Like the species, expect Dicentra spectabilis 'Valentine' to look like it has seen better days as the summer progresses so be sure to plant material around it that can mask its tired appearance.
‘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.
'Burning Hearts' Fringed Bleeding Heart has very deep colored flowers, with dark rosy red hanging hearts that have a lovely white edge to the petals. The foliage is a delicate, lacy grayish blue and persists all summer, as does the bloom period which begins in May. Dicentra x 'Burning Hearts' performs best in moist but well drained shade.
'King of Hearts' Fringed Bleeding Heart has red flowers in May over attractive bluish green foliage. It blooms for a long period, and has a neat compact habit. Prefers a well-drained site.
'Luxuriant' Bleeding Heart has cherry red flowers in late spring over green lacy foliage. It reblooms well throughout the summer, and does best in a site with good drainage.
PRN Preferred: This Bleeding Heart blooms almost all summer, and the lacy green foliage is vigorous and long lasting.
‘Pink Diamonds’ Fern-leaved Bleeding Heart is an introduction from Walters Gardens with both showy flowers and foliage. The fern-like leaves are steely blue, and the two-toned pink heart-shaped flowers bloom from late spring through most of the summer. Dicentra x ‘Pink Diamonds’ thrives in sunny locations with good drainage, as well as partial shade sites. Since ‘Pink Diamonds’ comes from alpine Dicentras, it is very cold tolerant, and should be a good addition to roof gardens.
Gas Plant is a beautiful long-lived perennial for well-drained sites; sporting many showy, mauve pink flowers on tall spikes in June for an extended show. Dictamnus is slow to become established, but once started it becomes a large mound which puts out increasing numbers of flower-topped shoots every year. It has zero tolerance for transplanting, so pick your site well. The common name refers to the theory that it contains enough volatile oils to be lit by matches; but, as Dr. Alan Armitage so eloquently comments, this is not an achievable activity.
'Copper' Bush Honeysuckle has sulfur yellow flowers in July, over copper colored new foliage. The fall color is shades of bronze, orange and red. It is a It is a suckering, densely-branched, shrub that when in bloom is loved by butterflies. Diervilla lonicera 'Copper' is a very tough, maintenance-free plant, and tolerates dry shade well. Insects love the flowers.
PRN Preferred: A true multi-seasonal plant plus it is native and deer resistant. That's impressive.
'Butterfly' Southern Bush-honeysuckle has delicate bright yellow flowers June to July over green, disease-free foliage. The fall color of Diervilla sessifolia 'Butterfly' is shades of purple. It does well in dry, shady sites. A selection from Pieter Zwijnenburg of Holland.
PRN Preferred: Bright sulfer yellow summer flowers are followed by reddish purple fall foliage.
Kodiak® Orange ('G2X88544') Bush-honeysuckle puts out vivid orange new growth in he spring and summer. Mature leaves are green, and are topped with bright sulfer yellow flowers throughout the summer, attracting butterflies, pollinators and hummingbirds. Diervilla is a wonderful native for its compact neat habit and its showy orange red fall color. Kodiak® Orange is also very versitile, as it does well in sun and shade, average and dry soils, and areas with deer pressure.
PRN Preferred: Attractive orange colored new growth in summer is followed by beautiful orange red fall color.
Kodiak® Red ('G2X885411') Bush-honeysuckle is a multi-purpose small shrub. The new growth emerges in shades or red and bronze in spring and summer. The spreading branches are tipped with sulfur yellow trumpet shaped flowers for an extended period, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Then in the fall, Diervilla Kodiak® Red puts on an extraordinary show as its leaves turn bright red. Use as a specimen or a low hedge.
'Foxy' Common Foxglove has white, cream and dark pink speckled tubular flowers in June and July. Best known as a popular bouquet flower and for its ability to attract hummingbirds. Biennial, but will self-seed.
Strawberry Foxglove is a true perennial Foxglove, with strawberry pink spikes of tubular spotted flowers in June. It is a is a cross between D. purpurea and D. grandiflora. Individual flowers resemble the snipped off fingers of a glove, hence the common name of foxglove. Needs good drainage.
Brilliance™ Autumn Fern was selected for its striking new fronds which emerge throughout the spring and summer in shades of salmon, copper and orange. The semi-evergreen fronds then mature to glossy medium green, adding a bright note to woodland settings. Since Autumn Ferns spread slowly by rhizomes, they make a good groundcover in shady sites. Consistent moisture is needed to promote new frond production.
PRN Preferred: Bronze new growth all spring and summer. Looks good throughout most of the winter.
Robust Male Fern has dark green foliage, and does well in deep shade, as well as in sun. Dryopteris filix-mas is a deciduous clump. Highly adaptable because it is relatively sun tolerant. Dryopteris filix-mas is refered to as Male Fern because it was thought to be the male version of Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern).
Evergreen Wood Fern has dark green, leathery foliage and tolerates relatively dry sites and deep shade. Dryopteris marginalis is an evergreen clump that performs well on forest edges. The foliage remains green through much of the winter, dying back in early spring as new fiddleheads emerge.
‘Jurassic Gold’ (‘Hollasic’) Wallich’s Wood Fern has amazing spring fronds in shades of yellow, gold and orange. The semi-evergreen foliage matures to bright green in summer, forming an attractive clump that lights up shady locations. Dryopteris ‘Jurassic Gold’ is named for is named for the Jurassic Coast in Southern England, but I assume that is also a nod to the fact that Ferns are a very ancient plant group. The very striking fronds make ‘Jurassic Gold’ a good container candidate for shady locations.
Dixie Wood Fern has shiny green foliage which is large and dramatic. It is a vigorous cross between the Log Fern and the Southern Wood Fern. A large, semi-evergreen clump. Dryopteris x australis has a clumping fern with a tall upright arching appearance. 2021 PHS Gold Medal Plant.