'Little Gem' Southern Magnolia is a compact cultivar of our stately native evergreen Magnolia grandiflora. The habit is tight and compact, with large lustrous dark green leaves which have a fuzzy brown indumentum on the undersides. The large white flowers are fragrant and appear intermittently from late May through July. Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' needs to be planted in a sheltered location, with particular protection from the winter winds.
Teddy Bear® ('Southern Charm') Southern Magnolia has a tight pyramidal habit on a compact plant. The dark green lustrous leaves have attractive brown indumentum and are evergreen. Magnolia grandiflora Teddy Bear® produces large fragrant white flowers from June to August. A Head Introductions, Teddy Bear® is an excellent choice for smaller locations. Give it some protection from winter winds when possible.
'Chrysanthemiflora' Star Magnolia was selected by K. Wada, a great Magnolia breeder in Japan. It combines deep pink coloration in bud (changing to light pink when fully open) with an amazing number of petals (40 or more). The resemblance to the old fashioned "Football Mum" corsage justifies the name. The cold hardiness is excellent and we agree with Dr. Dirr's opinion that it is the best of the M. stellata "Rosea" selections.
Sweetbay Magnolia has fragrant white flowers starting in June that will bloom for much of the summer. In fall it has showy red fruit with orange seeds. Magnolia virginiana is also wet site tolerant, and is an important food source for the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly larvae.
Green Mile™ ('MVHH') Sweetbay Magnolia has an unusually tight, upright form, with lustrous dark green semi-evergreen foliage. The extremely fragrant white flowers start appearing in June and continue for much of the summer. They are followed by attractive red fruit with orange seeds in the fall. Green Mile™ Magnolia is a selection by Alex Neubauer of Hidden Hollow Nursery in Tennessee. Wet site tolerant, and the larval host for the Sweetbay Silkmoth and the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. NYBG has planted an allee of them bordering their native meadow.
PRN Preferred: The upright habit makes this a great singlestem tree.
The evergreen foliage of 'Green Shadow' Sweetbay Magnolia forms a tight oval tree with fragrant white flowers in summer. This Magnolia virginiana is a selection og M. virg. var. australis by the great Don Shadow from seedlings from the great Joe McDaniel. It is also wet site tolerant. Formerly named 'Greenbay'.
'Henry Hicks' Sweetbay Magnolia has fragrant white flowers starting in June. It has evergreen foliage since it is an australis selection and is one of the hardiest forms of Magnolia virginiana. It is also wet site tolerant. Another wonderful introduction by Dr. Joe McDaniels of Illinois.
Moonglow® ('Jim Wilson') Sweetbay Magnolia has white fragrant flowers in the summer and is very hardy, has rapid growth, is wet site tolerant and semi-evergreen. Magnolia virginiana Moonglow® is a great introduction by Earl Cully.
Black Tulip™ ('Jurmag1') Saucer Magnolia has large cup shaped deep purple-pink flowers in April, before the leaves emerge. The thick, upright petals make the flowers look neat and crisp throughout the bloom period. A showy introduction by Monrovia Nurseries.
'Blushing Belle' comes from the had work of Dennis Ledvina's Magnolia breeding program, with large pink flowers in late spring. It is a cross between M. x 'Yellow Bird' and M. x 'Caerhays Belle' which has the greater hardiness of its yellow parent, and the luminous pink color of its pink parent. The tepals are dark pink on the exterior and pale pink on the interior.
'Cleopatra' Magnolia is a beautiful introduction from New Zealand. The 7" flowers are a complex mix of reddish purple opening to pink in April, with a goblet shape which is similar to Magnolia x 'Genie'. The great Magnolia hybridizer Vance Hooper crossed 'Black Tulip' with 'Sweet Simplicity' to get this compact, reblooming plant. Magnolia x 'Cleopatra' is an excellent choice for a smaller location because of the smaller size and the late summer rebloom.
'Cotton Candy' Magnolia is a Dennis Ledvina cross between 'Red Baron' and 'Blushing Belle'. The huge flowers are a strong clear medium pink on both the interior and the exterior. M. acuminata is in half of its ancestry, so 'Cotton Candy' is unusually cold hardy for a "campbellii type" of Magnolia. The open faced flowers face upward, and when in bloom, the effect of 'Cotton Candy' is stunning. The habit is upright and vigorous.
Magnolia x 'Daybreak' has extremely fragrant large glowing pink cup-shaped flowers in May, on a narrow upright form. Hybridized by Dr. August Kehr, and said to be his favorite of all his many crosses.
PRN Preferred: No other color like this in the Magnolia world. Your eye is drawn to it when it is in bloom.
'Genie' Magnolia is a spectacular color breakthrough in the Magnolia world, with lots of black-red flower buds that open to small cup-shaped rose-purple blooms. The tepals are the same color on both sides, which heightens the color intensity. The flowers are lightly fragrant, and the bloom period is from April to May. This stunning plant is the result of 15 years of hybridizing work in New Zealand.
'Gold Finch' Magnolia is a complex cross from the late Phil Savage of Michigan. The M. acuminata parentage can be seen in its habit (tall and upright) as well as its flower color (light yellow). Magnolia x 'Gold Finch' is very cold hardy, and is a rather early bloomer. The large showy blossoms are tulip or goblet shaped.
'March til Frost' Magnolia has large upright tulip-shaped blooms of a beautiful deep rose-purple color. This introduction from Dr. August Kehr starts blooming in late March and early April, and continues to bloom sporadically throughout the summer into the fall. It was one of Dr. Kehr's favorites, and we have always loved the "surprise package" it makes when the large showy flowers open up in late summer and fall.
PRN Preferred: No other Magnolia comes close to putting out more flowers throughout the growing season. The summer and fall flowers are not washed out. Truly remarkable.
‘Royal Purple’ Magnolia was hybridized by New Zealand Magnolia breeder Peter Cave. Thought to be a sprengeri var. ‘Diva’ seedling, this beautiful fastigiate tree produces large and luscious bright purple flowers. The tepals are a darker purple on the exterior, offset by a paler pinkish purple on the inside. Because of the upright narrow habit, this would be an excellent Magnolia for tighter spaces.
'Black Beauty' Magnolia (#204) originates from Brooklyn Botanic Garden's wonderful breeding program. The cross from which this beauty originated is M. acuminata x M. liliiflora, and the flower is extremely dark purple and an upright tulip shape. Magnolia x brooklynensis 'Black Beauty' is a late spring bloomer, thereby avoiding most frosts. The flowers are particularly striking as they open, because the insides of the tepals are white, making a showy contrast to the dark purple exteriors.
Magnolia x brooklynensis 'Judy Zuk' is a spectacular and fitting tribute to the much missed former president of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Judy Zuk. Upward-facing fragrant flowers are a strong yellow, flushing to orange pink at the base. A very beautiful Magnolia coming from BBG's wonderful hybridizing work. M. acuminata is prominent in its ancestry.
PRN Preferred: The combination of yellow flushing to orange is stunning, and this is our favorite deep yellow Magnolia.
'Sun Spire' Magnolia is another lovely introduction by the late Dr. August Kehr. The flowers are deep yellow and held upright on the branches. Since they appear late in the spring after the danger of frost, the display is consistently showy, like a tower of fat yellow candles. The habit is distinctly upright, making Magnolia x 'Sun Spire' is a great candidate for smaller gardens and tight spots. The parents are M. x 'Woodsman' and and M. x 'Elizabeth'.
Magnolia x brooklynensis 'Yellow Bird' is a late flowering Magnolia with deep yellow fragrant flowers that are seldom damaged by frost. One of Brooklyn Botanical Garden's great introductions, and one of Rick Darke's favorite yellows.
Leatherleaf Mahonia has lemon-yellow fragrant flowers in February and March, blue bird-attracting fruit in summer and is evergreen. The upright angular habit adds to its architectural interest all year. Mahonias are in the same family (Berberaceae) as Barberries and Nandinas and share their characteristic deer resistance. In fact, taxonomists now refer to Mahonia bealei as Berberis bealei (Beale's Barberry).
Japanese Mahonia is often confused with Mahonia bealei, but the foliage is a darker, glossier green, and the texture is finer, with more leaves per stem. It is evergreen, and produces fragrant yellow flower panicles in February and March. Bees and insects benefit from the blooms on warm winter days, and birds love the glaucous blue fruit in early summer. The new taxonomist designation for Mahonia japonica is Berberis japonica.
'Winter Sun' Mahonia has stunning yellow upright flowers in January and February, over leathery dark green evergreen foliage. New growth in spring emerges a bronze color, adding to the charm. Blue fruit may appear in summer, to the delight of birds. Found and named in Ireland.
Virginia Bluebells are pink in bud and the nodding bells turn a bright lavender-blue as they open above blue-green foliage. The leaves usually turn yellow and disappear by mid summer, so it is best to use these with other, later, shade perennials. In a moist setting they will slowly colonize a large area.
The Dawn Redwood or Metasequoia is a relatively recent arrival in the US, coming from China where it was first discovered in 1941. Called 'Water Fir' by the Chinese, Metasequoia glyptostroboides is a deciduous conifer with great tolerance for both wet and dry sites. Its growth habit is rapid and vertical, necessitating almost no pruning or staking. As this lovely large tree grows, interesting depressions appear in the bark whenever branches have dropped off. The foliage is a lovely feathery green in spring and summer, making a tan carpet in fall when it drops.
The reddish inflorescences of Variegated Japanese Silver Grass appear in September over white and green striped leaves. The silver seedheads and light tan leaves and stems are attractive all winter.
'Skyracer' Purple Moor Grass has tall seedheads in mid summer that are very showy above short, green foliage which turns yellow in the fall. Introduced by Kurt Bluemel, it holds up well in the winter. Bruce Crawford of The Rutgers Gardens calls Molinia a 'ghost plant' because you can see things through the airy seedheads. Molinias tolerate moist soils well.
Eastern Bee Balm produces pinkish-lavender flowers in early summer. The form is like a little lavender crown on the ends of the light purple stems. Butterflies and insects rely on this native member of the Mint family for food, so you get more than just flowers when Monarda bradburiana is in your garden. Dry site tolerant and fragrant foliage. This is Stephanie Cohen's favorite Monarda particularly for meadow applications. One of the native plants chosen by Piet Oudolf for the newly planted meadow garden at Delaware Botanic Gardens.
Grand Parade™ ('ACrade') Bee Balm is a new Monarda introduction from those tireless folks at the Morden Research Experiment Station, with large magenta-purple flowers in July and August, over short disease resistant foliage. Butterfly and bee attractant.
PRN Preferred: Excellent mildew resistance, compact plant.
'Jacob Cline' Bee Balm has bright red flowers in mid summer that attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline' is a mildew-resistant introduction from Itsaul Plants, found originally in Georgia.
Petite Delight™ ('Acpetdel') Bee Balm has lavender-pink flowers in July and August on a compact disease-resistant plant. It is dry site tolerant when established. From Lynn Collicut of the Morden Research Station in Manitoba, Canada.
Wild Beramot is a lovely native perennial that thrives in prairie conditions and poor soil sites. The pinking lavender tube-like flowers are held in a circle around the bracts, and persist through mid to late summer. The aromatic foliage is deer resistant and smells minty when brushed against. Monarda fistulosa is a good addition to wild flower gardens and prairie gardens. Wild Bergamot is a reliable self-seeder and a wonderful butterfly and hummingbird attractor.
Horsemint or Spotted Bee Balm is a native which flourishes in sandy or well drained sites. The tubular creamy pink flowers are spotted with purple, but their pinkish green lanceolate bracts are really the attention grabbers. The circular flower clusters extend up the purplish stems for an extended time in July and August, providing important food for butterflies, pollinators and hummingbirds. The leaves are narrow and fragrant when touched. Monarda punctata gets the common name Horsemint because it used to be used as medicine for horses.
Sugar Buzz® 'Bubblegum Blast' Bee Balm has an amazing number of bright pink flowers starting in July. The Sugar Buzz® series from Hans Hanson and Walters Gardens is notable for the compact habit and the excellent mildew resistance. The 2" blooms are held on strong upright stems, so Monarda x 'Bubblegum Blast', works especially well in containers as well as perennial borders. The showy flowers are a great source of nectar for both hummingbirds and pollinators.
Sugar Buzz® 'Cherry Pops' Bee Balm is one of a series of new showy Monardas from Walters Gardens of Michigan. The large cherry red flowers are produced mid to late summer over disease resistant dark green foliage. The stems are sturdy and upright, so Sugar Buzz® 'Cherry Pops' makes an excellent cut flower. Pollinators and hummingbirds cluster around the blooms, and the aromatic foliage is also attractive. Unlike some taller Monardas, Sugar Buzz® 'Cherry Pops' does not overrun the whole perennial bed.
Sugar Buzz® 'Cotton Candy' Bee Balm comes from the tireless work of Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens. The Sugar Buzz® series is a line of compact, disease resistant Monardas, and 'Cotton Candy' adds soft pink midsummer flowers to the line These Monardas are good in perennial borders because they do not spread aggressively and they stay compact. Hummingbirds and pollinators love the July and August food source and deer and rabbits leave the aromatic foliage alone.
Sugar Buzz® ‘Grape Gumballs’ Bee Balm is covered with magenta purple 2” flowers in mid to late summer. The foliage is dark green and very disease resistant, as well as deer resistant. Monarda x ‘Grape Gumballs’ comes from the Sugar Buzz® series developed by Hans Hansen and Walters Gardens, and its compact clean habit makes this Bee Balm a great addition to perennial borders, as well as being a good candidate for summer containers.
Sugar Buzz® 'Pink Frosting' Bee Balm is another heavy blooming mildew resistant winner from Walters Gardens Sugar Buzz® series of Monardas. The flowers appear in mid summer and cover the aromatic green foliage. The color is a strong lavender pink and the habit is compact making it a good candidate for containers. The showy blooms attract lots of wildlife to the garden, but not deer which do not like Bee Balm.
Sugar Buzz™ 'Rockin' Raspberry' Bee Balm is another lovely selection from Hans Hansen's hybridizing work at Walters Gardens. The vivid raspberry purple flowers appear in July and cover the compact green foliage into August, especially if deadheaded after the initial bloom. The foliage is dark green, aromatic and mildew resistant. Combined with the compact size and habit, these qualities make Monarda Sugar Buzz™ 'Rockin' Raspberry' a great addition to perennial borders.
Muhlenbergia capillaris has deep rose-purple inflorescences in September, and the effect makes people stop in their tracks and stare. It must have a well-drained site, especially in the winter.
White Muhly Grass comes from Florida Superior Trees, and is only reliably hardy in Zone 7. However, this grass is so beautiful that it is well worth planting as an annual (like Pennisetum 'Rubrum'). The airy white inflorescences make a cloud above the fine green blades starting in late summer, continuing well into the fall. This makes Muhlenbergia ‘White Cloud’ a good fall container plant, and it also performs well in dry, sterile sites. Who knows, you might get lucky and have it survive the winter.
Undaunted® Ruby Muhley Grass ('PUND01S') is a warm season grass which comes into its glory in late summer and fall. The fine green foliage is the setting for delicate airy pink plumes above the basal clump to make a stunning show in mass. Muhlenbergia Undaunted® performs well in dry high pH sites, but also tolerates moist soil, unlike Muhlenbergia capillaris. The showy seedheads are particularly striking when backlit by afternoon light, and they persist for winter interest long after the pink has faded.
Japanese Fiber Banana has glossy banana leaves up to 6' long in one season. The fruits of Musa basjoo are not edible, but the plant overwinters in a sheltered location if heavily, deeply mulched (the one time mulch volcanoes are appropriate...). Per Bruce Crawford, the common name is deceptive because Japanese Fiber Banana is actually native to China.
'Morton Male' Northern Bayberry was selected by Tim Boland while at the Morton Arboretum to serve as a good pollinator for their Silver Sprite™ female selection. Myrica pensylvanica 'Morton Male' has excellent winter hardiness and is semi-evergreen, turning an attractive eggplant purple color in winter. Both selections are excellent colonizers because of their suckering habit. They both tolerate a very large range of soil types and soil moisture conditions. Males should be planted with females in proportions of 1 to 5 for good fruit production. (New name is Morella pensylvanica)
At last, a predictably female Bayberry! Silver Sprite™ ('Morton') has all the qualities of seedling plants but with heavy fruit set as long as there are males nearby. According to Dr. Dirr, you need 20% male plants in the area to guarantee a heavy fruit set. From the Morton Arboretum in Illinois. Our preferred pollinator is Myrica p. 'Morton Male'. (New name is Morella pensylvanica)
Mexican Feather Grass has delicate, hair-like green foliage which is topped by airy tan seedheads in early summer. It is great in mixed containers. Formerly named Stipa. Bruce Crawford of The Rutgers Gardens has had it survive in North Jersey, so maybe it's hardier in the ground in a well-drained site.
‘Cat’s Pajamas’ starts blooming in late spring and continues all summer if periodically sheared after blooming. The numerous flowers on this compact plant are an intense blue and this improved Catmint blooms from the soil to the tips of the dark stems. Even when the flowers are past peak, the rosy purple calyxes add interest to the garden. The habit is compact and dense, making Nepeta x ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ a good “easy care” filler for sunny perennial borders and rock gardens. Nepetas are excellent pollinator attractants and are impervious to deer. From Walters Gardens’ breeding program.
Junior Walker™ Catmint ('Novanepjun') is a seedling of Nepeta 'Walker's Low' that was chosen because it has a neat compact habit and does not seed itself around the garden. The violet-blue flowers start in early June, and continue all summer if deadheaded occasionally. The compact habit of Junior Walker™ makes it an excellent candidate for containers and borders. An introduction by Star Roses.
PRN Preferred: A wonderful flower display on a neater, more compact plant.
Green Gable™ ('NSUHH') Black Gum or Tupelo is a really amazing selection of this native tree. It has the classic brilliant red fall color we know and love, but its habit is a huge departure from regular Nyssas, with an upright pyramidal shape and extremely uniform branching. With its lustrous green foliage in summer, excellent fall color and perfect silhouette in winter, it is clearly the best answer we've seen to the Pear requests people still have. Alex Neubauer of Hidden Hollow Nursery in Tennessee found this exciting native, which is primarily a male form (but probably polygamo-dioecious, which means it will infrequently bear some fruit). Wet site and salt tolerant.
PRN Preferred: This tree has a wonderful upright habit and consistantly beautiful fall color.
Dwarf Mondo Grass is an excellent evergreen groundcover between stepping stones because it has good tolerance for moderate foot traffic. The delicate strap-like leaves are dark green and very uniform. This plant is a good grass-like substitute for lawns in shady areas. Dwarf Mondo Grass is very useful for water run off in shade, as well as water absorption on shady green roofs. A member of the Asparagus family (as you can tell by the occasional blue fruit).
Black Mondo Grass or Lily Turf is a slow growing groundcover with interesting blackish purple strap-like leaves. The habit is clumping but slowly spreading. The short flower spikes have subtle lavender bell-shaped flowers which are followed by small shiny purple berries. The blooms appear in July and August, emerging from the foliage clumps. Leaf color is darkest in full sun, although O. 'Nigrescens' tolerates shade well. This is the same plant as O. 'Nigra'.
'Sasaba' Holly Tea Olive has dramatic dark green deeply incised leaves on a compact, shade loving plant. Dr. Michael Dirr calls it "A plant handler's worst nightmare" because the leaves are very stiff and prickly. Of course, that is what makes it a wonderful evergreen for deer country. The insignificant flowers appear in November and are highly, deliciously fragrant. There is a lovely large plant at the Scott Arboretum, home of so many specimen plants. Slow growing, with good cold tolerance.
Cinnamon Fern has medium green somewhat coarse foliage. The fertile fronds are cinnamon colored, and very upright. Osmunda cinnamomea is very wet site tolerant, and a deciduous creeper. Great in rain gardens.
Royal Fern is a tall broad fronded fern that thrives in wet, shady sites. At 48", it towers over other native ferns and stands out because of its coarse open texture. Osmunda regalis is a deciduous spreader, slowly colonizing moist woodland settings. When provided with consistent moisture, Royal Fern ever tolerates full sun. An excellent tall addition to stream sides, ponds, rain gardens and wet meadows.
Sourwood has strands of bell-shaped white flowers in mid to late summer and brilliant red fall foliage. Oxydendrum arboreum is a wonderful tree for honeybees, producing excellent flavored honey. This is a multi-season beauty from the Ericaceae (Rhododendron family).