Golden Groundsel (formerly Senecio) is a very adaptable native groundcover which produces masses of yellow daisies in spring. Packera aurea flourishes in shady sites, both moist and dry. The green foliage is finely incised and attractive, and the flat topped flower clusters are held above the basal clumps on sturdy stems which makes them good cut flowers. Packera aurea is an excellent groundcover choice for rain gardens, wet meadows and moist to dry woodlands.
'Bowl of Beauty' Herbaceous Peony blooms in late spring and makes a beautiful show with fuchsia pink anemone-form flowers. The dark pink guard petals surround creamy-yellow petaloids. Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty' makes an excellent long stemmed cut flower, with an attractive fragrance.
'Bartzella' Itoh Hybrid Peony has sulfur yellow double flowers in May and June, held on short stems above green disease-resistant foliage. The blooms have red center flares on petals, and 'Bartzella' makes a lovely short cut flower. Roger Anderson of Wisconsin introduced Paeonia x 'Bartzella' in 1986, after years of hybridizing work.
PRN Preferred: A heavy bloomer with bright yellow flowers. Since is it an Itoh, the foliage looks good all season long.
'Cora Louise' Itoh Hybrid Peony is one of the more vigorous Itoh introductions, bred by Roger Anderson of Wisconsin. It combines excellent hardiness with extremely large showy blooms. The 10" flowers have white petals which are maroon at the base, surrounding the yellow stamens. The form is semi-double and the flower production in May is plentiful. Like all the intersectional Peony hybrids, Paeonia 'Cora Louise' is a wonderful tough addition to the perennial garden.
'Old Rose Dandy' Itoh Hybrid Peony blooms in May and June, with large single copper petals enhanced by brick-red flares and yellow stamens. Since 'Old Rose Dandy' is an intersectional hybrid between Tree Peonies and Herbaceous Peonies, the woody stems are quite short and are vigorously covered with handsome disease-resistant foliage. A cross by Chris Laning in 1993.
We grow an outstanding selection of unique Garden Peonies, many of which we have grown for years in our own gardens with great delight. Heights range between 2 and 3' and plants are hardy to zone 3 and 4. Unusual flower forms, both double and single, make great cut flowers. All are deer resistant! Please visit the website for specific varieties and descriptions.
The Peony World has found a significant Holy Grail with the introduction of beautiful crosses between Tree and Garden Peonies. Toichi Itoh of Japan made the original breakthroughs in 1948, but selections resulting from this work have only recently become available. The flowers range from semi-double to double, in clear bright colors from pink, yellow, and lavender to orange, rose and red. The habit is somewhere between the two species, with short woody stems and vigorous green deciduous foliage. See our availability list for specific varieties.
'Heavy Metal' Switchgrass has blue-green foliage that is very upright, with attractive seedheads appearing in July and lasting throughout the winter. One of the earliest Switchgrasses introduced to the trade like all the Panicums this is an important seed source to feed winter birds. Selected by Kurt Bluemel.
'Northwind' Switchgrass has green-tan seedheads above blue-green foliage with a very upright habit. Introduced by Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin. Our favorite upright Panicum, and the perfect tall grass for tight spots. An excellent tan in the winter. 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year. Bruce Neary of BCN Horticultural Services loves 'Northwind' because it never flops.
'Shenandoah' Switchgrass has reddish-tan seedheads above reddish-green foliage with burgundy tips. The fall color is a burgundy-red, turning to a soft tan in winter. Selected by Dr. Hans Simon in Germany and brought into this country by the US National Arboretum. Important food source for winter birds.
PRN Preferred: One of the shortest and showiest Panicums, with red blade tips in early summer.
‘Thundercloud’ Switchgrass is a cross between Panicum ‘Northwind’ and Panicum ‘Cloud Nine’, hybridized by Gary Trucks of Michigan. Panicum ‘Thundercloud’ shares the best characteristics of both its parents in that it is both tall and consistently upright. Its foliage is blue green and the airy seedheads are beautiful, from their appearance in mid summer to their tan dried winter presence. Once established, Panicum ‘Thundercloud’ should not be irrigated or fertilized. All Panicums should not be cut down in the fall, since their winter beauty is wonderful.
Ruby Vase® Persian Ironwood is an excellent choice as a street tree or a showy specimen for small spaces. The habit is a narrow vase shape with tight upright branching. New leaves emerge in spring with an attractive red margin. The green Hamamelis-like foliage is clean and disease resistant all summer, turning lovely shades of yellow, orange and red in fall. The small reddish purple spidery flowers are borne in winter on the twigs, providing food for winter pollinators, and the bark of older plants is attractive patches of green, tan and gray.
'Vanessa' Persian Ironwood was chosen for its upright, columnar form. Parrotia 'Vanessa' has multi-season appeal, starting in winter and spring when attractive mottled bark is offset by small red spidery flowers. The oval shaped foliage emerges in spring with burgundy edges to the scalloped leaves. By summer the foliage is a bright green, taking on stunning shades of red, purple, orange and gold in fall.
Chinese Parrotia or Ironwood is a very rare large shrub or small tree which is highly endangered in its original Chinese habitats. Brought to England by Roy Lancaster, who received this clone from Mikinori Ogisu, the Japanese Botanist. Tim Brotzman, the Ohio nurseryman who is a leading expert on Hamamelis, provided this rarity to us. The green leaves in summer often have a striking purple margin. The fall color is really spectacular, in shades of red, pink and burgundy. Parrotia subaequalis is more compact than P. persica, but has more showy exfoliating bark as it matures. The infrequently appearing red filamentous flowers in winter are similar to Parrotia persica.
Wild Quinine or Feverfew is an interesting native perennial with a number of unusual small wooly white flowers borne in flat-topped showy corymbs. The fragrant green leaves are contrastingly large, making a good setting for the delicate long-lasting blooms. Parthenium has a very long flowering period from late May into August, making it a wonderful back-of-the-border perennial or woods edge softener. Formerly used as a medicinal plant, Wild Quinine is unpalatable to deer and other pests.
'Fenway Park' Boston Ivy has bright yellow leaves that turn to lime-green in summer and brilliant scarlet-red in fall. It was found by Dr. Peter Del Tredici of the Arnold Arboretum near the famous baseball stadium as a chance sport of Parthenocissus tricuspidata. Boston Ivy is salt tolerant.
'Cassian' Fountain Grass has light gold seedheads above fine green foliage. The seedheads are a little more colorful than 'Hameln' when they first emerge. Introduced by Kurt Bluemel. The winter foliage is a pale tan.
'Hameln' Dwarf Fountain Grass has creamy white seedheads, above fine green foliage. This is the most well-known of the Pennisetums, and a real workhorse. Like all Pennisetums, 'Hameln' does best with good drainage. The thin leaves take on an ivory winter color.
Lumen Gold™ (‘JS Jommenik’) Fountain Grass produces golden foliage in spring with a tight mounded form. The yellow blades hold their striking color throughout the spring and early summer, maturing to lemon or light green later. Pennisetum Lumen Gold™ comes from Belgium where it was found by Jan Spruyt. Like Pennisetum 'Hameln', Lumen Gold™ is crowned by attractive 2" plumes in fall and winter. Best if not cut back until spring.
'Piglet' Fountain Grass is more compact than P. 'Hameln' and hardier and showier than P. 'Little Bunny'. 'Piglet' is a good choice for a really compact space. Seedheads are a soft tan, lasting into early winter. Introduced by Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennials
'Red Head' Fountain Grass has huge smoky burgundy bottlebrush seedheads above wide green leaves. Earlier blooming than 'Moudry' and showier. Selected by Brent Horvath from seedlings of P. 'National Arboretum'. It really turns heads when in bloom, and the winter foliage is attractive.
'Karley Rose' Oriental Fountain Grass has very colorful rose-pink inflorescences over green foliage. 'Karley Rose' blooms all summer, with the older seedheads becoming a dark tan. This grass has an open habit.
'Blackbeard' Beardtongue has beautiful foliage in shades of eggplant and dark purple. The color stays intense throughout the summer and is topped by deep purple stems bearing showy lilac to pink open faced flowers. Penstemon 'Blackbeard' makes an excellent long lasting cut flower, and when finished blooming in the garden, the seedheads remain deep purple and attractive. A Walters Nursery introduction.
‘Onyx and Pearls’ Beardtongue comes from Walters Gardens’ breeding program of new beauties. Penstemon digitalis ‘Onyx and Pearls’ is a taller, darker version of this adaptable native, with burgundy foliage and stems which are almost black. The white and pale lavender flower clumps are on tall clusters made even more striking by their black stems. ‘Onyx and Pearls’ blooms for a long period in early to mid summer, and makes an excellent cut flower. The beautiful dark foliage makes a showy rosette well into early winter.
'Denim 'n' Lace' Russian Sage produces sky blue flower spikes for an extended period in mid to late summer. The lacy blooms are produced on the tips of strong stems with grayish green airy aromatic foliage. The individual blue flowers on the spikes of 'Denim 'n' Lace' Perovskia are closely spaced so the clumps look fuller than other Perovskias, and the lavender calyces remain showy after the flowers are finished, extending the ornamental qualities. Excellent drainage is a must for this new introduction from Walters Gardens.
'Little Spire' Russian Sage has blue flowers in July and August, over silver-green aromatic foliage on a compact form, and is dry site tolerant. From Herbert Oudshoorn of Holland. 2020 PHS Gold Medal Plant!
‘Golden Arrow’ Fleece Flower blooms from July to early fall, producing lots of rosy pink to red flower spikes for a prolonged period. The large lance shaped leaves are gold to chartreuse, making a showy background for the blooms. Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Golden Arrow’ is more compact than most Fleece Flowers, and is a good ornamental addition to the edges of rain gardens and ponds. ‘Golden Arrow’ performs best in partial shade.
‘Solar Fare’ Carolina Phlox is a disease resistant member of the Earlibeauty® series from Primrose Path’s breeding program. The large bicolored flowers have pink eyes surrounded by white, produced in showy panicles. The green foliage withstands hot and humid summer conditions and is mildew resistant. Phlox carolina ‘Solar Flare’ is a favorite summer nectar source for butterflies, sphinx moths and hummingbirds.
'Blue Moon' Woodland Phlox blooms in April and May, producing large violet blue fragrant clumps of flowers on delicate stems. Phlox divaricata 'Blue Moon' is a particularly showy example of our native groundcover, naturalizing well in woodland settings. An introduction by the New England Wildflower Society.
'Blue Paradise' Garden Phlox has fragrant flowers that open pale blue and darken to violet blue in July and August. It has good mildew resistant foliage. All Phlox varieties we grow are disease resistant cultivars.
'David' Garden Phlox has fragrant white flowers in July and August and disease resistant foliage. 2002 Perennial Plant of the Year. From FM Mooberry of the Brandywine Conservancy, where Phlox paniculata 'David' was found as a seedling.
'Glamour Girl' Garden Phlox blooms prolifically in mid to late summer. The bright coral pink flower panicles are displayed on dark stems above mildew resistant green foliage. Phlox paniculata 'Glamour Girl' has a lot to offer mixed perennial borders, with height, fragrance and butterfly and hummingbird appeal. An introduction from Walters Garden's breeding program. Will rebloom if deadheaded right after the first bloom flush.
PRN Preferred: The bright coral flowers and dark stems are a real standout in the garden.
'Jeana' Garden Phlox is an unusually mildew-resistant Phlox with bright lavender-pink flowers which have a sweet fragrance. 'Jeana' blooms for an extended time from mid summer to early fall. It was found by (and named after) Jeana Prewitt of Nashville, Tennessee, and the North Creek people got us all enthusiastic about it. In the Mt Cuba Phlox trials, 'Jeana' was overwhelmingly the most attractive cultivar for all pollinators.
PRN Preferred: Have trialed Jeana for many years. Its foliage remains clean all season and it attracts the most butterfies of all the Phlox we grow. The best performing Phlox in Mt. Cuba's Phlox trials.
'Nicky' Garden Phlox has fragrant deep magenta-purple flowers in mid summer. Its very intense color make this and 'Laura' the favorite Phlox of Nanci Angle of Lawrence Landscapes. Introduced by Niche Gardens.
‘Red Riding Hood’ Garden Phlox produces large clumps of cherry red fragrant flowers in mid to late summer. The plants are somewhat compact, and the sturdy stems make Phlox ‘Red Riding Hood’ excellent for cut flower arrangements. The green foliage is more disease resistant if planted in full sun, with good air circulation.
The flowers in April of 'Candy Stripe' Moss Phlox are pink and white stripes, over creeping thread-like green foliage. Needs good drainage.
'Emerald Blue' Moss Phlox is covered with lavender blue flowers in April. Creeping green thread-like foliage is perfect for rock gardens and around walks. Prefers good drainage.
‘Emerald Pink’ Moss Phlox makes a dense carpet of delicate green foliage which somewhat resembles Moss (hence the name). Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Pink’ is covered with masses of bright pink notched flowers in April and May. Since it is a northeast native, Moss Phlox is a good suggestion for naturalizing in sunny well-drained locations where a low groundcover is needed. It also is a lovely addition to rock gardens.
'Scarlet Flame' Moss Phlox has scarlet-rose flowers in April over creeping green thread-like foliage. Works well in rock gardens. Needs good drainage.
'Snowflake' Moss Phlox becomes covered with white flowers in April over creeping green foliage. Excellent for rock gardens, walls and paths. Best in well-drained soil.
'Fashionably Early Crystal' Garden Phlox is another beauty from the prolific plant breeder Hans Hansen. A cross between P. maculata and P. paniculata, 'Fashionably Early Crystal' combines great attributes of both parents. The thick leathery leaves are narrow and highly disease resistant, and the habit is stoloniferous, the large fragrant flowers are white with tiny lavender eyes, and produced in quantity for a month in early summer. If deadheaded, there is often some reblooming in fall.
‘Fashionably Early Flamingo’ Hybrid Phlox starts blooming in early summer and continues intermittently into fall if deadheaded. The flowers are lavender pink and produced in clumps on tall disease free stems. The habit is stoloniferous, so Phlox ‘Fashionably Early Flamingo’ will spread to make a wide patch eventually. The name refers to the earlier bloom period, 2 to 3 weeks before Phlox paniculata.
'Violet Pinwheels' is a beautiful Moss Phlox hybrid from Dr Jim Ault and Chicagoland Grows®. The habit is low and similar to Phlox subulata, but the flowers are a bright violet, a color hard to find in the subulatas. The petals are large and finely notched, resembling their "Pinwheel" name. This exciting new color option would look excellent in rock gardens and around garden paths. Needs good drainage.
'Wanda' hybrid Phlox was shared with Alan Armitage by the gardener who found this spontaneous seedling in her garden. During the testing in the UGC trial gardens, its long flowering period and number of pink blooms really made Phlox x 'Wanda' a standout. The habit is compact and full, with good disease and heat resistance. 'Wanda' would make a great container plant because it blooms most of the summer and even into the fall.
Coppertina® ('Mindia') Ninebark has light pink flowers in June, copper-colored foliage and good red fall color. It comes from Minier Nursery in France. Physocarpus is also wet site tolerant, and the peeling winter bark increases in showiness as Ninebarks age.
Ginger Wine® Ninebark ('SMNPOBLR') is a showy native shrub, offering attractive flowers and foliage from spring through fall. The leaves start as shades of orange and red in spring, and mature to burgundy in summer. The fall color is a mix of red and burgundy. The delicate pinkish white flower clusters appear in late spring and are followed by attractive red seedheads. Physocarpus Ginger Wine® also offers winter interest with tan peeling bark on the older wood.
‘Panther’ (‘N5’) Ninebark is a beautiful columnar Physocarpus that combines deep purple foliage with a tight upright habit. The pink flower clusters appear in spring and provide food for pollinators. The purple disected leaves maintain their dark color all summer, taking on reddish hues in fall. An introduction from Bloomin’ Easy®, a program from Van Belle Nursery of British Columbia.
Summer Wine® ('Seward') Ninebark has pinkish white button-like flowers in June over a compact habit, and bright bronze-purple foliage. Physocarpus opulifolius Summer Wine® has a reddish-purple fall color and is also wet site tolerant.
PRN Preferred: Our favorite of the groundcover types. Best foliage and plentiful flowers for an extended period.
Summer Wine® 'Black' is the darkest Physocarpus on the market to date. The foliage is such a dark purple that it approaches black, and the delicate pink flower clumps really stand out in contrast when they appear in June. As the leaves mature throughout the summer, they take on some more bronzy tones, followed by showy reddish purple fall color. If desired, pruning is most appropriate right after blooming.
Sweet Cherry Tea™ (‘ZLEBiC5’) Ninebark has fine delicate leaves which emerge reddish orange and rapidly mature to deep purple. The flowers have dark pink buds which open to profuse pink clusters in June. The first heavy flowering period leads to the production of rather showy red fruit which feeds small birds. Fall color is shades of red and burgundy, and older plants have an interesting exfoliating bark. A Plants Nouveau introduction from Breeder David Zlasak.
Tiny Wine® ('SMPOTW') Dwarf Ninebark is a dwarf form of our native Physocarpus, with burgundy to bronze foliage. The flowers start opening in late spring, forming bunches of pink and white button-like flowers by June. The showy purple bronze summer foliage is followed by reddish purple fall shades. Does not need pruning, is deer resistant and wet site tolerant; Tiny Wine® is a big step forward for Physocarpus.
The fragrant white flowers of 'Mountain Fire' Japanese Pieris appear in March and April, with bright red new growth appearing on top of the shiny green, evergreen foliage almost all summer. The color of Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' make it look like a very refined Photinia.
Exclamation!™ ('Morton Circle') London Planetree is a hybrid selection by Dr George Ware at the Morton Arboretum. The controlled cross is between our native Sycamore and the Asian species. Platanus x acerifolia Exclamation!™ gets its name for its very upright pyramidal in the winter landscape. In addition to its very upright regular straight habit, Exclamation!™ is also resistant to both Anthracnose and frost cracking, so it makes a very versatile fast growing shade tree which tolerates a broad spectrum of site conditions. Introduced by Chicagolad Grows®.
Variegated London Planetree has green and white foliage, but the most striking characteristic is its brilliant white bark. Like the well-known street tree Platanus x acerifolius, the bark color is revealed when the exfoliating bark drops off. Platanus 'Suttneri' would perform well as a street tree, but the beauty of its bark makes it a great looking candidate as a specimen, displayed against a green backdrop. The first one we've seen has been grown for a number of years at Rare Find Nursery in Jackson, NJ.
Chinese Pearlbloom is a very unusual small tree originally brought from China by E H (‘Chinese’) Wilson to the Arnold Arboretum. A distant relative of Idesia, Poliothyrsis has wonderful late summer flower interest, with airy ivory pyramidal clusters crowning the clean green foliage. The showy flower racemes are produced on reddish stems in August and September on current year’s growth. The effect is similar to a very late-blooming tree Lilac. The fall color is an attractive yellow, with interesting brown lilac-like seed capsules. The winter bark is a brownish gray. The Scott Arboretum has several amazing specimens in their collection. Can be grown as a medium sized tree or a very large shrub.
‘Ruby Slippers’ Solomon’s Seal emerges in spring with red stems supporting the clean green leaves along the length of the stems. Delicate pendant white flowers hang below each pair of leaves in late spring. The blooms are delicately fragrant, and the cut stems make an attractive addition to flower arrangements. Since Polygonatum ‘Ruby Slippers’ spreads slowly to make a solid mat, this Solomon’s Seal makes an excellent shade ground cover.
Variegated Solomon's Seal has white flowers in the spring, over green leaves with white edges. Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' likes moist sites and will colonize slowly to form a large patch eventually. It is also surprisingly dry site tolerant. 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Christmas Fern has green, shiny foliage. Polystichum acrostichoides is an evergreen spreader that looks like a Boston Fern. It hugs the ground in winter.
PRN Preferred: We love the hardiness and the neat evergreen foliage of this fern.
'Flying Dragon' Hardy Orange (syn. 'Monstrosa') is a citrus that can actually be grown in the Northeast. The fruits are golf ball sized yellow-gold oranges in the fall that can be made into a very tart marmalade (lots of sugar needed). The deliciously fragrant white flowers are bourne on the deep green contorted, thorny stems in April and May. The twigs are ornamental for both structure and color in the winter. Just make sure Poncirus 'Flying Dragon' is not planted near play areas, as the thorns are significant.
Bush Cherry blooms in early spring, when its shrubby branches become covered with bright pink blossoms. The flower display is often followed by small red fruit which is attractive to wildlife. The fall color is a good yellow. Since Prunus jacqunemontii is a very early spring bloomer, it makes a great cut branch for early forcing. Another common name is 'Afghan Cherry'.
‘Chestnut Hill’ Cherry Hill is an introduction by the Morris Arboretum of Philadelphia. A more compact form of Prunus ‘Otto Luykens,’ Prunus laurocerasus ‘Chestnut Hill’ is named after the beautiful community in which it was found. Evergreen and rounded in habit, ‘Chestnut Hill’ thrives in shade as well as sun, and tolerates salty conditions better than most broadleaf evergreens. This dark green compact Cherry Laurel can be used as a foundation shrub or as a short dense hedge plant.
The dark green evergreen foliage of 'Otto Luykens' Common Cherry Laurel is compact, topped with highly fragrant white flowers in April and May. Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luykens' is an excellent broadleaf evergreen for shady locations with deer problems. It tolerates salt spray well. Introduced by Hesse Nurseries of Germany.
The first Cherry to bloom in the spring, 'Okame' has bright pink semi-double flowers which appear in late March to early April. Prunus x 'Okame' is a fine-textured cold hardy small tree that lights up the landscape at a time when we all need it. We first heard of this from Paul Meyer of the Morris Arboretum when it was introduced to the US, and it's still our favorite.
Prunus x yedoensis has soft pink flowers that open before the foliage emerges in early April. 'Yoshino' Cherry makes up the famous Cherry Blossom display in Washington DC along with 'Kwanzan' Cherry. Fall foliage is yellow to orange.
Appalachian Mountain Mint has attractively fragrant foliage topped by spiky round silvery white flowers in late summer. The blooms are highly attractive to butterflies. Since Pycanthemum flexuosum spreads by underground stolons, it does a good job on slopes and stream sides. The fall foliage color takes on shades of red for added interest. Wet site and shade tolerant, as well as deer resistant.
As the summer advances the new leaves of Mountain Mint take on a silvery-white coloration to the point where they look like small white Poinsettias. The small pink flowers are a great butterfly attractant, and the foliage is deliciously aromatic. This plant is one of the significant late summer beauties on the High Line in NYC. Its rapid growth habit makes Pycnanthemum muticum a great groundcover.
PRN Preferred: Attracts the most pollinators we've ever seen, very critter resistant.