'Princeton' American Elm is one of the best Ulmus for the classic vase-shaped habit and good resistance to both Elm leaf beetle and Dutch Elm disease. Princeton Elm can serve as a larval host to the Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, and Painted Lady butterflies. Leaves decay rapidly when compared to other hardwoods like Oaks, Maples, and Hickory. They are also high in nutrient content, useful as a soil-building plant where soils are depleted or generally poor. Its fast growing upright characteristics were what made our grandfather, William Flemer Sr., select it in the 1920s and the subsequent excellent D.E.D. resistance was a marvelous unexpected bonus. Salt and wet site tolerant.
Allee® ('Emer II') Lacebark Elm was selected by Dr Dirr on the campus of the University of Georgia at at Athens. Ulmus parvifolia Allee® has a beautiful vase-shaped habit similar to the classic American Elm, but it also has excellent resistance to Dutch Elm and Phloem Necrosis. The foliage is smaller and the bark is attractively mottled in shades of green, orange, tan and gray. Allee® handles urban conditions well, and has proved to be an excellent addition to urban street tree choices.
'Blue Jay' Highbush Blueberry produces delicious fruit in June and July, making it a mid season Blueberry. The delicate waxy bell-shaped flowers are white and are attractive to pollinators in May. The fall color of Vaccinium 'Blue Jay' is bright shades of red and orange, and the winter twigs are also attractive as cut branches. Plant with another cultivar for good fruit production.
'Bluecrop' Highbush Blueberry is a mid-season fruit producer, bearing lots of glaucous blue fruit in early to mid July. The bell-shaped white flowers appear in May and are attractive to butterflies and pollinators. The green disease free foliage turns attractive shades of red tones in fall, and the twigs maintain the red tones throughout the winter. Vaccinium 'Bluecrop' is a good commercial cultivar which performs best when planted near another cultivar. Blueberries thrive in wet, acid sites.
'Jersey' Highbush Blueberry was selected for its commercial fruit value in the mid Atlantic region, producing large high quality berries in late June and July. It is considered a mid to late season Blueberry, and is a great cross pollinator for other Highbush Blueberries. The waxy white bell-shaped flowers appear in May in pendant racemes. The fall color is attractive shades of yellow, orange and red, followed by attractively colored winter twigs. All Vacciniums prefer constant moisture and acid soils.
True to its name, Verbascum ‘Honey Dijon’ is a fast-growing perennial that produces masses of pale yellow to peachy-orange flowers with dark reddish-purple centers in early Spring from May to June. This Mullein is a brightly flowering cultivar created by a cross of Verbascum ‘Jackie’ and Verbascum phoeniceum, tending to stay low-growing with basal foliage reaching heights of only 8”, and flower stalks emerging to an ultimate low height of 1-1.5’. Its short stature and ability to handle full sun in somewhat dry, poor soils makes it a wonderful addition to the front of the perennial border or rock garden, where it will typically remain unbothered by deer and rabbits.
Tall Verbena or Brazilian Vervain is not a hardy perennial for the Mid Atlantic area, but this beautiful annual self-seeds vigorously in perennial beds. The clumps of tiny purple flowers are held on tall thin stems and make a lovely airy show from July through September. Butterflies love the late season flowers and they make a pretty addition to cut flowers because of the long clean stems. We enjoy this tough reappearing annual in our gardens year after year.
‘Lollipop’ Vervain or Verbena blooms for a prolonged period from mid summer through early fall. Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ is a compact selection which is covered with the lavender flower clumps in spite of its shorter stature. Although not winter hardy in the Northeast, ‘Lollipop’ seeds itself readily in the garden. Deadhead the green, stiffly upright stems to continue flower production longer, and to prevent seeding if preferred. A lovely cut flower and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Hot Pink’ is a bright-pink flowering cultivar of Rose Vervain that is revered not only for its incredibly long and floriferous bloom period, but its ability to trail happily as a groundcover. Preferring full sun and well-draining soils, this mildew resistant Rose Vervain attracts butterflies to the garden all season long, blooming from May through to early October. In warmer climates, Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Hot Pink’ is capable of handling some light shade. Being both deer resistant and drought tolerant makes this dutiful bloomer a great consideration for areas requiring a low-growing perennial groundcover.
'Homestead Purple' Clump Verbena has vigorous, low growing green foliage covered with purplish magenta flowers in summer. Needs some winter protection and full sun to perform best. Trim it often to keep the habit neat and flowering.
Blue Vervain is a tall narrow clumping native which produces candelabra-like panicle spikes in mid to late summer. The small violet and purple flowers emerge sequentially, climbing up the short stems of the panicles. Verbena hastata provides nectar for a wide variety of bees and native pollinators, provides seed for Cardinals, Sparrows, and Juncos and its leaves are food for the larvae of several butterflies including the Common Buckeye Butterfly. This is a great native for rain gardens, wet meadows and pollinator gardens. Deadhead to prolong bloom display.
Broadleaf Ironweed blooms in August and September, producing large showy clusters of deep purple flowers with fine petals. Vernonia glauca is somewhat more compact than its cousin V. noveboracensis, and tolerates dryer conditions. Hiding in the background for much of the summer, it really stands out when in bloom in late summer. Butterflies cover the flowers, adding to the show.
'Iron Butterfly' Narrowleaf Ironweed has many bright purple star-like flowers that appear in late summer and fall. Foliage is delicate and thread-like on a compact plant. This Vernonia is very tolerant of site extremes, both dry and wet and works well in the upper areas of bio-swales. Introduced by Dr. Allan Armitage and North Creek Nurseries. One of the native plants chosen by Piet Oudolf for the newly planted meadow garden at Delaware Botanic Gardens. 2023 PHS Gold Medal Plant.
PRN Preferred: Not only beautiful purple flowers, but also delicate unusual fine foliage.
‘Southern Cross’ Ironweed is a natural Vernonia cross, found by Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. It is taller than ‘Iron Butterfly’ and has somewhat larger green leaves, but the purple flowers are just as showy and plentiful. Vernonia x ‘Southern Cross’ provides great color to late summer and early fall gardens. It also is an important food source for bees and other pollinators, while also being deer resistant. The attractive fine foliage looks similar to Amsonia hubrichtii.
'Eveline' Long-leafed Speedwell has showy tall flower spikes of bright reddish violet in June and July, over clean green foliage. Butterflies and pollinators flock to Veronica 'Eveline' while it is in flower. Deadheading increases the bloom period into August. An introduction from Future Plants.
Semi-evergreen and prostrate Veronica peduncularis ‘Whitewater’ is the gardener’s year-round solution to edging borders, walkways, and paths with minimal maintenance. A great replacement for boring turf where light foot traffic may occur, the small, glossy foliage is capable of handling some minor trampling and grows densely enough that you may find it smothering pesky weed species. A blanket of small white flowers with yellow-green centers begin to appear from April to June overtop of a mat of burgundy-green foliage. This hardy perennial makes a great groundcover in full sun to partial shade areas with average soil moisture, and also makes a great specimen scrambling over rock walls or in the container.
'Red Fox' ('Rotfuchs') Spiked Speedwell has short rose-pink flowers that bloom all summer, especially if deadheaded. Veronica spicata 'Red Fox' makes a good low groundcover, and is a good source of nectar for bees and other pollinators. Needs good drainage.
'Royal Candles' ('Glory') Spiked Speedwell has violet blue flowers in June and July over deep green disease resistant foliage. A fantastic plant from Heather and Mike Philpott of England. Veronica spicata 'Royal Candles' reblooms well if deadheaded.
'Georgia Blue' Speedwell is an attractive fine textured groundcover which is covered with small deep blue flowers in midspring into early summer. The ground hugging green foliage takes on hues of burgundy in the fall and winter. Since 'Georgia Blue' is drought tolerant as well as semi-evergreen, it would make an interesting green roof plant. Because of its extended bloom period, it also has an excellent application in containers and rock gardens.
PRN Preferred: This ground-hugging perennial makes an amazing display when in bloom, and the foliage is attractive into the winter, turning burgundy.
Culvers Root has tall white spires of Veronica-like flowers in July and August. It tolerates wet sites very well. There's an amazing patch of Veronicastrum virginicum at the Scott Arboretum in full bloom during the Woody Plant Conference in July. It's worth a visit. A pollinator favorite.
‘Cupid’ Culver’s Root is a tall tough native that produces multiple spikes of lavender blue in late summer into early fall. Veronicastrum ‘Cupid’ is an important nectar source for pollinators and butterflies at that time of year, and they also make a striking cut flower. The green lanceolate leaves grow in a whorled pattern, and the clumps are very long lived, expanding with time. This Veronicastrum is particularly showy because of its deep color.
'Fascination' Culver's Root is a lovely tall native which is topped in July and August by graceful 12" lilac to pale blue spikes. The lanceolate leaves cover the tall stems in a distinct climbing whorl pattern. Veronicastrum 'Fascination' is a tough long lived perennial that is particularly effective in prairie gardens and the back of perennial beds and borders.
Mapleleaf Viburnum is a tough, adaptable plant which thrives in shady, dry sites. Creamy white flat-topped flowers in May are followed by purple fruit in late summer and fall. Foliage is green in summer, changing to subtle shades of pink, rose, red and purple in fall. Will become a broad colony eventually because of its suckering habit. Deciduous.
Koreanspice Viburnum has wonderfully fragrant white flowers in April and May, followed by red and burgundy fall color. Deciduous. This and V. x juddii produce the classic scent we love so much from Viburnums. An added attraction is that V. carlesii actually thrives under Black Walnuts.
Spice Girl® ('Spito') Koreanspice Viburnum blooms in April and May, producing extremely fragrant flower clumps that are pink in bud turning to white snowballs when open. The medium green foliage is more deer resistant than most Viburnums, and the leaves turn attractive shades of red in fall. Viburnum carlesii Spice Girl® does well in sun and partial shade. It would make a lovely fragrant hedge as well as an attractive specimen.
Blue Muffin® ('Christom') Arrowwood Viburnum has white flowers in May and June, followed by stunning blue fruit in summer. Good bronze fall color. It is also salt and wet site tolerant. Important food source for migrating birds. Deciduous.
Chicago Lustre® ('Synnesvedt') Arrowwood Viburnum has beautiful glossy foliage that is topped with white flat flowers in May and June, followed by stunning cymes of bright blue fruit in late summer. Fall color is a nice reddish purple. An excellent introduction by Chicagoland Grows®. This is a great substitute for Euonymus alatus 'Compacta'. Important food source for migrating birds. Deciduous. 2023 PHS Gold Medal Plant.
PRN Preferred: A multi-season Viburnum, offering showy flowers, fruit and fall color.
Chinese Snowball Viburnum produces an enormous quantity of lovely sterile blooms. The snowball flowers hang from the branches in May to June, changing from lime green to white as they mature. Viburnum macrocephalum makes a large vase-shaped plant which bears a close resemblance to a Pee Gee Hydrangea when in bloom. The green dentate foliage is attractive and disease resistant and somewhat pubescent. Since the flowers are sterile, there is no fruit. Pruning for a tighter shape is best done just after the bloom period. A native of China.
The white fertile flowers of Brandywine™ ('Bulk') Smooth Witherod appear in summer over glossy dark green leaves. Fruit display in fall is a stunning mix of rosy pink and dark blue, over deep reddish maroon leaves which persist for a long time. Best pollination results are achieved by planting it with V. 'Winterthur'. From plantsman Mark Bulk. It is wet site tolerant and deciduous.
'Winterthur' Smooth Witherod has white flowers, beautiful pink and purple fruit in summer, and burgundy fall color. Selected by Bill Frederick, with his usual impeccable taste. It is also wet site tolerant and deciduous. Needs a pollinator like V. Brandywine™ for best fruit production.
PRN Preferred: Pink and blue late summer fruit is followed by beautiful long lasting burgundy fall color.
'Popcorn' Doublefile Viburnum produces large quantities of big white snowball blooms in April. The sterile flowers start lime green before maturing to white, and make a stunning show for a month. The habit is upright and somewhat compact. Introduced by David Leach of Ohio, and Dr. Michael Dirr's favorite of the Snowball Doublefile Viburnums. Deciduous, with dark green leathery foliage which stands up to heat better than many of its cousins.
Blackhaw Viburnum has white spring flowers which are very showy in mass, followed by bluish black fruit which birds love. The fall color of Viburnum prunifolium is a handsome mix of orange, red and purple. Can be grown as a very large shrub or a beautiful small ornamental tree. There is a spectacular treeform example of this versatile native at William Frederick's home in Delaware, which convinced us to grow it as a small ornamental tree as well as a shrub. Very shade tolerant. Deciduous.
Leatherleaf Viburnum is a staple shrub for deer county, because the somewhat hairy puckered leaves are not tasty to deer. The foliage is evergreen, and is topped by flat creamy white cymes (flower clumps) in late spring. The long lasting fruit bunches turn red in early fall and mature to glossy black, often persisting into December. Viburnum rhytidophyllum makes an excellent large hedge when planted in masses, and is dense enough to serve as a green fence.
'Green Trump' Leatherleaf Viburnum is a wonderful compact form of Leatherleaf Viburnum from Holland, with a rounder more lustrous dark green evergreen foliage, white flowers in summer and much welcomed unattractiveness to deer. This is our favorite Viburnum rhytidophyllum.
PRN Preferred: The dark green foliage is much more attractive and the compact habit is neat and tidy.
‘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…).
'Nantucket' Viburnum came from a cross made by the late Dr. Egolf between V. x 'Eskimo' and V. macrocephalum f. keteleeri at the National Arboretum in 1988. For some reason this excellent plant only recently got the notice it deserves. The large white ball-shaped flowers appear in April and are mildly fragrant. The neat dark green leaves are semi-evergreen, and Viburnum 'Nantucket' has shown excellent heat resistance, according to Dr. Michael Dirr. The habit is somewhat upright, and would be effective as a hedge as well as a specimen plant.
Prague Viburnum has white flat-topped flowers in May, but the glossy dark green foliage is what makes this Viburnum notable. The leaves are smaller and more lustrous than Leatherleaf Viburnums. Semi-evergreen and very cold tolerant.
'Alleghany' Lantanaphyllum Viburnum comes from the breeding work done by the legendary Dr Don Egolf of the National Arboretum. The creamy white flat flowers clumps appear in May and June. They are followed by attractive red fruit in summer which ripens to blue black and is rapidly consumed by birds. The leaves are dark green and broader and shorter than V. rhytidophylloides. 'Alleghany' is a cross between rhytidophyllum and Lantana, so it makes a dense semi-evergreen hedge.
'Dart's Duke' ('J.N. Select') Lantanaphyllum Viburnum has very large showy white flowers in early summer and bright red fruit in fall. The beautiful dark green leathery semi-evergreen foliage makes this Viburnum from Darthuizer Nursery in Holland a real winner. Foliage is very clean and disease-free, and does not droop in the winter as other rhytidophylloides do.
Vinca minor ‘Illumination’ takes all of the best parts of Periwinkle and cranks them up to eleven – variegated, bright gold foliage with dark green margins remains stunning throughout the year on this creeping evergreen groundcover, while indigo-blue flowers appear in April and sporadically bloom through summer and into the fall. Easy to grow, highly adaptable, and resistant to both deer and rabbits, Vinca minor ‘Illumination’ is the plant lover’s answer to low maintenance gardening. Due to its ability to handle both full sun to partial shade as well as dry soil conditions, ‘Illumination’ Periwinkle can be used for a multitude of purposes, from combating soil erosion on slopes, to creating a groundcover matrix beneath taller perennials and shrubs.
'Silver Gem' Prostrate Blue Violet has beautiful silvery heart-shaped foliage, crowned in March by bluish lavender flowers. The undersides of the leaves are burgundy, making a striking contrast to the silver-netted tops. The trailing habit of this tough native Violet makes it an excellent shade groundcover or rock garden plant. Viola 'Silver Gem' reblooms sporadically throughout the summer. Mt. Cuba found this little beauty and the folks at North Creek introduced it.
Blue Diddley® (‘SPVACBD’) Chastetree has a very compact form, but a multitude of cone-shaped lavender blue flowers from mid summer to fall. Vitex agnus-castus Blue Diddley® can be regarded as a very rigorous perennial, as it periodically dies to the ground (like many dwarf Buddleias), only to spring back up in late spring. Dead wood should be pruned out, and periodic deadheading will intensify the bloom display. Attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, not attractive to deer.
'Shoal Creek' Chastetree has bluish violet flowers in July and August over aromatic grayish green foliage. Butterflies love this plant and it is also dry site tolerant. Vitex agnus-castus 'Shoal Creek' should be cut back hard like a Buddleia in spring.
Summertime Blues™ (‘Helen Froehlich’) Chastetree blooms from mid summer to fall, producing large upright lavender blue spikes with black stems. Vitex x Summertime Blues™ comes from the hybridizing work of Kris Jarantoski, formerly of the Chicago Botanic Garden, so you know it’s winter hardy. The habit is compact and rounded, making Summertime Blues™ a good mid-sized shrub for sunny well-drained locations. Introduced by Plants Nouveau.
Sonic Bloom® Pink ('Bokrasopin') Weigela is a reblooming shrub which produces a series of bright pink trumpet shaped flowers. Sonic Bloom® Pink starts blooming heavily in May, and continues well into the summer months. The green foliage makes a good setting for the blooms. A light pruning after the initial explosion of flowers will make for a stronger rebloom, but it is not essential. Good as a foundation shrub or in mass plantings.
PRN Preferred: The very long bloom period throughout the summer makes this a good candidate for mass plantings as well as a stand-alone shrub.
Sonic Bloom® Red ('Verweig6') Weigela produces a multitude of vivid red trumpet shaped flowers in May, followed by repeat waves of flowers until early fall. The green foliage makes a showy setting for the lipstick red blooms, and a light pruning after the first flush will increase the rebloomimg. Pollinators will love this adaptable, long blooming shrub, and Sonic Bloom® Red makes an excellent hedge or foundation plant.
Spilled Wine® (‘Bokraspiwi’) Weigela has a multitude of deep pink funnel shaped flowers in mid spring and early summer. They cover the deep purple foliage and the compact, wide habit makes Weigela Spilled Wine® look almost like a rose and purple carpet. The flower display is lovely, and so is the purple foliage color which remains all summer after the bloom period is done. Because of the wide but tight habit, Weigela Spilled Wine® does not need pruning to keep its attractive appearance.
PRN Preferred: The broad low habit and the dark purple foliage make this a standout, especially when covered with deep pink flowers.
Very Fine Wine® (‘SMNWFDFPD’) Weigela has lots of pink trumpet-shaped flowers in late spring. They crown the deep purple foliage and attract hummingbirds and butterflies to the numerous flowers. The dark foliage maintains its color well throughout the summer. Weigela florida Proven Winners® Color Choice® Very Fine Wine® is another super-compact shrub from the breeding work of Tim Wood of Spring Meadow™ Nursery. Best pruned after blooming because flowers are borne on old wood.
'Amethyst Falls' American Wisteria has fragrant, short bluish lavender flowers from June to August on current season's growth. It reblooms sporadically throughout the summer. It tolerates wet sites, and works well on pergolas. Introduced by Bob Head of Head-Lea Nursery.
'Nivea' American Wisteria has fragrant white flowers on short racemes in June and July and reblooms sporadically. Less showy but much less aggressive than the Chinese Wisterias. 'Nivea' was reportedly discovered in the wild by Mary Gibson Henry, founder of Pennsylvania's Henry Foundation. Since Wisteria is a legume, its root system fixes atmospheric nitrogen, enabling it o establish and grow well even in the poorest soil.
This mind-boggling interspecies cross is from the hardworking efforts of Dr. Tom Ranney of NCSU's Mountain Research Station. He successfully crossed Franklinia and Gordonia lasianthus (Loblolly Bay), something that has been attempted unsuccessfully many time. The result is a larger, showier late summer flower that looks like a super Franklinia, on a small tree with lustrous semi-evergreen foliage. xGordlinia grandiflora is much more tolerant of varying sites than our native Franklinia. The fall color is lovely shades of red and bronze. Our experience at our nursery is that this early cross from Dr. Ranney is somewhat more cold tolerant than other crosses.
Yellowroot has interesting tiny brownish purple flowers in spring and later produce star-shaped fruit enjoyed by birds and small animals. The foliage of Xanthoriza ia bright green and celery-like, it forms a dense carpet innumerous types of conditions. Yellowroot has long been used by Native Americans as a dye. Fall color starts off yellow and changes to a reddish purple later in the season. Yellowroot spreads to make an excellent colonizing groundcover. Xanthorhiza is great for areas where deer pressure is heavy, as they tend to avoid it. Good for banks and soil stabilization.
'Color Guard' Adam's Needle has a creamy-yellow center stripe that turns rose colored in cooler weather. The white long blooming flower spikes appear in June and July. Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' is evergreen and salt tolerant.
‘Excalibur’ Adam’s Needle has evergreen sword-like foliage from the basal rosette. The sharp leaves are a vivid glaucus blue green with lots of white thread-like filaments curling off the edges. In mid summer Yucca filamentosa ‘Excalibur’ puts out tall sturdy 4’ scapes crowned with large creamy white flowers. Other common names for Adam’s Needle are Spanish Bayonet and Needle Palm, and it is native to beaches, sandy areas and open fields in the Southeast.
True to both its common and scientific names, Golden Alexander, Zizia aurea is a native perennial in the carrot family that is a larval host for swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Beautiful, upright umbels of small yellow flowers appear from April to June over compound foliage, and are a wonderful nectar source for springtime pollinators. Golden Alexander’s specific epithet, “aurea”, literally means “golden”, in reference to the abundant blooms that make for quite a show both in the garden as well as in fresh cut flower arrangements. Easily adaptable to various soil and light conditions, Zizia aurea is a fast grower that will happily spread by both seed and rhizomatous growth, occasionally forming dense colonies in ideal locations. Zizia aurea is the recipient of the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s NC Wildflower of the Year Award in 2012 for its outstanding performance in the landscape.