We believe we grow one of the most unique selections of plants available in the state. We attribute this to our passion, perspective, influences, and the fact we grow and seek much of our own, and select many of our own uniquely named cultivars. Perhaps our plant selection may be as easily identified by what we don’t grow, a portion of which are such popular plants most nurseries would consider it economically untenable not to carry. Perhaps it may be our loss, but we rest assured these plants will be found elsewhere, so the customer will not be let down. For now we stick true to our personal tastes. We believe less is more, and the number of types of plants we grow reflects this, as we have a comparatively small inventory of just over 300 varieties. Our inventory will vary from year to year based on our success in overwintering, propagation, sales, and any new additions. We carry one gallon pots for retail sales of all our perennials. The cost is either $12 or $14 depending on the plant. These prices reflect our on-farm, real-time propagation methods, and the difficulty or ease an individual plant may present in this process. All our plants are hardy to at least zone 5. For anyone building a garden from scratch, or in the field of garden design, thus looking for a larger quantity of one type of plant, there is the option to buy trays of 15 quart size pots at a more economical price. This option varies from plant to plant and season to season. Some plants are unavailable this way.
Potting soil is made on-site and most plants are potted anew each spring. Due to the nature of our operation we are particularly susceptible to variations in weather from year to year, and strive to have most of our plants available by June 1. Some of these will have had plenty of time to root, others not. Flowering tends to be seasonally correct (not forced) and provides a seasonal cross-section of flowering succession month by month. We recommend buying plants which have not been shipped from hothouses from the south, (and which are over-fertilized, possibly sprayed with pesticides, etc.) but from local sources who maintain their own stock. Locally grown plants are much more likely to survive our local climate and the growing practices can be personally consulted. Maybe this is common sense, though the temptation is there when a plant is blooming so profusely, a month before its regular bloom time, out of sync with our climate. Spring fever takes over. Our stock is not organic due to the use of a slow-release pelletized fertilizer, yet we do not use any pesticides whatsoever. Furthermore, our lack of shipping and ubiquitous hothouses (one small) keeps our carbon footprint very low. Please recycle any (and only) pots you may have purchased from us for reuse by the nursery. We try to remain as sustainable an operation as possible.
Invasive vs. Strong-growing
We do not carry any plants known to be invasive in the state of Maine. However, we do suggest you pay close attention to the behavior of a plant, particularly prolifically self-sowing plants, to determine your level of comfort with this often useful, and sometimes discouraging characteristic. Read the plant descriptions thoroughly in order to educate yourself concerning growth habit and means of reproduction.
Often the term “invasive” is misused for ‘strong-growing’, which many of our plants are. This is their nature, yet they are determinate in growth and will stop once reaching a particular size. Our biggest concern (aside from true invasives) are plants, which once established, cannot be completely removed (without the use of herbicides), and regenerate from small pieces of remaining root – indefinitely (think Bishop’s weed, or comfrey). Strong-growing plants are often the lowest-maintenance if their growth habit is anticipated and they are used in conjunction with other strong-growers. This is one of a few prerequisites in creating a low-maintenance garden (see resource: lists- “Robust and long-lived perennials useful for less-intensively maintained gardens”). Solidago and Asclepias are strong-growing native genera which, given the right species, will dominate a garden in an ‘invasive manner’, yet are known to be very beneficial to wildlife – and are beautiful. A gardener has to decide for themselves if this growth habit is acceptable given their objectives and the size of the planting area, i.e. willing to have a less-diverse planting in order to accommodate particular choice plants.
The North American (Northeast) Aesthetic
Over the years European botanists and nurseryman crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of useful ornamental plants from North America, particularly those of prairie habitats. These efforts have led to many new hybrids and cultivars being developed in Europe, from our own native stock. Beginning late in the 20th century, the New Perennial Movement in Europe, led by Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf, brought to the forefront of contemporary garden/landscape design many of these northeast natives and mid-west prairie plants (forbs and grasses) which we have come to love: Echinacea, Monarda, Aster, Solidago, Eupatorium, Asclepias, and grasses such as Andropogon, Sporobolus, and Panicum, to name a few. Many of these plants owe their claim to fame not only because of their showy and abundant flowers, at a time when many European wildflowers are past their height, but also for their long-lasting structure which persists well into winter in skeletal form (see resources: lists – “Plants with long-lasting seed-heads and/or winter skeleton”). New hybrids and cultivars of these North American genera continue to be introduced to the trade. One result of all this is a simultaneous popularity surge in plants which are aesthetically superior and fitting for a naturalistic planting,andplants which are wildlife friendly and well-adapted to the state of Maine. We canhave a beautiful, low-maintenance, wildlife-friendly garden year-round here in New England due to these developments and our wonderfully useful indigenous flora.
Native vs. Non-native . . . Species, Hybrid, Cultivar
At present our plant selection is roughly half North American and half European/Asian in origin. Because we are greatly interested in the artistic prerequisite of a plant, we have allowed many of these non-natives to remain part of our selection, even though some have little benefit to native insect herbivores. Many do provide nectar, however (see resources: lists – “Nectar”). Our selection is leaning more and more strongly toward North American plants every year, but will always contain some of both. We believe the inspiration and pleasure found in gardening with novel plants from foreign climes remains a legitimate source of creativity. But, as is becoming more apparent, a balance must be found. This is particularly true for ever-expanding urban and suburban areas lacking in diverse natural habitats, and which are therefore incapable of supporting native insects and the food chain which rests upon them. Aesthetically speaking, North American genera, by in large, have some of the most striking and long-lasting forms. Both the Highline in New York City and Lurie Gardenin Chicago provide excellent examples of large-scale public landscapes with a majority of natives combined with a minority non-natives (see resources: links – “Naturalistic Public Gardens”). Many natives (considering the whole flora of a region), though beneficial to wildlife, are not ornamental enough to incorporate into highly-visible ornamental landscapes, particularly public ones. Furthermore, many are very aggressive growing/self-sowing and are not compatible for a low-maintenance and diverse planting. What the public generally refers to and admires in a native flora is something akin to a charismatic mega-flora.
Native species plants are the best for supporting wildlife largely because they support native herbivorous insects, the unsuspected top herbivore (not deer or woodchucks) of our local ecological habitats. Focus tends to be on nectar as the greatest attribute of native plants, which is certainly important, though non-natives can provide nectar just as well. Asclepias syrica, one of our native milkweeds, is not only important to Monarch butterflies due to its nectar, but even more so, because it is the only genus which provides forage for the Monarch butterfly larvae. This is an important aspect of insect-plant relationships; host-plant and larvae have co-evolved and many, like the Monarch, are specialists. With this in mind, one must understand that to learn to love supporting our native wildlife means learning to love feeding herbivorous insects (and thus carnivorous insects, songbirds, etc.). In order to feed our native herbivorous insects we must learn to embrace, or at least tolerate, another aspect of ecological, natural, or naturalistic plantings – bug-eaten foliage. Luckily these planting styles are the most accommodating to this occurrence. The ideal plant in our mind is an ultimately useful plant – ornamental throughout the seasons (dynamic) and edible (part of the food chain).
Hybrid plants are crosses between two different species of a genera. This type of crossing most often results in a variety of spectacular flower colors (think Echinacea and Achillea), but usually the form remains much the same. This is an example of how intrinsic form is to the soul of a plant, and why we should embrace it in our gardens (see resources: lists and terms – “Plants with a long season of interest”). Many hybrids are sterile – they do not produce nectar, pollen or seed. They are dead to pollinators and seed-eating birds (and seed-savers). We try to limit our use of these plants, though they remain the plant industry’s number one money-machine, and have thus made it illegal to propagate such plants for further sale based on ownership of plant patents. Cultivars are “named” wild species plants which are grown in cultivation. Individuals are selected for outstanding characteristics and are maintained through vegetative propagation (cloning) in order to remain true to type. Cultivars are another major source of new commercial introductions. Yet, cultivarsarecapable of producing nectar, pollen, and seed, and seedlings will often resort to the species phenotype if allowed to self-sow. Some cultivars come true to type from seed. We have focused largely on both species plants and cultivars because of these factors, and because they tend to be the most natural looking, thus most fitting for our design work.
Nursery Catalog 2017
Herbaceous perennials are the ideal artistic plant-medium for naturalistic planting design. They are quick to mature, diverse in their character, and most importantly, easy to move around and arrange as one inevitably does to fine-tune a design idea. Here we present what we consider the ultimate selection for use here in Maine.
Key – LIGHT: Su (Sun), HSh (Half-shade),Sh (Shade-tolerant)
ACHILLEA, Asteraceae, yarrow
An important genus for the garden, especially because of the unusual inflorescence, a flat pancake-like flower- head whose form is indispensable among the numerous spike and cluster-shaped inflorescences in the garden. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Tolerant of dry low-fertility soils where they spread moderately. May fail to over-winter in poorly-drained soils. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity less than 10 years.
2′ / white / June-Sept. / Su
Wild yarrow is considerably more persistent than most hybrids on the market due to its wild inclination of setting seed. Best suited to larger meadow-like plantings where this behavior is desired. Typical umbel-shaped inflorescence in bright white. Native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. A naturalized local selection.
filipendulina ‘Parker’s Variety’
3′ / deep yellow / June.-Sept. / Su
A cultivar of the species which is the only one that can truly be considered perennial. Remarkably long lasting structure for arid plantings. Native to the Caucasus Mountains in southeastern Europe.
2′ / bright pink / June-Sept. / Su
A seed grown cultivar with dark green foliage and striking bright-pink umbels.
2′ / soft pink / June-Sept. / Su
A local selection of millefolium with beautiful soft pink flowers which fade to off-white. Self-sowing.
ACTAEA, Ranunculaceae, baneberry
Indispensable plants for shady spots. Foliage is composite pinnate or bipinnate, and flowers are small white or yellowish on elongated spikes. In the wild these plants grow in damp woods or ravines where the sun seldom shines. In gardens they can tolerate a good deal of sun provided the soil does not dry out. Slowly-spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
6′ / white / July-Aug. / HSh-Sh
A large plant with long, slender and upright, white flower spikes on long stems rising above green finely-cut foliage. Native to eastern North America.
6′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A giant plant with dark green foliage tinted purple and elongated flower candles. The white flowers have purple-red calyxes and flower stems. A very strong plant which never collapses. The red of the foliage intensifies in full sunlight. More drought tolerant than other selections. Species native to Russia, China, Korea and Japan.
simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’
5′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A cultivar with black-purple foliage, one of the darkest colored of all, though less tolerant of dryness.
AGASTACHE, Lamiaceae, giant hyssop
Wonderful garden plants with extremely strong stems and young foliage covered in a purple haze and smelling of licorice. The plants produce flowers over a long period and are frequented by bees and butterflies. Slate gray Juncos, sparrows and finches peck at the seeds throughout the fall and winter. The plants are often short-lived, so they should be given an opportunity to self-seed. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
3′ / blue / July-Sept. / Su
A hybrid of A. rugosa and A. feoniculum, with shiny foliage and dark spikes covered with true blue flowers. Sterile so not self-seeding, but lasts longer.
3′ / purple / July-Sept. / Su
A bushy hybrid with numerous tall spikes full of small purple flower. Sterile so not self-sowing, but longer lived.
6′ / green-yellow / July-Sept. / Su
A tall, slender species with green-yellow spikes on sturdy, long stems, and whose foliage is lacking the common mint fragrance of other varieties. An exclamation mark in the garden throughout the winter. Native to central prairie regions of US and Canada.
ALLIUM, Liliaceae, onion
Ornamental onions, with their more or less spherical inflorescences covered in small flowers, have become very popular in recent years, as this architectural form is unique and indispensable. Allium is the largest genus of all bulbous plants containing hundreds of species including such edibles as onion, leek, garlic, and chives. A fewer number of species create dense mats of moderately spreading rhizomatous roots, and thus are more useful when used in naturalistic plantings. As well, unlike bulbous alliums, these species keep their attractive leaves all season and can thus be used more extensively. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
1′ / lilac-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su
A selection of A. senescens with very thin snake-like foliage, narrow flower stems, and an abundance of smaller spheres of flowers. A Campo di Fiori selection. Species native to middle, eastern, and south-western Europe.
angulosum ‘Summer Beauty’
2′ / pink / July-Sept. / Su
Similar to A. senescens, yet earlier and longer flowering, with a pink spherical inflorescence and bright-green foliage. Species native to a wide region of central Europe and northern Asia.
2′ / red-purple / June / Su
A summer blooming bulbous allium with 2 red-purple, egg-shaped inflorescence floating upon long, wiry stems. Good for naturalizing. Native to northern Africa and western Asia, with reports of naturalizing in New York state, US.
AMORPHA, Leguminosae, lead plant
3′ / purple / June-Aug. / Su
Leadplant is a small deciduous, bushy shrub in the pea family, native to well-drained soils of the North American prairie. It has small purple flowers grouped in finger-like racemes and protruding from each flower are bright orange-tipped stamens. Very beautiful small- leafed, pinnate, soft-haired foliage gives it a leaden hue and its common name. Its roots can reach 4 feet deep making it drought tolerant. Particularly attractive when grown within low-growing grasses, much like it is found in the wild. Non-spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Slow to establish.
ALTHAEA, Malvaceae, marshmallow
These plants somewhat resemble a hollyhock in their overall form, but with gray soft, felted triangular leaves and small pale-pink flowers with fat dark pink stamen centers. The flowers are followed by fat round seedpods sometimes called cheeses. Non-spreading. Native to Europe, western Asia and north Africa.
3′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A selection of A. officinalis of shorter stature with particularly soft gray leaves and small white flowers. Non-spreading. A Campo di Fiori selection.
AMSONIA, Apocynaceae, bluestar
Virtually ideal, long-lived, slowly spreading garden plants with narrow, hairless leaves, racemes of pale blue star-like flowers, and a tidy shrub-like form. Very good structure from spring to late winter with long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
2′ / steel-blue / June-July / Su-HSh
The decorative value of this plant is mainly due to the needle-shaped leaves which turn a wonderful shade of orange and yellow in autumn. The small racemes of steel-blue flowers in early summer are an added attraction. Native to the Ouachita mountains in central Arkansas.
2′ / steel-blue / June-July / Su-HSh
A strong and slow growing but extremely long-lasting plant which eventually forms solid clumps with elongated willowy leaves. Bears striking racemes of steel-blue star-shaped flowers followed by attractive oblong seedpods. Beautiful autumn coloring is also part of the bargain. Native to Missouri.
ANAPHALIS, Asteraceae, pearly everlasting
2′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
Pearly everlasting is the one species native to North America. Attractive wooly dark gray-green lanceolate foliage and small papery white flowers born in flat heads. Limited spread. Particularly at home in humus- rich woodland soil in half-shade. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seedheads and/or winter skeleton. A local selection. This plant provides food for the larvae of the American Painted Lady butterfly, which is often seen in the nursery browsing on the foliage.
ANEMONE, Rununculaceae, windflower
This anemone from China and Japan flowers last, grows tallest, and is moderately spreading. They have large deeply-cut foliage and airy racemes of relatively large delicate flowers on long stems. Must be protected during the first winter. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / pale pink / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A tall growing cultivar which bears pale pink flowers. Can become rampant on fertile soil.
ARALIA, Araliaceae, spikenard
5′ / cream / June-July / Su-HSh
The smallest species in the genus from eastern North America. Bears compound leaves and panicles of cream-colored, fluffy, ivy-like flowers followed by shiny black berries. Although it grows best in semi-shade and fertile, moisture-retentive soil, it is remarkably strong and can tolerate poor soil, sun and drought. It has a limited spread in light shade. Robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
ARTEMESIA, Asteraceae, white sage
ludoviciana ‘Valerie Finnis’
18″ / gray / June / Su
This selection bears silvery-white, felt-like, broad aromatic foliage forming a non-invasive, moderately spreading, compact hummock. The gray color which knits all other colors together. It is recommended to cut back the whole plant to 8 just before the flowers appear. This will prevent the plant from collapsing into disarray in summer, with all the stems tangled up together. Tolerant of dry infertile soils. This species is the most widespread, native to North America coast to coast.
ARUNCUS, Rosaceae, goat’s beard
Indestructible plants which will grow almost anywhere provided they are given time to acclimatize. Their foliage is typical of the rose family, composite and divided, with an inflorescence of cream colored flowers in elegant plumes. Non-spreading showy plants for the woodland border. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / cream / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A very tough plant with attractive divided foliage and large plumes of long-lasting cream-colored flowers. Useful in dry shade. Native to North America.
4′ / cream / May-July / Su-HSh
A hybrid with finely dissected pinnatifid foliage and creamy white flowering panicles. Slow growing.
ASURUM, Aristolochiaceae, ginger
8″ / brown / Mar.-April / HSh-Sh
Moderately spreading plants for deep shade and good woodland soil that does not dry out. Bears 4 kidney shaped, dark, glossy evergreen leaves with light green veins. The curious three-petal brown flowers remain concealed under the leaves. Ideal groundcover in a woodland setting provided the soil does not dry out..
ASCLEPIAS, Asclepiadaceae, milkweed
Plants of North American origin with fleshy lance-like foliage and unique sweet-smelling flowers in loose umbels, which develop into large pointed seed pods. More importantly, they are the sole food source for Monarch butterfly larvae. New growth emerges late in spring. All species are native to eastern North America.
4′ / pale pink / July / Su
A sturdy border plant with umbel-shaped inflorescences covered in sweet-smelling pale pink flowers which are dark red in bud. The flowers attract many insects and are followed by attractive upright, pointed seedpods. A non-spreading, relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 5 years or less.
3′ / orange / June-Aug. / Su
Bushy clumps with umbels of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers atop upright to reclining hairy stems, with narrow lance-shaped leaves. Tolerant of dry infertile soils and somewhat slow to establish with a limited spread. Does not transplant well due to its deep tap root, so best left alone. Unlike other milkweeds, this species stems do not exude milky sap when broken.
ASTER, Asteraceae, aster
Many aster species have been ignored over time, some of which are very beautiful. Their charming simplicity and abundance of flowers late in the gardening season has brought them into the spotlight once again. Asters are strong plants which thrive almost anywhere. Some varieties must be divided every 3-4 years in spring, otherwise the clumps will become too big and the outside flower stalks will collapse. Recently the genus has been taxonomically reorganized following recent DNA-based evidence. We are sticking to the old names as the new ones are not yet familiar outside the botanical community (or by us). As New Englanders we are charmed to live in a landscape which is host to a plethora and diversity of asters which adorn our landscape for months in the fall. Here at Campo di Fiori we have been unable to resist such treasures and have undergone much searching and trial of several new native selections.
5′ / silvery-pale blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A bushy plant with clouds of small silvery pale blue flowers late in autumn. Moderately to slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection. Native to eastern North America.
cordifolius ‘Little Carlows Mother’
4′ / soft blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A bushy plant with clouds of small soft blue flowers with yellow centers. Moderate to slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection similar to the renowned, but locally unavailable, European hybrid Little Carlow. Native to eastern North America.
4′ / pale pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A bushy plant with clouds of small pale pink flowers, and masses of dark green tiny leaves. Moderately-slow spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection. Native to eastern North America.
cordifolius ‘Black Lace’
4′ / soft blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A bushy plant with dark purple-black stems, and foliage and buds subtly trimmed in dark purple. Clouds of soft blue flowers. Moderately-slow spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection. Native to eastern North America.
4′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A bushy plant with clouds of medium-sized, white flowers late in autumn. The largest flowered of all the cultivars. Moderately to slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection. Native to eastern North America.
2′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A compact aster with narrow heather-like foliage and arching inflorescences covered in delicate, tiny, white yellow centered flowers. Unique habit. Thrives in a sunny dry location where it spreads moderately. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection. Native to eastern North America.
5′ / violet-blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A wonderful tall species with gray-green waxy foliage and elongated bunches of violet-blue flowers. One of the most attractive wild asters. Needs support from surrounding plants. Slowly spreading. Native to eastern North America.
5′ / soft violet-blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A cultivar of A. laevis with very fleshy dark gray-green foliage and elongated bunches of compact light violet-blue flowers. Taller and lankier than the species. Slowly spreading. A Campo di Fiori selection.
2′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A bushy cultivar with very dark, small, purple-black foliage and an abundance of tiny free-flowering little white blooms with reddish centers. The foliage color ensures the plant is always attractive even when not in flower. Slowly-spreading and self-sowing. A Campo di Fiori selection.
lateriflorus ‘Town Farm’
4′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A selection with very dark green, minute foliage, and clouds of little white flowers. Interesting stiff, upright, shrub-like habit. The foliage color ensures the plant is always attractive even when not in flower. Slowly-spreading and self-sowing. A Campo di Fiori selection.
2′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A coarse plant with broad leaves and umbel-shaped inflorescences full of long-lasting white flowers made distinct by stiff intermittently-spaced petals. Large silvery bracts remain through the winter. Tolerates a great deal of shade and drought where it forms a dense, moderately-spreading ground cover via rhizomes. A Campo di Fiori selection. Native to eastern North America.
macrophyllus ‘Desert Rose’
2′ / pale pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A cultivar with unique dark leathery leaves with reddish mottling, and umbel-shaped inflorescences full of pale pink star shaped flowers. The stiff, intermittently-spaced petals gradually turn pink at the tips and fade very slowly and beautifully. Large silvery bracts remain through the winter. Tolerates full sun and dry infertile soil where it forms a slowly-spreading ground cover via rhizomes. A Campo di Fiori selection.
2′ / violet / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
Our tallest selection of the species, which also has the darkest violet colored flowers. Large silvery bracts remain through the winter. Tolerates full sun and dry infertile soil where it forms a slowly-spreading ground cover via rhizomes. A Campo di Fiori selection.
novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’
2′ / royal purple / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A dwarf cultivar of New England aster with a profuse inflorescence of royal purple flowers. Slowly-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to eastern North America.
novae-angliae ‘Alma Potschke’
4′ / bright pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A cultivar with intense bright pink flowers on sturdy stems. Slowly-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / raspberry pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A tall bushy cultivar of the New England aster with course foliage and beautiful raspberry pink flowers. Slowly-spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / candy-pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A tall bushy selection with beautiful candy-pink flowers and contrasting bright yellow centers. Slowly-spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection.
4′ / purple / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A shorter cultivar with long paddle shaped leaves and abundant umbel-like inflorescences of small purple flowers atop strong stems. Especially nice autumn color. Sometimes fails to bloom due to early hard frosts as it is the last of the flowering plants. Moderately-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Siberia.
6′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A tall growing plant with inflorescences of creamy white flowers grouped into large flat umbels held on dark red stems. An important plant for the back of the border whose beautiful silhouette persists through the winter. This extremely strong moderately-spreading plant will thrive anywhere. One of the first native asters to bloom. Self-sows. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
ASTILBE, Saxifragaceae, false goats beard
Plants with beautiful pinnate leaves and panicles of flowers that look a little like spirea. They have a shallow root system and the slightest lack of water will make their leaves curl up and turn brown. Numerous cultivars have been introduced, yet we have chosen a few with particularly long-lasting architectural qualities and color shades which can be readily incorporated into a naturalistic planting. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to China.
chinensis var. taquetii ‘Purpurlanze’
3′ / purple-pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A stiff upright plant with a narrow foot long, lightly branched, purple-pink inflorescence. Spreads well but is not rampant. Tolerates more drought then other astilbes.
chinensis ‘Visions in Pink’
2′ / soft pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A recent introduction with compact soft pink plumes.
chinensis ‘Visions in Red’
2′ / purple-red / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A recent introduction with compact dark purple-red plumes.
ASTRANTIA, Apiaceae, masterwort
Unique old fashioned plants which are back in fashion. Attractive glossy and shallowly indented foliage. The flowers are subtly colored bracts (called involucres with umbels) within which the true umbel-shaped flower can be seen. All like cool, fertile, moisture-retentive soil, and performance is strongly dependent on habitat. Slow to moderately-spreading. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Native to central and eastern Europe.
major ‘Abbey Road’
2′ / dark purple-pink / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A recent introduction with dark purple-pink flowers on dark stems.
2′ / antique-rose / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A particularly vigorous and long-blooming hybrid with antique-rose colored flowers.
2′ / cream / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A cultivar with large cream colored flowers with large green bracts. Vigorous.
BAPTISIA, Fabaceae, false indigo
Wonderful plants whose popularity has risen dramatically with the recent native plant movement. They look a little like lupins (they are related) but have far more verve. These slowly spreading plants reach a ripe old age but take some time to become established. They turn a contrasting black in autumn. Deeply-rooted and drought tolerant. Very good structure from spring to late winter with long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
3′ / indigo blue / June / Su
The strong steams bear bluish-green leaves and truly indigo blue flowers. These are followed by fat gray-green pods which turn black in winter. The most cultivated species. Native to much of North America.
australis ‘Purple Smoke’
4′ / purple-blue / May-June / Su
A hybrid between B. leucantha and B. australis with purple-blue flowers and stems covered in a smoky haze of anthracite.
australis ‘Lemon Meringue’
4′ / soft yellow / May-June / Su
A hybrid between B. sphaerocarpa and B. australis with soft yellow flowers and stems covered in a smoky haze of anthracite.
australis ‘Dutch Chocolate’
4′ / dark purple / May-June / Su
A hybrid between B. leucantha and B. australis with deep dark purple flowers. Enchanting.
4′ / cream / May-June / Su
Tallest of the baptisias with a unique statuesque tree-like habit. Adorned with cream colored lupin-like flowers in tall and sturdy racemes reaching well above a mound of trifoliate bluish-green leaves. Purple black stems and buds are covered in a whitish bloom. Native to midwest North America.
sphaerocarpa ‘Screamin Yellow’
3′ / bright yellow / May / Su
A cultivar noted for its profuse bloom of bright yellow pea-like flowers in erect racemes that rise well above a mound of bright green trifoliate leaves. Rounded seed pods turn tan-brown when ripe. Native to south-central U.S.
BRUNNERA, Boraginaceae, bugloss
2′ / sky-blue / May / HSh-Sh
A woodland plant from the Caucasus with large tufts of sky-blue forget-me-not flowers and large, rough-textured, heart-shaped leaves. Moderately spreading and self-sowing in moisture-retentive, humus-rich soil. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
CALAMINTHA, Lamiaceae, calamint
A genus of aromatic garden plants closely related to thyme and mint. The most important feature are the long flower stems on which an airy inflorescence is formed. Tolerant of dry low-fertility soils. Limited spread and moderately self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
subsp. nepeta ‘Blue Cloud’
1′ / pale blue / July-Oct. / Su
Low plants for a sunny spot with very aromatic peppermint smelling, blue-green leaves and endlessly flowering clouds of pale blue-lipped flowers. Native to Europe and the Mediterranean region.
subsp. nepeta ‘White Cloud’
1′ / pure white / July-Oct. / Su
A white flowered cultivar of the species, similar to Blue Cloud.
CAMASSIA, Hyacinthaceae, camas
Beautiful bulbs which produce spires of star-like flowers. Suited to naturalizing in moisture-retentive soils where they spread slowly. Dig the plants every four years to separate the bulbs. This will ensure better flower production. Like daffodils, the foliage becomes untidy after flowering, so best situated behind a taller-growing, later-flowering plant. Native to moist mountain meadows from British Columbia to Southern California. Roots used as a food source by many native peoples of these regions.
3′ / deep blue / May-June / Su
A cultivar with hefty spires of deep blue.
3′ / pale blue-white / May-June / Su
A cultivar with pale blue-white flower spires.
2′ / silver-blue / May-June / Su
Produces oblong spikes of large, silver-blue, star-like flowers.
1′ / deep-blue / May-June / Su
Similar in appearance to leichtlinii yet smaller and more ornamental. Ideal for naturalizing in a wildflower meadow with its deep blue flowers contrasting beautifully with species of buttercup.
CARDAMINE, Brassicaceae, lady’s smock
16″ / soft-pink / May / Su
The lady’s smock, known as the harbinger of spring, grows profusely in damp pastures, but is also a woodland plant. Soft-pink perfect flowers and dissected dark green foliage tinged with purple. Can be rampant on heavy soils through self-sowing. Useful for naturalizing in wet meadows. Native to Europe and western Asia. A local selection.
CEPHALARIA, Dipsacaceae, giant scabious
8″ / lemon yellow / June-July / Su-HSh
A huge plant with a subtle lightly branched inflorescence full of lemon yellow scabiosa-like flowers above large coarsely indented foliage. Because of its airy appearance it is also suitable for planting between medium-tall plants. The plants do not collapse when grown in soil that is not very wet. Moderately self-sowing and non-spreading. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Native to the Caucasus.
CLEMATIS, Ranunculaceae, old man’s beard
There are a few perennial Clematis species which never or rarely become woody and which emerge from the soil every spring. However, like the majority of species, they must be provided support, ideally by surrounding shrubs or sturdy perennials. Rich soil is appreciated. Non-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
2′ / dark blue / June-July / Su
A delightful species with pretty oval leaves and large dark blue slightly pendulous bell-shaped flowers with cream-colored centers. Attractive fluffy seed heads in the fall. Native to Europe and Asia.
COREOPSIS, Asteraceae, tickseed
8′ / yellow / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
An attractive tall species of tickseed suitable for the back of the border. Slender stems with rosettes of narrow, elegantly divided foliage and racemes of small yellow flowers with brown centers. Slowly-spreading. Native to North America.
2′ / cream-yellow / June-Aug. / Su
This cultivar of threadleaf coreopsis is a strong growing rhizomatous perennial which grows in dense bushy clumps, and whose daisy-like creamy yellow flowers appear in dense clusters from late spring to late summer. Beautiful filigreed foliage. Moderately spreading. Tolerant of drought and low fertility. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to eastern US.
CRAMBE, Brassicaceae, sea kale
1′ / white / June / Su
The wild sea kale of coastal sands. An extremely wind-resistant plant with unique puckered fleshy foliage of pure bluish-gray. The flower hummocks, with their hundreds of white flowers, turn to clusters of distinctive round seeds. Drought tolerant and limited spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to the coasts of Europe from the North Atlantic to the Black Sea. Edible perennial.
DALEA, Fabaceae, prairie clover
2′ / purple-red / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A tall plant with three clover-like leaves and cone-shaped spikes on which, from bottom to top, whorls of purple-red flowers keep on appearing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to central North America.
2′ / white / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A beautiful white-flowered form of prairie clover.
DARMERA, Saxifragaceae, umbrella plant
2′ / pink / April-May / Su-HSh
Huge, slightly puckered, round leaves which die off in autumn in lovely shades of red and orange. Before the leaves appear in spring the plant bears pink semicircular flower heads on strong stems. A foliage plant for around the pond or on damp soil which spreads moderately through rhizomes. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to wooded mountain stream-sides of the western U.S.
DIANTHUS, Caryophyllaceae, carnation
Many species belong in this genus of sun-and drought-loving plants with grass-like foliage. Most are plants for enthusiasts that require special care and attention. Here is stronger wild species.
2′ / hard pink / June-Aug. / Su
The Carthusian pink has long stems, narrow foliage, and clusters of small hard pink flowers which hover airily. It is long-living and moderately self-sowing. Drought tolerant and disliking wet soil. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Europe.
DICENTRA, Fumariaceae, wild bleeding heart
18″ / light pink / May-July. / HSh-Sh
An attractive woodland plant with blue-green fern-like foliage and a long-blooming pendulous inflorescence of light pink heart-shaped flowers. A tough and slowly spreading plant. Seedlings from D eximia will occasionally produce a white-flowered form, and are generally variable in form. Does not go dormant like D. spectabilis. Native to eastern North America
DIGITALIS, Scrophulariaceae, foxglove
Foxgloves are biennials or short-lived perennials that self-seed abundantly in moisture-retentive soil. From a rosette of evergreen leaves formed in the first year, a flower stem grows in the following year, sometimes branched, and thickly covered with thimble-like flowers. After flowering the plants usually die off. Non-spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
3′ / beige / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
The tall spike-like flower stems are laden with beige flowers veined with brown on the inside. One of the most beautiful and effective plants due to its strong and sturdy structural presence for much of the year. Forms dark green, leathery, ever-green leaf rosettes the first year. Seeds best on moisture-retentive soil. Native to Hungary, Romania, Turkey and the Caucasus.
2′ / chocolate-brown / June-July / Su-HSh
The stems are covered from top to bottom with minute chocolate-brown flowers. Similar in habit and form to D. ferrunginea. Native to Spain.
ECHINACEA, Asteraceae, coneflower
Sturdy plants from the North American prairie with spectacular large daisy-like flowers with a distinctive high cone center. They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. A non-spreading relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 5 to 10 years or less. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
2′ / yellow / July-Sept. / Su
Narrow yellow-petal flowers (the only species in the genus) and smooth dark-green lance-shaped foliage. The earliest flowering species. Occurs primarily in the Ozark regions of Missouri and Arkansas.
3′ / purple-pink / July-Sept. / Su
A species with long slender stems, flowers with graceful and slender folded back petals, and narrow lance-shaped foliage. A very elegant plant that self-sows and which is longer lived than E. purpurea.
Sturdy plants with coarse narrow foliage and large spectacular flowers with long flower rays round a large orange-brown cone-shaped disc. A superior border plant and butterfly tempter. Native to much of the U.S.
purpurea ‘Magnus Superior’
3′ / pink-red / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
An improvement on Magnus with wide horizontal, intense pink-red petals, large orange-red cone, dark stems and uniform habit. Self-sows. The best seed strain of the species.
purpurea ‘Vintage Wine’
2′ / wine-red / July-Sept. / Su
A beautiful hybrid with clear wine-red flowers with shorter petals and a large central cone disc.
purpurea ‘Prairie Giant’
4′ / soft pink / July-Sept. / Su
Truly a giant echinacea with large soft pink flowers, stiff horizontal petals, and large orange cones on long and sturdy bright green stems. Self-sows. A Campo di Fiori selection.
1′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A very short and floriferous selection of White Swan. Self-sows. A Campo di Fiori selection.
2′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
Large pure white flowers with a green cone center and a double row of narrow horizontally held petals which are fringed at the tips. Very long flowering and self-sowing.
3′ / red / July-Sept. / Su
A hybrid bearing large flowers with horizontally held tomato-red petals that fade to smoky-purple and large dark cones. Dark purple stems are an added attraction. Very vigorous and floriferous.
3′ / light peach / July-Sept. / Su
A hybrid between E. purpurea and E. paradoxa, with long narrow petals which are light pink on the outside and yellow underneath, combining to light peachy-pink. Earlier flowering. A Campo di Fiori selection.
2′ / pink / July-Sept. / Su
A unique species with slightly upturned, widely spaced, narrow pink petals atop rigid hairy stems with narrow dark green foliage. Only known to exist naturally on certain glades near Nashville, Tennessee, and is on the Federal Endangered Species list.
ECHINOPS, Asteraceae, globe thistle
bannaticus ‘Veitch’s Blue’
5′ / purple-blue / July-Aug. / Su
A stately plant with deeply cut somewhat prickly leaves and large spherical flower heads full of small purple blue flowers. Bees, bumblebees, and butterflies avidly visit the flowers. Plants thrive easily on a variety of soils. A non-spreading, relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to southeastern Europe.
EPIMEDIUM, Berberidaceae, barrenwort
Ground-covering plants with wonderful glossy ternate foliage and small four-petal jewel-like flowers in spring. The main ornamental value is the foliage which often remains green or turns an attractive brown or bronze shade in winter. Cut off the leaves in March to make way for the new flowers. Drought tolerant once established. Slow to moderately spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to China, Japan, and Korea.
10″ / lilac / April-May / HSh-Sh
Beautiful spurred lilac flowers above dark bronze colored spring foliage. Foliage disappears in winter.
10″ / sulfur yellow / April-May / HSh-Sh
Both the winter foliage and the young fresh leaves that emerge in spring are red. The flowers are a wonderfully contrasting sulfur yellow.
ERYNGIUM, Apiaceae, sea holly
Unusual members of the umbellifer family in that the flowers are not in an umble-shaped inflorescence but are crammed together in thimble-like heads. The ordinary leaves and the involucral bracts are often dentate and prickly. Limited spread. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
4′ / white / July-Sept. / Su
This species forms evergreen rosettes of sword-shaped gray-green leaves similar to yucca species. Long leafless sturdy stems bear white spherical flower heads on slightly branched umbel-like clusters. Native to tall-grass prairies of eastern and central North America.
EUPATORIUM, Asteraceae, Joe Pye weed
Large plants with course foliage and large umbels of flowers in late summer. All species attract masses of butterflies and bees. Although they are plants of damp fertile soil, they are so strong they will grow almost anywhere. Slow to very limited spreading. Statuesque winter silhouette. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust long-live perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. All the species below are native to eastern North America.
7′ / purple-pink / July Sept. / Su-HSh
Purple stems bear large umbels full of small purple-pink flowers. A statuesque plant for the back of the border.
dubium ‘Baby Joe’
4′ / purple-pink / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
Resembles ‘Atropurpureum’ but far more compact and bears compound panicles of flowers on smaller umbels.
8′ / mauve-pink / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
The tallest cultivar with dark stems bearing large umbels full of small mauve-pink flowers.
6′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A local selection with course lanceolate foliage and medium sized umbel-shaped inflorescences full of small white flowers. Foliage is very ornamental in spring, edged in dark purple-green. Slowly-spreading. Prefers moisture-retentive soil.
4′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A decorative plant even before the flowers appear because of the chocolate-colored foliage. Umbel-shaped inflorescences full of small white flowers. Self-sowing.
FILIPENDULA, Rosaceae, meadowsweet
6′ / bright pink / July-Aug. / Su
The queen of the prairie is a tall plant with magnificent pinnate leaves and masses of bright pink flowers in frothy irregularly shaped racemes. The branches droop under the weight of the flowers but recover after the flowers die off. Seed heads turn to glowing chestnut brown which remain attractive throughout the winter. Requires fertile humus-rich soil that must never be allowed to dry out. Spreads moderately. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to northeastern and central U.S.
GERANIUM, Geraniaceae, cranesbill
Easy plants with attractive round leaves that can be lobed or deeply palmate and attractive five-petal flowers. Abundant flowering ground-covering filler-plants. Robust and long-lived plants useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
2′ / true-blue / June-July / Su-HSh
A sturdy hybrid with long sprawling stems full of blue flowers blooming over a long period. Allow the plant to weave into its neighbors naturally where it will reach a greater height, or else see it flop. Slowly-spreading.
1′ / pale lilac / April-June / Su-HSh
An early flowering American species with deeply cut leaves and large pale lilac flowers on long upright stems. One of the prettiest species. A local selection.
1′ / white / April-June / Su-HSh
A beautiful sparkling white-flowering form of G. maculatum.
4′ / deep magenta / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A strong tall-growing, bushy species with bold deeply-cut foliage and deep magenta flowers with black centers. Very Beautiful. Moderately self-sowing. Prefers fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Native to Armenia.
sanguineum ‘New Hampshire’
10″ / bright pink / June-Sept. / Su
This compact cultivar is a strong slowly-spreading, mound-forming plant for full sun. It blooms throughout the summer with an abundance of bright pink flowers. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. Moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to most of Europe and temperate Asia.
1′ / white / June-Sept. / Su
A taller white flowering cultivar. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
2′ / purple-pink / June-Sept. / Su
An extremely strong twining purple-pink cultivar which should be allowed to weave into its neighbors naturally. Slowly spreading and moderately seeding. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
sanguineum var. striatum
8″ / light pink / June-Aug. / Su
A compact mound forming cultivar with light pink flowers with dark pink veins. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens/
14″ / lilac / July-Sept. /Su-HSh
Exceptional orange pink leaves in spring and lilac-colored flowers that appear late for a geranium. Beautiful ground-covering foliage. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. Native to Europe and northern Asia.
wlassovianum ‘Purple Gem’
14″ / bright purple / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A beautiful cultivar with small bright purple flowers.
GEUM, Rosaceae, avens
rivale ‘Flames of Passion’
1′ / orange-red / April-May / HSh-Sh
Nodding avens has pinnate leaves with a large, rounded, terminal leaf and clusters of hanging flowers in spring. A hybrid with flame orange-red flowers on deep wine-red stems. Although the plants grow in the wild mainly close to streams and springs, it is an exceptionally easy garden plant. With a bit of luck it flowers for a second time in autumn. Moderately-spreading. Native to northern Europe, Canada, and Siberia.
1′ / pink-red / May-June / Su
The most distinguishing feature of this North American native prairie plant is not the nodding, pinkish-red, globular flowers, but the fruiting heads which follow. As the flower fades the seeds begin to form 2 long feathery gray tails, collectively resembling a plume. Moderately-spreading.
GILLENIA, Rosaceae, bowman’s root
3′ / white / June-July / Su-HSh
Sturdy bushy plants with long-flowering clouds of white narrow-petal flowers with red bracts on red flower stems. This plant will grow almost anywhere. Non-spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to eastern North America.
HELLEBORE, Ranunculaceae,Christmas rose
orientalis ‘Ann Carroll Hybrids’
1′ / pink/cream/purple / April / HSh-Sh
These plants are of invaluable worth in the winter garden. Large bell-shaped flowers above shiny, leathery, beautifully indented leaves that remain green in winter. The flowers remain on the plant for a long period because in reality they are attractively colored bracts that enclose first the flowers, visible as small scales nectaries and later the large pod-like seeds. Appreciate rich, fertile soil. H. orientalis is an easy to grow, fully hardy, and richly varied species that appears in the wild around the Black Sea. The plants in cultivation are probably all hybrids. Self-sowing.
HELENIUM, Asteraceae, sneezewort
Garden plants with an old-fashioned air about them. Round tubular centers with wreathes of brightly colored, somewhat fringed petal rays. The darker shades are particularly useful and unique when displayed in the autumn border along fading ornamental grasses. Likes moisture-retentive, fertile soil. Slowly spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to North America
autumnale ‘Blood Red’
4′ / dark red / Aug.-Sept. / Su
Deep red flowers on a compact and sturdy plant. A Campo di Fiori selection.
4′ / red-brown / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A hybrid with red-brown flowers.
HELIANTHUS, Asteraceae, sunflower
8′ / lemon yellow /Oct.-Nov. / Su
Giant plants from the American Prairie. This cultivar has course green lanceolate foliage and sturdy long stems topped with delicate lemon yellow sunflowers. Non-invasive. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
HEMEROCALIS, Hemerocallidaceae,day lily
Ornamental plants which have been grown for centuries, with attractively arched grassy leaves and large lily-like flowers which come in every color. Each flower lasts for one day only but because there are so many flowers on each stem, and there are many flowering stems, the flowering period lasts for many weeks. The plants are as strong as iron and will grow almost anywhere. Here in Maine discarded clumps have naturalized along the roadsides a beautiful addition to our local summer flora. Slowly-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to China, Korea, and Japan.
2′ / very pale yellow / May-July / Su
A cultivar with 6 wide very pale yellow flowers with green throats.
18″ / deep grape purple / May-July / Su
Small deep grape-purple flowers with green centers.
1′ / dark red / May-July / Su
Small dark red flowers with yellow -green throats.
HEUCHERA, Saxifragaceae, coral flower
Ornamental plants for shade with rosettes of attractive, palmate indented leaves and small flowers on elongated stems. Humus-rich, moisture-retentive soil is appreciated.
villosa ‘Autumn Bride’
2′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A species of coral bells native to rocky wooded slopes from Virginia to Georgia and Tennessee. Large triangularly-lobed, velvety light green leaves form a large basal clump. In the fall many slender stems adorn spires full of small white flowers. This species is the most vigorous and hardy. Excellent ground-cover in part-shade. Limited spreading.
HOSTA, Liliaceae, plantain lily
Wonderful foliage plants that hail from Japan. Ideal for architectural purposes whose bold foliage give body to a shaded garden amongst fine-leaved plants. Moist, humus-rich, fertile soil in part shade suits them best.
plantaginea var. grandiflora
1′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su
The only species that does not hail from Japan but from China, and prefers full sun. Beautiful, large, light-green foliage and large white clusters of very fragrant flowers which bloom later than the rest. Slow to moderately spreading.
2′ / white / July-Aug. / HSh-Sh
A classic with smaller rounded and frosted blue-gray leaves and white flowers. Still never surpassed. Slow to moderately spreading. Attractive and long-lasting seed heads.
3′ / lilac / July-Aug. / HSh-Sh
An absolute giant with narrow blue-gray leaves that point arrow-like upwards and lilac-colored flowers on very long stems. This plant needs plenty of space. Slow to moderately spreading.
‘Sum and Substance’
4′ / lilac / July-Aug. / HSh-Sh
Enormous, thick, yellow-green foliage and tall stems with lilac flowers. Slow to moderately spreading.
INULA, Asteraceae, fleabane
magnifica ‘Burgundy Giant’
7′ / yellow / July-Aug. / Su
A giant plant with big flaps of leaves and thick, sturdy deep purple stems which are branched at the top, and which bear enormous daisy-like flowers with many narrow ray florets. A magnificent plant. Limited spread. Self-sows. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A Campo di Fiori selection. Species native to eastern Caucasus.
4′ / yellow / July-Aug. / Su
A short cultivar with smaller, somewhat twisting leaves and a wide openly-branched inflorescence held well above the foliage, with smaller yellow-rayed flowers. Self-sows. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A Campo di Fiori selection.
IRIS, Iridaceae, iris
A familiar genus of plants with many hundreds of species. The flowering period is short but exceptional. The characteristic sword-like leaves remain beautiful throughout the summer. Most irises (I. germanica) cannot cope when combined with plants of the same height or ground-cover plants, as the rhizomes become overshadowed. There are a few species which grow well in normal, moisture-retentive garden soil and which can be combined closer to other plants in naturalistic style.
2′ / purple-black / June / Su
A very uncommon iris with eccentric velvety black and bluish-purple flowers. Requires moisture-retentive soil. Native to southern China and Myanmar.
2′ / white / May-June / Su
A very elegant white-flowered cultivar. Slowly spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to northeast Turkey, Russia, and eastern and central Europe.
sibirica ‘Pink Haze’
3′ / lavender-pink / May-June / Su
A cultivar with large soft lavender-pink flowers and bold, long-lasting, sword-shaped foliage. Slow to moderately spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to northeast Turkey, Russia, and eastern and central Europe.
KALIMERIS, Asteraceae, cast-iron plant
3′ / pale purple / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A sturdy and reliable shrub-like perennial that forms a round hillock covered in long-flowering, large, pale purple daisies with yellow centers. Perfect border plants that fit in everywhere. Limited spreading and self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A Campo di Fiori selection. Species native to eastern Asia, Siberia, China, Korea, and Japan.
KIRENGESHOMA, Hydrangeaceae, Japanese waxflower
3′ / butter-yellow / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
Shade plants with wonderful, corrugated, sycamore-like leaves. In summer butter-yellow buds are formed which grow very slowly until, in late summer, the large wax-like bellflowers open. The seed capsules, adorned with three needles, remain attractive for a long period. This plant will grow and flower almost anywhere as long as the soil does not dry out. One of the few plants that flower in places where the sun never shines. Slowly-spreading clumps can be slow to establish. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to eastern Asia.
KNAUTIA, Dipsacaceae, scabious
2′ / claret / July-Sept. / Su
Bears magnificent pin-cushion shaped, claret-colored flowers on long wiry stems throughout the summer. A genus of plants closely related to Scabiosa, though generally more robust. Butterflies love them both. It is a non-spreading, relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 5 years, yet which self-sows abundantly in drier conditions. Drought-tolerant. Native to eastern Europe.
5′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A bushy, upright, clump-forming plant with many rigid, leafy, long stems bearing white daisy flowers. Beautiful amongst late-flowering grasses. Slow to moderately spreading. Native to south-eastern Europe.
LIATRIS, Asteraceae, blazing star
Familiar stiff-looking plants with narrow grassy leaves and long spike-shaped inflorescences. The reddish-purple thistle-like flowers open from the top to the bottom of the stem. Thrive best in fertile, moisture-retentive garden soil, though are drought-tolerant. Slowly spreading and self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
4′ / rose-purple / July-Aug. / Su
A cultivar of L. pycnostachya with very long, pointed, cone-shaped spikes. A Campo di Fiori selection. Species native to central and southeastern United States.
spicata ‘Floristan White’
2′ / white / July-Aug. / Su
A striking white flowering cultivar. Species native to the eastern United States,
LUNARIA, Brassicaceae, honesty
2′ / pale purple / April-June / HSh-Sh
A perennial lunaria with attractive dark green, heart-shaped foliage and racemes of very fragrant pale purple flowers. The flat, silvery, translucent fruits remain on the plant until midwinter. Limited spread and modestly self-sowing. Native to Europe and Russia.
LYSIMACHIA, Primulaceae, loosestrife
2′ / white / July-Sept. / Su
Narrow gray-green foliage and long spikes full of small star-like white flowers. A species from riverbanks in France and Spain that requires a well-drained moisture-retentive soil. Unpretentious and well suited to linking the various elements of a planting together. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Non-spreading.
LYTHRUM, Lythraceae, winged loosestrife
3′ / soft pink / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A North American native species of loosestrife with multiple upright stems covered in small leaved narrow foliage, and blooming intermittently with small soft pink, perfect flowers with dark pink veining. Prefers moist soils where it self-sows moderately. Attractive autumn coloring. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
MONARDA, Lamiaceae, bergamot
One of the most important garden plant genera with sturdy stems that do not collapse, delightful smelling leaves (Earl Grey tea), and flowers that are plentiful and last a long time. The inflorescence consists of bud-like bundles of calyces from which new lipped flowers keep on appearing from bottom to top. The bracts beneath the inflorescence are an important part of this plants beauty. Swarms of butterflies, bees, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds descend on the plant when in flower. The monarda cultivars we have chosen vary in their susceptibility to mildew but generally are less plagued by it, and their growth is not hampered. After a few years some monarda cultivars will begin to degenerate. They then must be dug up and divided, throwing the old center of the clump away and replanting the outer pieces. Requires well-drained soil and will not tolerate heavy unprepared clay. All tolerate low-fertility. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Genus endemic to North America.
2′ / pale pink / May-June / Su-HSh
Pale pink, purple-spotted, tubular flowers in whorls and purplish-tinged leafy bracts. Foliage remains attractive longer than other varieties, unaffected by mildew, and turning deep-purple in fall. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. Moderately spreading and self-sowing.
3 / violet-blue / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A hybrid with smaller whorled heads of violet-blue, tubular flowers above violet-tinged bracts. Dark green foliage and dark purple stems.
5′ / red / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A hybrid with large whorled heads of red, tubular flowers above light-red bracts and bright-green glossy foliage.
3′ / bright pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
This hybrid has medium whorled heads of bright-pink tubular flowers above pink bracts and dark glossy foliage.
4′ / raspberry-red / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A hybrid with medium whorled heads of raspberry-red, tubular flowers above raspberry-tinged bracts and soft-green, slightly hairy foliage.
2′ / bright purple / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A hybrid with medium whorled heads of bright purple tubular flowers above purple-tinged bracts. Dark stems and glossy foliage.
NEPETA, Lamiaceae, catmint
racemosa ‘Six Hills Giant’
3′ / soft blue / May-Aug. / Su
The familiar catmint with soft blue flowers and ribbed gray-green leaves. A little floppy, but useful for weaving in among other plants. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. Limited spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to the Caucasus, Turkey, and northern Iran.
2′ / blue / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
An unusual species from Japan with broad shiny leaves and large inflorescences crammed with blue lipped flowers. Strongly aromatic foliage. Limited spread. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
ORIGANUM, Lamiaceae, marjoram
Wild marjoram is a shrub-like plant with dull green aromatic leaves and branched inflorescences. Loved by many nectar-seeking insects. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to southwestern Eurasia and Mediterranean region.
1′ / dark pink / July-Sept. / Su
A big cultivar with large dark pink inflorescences and small glossy green foliage. Loved by butterflies.
PARTHENIUM, Asteraceae, wild quinine
4′ / white / May-Aug. / Su
Wooly-looking white flower heads, each with 5 tiny rays, appear in wide, flat-topped, terminal clusters. Aromatic, toothed, dark green leaves. Drought tolerant. Beautiful long-lasting seed heads. Native to eastern United States.
PENSTEMON, Scrophulariaceae, beardtongue
A large North American genus of plants with narrow leaves and flowers on lose spikes somewhat resembling those of foxgloves. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Limited-slow spreading and moderately self-sowing. Drought tolerant. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Native to eastern Canada and eastern U.S.
2′ / white / June-Aug. / Su
Our native penstemon with white bell-like flowers on dark red stems. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A local selection.
digitalis ‘Huskers Red’
2 / white / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
Dark reddish-green foliage and pink-tinted white flowers. Dark red autumn color. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton
PAEONIA, Paeoniaceae, peony
2′ / pink / May / Su
A species with pink single-flowers and dense bright yellow anther centers, followed by attractive seedpods. Long-lasting deeply-lobed foliage remains beautiful well into fall. Requires a good fertile soil, lime-rich and well-drained in full sun. A long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to central and eastern Asia.
PERSICARIA, Polygonaceae, knotweed
4′ / pink-red / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
A large, bushy, easy-growing, weak-stemmed plant that bears numerous slender pink-red flowering spikes. Color intensifies until the first hard frost. Prefers moisture-retentive, fertile, well-drained soil. Moderately spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to the Himalayas.
4′ / white / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
A slender cultivar with dark green foliage and very narrow white flowering spikes that are sometimes split into two at the top. Prefers moisture-retentive, fertile soil. Moderately spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
8′ / cream / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A gigantic plant with dense foliage and large, long-flowering, cream-colored panicles that gradually turn reddish-brown. Appreciates fertile soil. Limited spread. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to China and Japan.
PEUCEDANUM, Apiaceae, hogs fennel
6′ / green-white / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A biennial umbelliferous plant with attractive compound, large-toothed, gray-green foliage, purple-flushed stems, and a large panicle of small greenish-white flowers. Prefers moisture-retentive, fertile soil. Modestly self-sowing. Native to southeastern Europe and Asia.
PHLOMIS, Lamiaceae, Jerusalem sage
Stately plants with ornamental foliage and large lipped flowers on spike-like stems. Both species remain attractive after flowering and appreciate fertile, well-drained soil and a warm spot. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived plant useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
2′ / soft yellow / June-July / Su
Forms goodly sized rosettes of large heart-shaped, gray-haired leaves, strong stems, and intermittent whorls of soft yellow flowers. Ultra-low maintenance weed suppressor. Moderately spreading and moderately self-sowing. Native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia.
6′ / lilac-pink / June-July / Su
Tall stems with ribbed foliage and wreaths of large, lilac-pink, lipped flowers. Drought tolerant and slowly spreading. Edible perennial. Native to southern Europe and Asia.
PHLOX, Polemoniaceae, phlox
A very familiar plant which grows almost anywhere, but looks its best on fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Relatively small flowers clustered together in large spreading panicles. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
3′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
Sturdy stems with bright-green lanceolate foliage and panicles of white flowers. Mildew resistant. Appreciates fertile soil. Slowly spreading.
paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’
4′ / deep violet-blue / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A cultivar whose color changes with the light, typically opening pale blue darkening to deep violet-blue. Enchanting.
4′ / magenta-purple / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A mildew-resistant cultivar with large clusters of magenta-purple flowers.
paniculata ‘Monica Lynden-Bell’
4′ / pink / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
An older cultivar with pink flowers.
PODOPHYLUM, Berberidaceae, may apple
16″ / white / May-June / HSh-Sh
Plants for a cool, fertile spot in the shade with very large, beautifully cut leaves on fleshy stems, which unfurl like umbrellas. Poisonous except the yellow, plum-like 2 fruit, which follow the proportionally large pure white flowers. Naturalizes via rhizomes. Native to broad-leaved forests of North America
POLEMONIUM, Polemoniaceae, Jacob’s ladder
2′ / purple-blue / May-June / Su-HSh
The common Jacob’s ladder is a wild plant whose habit of self-sowing makes it useful for the moist wildflower meadow. Purplish-blue flowers above delicate pinnate leaves. Native to North America. A local selection.
POTENTILLA, Rosaceae, cinquefoil
Cinquefoils are a large genus of low-growing strawberry-like plants with characteristic three to five palmate, veined, and toothed leaves and loosely-branched inflorescences with small flowers.
1′ / black-red / June-Aug. / Su
A bushy growing plant with five palmate leaves and masses of small almost blackish-red flowers. Self-sows pleasurably. Native to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico
napalensis ‘Miss Wilmott’
1′ / peach-pink / June-Aug. / Su
A hybrid with peachy-pink flowers and red centers above a mound of deep green palmate leaves. Wide-spreading sprawling habit useful for weaving among other plants. Species native to the Himalayas in Nepal.
PYCANTHEMUM, Lamiaceae, mountain mint
3′ / pale pink / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A bushy clump-forming perennial with aromatic leaves which smell strongly of spearmint. Dense flat-topped terminal clusters with small, pale pink, tubular flowers (a small version of a Monarda inflorescence). The underside of each cluster is highlighted by a pair of showy silvery leaf-like bracts which are most effective in their appearance when massed. Slow to moderately spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A pollinator favorite. Native to eastern North America. All species have been used for tea.
3′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A species of mountain mint with extremely narrow, almost needle-like leaves and terminal clusters of small white flowers. A pollinator favorite. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Native to eastern North America.
RODGERSIA, Saxifragaceae, Rodger’s flower
Fascinating foliage plants for the shaded garden with large horse-chestnut-like foliage and cone-shaped panicles of small flowers borne on long stems. They are slow to get started, but after a few years they form huge clumps. Moderately spreading. Appreciate fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
3′ / cream / June-July / Su-HSh
The foliage of this species bears the greatest resemblance to that of the horse-chestnut in which all leaflets are held horizontally. Foliage and leaf stems are hairy and brown and the flowers are cream-colored. Native to northern China.
2′ / white / June-July / Su-HSh
The leaflets of this species somewhat resemble a ducks foot, whereby the space between the three to five veins is filled with a kind of webbed membrane. The leaves are bright, shiny green and the flowers, held in tall cone-shaped inflorescences, are an eye-catching white. Native Japan and Korea.
RUDBECKIA, Asteraceae, black-eyed susan
A familiar genus of course plants with large yellow daises with dark cone-shaped tubular centers which provide structural interest after the yellow ray florets have fallen off. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived plant useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
3′ / yellow / July-Sept. / Su
A cultivar that grows into hefty clumps of dark green foliage with erect stems displaying prolific, bright yellow daisies with black centers. Moderately spreading. Species native to North America.
5′ / yellow / Aug-Sept. / Su
A fascinating plant with gigantic, waxy blue, hosta-like foliage and a few long-stemmed, drooping daisies with deep yellow ray-florets and eye-catching long black central cones. Appreciates fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Slowly spreading. Native to central and southern U.S.
5′ / yellow / July-Oct. / Su
A rudbeckia species with gray-green divided foliage and branched stems bearing yellow daisies with black cones. Slowly spreading. Native to central U.S.
RUELLIA, Acanthaceae, wild petunia
1′ / light purple / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
An easy, long-flowering plant with elongated, hairy stems and foliage, and light purple petunia-like flowers. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. Drought tolerant. Native to eastern U.S.
SALVIA, Lamiaceae, sage
5′ / azure blue / Oct.-Nov. / Su
A spectacular gray-leaved species from North America, with long racemes of azure-blue flowers in late fall. Requires support from neighboring plants. Limited spread. Drought tolerant.
SALVIA NUMEROSA CULTIVARS:
Familiar and easy garden plants with tapering, spiked inflorescences and a long and profuse flowering period. If they are cut back the plants will repeat flower in late summer. A relatively short-lived plant with a longevity of less than 10 years. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. Tolerates dry, infertile soils. Native to a wide area of central Europe and western Asia.
nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’
1′ / blue / June-Aug. / Su
A short cultivar which is the closest to pure blue.
2′ / violet-blue / June-Sept. / Su
Extra-long spikes noted for their dark purple stems which are adorned with small violet-blue flowers.
nemorosa ‘May Night’
2′ / deep purple / May-June / Su
The earliest blooming salvia with dense spikes of deep purple flowers.
3′ / lilac-pink / June-Aug. / Su
A tall older variety with very long spikes bearing lilac-pink flowers.
verticillata ‘Purple Rain’
1′ / soft-purple / July-Sept. / Su
Wild clary is a low-growing species with soft-purple flowers in whorls around reddish-purple stems, and grayish, textured leaves. Unique arching habit. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of less than 10 years. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. Native to a wide area of central Europe to western Asia.
SANGUISORBA, Rosaceae, burnet
This is a very undervalued genus of easy and useable garden plants. All the species have attractive pinnate foliage with toothed leaflets. The small knot-like flowers are grouped in spikes or little balls. The shape is in all the species the most important element and is unique and irreplaceable. Many have transparent flower clusters which create another perspective as you look though them to the plants growing behind. All species thrive best on moisture-retentive soil. Limited to moderately spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
6′ / off-white / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A sturdy plant with gray-green leaves and erect off-white, fluffy flower spikes. The late flowering makes this plant particularly attractive. Native to North America.
2′ / blood-red / May-June / Su
The earliest flowering species with blood-red, erect bottle-brush-like spikes, and beautiful blue-green foliage. Native to north-western U.S.
5′ / black-red / June-Aug. / Su
The greater burnet is a slender, untidy plant with wiry stems and richly branched inflorescences. Creates a mass of pinnate ornamental foliage, primarily clumped around the base of the plant. There is an erect blackish-red flower knot at the tip of each branch. Native throughout the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and Asia.
5′ / deep-red / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A cultivar with long cylindrical-shaped inflorescences which are bluish-white in bud, on long, sturdy, sparsely- branched stems. Tidier and later blooming then the species and with sturdier, narrower foliage. A Campo di Fiori selection.
6′ / white / July-Aug. / Su
A white flowering form of the species which is taller and with narrower foliage and even narrower, cylindrical-shaped, pendent spikes. Native to eastern Asia.
SCUTELLARIA, Lamiaceae, skull cap
2′ / gray-blue / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A sturdy North American species with elongated grayish leaves and gray-blue inflorescences. The lipped flowers are soft blue and the bracts, which resemble baseball caps, are gray. A wonderful late flowering plant with beautiful gray seed heads. Slowly spreading and drought tolerant. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Primarily native to the eastern U.S. as well as some parts of the mid-west.
SEDUM, Crassulaceae, stonecrop
A familiar and large genus of succulent rock plants with a few larger species which are much more structural in form. These plants have characteristic umbel-shaped inflorescences which remain structural late into the winter. Non-spreading and drought tolerant. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
1′ / cream-white / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A form of S. spectabile with creamy-white umbel-shaped flowers. Butterflies desire this species the most, which is native to China and Korea.
telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
2′ / rose-pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
Soft green, smooth foliage and large umbel-shaped inflorescences of rose-pink flowers, which remain rusty-brown through the winter. Species native to Eurasia.
2′ / pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
The tallest cultivar with red stems, grayish-green leaves, and extra-large umbel-shaped inflorescences full of pink flowers.
telephium ‘Purple Emperor’
2′ / reddish-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A cultivar which is often variable in height depending on soil fertility, with reddish brown, almost black foliage and umbel-shaped inflorescences of reddish-pink flowers.
1′ / soft ivory-yellow / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A shorter cultivar with grayish-green leaves and large umbel-shaped inflorescences of soft ivory-yellow flowers.
telephium ‘Red Cauli’
2′ / red / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A taller-growing slender cultivar with grey-green leaves, red stems, and panicles of red flowers which turn glowing red-brown in autumn.
SMILACINA, Convallariaceae, false Solomon’s seal
2′ / cream / May-June / Su-HSh
This plant looks very similar to common Solomon’s seal with long arched stems and upward-pointing, dark- green, elegant lanceolate foliage. The flowers do not hang under the leaves but are more conspicuously in fluffy cream-colored tufts at the end of the stems. Beautiful red berries follow the flowers and last into the fall. This cultivar is an easy and slow-growing plant (though the species is typically found in humus-rich woodland soil), well-adapted to poor, well-drained acidic soils in full sun, growing alongside shrubby junipers. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
SOLIDAGO, Asteraceae, goldenrod
A very familiar genus of plants which are native to Maine, but with the majority being too weedy for the garden. None the less, goldenrod can be hard to resist with its wide range of flowerhead shapes and cheerful yellow fall flowers. Thus, we have selected a few local species which are better behaved and unique among the rest. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton.
2′ / yellow / Sept.-Oct. / Su
Unique small gray-green foliage and short, arching panicles of bright yellow flowers. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. Well-adapted to dry infertile soils. A local selection.
4′ / bright yellow / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A very attractive solid, bushy cultivar with dark stems and foliage. The pinhead-sized flowers on widely branched panicles are visible from June onwards and after flowering remain decorative. Moderately spreading but not rampant. Species native to North America.
3′ / yellow / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A goldenrod adapted to our coastal sands with smooth, fleshy, lance-shaped foliage and a dense, compact panicle-shaped inflorescence full of comparatively large yellow daisy flowers. Limited spreading and drought tolerant. A local selection.
STACHYS, Lamiaceae, woundwort
Some of the creeping species with white wooly foliage are familiar. Less familiar are the species belonging to the subgenus Betonica. The distinctive features are their long, ovate ribbed leaves and orchid-like, spiked inflorescences. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
byzantina ‘Big Ears’
1′ / purple / rarely flowers / Su
A ground-covering plant with ovate, hairy, silvery-green foliage. Rarely flowers, but instead forms an 8 tall mat of moderately-spreading ornamental foliage. Drought tolerant. Species native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.
3′ / deep purple-red / June-July / Su-HSh
A cultivar with small dark green, ovate ribbed leaves and long stems with large compact-flowering spikes in deep purple-red. Limited spread. Species native to much of Europe.
officinalis ‘Pink Cotton Candy’
2′ / pink / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A compact cultivar with deep green foliage and long-flowering spikes of pink flowers. Limited spread.
SUCCISA, Dipsacaceae, devil’s bit scabious
2′ / deep blue / Aug.-Sept. / Su
An erect plant with narrow, dark green foliage and a lax-branched inflorescence of deep blue, pincushion-like round flower heads which attract all kinds of insects. Native to the U.K.
SUCCISELLA, Dipsacaceae, devil’s bit
2′ / gray-blue / Aug.-Oct. / Su
A pretty, fast-growing plant with green lance-shaped foliage and clouds of gray-blue Scabiosa-like flowers in late summer. The plants are slightly rampant, but form the runners on the surface and are easily removed. Very popular with insects. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to southeastern Europe.
THALICTRUM, Ranunculaceae, meadow rue
Ornamental plants with characteristic compound leaves, like those of columbine, and graceful panicle-shaped clusters of flowers. The individual flowers are small but the relatively large tufts of stamens make the flowers even more eye-catching. All species prefer cooler climates and moisture-retentive, fertile soil. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
aquilegifolium ‘Black Stocking’
4′ / deep-lilac / April-June / Su-HSh
This plant is effective for the greater part of the year with its distinctive flowers of wide deep-lilac panicles that seem to consist entirely of stamens, tinted dark purple-green foliage and purple-black stems, followed by decorative shivering seeds which remain through the winter. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. Species native to Europe and temperate Asia, with a naturalized distribution in North America limited to New York and Ontario.
10′ / pale lilac / June-July / Su-HSh
A sterile cross between T. rochebruneanum and T. flavum subsp. glaucum. Unbelievably beautiful dark bluish-gray foliage in spring and just as unbelievably tall flowering stems with fluffy, pale lilac and yellow panicles. Limited spread. Does not collapse.
flavum subsp. glaucum
6′ / lemon yellow / June-July / Su-HSh
This Spanish subspecies has lovely blue-gray foliage and broad, lemon yellow tufts of stamens. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. Native to Spain and northwestern Africa.
6′ / cream / June-July / Su-HSh
This native species resembles T. aquiligefolium, but taller and more graceful, with flattish cream-colored flower heads that remain decorative at the seed stage. A strong grower that is limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. A local selection.
6′ / lilac / June-July / Su-HSh
An extremely graceful plant with delicate, bluish-green, columbine-like leaves composed of tiny leaflets, and lax inflorescences with lilac flowers and tufts of yellow stamens atop dark purple stems. Limited spreading and low self-sowing. Native to Japan.
TRICYTRIS, Tricyrtidaceae, toad lily
3′ / pale pink / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A large cultivar with orchid-like, fleshy-textured stems and foliage which is sometimes spotted black. Fleshy- textured, regularly shaped star flowers are an eye-catching pale pink with purplish-red markings. Appreciates moisture-retentive soil where it is slow to moderately spreading. Species native from the Himalayas to eastern Asia, including China, Japan, Philippines and Formosa.
TRIFOLIUM, Fabaceae, clover
1′ / dark pinkish-red / July-Aug. / Su
Characteristic dark green, trifoliate foliage and attractive, tall, dark pinkish-red inflorescences which are hairy and grayish in bud. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to central and southern Europe.
VERNONIA, Asteraceae, ironweed
8′ / purple-red / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A large late-flowering plant with dark narrow foliage and purplish-red thistle like flowers in gigantic umbel-like clusters. Prefers moisture-retentive, fertile soil. Slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to the Ozarks of the U.S.
VERONICA, Scrophulariaceae, speedwell
An important genus of garden plants with a characteristic spike-shaped inflorescences and bushy clumps of narrow foliage. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to Europe, Russia, and east Asia.
2′ / purple / May-Aug. / Su
This cultivar has clumps of narrow foliage and dense spikes of small purple flowers. Drought tolerant and slowly spreading.
VERONICASTRUM, Schropulariaceae, Culver’s root
Tall sturdy plants closely related to Veronica. Lance-shaped leaves grow in wreathes along the stems and the long spike-shaped inflorescence adds a strong vertical element to the border. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Species native to the U.S.
4′ / white / July Aug. / Su
Wreaths of dark green lanceolate foliage and long narrowly tapered spikes of little white flowers.
6′ / lilac-blue / July-Aug / Su
A cultivar with lilac-blue flowers on long, fasciated spikes. Very popular with butterflies and bumblebees.
6′ / pale lilac / July-Aug. / Su
A very slender cultivar with pale lilac flowers
5′ / pale pink / July-Aug. / Su
A cultivar with pale pink flowers and fresh green foliage.
ZIZIA, Apiaceae, golden alexanders
3′ / yellow / May-June / Su
Medium umbels of tiny yellow flowers and glossy green compound foliage. A beautiful early flowering native and our only garden-worthy umbellifer. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. An important plant to a number of short-tongued, spring-flying insects. A relatively short-lived plant with a longevity of less than 10 years. A local selection.
These wonderful plants which so frequently dominate open habitats around the world have been loosely regarded and little noticed in the gardening world, until recently. Their increasing popularity is no mystery. Essential for creating a wild, naturalistic-looking planting, they project themselves uniquely in the way they catch light, the way they move in a breeze, and the contrast and continuity they bring to a planting through the seasons with their long-lasting structural form. Textured mounds of linear green foliage, beautiful autumn coloring, and long-lasting seed heads extend the season of interest almost indefinitely. A must for every garden.
Cool-season grasses have their greatest impact in the garden in the spring and early summer when many of them flower. Although many of these grasses become dormant during a hot summer, some such as Calamagrostis and Deschampsia retain their dramatic, albeit dead, inflorescences and continue to play an important role in the garden for many months after. For this reason, the flowering season for both cool-season and warm-season grasses also includes the period of seed head interest.
Warm-season grasses do not start growing until much later in the year, typically flowering in late summer and often retaining their dead foliage and seed heads into the winter to great effect. The largest and most impressive ornamental grasses are of this group.
ANDROPOGON, Poaceae, big bluestem
6 / dark purple-red / Aug.-Sept. / Su
Upright, clump-forming, warm-season grass with lush green summer foliage that turns a rich-orange and coppery-red in autumn. The distinctive three-branched terminal inflorescences are dark purple-red with noticeably bright red pollen sacs. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to North America and south-central Mexico. Once the dominant component of the tallgrass prairie. A local selection.
BOUTELOUA, Poaceae, blue grama
3 / purple / June-Sept. / Su
Cespitose warm-season grass bearing long, upright oat-like spikelets attached to one side of the inflorescence. These open purplish at first, bleaching to straw color as they age. The basal mound of gray-green foliage turns bronze-purple, orange, and red shades in autumn. Moderately spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to the North American shortgrass prairie which is warmer and drier then the tallgrass prairie region.
1 / red-tinted / June-Sept. / Su
Cespitose warm-season grass of diminutive, upright stature and curious flowers suspended horizontally, like tiny brushes from the tip of each flowering stem. These are strongly red-tinted at first and bleaching to straw color, often curling as they dry. Can be planted densely to create a low, casual no-mow ground-cover or mowed occasionally. Moderately spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to much of North America.
BRIZA, Poaceae, quaking grass
2 / red-purple tint / May-June / Su
Cool-season cespitose grass with loose clumps of grayish-green foliage and diffusely branched inflorescences tipped with pendant spikelets resembling puffy oats. They rattle and rustle delightfully in spring and summer breezes. Opening green with tints of red-purple, they bleach to light straw color by mid -summer. Good as a ground cover. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Eurasia.
CALAMAGROSTIS, Poaceae, small reed
acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
6 / smoky-purple / June-Aug. / Su
Strongly upright, clump-forming, cool-season grass with lustrous deep green foliage and vertical inflorescences of spike-like, fluffy panicles which are smoky-purplish when they first appear. These turn buff color by August and tighten to slim spikes which remain upright and attractive through most of the winter. Makes a good deciduous screen which moves gracefully in the slightest breeze. Moderately spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Species native to Europe.
4 / smoky-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su
Warm-season cespitose grass with loose clumps of bright green foliage and long spike-like, fluffy panicles which are smoky-pink when first open and remain open and feathery even when dry. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Korea.
CAREX, Cyperaceae, sedge
2 / yellow-green / May-June / HSh
One of many carex species with attractive slender foliage forming a neat spherical mound. The inconspicuous inflorescence, upon close inspection, are yellow-green star-like spikelets. A very useful plant for woodland meadow plantings, with medium soil moisture in part shade. Slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
2 / yellow-green / June-July / Su-HSh
Deciduous, bushy, clump-forming plant with lax stems and uniquely tiered graceful, narrow, tapering foliage and small inconspicuous spikelets which open yellow-green fading to dark bronze. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to central North America.
2 / deep-green / June-July / Su-HSh
Tussock sedge produces large mounds of rich green, fine-textured foliage. Inconspicuous brown tipped spikelets wave airily above the foliage. Native to bogs, marshes, wet swales, and creek sides in eastern North America. Will survive dry periods and grow away from water if soil is moist. Spreads by underground rhizomes. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
CHASMANTIUM, Poaceae, sea oats
4 / light green / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
Broad clump-forming, vase-shaped, warm-season grass with unique broad foliage and pendant panicle branches bearing numerous flattened, oat-like spikelets which emerge light green eventually turning to red-bronze and remaining attractive through the winter. Limited spread and self-sowing. Native to southeastern U.S.
DESCHAMPSIA, Poaceae, hair grass
Cool-season cespitose grass with long, dark and glossy basal foliage which forms beautiful spherical mounds, and looks good for much of the year. A fine-textured, cloud-like mass of finely branched inflorescences typically open light green and dry to buff, and are translucent and luminous when back-lit by the sun. The inflorescence remains attractive into autumn. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 10 years or less. Non-spreading and moderately self-sowing. Tolerant of poor fertility. Very good structure from spring till late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Native to cool-temperate parts of North America, Europe and eastern Asia.
3 / green-bronze / June-July / Su-HSh
A cultivar with inflorescences that open green-bronze and fade to dark bronze
ELYMUS, Poaceae, bottlebrush grass
4 / green / June-July / Su-HSh
Cool-season grass with loose clumps of foliage and open bottle-brush-like inflorescences initially green and bleaching to light buff, remaining attractive into the autumn. One of relatively few true grasses adapted to dry shaded conditions, though responds with better flowering in moister soil. Slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to eastern North America.
ERAGROSTIS, Poaceae, love grass
1 / iridescent pink / July-Nov. / Su
Warm-season cespitose grass with medium green, coarse textured basal foliage and very fine-textured inflorescence creating low clouds of iridescent pink. Very drought tolerant, non-spreading, and moderately self-sowing. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 5-10 years or less. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A local selection.
FESTUCA, Poaceae, fescue
2 / tan / June-July / Su
Large cool-season cespitose grass with very wiry, pendulous, gray-green foliage topped by very slender and long, slightly arching flower panicles. A uniquely textured, spherical accent. Much more tolerant of hot summers then many fescues. Non-spreading and slow-growing, yet long-lived. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
HAKONECHLOA, Poaceae, Hakone grass
1 / smoky purple / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
Warm-season mat-forming grass with delightful mop-heads of long, arching, graceful leaves which look uniformly combed in one direction. Bears subtle inflorescences of lax, smoky-purple flower panicles. Suitable for use as a ground-cover and historically a favorite container plant in Japan. Requires fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Slow to moderately spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful in less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Honshu Japan.
MELICA, Poaceae, silver spike
2 / cream-white / May-June / Su
Compact cool-season grass with narrow, medium-green, basal foliage, and upright arching flowering stems, forming graceful fans of white-cream flower spikes that fade to tan, and remain attractive for a month or more. A unique addition to the relatively grass-less spring garden. Prefers moist to moderately dry soil. Partly summer dormant in warmer climates. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 5-10 years or less. Self-sowing. Native to Europe, northern Africa, and southwestern Asia.
MISCANTHUS, Poaceae, silver grass
Well-known clump-forming, warm-season grass with long deep green pendulous leaves with white midribs. At the end of the summer bloom numerous elegant, heavily-branched, finger-like inflorescences, usually opening red or pink-suffused and drying to silver-white. In autumn the foliage turns yellow and orange, and in the winter the whole plant becomes parchment white. Throughout the winter the old flowering stems weather storms, rain or snow, without breaking. Slowly spreading and slow to establish. Some cultivars are self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Japan and southern China and Korea.
sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’
6 / deep red / Sept.-Nov. / Su
A graceful, slender plant with narrow foliage and horizontal spikes of deep red with white tips. Lovely autumn color.
6 / silvery / Aug.-Oct. / Su
Large, free-hanging, silver-white plume-like inflorescences are held high above the foliage and quickly turn very fluffy when dry. Narrow foliage turns rich copper-red and orange in autumn. Quicker than most to establish.
sinensis ‘Grosse Fontane’
8 / red / Sept-Oct. / Su
A giant fountain that spreads out its broad overhang of unusually long leaves in a vase-shape that does not topple over. The large red inflorescences appear in late summer and then mature to silver.
sinensis ‘Kleine Fontane’
5 / silvery red-brown / July-Oct. / Su
A fine textured compact selection with narrow, upright plumes of silvery, reddish-brown inflorescences early in the season. Keeps on producing new flower stems until the autumn, with the young red flowers contrasting with the mature silver ones.
6 / red-brown / Aug.-Oct. / Su
The bract which surrounds the inflorescence before flowering is strongly ribbed. When the flowers open they are brown-gold and have a shivering look about them, which lasts for some time, standing high above the foliage. The inflorescence quickly turns red then to silver. Foliage often has red or orange autumn color. Quicker than most to establish.
6 / silver-pink / Sept.-Nov. / Su
A well-proportioned, elegant plant with very upright columnar flowering stems with strikingly beautiful silver-pink inflorescences, a graceful narrow foliage. Quicker than most to establish.
MOLINIA, Poaceae, moor grass
Cool-season cespitose grass which forms tussocks of narrow basal foliage and narrow flower panicles held well above the foliage on slender stalks which may be upright or arching. Foliage turns clear yellow in autumn and the stems often dark purple. Flowers relatively late among cool-season grasses. The species M. caerulea is usually separated into two subspecies, which differ most obviously in their size. The tall forms combine strong sculptural form with graceful response to summer breezes. Perfect specimen plants yet they also fit easily into tightly planted flower borders where their flower stems can rise like fountains above their neighbors. Never obtrusive, as their delicate and diffuse flowers heads are transparent. All are most effective when side-lit or backlit by the sun, especially when positioned against a contrasting background. Flowering stems usually remain attractive and upright through autumn. Non-spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to temperate Eurasia.
caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Fontane’
6 / dark purple-green / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
2 basal foliage and dark, dense spikes on heavily arched stalks, which turn dark smoky purple in the fall. Suitable as a solitary grass between shorter plants.
caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Transparent’
8 / dark purple-green / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
A cultivar with tussocks of 3 basal foliage, arching stalks, and delicate, loose, pendent inflorescences.
PANICUM, Poaceae, switchgrass
Like many North American prairie grasses switchgrass is a long-lived warm-season grower. Forms clumps of broad-bladed foliage and profuse airy panicles which are often pink or red-tinted when first opening. The flowerheads are large and wide, but because they contain such small spikelets that are spaced far apart, they form a misty and light effect when planted en masse. All parts of the plant are quite sturdy even when dry and dormant, standing through winter. Autumn tones vary from typical yellow shades to deep burgundy. Drought tolerance also varies and is usually better among glaucous-leaved forms with thicker leaves. Effective as a specimen, in masses, or a large container. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to much of North America.
virgatum ‘Dallas Blues’
5 / silvery-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su
A very distinct cultivar with broad, blue-gray leaves and an extra-large silver-pink, spike-like inflorescence which fades to amber. Very drought tolerant.
virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’
4 / tinted-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su
One of the most erect and upright-growing cultivars with gray-green foliage which never lodges. An especially noticeable airy inflorescence tinted pink.
4 / tinted-red / Aug.-Oct. / Su
An old cultivar with dark green luxuriant foliage in summer, which turns red-brown in late summer. Very airy red-tinted flower panicles. Quick to establish.
4 / red-tinted / Aug-Oct. / Su
The red autumn foliage is one of the most intense and reliable of all cultivars. Green leaves in early summer begin to take on dark red tones by July and turning wholly wine-colored by September. Upright stance, usually remaining so through winter. A slower-growing cultivar.
PENNISETUM, Poaceae, fountain grass
Warm-season, clump-forming grass with spherical mounds of long, narrow foliage from which arise inflorescences of spike-like racemes, usually dense and cylindrical, resembling large, fluffy bottle-brush heads. Foliage turns golden yellow in autumn and the inflorescences remain attractive into early winter. Drought tolerant once established. Slowly spreading and moderately self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Japan and much of southeastern Asia.
3 / cream / Aug.-Nov. / Su
A cultivar with light cream-colored, bottle-brush-like inflorescences rising 3 above a vase-shaped mound of fine foliage. Foliage turns gold with rich red tints in autumn.
SCHIZACHYRIUM, Poaceae, little bluestem
Warm-season cespitose grass with tussocks of fine- textured foliage ranging in color from bright green to glaucous gray-blue. Fall color ranges from copper- orange to deep purple-red, and winter color can be light straw or strongly orange-red. The inflorescences on slender stems are delicate and relatively inconspicuous until they dry and become translucent and silvery. They remain standing through the winter through repeated snow storms. Shade and excess moisture and fertility will contribute to lax, floppy growth. Tolerant of drought and low-fertility. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of 5-10 years or less. Limited spreading and moderately self-sowing. Once one of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie. Native to much of North America.
scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’
2 / silvery / Aug.-Oct. / Su
A cultivar with gray-blue ribbon-like foliage and conspicuous purple-pink stem joints. Orange-red autumn tones
SESLERIA, Poaceae, blue grass
1 / cream-white / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
Cool-season grass which forms mats of yellowish-green, almost transparent foliage, that remains fresh looking, and narrow cream-white spikelets that later turn a contrasting brown. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to southern Europe and the Causcasus.
SORGHASTRUM, Poaceae, Indian grass
nutans ‘Sioux Blue’
4 / copper / Aug.-Oct. / Su
Warm-season clump-forming grass with broad glaucous foliage and inflorescences which open strongly copper-colored with conspicuous bright yellow anthers. Loose and open at first, the panicles narrow upon drying, becoming light chestnut-colored and translucent, and remaining attractive through winter. Slow to moderately spreading and moderately self-sowing. One of the most beautiful and characteristic grasses of the once-vast North American tall-grass prairie, second most prevalent to big bluestem.
SPODIOPOGON, Poaceae, silver spike
5 / dark red / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
Warm-season, clump-forming grass with relatively broad, bright green leaves which are held horizontally, and reminiscent of bamboo. Numerous, upright, spike-like panicles open dark red and fade to brown. Best in cooler climates. Slow-limited spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Korea, Manchuria, China and Siberia.
SPOROBULUS, Poaceae, prairie dropseed
Warm-season, cespitose grass considered to be the most elegant and refined of the prairie grasses. Long and fine thread-like leaves are arranged in upright arching clumps that give the impression of ocean waves when planted en masse, and from which emerge on slender stalks long, elegant and airy flower panicles with a scent reminiscent of cilantro. Foliage turns deep orange in autumn fading to copper through the winter. Slow to establish in cooler climates. Deeply-rooted, drought tolerant, and long-lived. Moderately self-sowing. Native to North American prairies.
3 / tan / July-Aug. / Su
A taller cultivar selected for reliable flowering in Europe and early flowering in north America.
Much the same way grasses dominate open sunny habitats, ferns too dominate the shady woodland floor. Here in Maine one must simply take a walk in the woods to discover the possibilities in garden creating. For like grasses, fernsare much less developed in terms of breeding and selection, even though they are the oldest plants on earth. Both grasses and ferns radiate a simple structural beauty which we ask much less of than the average wildflower, whose ephemeral flowers are forced to perform perfectly and luxuriously through continuous breeding. Because the beauty of grasses and ferns is inherent in their long-lasting foliage and form, there is little we need to do to improve upon them. Here we offer a small selection of a few of the best found growing in Maine for creating a naturalistic garden.
DENNSTAEDTIA, Dennstaedtiaceae, hay-scented fern
2 / – / – / HSh-Sh
The perfect ground-covering fern for those looking to establish a very low-maintenance planting in shady medium-moist conditions. Hay-scented fern is colony forming producing a sea of single, yellow-green, triangular, upright, lacy fronds whose repetition entrances the eye, and is accentuated by emerging trunks of trees. Smells of hay when crushed. Rich coppery-orange fall color. Strong-growing and most suitable for larger plantings. A local selection.
OSMUNDA, Osmundaceae, royal fern
3-6 / – / – / HSh-Sh
One of the most architecturally striking native ferns with bold divided foliage, an upright stature, and tassel-like spore clusters at the tips of the fronds that turn brown as they ripen. Prefers moist to wet soils and will tolerate full sun given consistent moisture. Beautiful autumn coloring. Clump forming. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
POLYSTICHUM, Dryopteradaceae, christmas fern
2 / – / – / HSh-Sh
NATIVE FRUITING SHRUBS:
We chose to grow these two selection specifically because they are diverse in their attributes, above and beyond other fruiting shrubs. Not the least is the strength in which each will naturalize in the landscape, given a variety of soil types, without a lot of coddling.
ARONIA, Rosaceae, chokeberry
6-8 x 5-8 / white / April / Su-HSh
Aronia has been deemed one of the new superfruit. Its myriad health benefits and culinary uses have led to a surge in commercial orchard production, in which Galicjanka has been widely planted due to its uniform fruiting habit. In spring clusters of white flowers are followed by black blueberry-sized fruit which adorn this small rounded shrub come late July or early August. The berries are very ornamental, contrasting with the electric-red fall foliage come autumn, until birds have eaten every last one. Aronia is a very adaptable plant which grows in most any soil type, sun or half-shade, forming small colonies through suckering growth. Useful as a screen or as a larger structural element in bigger naturalistic plantings. Begins to bear at 3 years. Free of diseases and insects. Native to eastern U.S.
SAMBUCUS, Adoxaceae, elderberry
6-12 x 6-12 / white / June / Su-HSh
A vigorous multi-stemmed shrub whose large purple buds unfurl to produce wide cymes of little fragrant white flowers, providing an early source of nectar for native pollinators, and when dried, a fragrant medicinal tea. The highly nutritious and medicinal, small purple-black fruit hang in large clusters come late summer, for use in jelly, syrup, pie or wine, or as a treat for birds. Wyldewood is a consistently high-yielding cultivar which is well-adapted to wide range of soil conditions. Useful in large naturalistic plantings with decorative berries and attractive compound foliage. Low-maintenance and easy growing. Native to eastern U.S.
NATIVE NUT TREES:
Nuts as a food source are beginning to garner more attention not only because they are nutritious (a big part of the Mediterranean Diet), but also because they provide these foods by means of a long-lived perennial plant. Perennials have many advantageous over annuals, one of which is their life-span, yet equally important, they require far less inputs to produce food. They are the backbone, nuts in particular, to the future of sustainable agriculture. These two selections, being native and reliable producers, are our focus. Both have the capacity to naturalize without a lot of coddling. For more information visit the Neohybrid Hazel webpage at our website.
CASTANEA, Fagaceae, American chestnut
100 / white / July / Su
A large deciduous tree once prevalent in forest ecosystems across the Northeastern United States, but which was decimated by blight by the mid-1950s. Though we cannot certify our plants are blight free, we do know they are from parent trees which are vigorous and which bear well, and show very little evidence of blight. American chestnut is a fast-growing, straight-trunked tree with a magnificent wide-branching, rounded crown, which in July bears numerous clusters of long, fragrant, finger-like flower spikes. Sharp-toothed, lustrous green foliage turns a bright yellow in the fall. Trees are precocious, bearing heavy crops of nuts at 10 years of age. Delicious sweet nuts loved by wildlife and humans alike. Prefers loamy well-drained acidic soil. A large specimen tree best planted in wide open areas of lawn, or field.
CORYLUS, Betulaceae, neohybrid hazelnut
x americana, cornuta, avellana
8-10 x 8-10 / yellow / April / Su-HSh
Growing hazelnuts has been a special focus of ours for several years, one which we are now feeling confident enough to share. These are interspecific hybrids, which are open-pollinated, and whose characters will vary from plant to plant. In our breeding effort we have focused on saving seed from the very best, most productive parents. Hazels are poised to be a leader in sustainable food production as the plants are very long-lived and whose nuts are more flexible in their use then soy. Rounded vigorous bushes have showy male flowers, a long cylindrical catkin inflorescence which blooms just as the bees are waking up, but are instead assisted by the wind. The female flowers are minute buds in which only the small ruby-red stigmas are apparent, each stigma representing a nut. The nutritious nuts which are said to be 10,000 times more desirable to wildlife than acorns, appear in insignificant quantities as early as 3 years, with heavy production peaking around years 8-10. As production begins to drop, or the bushes become too difficult to manage, one may choose to coppice the whole of the plant in order to reinvigorate the plants productive potential. Coppiced wood may be used as trellising, ramial chips, biochar, or simply wood chip mulch. Most plants will begin to bear again in 2 years time, and a very few may not make the cut. Hazels are very adaptable to a wide range of climatic conditions and a diversity of applications, such as PYO, formal and informal hedges, and wildlife plantings. Beautiful fall foliage for the back of a large naturalistic planting. For more information visit our Neohybrid Hazelnut webpage.
It seems that almost every plant on earth has medicinal properties; simply an inherent trait of being a plant (or maybe of being a human?). Some plants are particularly distinguished for their medicinal properties and have been known for this for centuries by the peoples whose homelands the plant is indigenous. The average healthy person rarely takes medicine, aside from what medicinal benefits come with a healthy diet. The Chinese have focused, uniquely among traditional medicine, on herbs which have tonic properties. These are herbs which are used routinely, not because of acute symptoms of sickness, but to bolster and invigorate the body of the already healthy person, helping them to be even more resilient to the ravages of everyday (modern) life. These are also known as adaptogens. We, being among those, have allowed this to be an important part of our focus. The other part consists of herbs which are just plain useful on the farmstead. That said, many of the plants which we sell as ornamentals too have specific medicinal properties, but we will leave that to you to discover on your own, if the interest should arise.
ASTRAGALUS, Fabaceae, milk vetch
membranaceous, huang qi
1 -4 / yellow / July-Sept. / Su
A safe effective adaptogenic tonic used daily throughout the year to aid digestion and promote immune system health. Also used in cases of exhaustion, food allergy or depression, and to increase assimilation, improve digestion, and eliminate excess fluids. Most recent evidence suggest it can prevent and treat many symptoms of Lyme disease. Small yellow pea flowers on upright stems with compound vetch-like leaves. Prefers well-drained slightly alkaline soil in full sun. Harvest 4-6 year old roots in the fall. A plant native to Mongolia, northern and eastern China and Tibet. Perennial.
CODONOPSIS, Campanulaceae, poor man’s ginseng
pilosa, dang shen
5-6 / green/purple / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
Poor Man’s Ginseng is used in Chinese medicine the same way as ginseng, but is much easier to grow than Panax ginseng. Used to support energy levels, digestion, immune response, and to clear excess mucus from the lungs. Valued also as an edible root. Tendrilled twining vines with ovate leaves, and buds like green peas which swell to little green balloons, and flower as green bells with purple veining. Ornamental five-sided-balloon seedpods. Harvest long sweet firm roots with tight skins in autumn at 4-6 years. Full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. Native to northeastern China and Korea. Perennial.
ECHINACEA, Asteraceae, narrow-leaved coneflower
1-2 / rose-pink / June-October / Su
Smallest and least vigorous of Echinacea species but one with the most medicinal properties. Possibly the best known of all medicinal herbs which is widely used as an immune system stimulant. Harvest 3-4 year old roots. Native to prairies west of the Mississippi, Saskatchewan to Texas. Perennial.
10-20 / – / – / Su
The immortality herb is a tender, herbaceous perennial vine, which is related to cucumbers, gourds, and melons. Though used for centuries in China as a powerful medicinal tea, the plant did not gain modern recognition outside borders until it was researched as a potential sugar substitute, and was consequently found to have chemical compounds identical to some of those found in unrelated Panax ginseng. Its antioxidant and adaptogenic effects are thought to increase longevity, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and strengthen immunity. The serrated leaflets, commonly growing in groups of five, are harvested dried or fresh for use as a daily tea, which is naturally sweet. Prefers well-drained soil and full sun where it has the potential to grow rapidly and aggressively, and somewhat weedy. Dioecious. Native to southern China, northern Vietnam, southern Korea and Japan.
GLYCYRRHIZA, Fabaceae, licorice
1 -4 / violet / June-July / Su
Sweet and soothing root contains glycosides similar to the body’s own natural steroids. Beneficial for revitalizing adrenal glands, good for colds and bronchitis, reduces throat irritation, yet an expectorant and anti-spasmodic. Adds sweetness, harmony and palatability to herbal combinations. Also has a long history of flavoring foods and drinks. The thin, extensive, underground running roots of the plant need a weed free space to proliferate, ideally in a well-drained sandy soil, lightly mulched. Pinnate compound foliage and violet pea-like flowers. Harvest 3-4 year old roots in the fall. Native to the Mediterranean and cultivated in such countries as Greece, Spain, and Italy. Perennial.
MATRICARIA, Asteraceae, chamomile
18-24 / white / July-Oct. / Su
A plant whose sweet-scented, little white-petal flowers with yellow centers, is most often associated with a tea which calms the nerves and soothes the stomach. Bodegold is a cultivar which is taller growing, vigorous, productive and easy to harvest. Flowerheads are ready to gather when the petal fall back from the center, fading in Augusts heat, yet reviving come the cool of autumn. Annual.
OCIMUM, Lamiaceae, basil, tulsi
2 / purple / July-Oct. / Su
Though used in Indian and Thai cuisine, this species of basil is unique in that it is used extensively as a medicinal herb, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine. Among its many uses are a potent and fragrant tea which strengthens the immune system and increases oxygen uptake in the brain. Spicier than other basils and quicker to go to seed, but still usable when covered with purple flowers. A tender perennial to bring inside when the weather turns cold, though a bit more cold-tolerant than other basils. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun. Native to India where it is the most sacred of herbs.
SCHISANDRA, Schisandraceae, magnolia vine
chinensis, wu wei zi
25 / pinkish-white / April-May / HSh -Sh
Highly ornamental deciduous woody vine with tiny pinkish white flowers that produce clusters of aromatic red berries in late fall. The edible and medicinal five-flavor fruit, combining sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy flavors, can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, tinctured or made into wine. Traditionally used to treat asthmatic and other chronic coughs, insomnia, and palpitations, Schisandra is also adaptogenic, anti-inflamatory, and immune enhancing. Dioecious: male and female plants are needed for fruit production. Prefers well-drained soil in full to dappled shade. Woody perennial. Native to China, Japan, and Korea.
SCUTELLERIA, Lamiaceae, skullcap
baicalensis, huang qin
2 / violet / August / Su
A small shrub-like plant with shiny, slender leaves, and numerous one-sided spikes full of small violet lipped flowers. 3-4 year roots are dried and used as a bitter cooling sedative that lowers fever, blood pressure and cholesterol levels while stimulating the liver. To encourage the roots optimal medicinal powers, pinch buds and dont let flowers bloom. Prefers well-drained soil in full sun. Native to Siberia, Mongolia, Korea, and China.
SYMPHYTUM, Boraginaceae, comfrey
officinale ‘Bocking #14′
48 / pink-purple / May-July / Su-Sh
An easy to grow, vigorous, and space-demanding plant whose uses far outweigh its persistence; make sure to plant it where you want it for many years to come. Medicinally, it is well known for its skin-soothing properties. Contains allantoin which promotes healing of skin and bone, and is also a demulcent for lung and throat. Also well known to homesteaders as a dynamic-accumulator of essential plant nutrients which, upon close analysis, indicates the presence of more NPK than cow manure per equal dry weight. In the orchard it attracts beneficial insects, smothers weeds, and readily decomposes whereby enriching the soil for the trees. Clusters of pinkish-purple bells dangle above large, deep green bristled foliage. Bocking #14 is a sterile cultivar, thus cannot spread by seed. Prefers moisture-retentive soil. Native to Eurasia. Perennial.
WITHANIA, Solanaceae, ashwaganda
2 / green / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
An herb known as the ginseng of Ayurvedic medicine. A tender perennial whose roots, here in the north, are dried at the end of the growing season when the berries ripen, and used internally powdered or tinctured. Thought to be one of the best rejuvenators, especially good for the elderly, it tones without overstimulating and can be used in all conditions of weakness and chronic debilitation. Prefers dry and stony soil in sun or partial shade. Native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East.
So many vegetables, so little time. We try to grow as much of our own food as possible, but we are always limited in one way or another. In order to make the most of our time, space, labor, fertilizer, etc., we focus on those edibles which provide us with the greatest food value while entailing the least amount of inputs. Often these are also the most nutritious of the vegetables, but not always the most gourmet. Perennial vegetables have garnered a lot of interest as of late due to the burgeoning permaculture movement, as they are most often the winners in the input/food ratio. Here we offer a few of the best. We have omitted some of the most popular vegetables (cucumbers, squash, carrots, beets, beans, etc.) because these are not very adaptable to pots, and/or are better direct-seeded. We have chosen vegetable varieties which will provide food all season long as cut-and-come-again types. Instead of selling our vegetable/herb plants in six-packs, they are in quart or gallon pots which provide the customer with a better quality plant, particularly as the plant becomes larger. Our general experience with buying vegetable seedlings at a nursery is either a very small seedling, or an over-grown stressed-out one. Our hope is to avoid both of these. Finally, in the interest of providing best-quality, all of these plants are grown in organic potting soil.
ALLIUM, Liliaceae, bunching onion
fistulosum ‘Evergreen Hardy White’
1 / green-white / May-June / Su
A variety most commonly grown as a spring food source, this scallion has thick, hollow, tubular leaves and compact, greenish-white flower heads ending in a point. An attractive perennial vegetable and early nectar source loved by pollinators.
APIUM, Apiaceae, cutting celery
60 days / 2 / open-pollinated / tender
Sturdy dark green foliage has rich aroma and taste, and which regenerates quickly after cutting. Imparts the same flavor to stews and soups as conventional celery by use of its thin hollow stems or foliage, fresh or dried. Although its cultivation is the same, it is much hardier and easier to grow.
BETA, Chenopodiaceae, chard
55 days / 3 / open-pollinated / hardy
Swiss chard produces more food for the table than almost any other vegetable while requiring less care, yielding a constant crop from July-winter. Argentata is a vigorous long-standing variety that tolerates a wide variety of weather conditions. Broad silvery-white midribs with a crispy sweet succulence and none of the oxalic aftertaste so common in other chards. The deep green savoyed leaves with a mild clean flavor make a great substitute for spinach in omelettes, pasta dishes, and casseroles.
BRASSICA, Brassicaceae, broccoli
56 days / 2 / open-pollinated / hardy
A broccolini type, halfway between a heading broccoli and a broccoli raab, with succulent tender small green heads and very large beads that make for delightful raw eating. Very lose heads, lots of side shoots, and sweet stalks more flavorful than hybrid broccoli. Even the fairly large leaves make excellent greens. Relatively good frost tolerance, yet bred in Brazil to withstand heat. After several pickings, as the shoots grow smaller, be sure to pick promptly before they quickly flower in the summer heat. Broccoli contains significant levels of sulfurophane, a substance that helps detoxify carcinogens from the body. Long-producing, from July-winter.
oleracea ‘Darkibor’, kale
65 days / 20 / F-1 hybrid / hardy
A top-quality Dutch variety with very dark green, triple curled richly textured leaves. Uniform plants hold well in the field in all weather conditions and continue to grow. Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K as well as high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol and decreases risk of heart disease. May be used in textured flavorful salads, steamed or braised as a side dish, mixed in lasagna, omelettes, and made into chips. An important crop in colder climates owing to its natural resistance to frost, which makes it sweeter. Long-producing.
oleracea ‘Senposai’, mustard x cabbage
40 days / 18 / F-1 hybrid / hardy
A cross between Japanese Mustard Spinach and regular cabbage. Round medium-green leaves are wonderful braised or steamed. Extremely delicious, absurdly productive, and easy to grow. Will stand the entire summer, even through drought, and well into the fall before bolting.
HABLITZIA, Betoideae, Caucasian mountain spinach
9 / white / June-July / Su-HSh
Native to the Caucasus, this very hardy perennial begins growing in the very early spring when few other edible greens are available. Early shoots and leaves make a delicious and tender spinach-like vegetable without any bitterness. Originally introduced to Sweden as an attractive vine to screen manor houses with its heart-shaped leaves. Best grown in full sun for maximum productivity.
LYCOPERSICON, Solanaceae, tomato
Of all the possible vegetables to grow, tomatoes are a close first place when it comes to abundance of choice. Heirloom, open-pollinated, hybrid, beefsteak, cherry, pear, plum, determinate, indeterminate, and all in a range of bright colors. For a while large-fruited heirlooms where all the rage, and rightly so when it comes to flavor and curiosity. Yet, they now seem to be most susceptible to disease pressure in the growing climate that now exists, and they do not begin to bear (outside of a greenhouse) until quite late in the summer. Even then they may suffer from cracking, which soon invites rot. Because of this, greenhouse growing is the norm, particularly for organic producers. We are loath to think that tomatoes equals plastic, and more plastic. In light of all this, we have settled on a practical approach, without sacrificing flavor. The basic formula is to chose a variety with early maturity dates, that is productive over a long season, resilient to cold and drought, and of course, flavorful. One thing that we do not have are huge slices that cover the whole of a sandwich.
56 days / determinate / open-pollinated
One of the very earliest ripening open-pollinated tomatoes. 1-2 fruit with rich tomato flavor, superior to other tomatoes in its class. Only cosmetic defect are yellow shoulders which, when there is an abundance, we simply slice off, core and all. Originally from Sweden.
esculentum ‘Principe Borghese’
75 days / vigorous determinate / open-pollinated
An Italian heirloom cherry, with excellent flavor, and used for sun-dried tomatoes as it has few seeds and little juice. Bears small fruits in prolific clusters over a long season. Hold their perfect shape well without cracking. Delicious fresh eating.
esculentum ‘Heinz 2653’
68 days / determinate / open-pollinated
An early red plum type that often ripens all its firm 2 -3 oz. fruits before frost. The perfect cooking/canning tomato for a short season in an area with extreme late blight pressure. Small, loaded plants which ripen most of their fruit at once making for efficient processing.
esculentum ‘Sun Gold’
57 days / indeterminate / hybrid
Small fruits borne in prolific clusters, ripen very early to a rich apricot color and keep producing till frost. A cherry tomato with a perfect combination of deep sweetness with a hint of acid tartness. Like candy when fully ripe. Very prone to split so pick prior to significant rainfall.
OCIMUM, Lamiaceae, basil
70 days / open-pollinated
The heaviest yielding variety, recommended for drying, fresh eating, and large-scale pesto production.
60 days / 18 / open-pollinated
A variety with distinctly strong licorice-anise flavor, often used in Thai cooking. An attractive fine-leaved plant with purple stems, seed heads and flowers, and which is useful in containers.
PETROSELINUM, Apiaceae, parsley
75 days / open-pollinated / hardy
Dense, triple-curled, medium green parsley that holds its color without developing white or brown spots, and whose stems are sweet and juicy, like miniature celery. It can stand the heat and yet remain beautiful and juicy in October.
Aside from our own insights and observations into the appearance, growth and use of the many plants we grow, with much appreciation, we have largely depended on many written and online resources to help us bring these things to light, in ways we ourselves have been unable. In this way we are able to help our customers make well-informed and fitting choices for their gardens. Furthermore, we recommend you explore these resources for more in-depth information.
Lawrence Newcomb. 1977. Newcomb’s Wildflower Manual. Boston, New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Piet Oudolf, and Noel Kingsbury. 2013. Planting: A New Perspective. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
Piet Oudolf, and Noel Kingsbury. 2005. Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
Piet Oudolf, and Henk Gerritson. 2003. Planting the Natural Garden. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
Piet Oudolf, and Henk Gerritson. 2000. Dream Plants For the Natural Garden. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.
Rick Darke. 2007. The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes. Portland, Oregon. Timber Press.
Internet. Missouri Botanical Plant Source. 2014. www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder.
Internet. Wikipedia. 2014. en.wikipedia.org.