Herbaceous perennials are the ideal artistic plant medium for use in naturalistic planting design. They are quick to mature, diverse, and dynamic in character. Most importantly, unlike shrubs and trees, they are relatively easy to move around and arrange as one inevitably does to fine-tune a design idea. 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, seek, and select several of our own named cultivars. We are independent and free to experiment as we see fit.
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 impossible not to carry them. Though it may be our loss, 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 plants we grow reflects this as we have a comparatively small inventory of just over 200 varieties. Yet those plants we do grow are heavily scrutinized for their usefulness and represent the best of the best, in our opinion, available for creating low-maintenance naturalistic gardens here in Maine. In this way, we have done much of the vetting for the customer and can assure them of the suitability of each plant. Furthermore, as designers, we stress creativity in the combination and placement of plants not just the sheer abundance of variety per garden area.
Our inventory varies from year to year based on our success in overwintering, propagation, sales, and any new additions or omissions. We primarily carry one-gallon pots for retail sales of all our perennials. The majority of our plants are hardy to zone 5. For anyone building a garden from scratch or in the field of garden design, thus looking for a larger quantity of a particular plant, there is the option to buy trays of 15 pint-size pots at a more economical price. This option varies from plant to plant, season to season, and some plants are unavailable this way.
Potting soil is made on-site and all plants are potted anew each spring. Due to the nature of our operation, we are particularly susceptible to variations in weather 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 our sales area provides a seasonal cross-section of flowering succession month by month as it occurs here in the state of Maine. Of course, we recommend buying plants that have not been shipped from hothouses from the south, (and which are over-fertilized, possibly sprayed with pesticides, etc.) but from local nurseries that maintain their own stock. Locally grown plants are more likely to survive our local climate and growing practices can be personally consulted. Our stock is not organic due to our minimum 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 unheated) keeps our carbon footprint very low. All of our spent potting soil is used to improve the tilth of the various gardens around the property. Please return any (and only) pots you may have purchased from us for reuse by the nursery. It is our goal to remain as sustainable and efficient an operation as possible, that is, to do as much as possible with as little.
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 those that are prolifically self-sowing, to determine your level of comfort with this often useful and sometimes discouraging characteristic. It is recommended customers read not only ours but a variety of plant descriptions in order to educate themselves concerning growth habits and means of reproduction. Often the term invasive is misused for strong-growing, which many of our plants are. This is their nature, yet most are determinate in growth and will stop once reaching a particular size. Our biggest concern (aside from true invasives) are plants that once established, cannot be completely removed without a lot of effort (and possibly the use of herbicides), and regenerate from small pieces of remaining root (think Bishop’s weed or comfrey). Strong-growing plants are often the lowest maintenance for their ability to fend off weeds, as long as their growth habit is anticipated and are used properly in conjunction with other strong-growers/self-sowers. This is one of a few prerequisites in creating a low-maintenance garden, though ideally, a plant would also be confined in its spread and long-lived. (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. They do not seem to mind whether a plant is native or not as they potentially displace it through their continual expansion. Gardeners must 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 horticulturalists have crossed the Atlantic in search of useful ornamental plants growing wild in North American habitats, particularly those from the grasslands of the mid-west. This effort 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 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 prime but also for their long-lasting structure which persists well into winter in skeletal form. Many of these plants are also very low-maintenance and useful for sustainable design (see resources: lists – “Plants with long-lasting seed-heads and/or winter skeleton”). With the renewed interest in native plants, new hybrids and cultivars of North American genera continue to be introduced to the trade on an annual basis. One result of all this is a simultaneous popularity surge in plants that are aesthetically superior and fitting for a naturalistic planting and are wildlife-friendly and well-adapted to the state of Maine. We can have 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 Eurasian in origin. Because we are very interested in the aesthetic/artistic prerequisite of a plant many non-natives remain part of our selection even though they are less beneficial to native insect herbivores. Many do provide food in the form of seed and nectar, however, and habitat as well (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 and necessary addition to making visually stimulating landscapes. But as is becoming more apparent, a balance must be found. This is particularly true for ever-expanding urban and suburban areas lacking diverse natural habitats and which are therefore less capable of supporting native insects and the food web which depends upon them. Both the Highline in New York City and Lurie Garden in Chicago provide excellent examples of large-scale public landscapes with a majority of natives combined with a minority of non-natives (see resources: links – “Naturalistic Public Gardens”).
Ecologist Douglas Tallamy states, “There is room for compromise. With few exceptions, however, it is not the addition of introduced plants to our landscapes that destroys biodiversity, but the removal of the plants upon which that biodiversity depends. Landscapes with a healthy dose of keystone plant genera almost always have room for some striking noninvasive introduced ornamentals without losing their ecological clout.” Yet, “Landscapes that do not contain one or more species from keystone genera will have failed food webs, even if the diversity of other plants is very high. Throughout most of the United States, native oaks, cherries, willows, birches, cottonwoods, and elms are the top woody producers, while goldenrods, asters, and sunflowers lead the herbaceous pack.” Those of us who live in a rural setting may be forgiven should we decide not to have goldenrod in our gardens, for it, along with asters, are happily ubiquitous. Considering the whole flora of a region, many natives, though beneficial to wildlife, are not ornamental enough or too weedy to incorporate into highly visible ornamental landscapes, particularly public ones. Furthermore, several are very specific in their habitat requirements and difficult to grow in a garden setting and thus better suited for use as additions to native wild habitats to which they are best adapted and where their life cycle is naturally managed.
A species is a plant (or animal) that exists in the wild as a distinct naturally occurring form and is given a two-word scientific Latin name, i.e Echinacea purpurea. A native plant, as defined by Mr. Tallamy, is a species of plant that exists and functions in the community that historically helped shape it. Yet, he also states that a gardener need not be a complete purist in the use of native plants in recreating functioning habitats. “There are, in fact, cases where a plant can be moved outside of its native range and still perform some or even most of its evolutionary roles within its new ecosystem. This typically happens when a plant is a member of a genus that contains several similar relatives. Animals adapted to using one member of the genus are often able to use a close congener (a member of the same genus), even if they have never interacted with that particular plant species in their evolutionary past. Thus, we remain relatively flexible in defining what is native, most often deferring to Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide to determine the historical native range of a plant, which for many is significantly broad, and by no means adheres to the relatively arbitrary political boundaries that frame our state.
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. The focus tends to be on nectar as the greatest attribute of native plants, which is certainly important, though non-natives can provide nectar 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 that provides forage for the Monarch butterfly larvae. This is an important aspect of insect-plant relationships: host-plant and larvae have co-evolved, and some like the Monarch are specialists which are completely dependent on a plant for their caterpillar forage. With this in mind, one must understand that supporting our native wildlife through gardening means letting native herbivorous insects feed on the plants in our gardens. Thus, we must learn to embrace or at least tolerate bug-eaten foliage. Luckily, naturalistic planting design, with its relative lack of formality, is most accommodating to this occurrence.
Many plants are introduced into cultivation not only for their greater beauty but because they are better behaved, and altogether these comprise the many hybrids and cultivars of the ornamental horticultural trade. These plants may be less likely to survive in the wild (which may be a benefit from an invasive standpoint), but they can be much more useful in the garden. Hybrid plants are crosses between two different wild species of genera, such as Echinacea purpurea with Echinacea paradoxa, often resulting in a variety of spectacular flower colors. And yet, many hybrids are sterile – they do not produce nectar, pollen, or seed, and thus are genetic dead-ends. Likewise, they are dead to pollinators and seed-eating birds (and seed-savers). We limit our use of these plants, although they remain the plant industry’s number one money-maker. Like hybrids, cultivars are named plants, yet are a genetic variant of a single, often wild, species. Wild seed-grown or wild-harvested plants are selected for outstanding naturally occurring characteristics and are maintained through vegetative propagation (cloning) in order to remain true to type. Cultivars are another major source of new commercial introductions, particularly natives. Cultivars are capable of producing nectar, pollen, and seed, and seedlings will often resort to the species phenotype (common physical appearance) if allowed to self-sow, also passing on the genetic complement of their long evolutionary history. We focus largely on both wild 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 2023
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 inflorescence. 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.
filipendulina ‘Parker’s Variety’
3.5′ / yellow / June-Sept. / Su
A seed-grown cultivar of the only species in the genus truly considered perennial. Medium-sized yellow umbles and grey-green foliage. Long-lasting structure and height for arid plantings. Moderately self-sowing. Native to the Caucasus mountains in southeastern Europe.
ACONITUM, Ranunculaceae, monkshood
The buttercup family is one of the most diverse and primitive. All species have attractive glossy palmate foliage and curiously shaped flowers that resemble a monk’s hood. Pollinated exclusively by bumblebees.
A. henryi ‘Spark’s Variety’
5′ / dark purple-blue / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
Creates an airy and broadly-branched plume of dark purple-blue flowers best supported by lower-growing plants that do not interfere with its graceful and inflorescence. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to China.
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 white flower spikes on long stems rising above clumps of green finely-cut foliage. Native to eastern North America.
6.5′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A giant plant with dark green foliage tinted purple and elongated flower candles on long stems that rise above the foliage. The white flowers have purple-red calyxes and flower stems. A very strong plant that rarely collapses. This species is more drought-tolerant than its darker-leaved selections. Native to Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.
simplex ‘James Compton’
3′ / white / Sept-Oct. / HSh-Sh
A vigorous earlier flowering and compact cultivar with bronze-black foliage and creamy-white flower candles.
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. Species plants are often short-lived, so they should be given an opportunity to self-seed which they do well. Prefers well-drained soil. 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 spikes covered with true blue flowers. Sterile so not self-seeding, but longer lived.
feoniculum – coming soon.
4′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A cultivar of Snakeroot whose leaves are dark green-brown on top and chocolate brown on the undersides. The fluffy white flowers held in umbels give it a delicate appearance in late summer. The species is native to eastern and central North America.
ALLIUM, Liliaceae, onion
Ornamental onions, with their more or less spherical inflorescence 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. And unlike bulbous alliums, a few species create moderately spreading clumps that keep their attractive grass-like leaves all season and can thus be used more extensively in naturalistic plantings. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
angulosum ‘Summer Beauty’
2′ / pink / July-Sept. / Su
An older mat-forming cultivar with a pink spherical inflorescence and bright-green strap-like foliage. Loved by pollinators. Distinctive and long-lasting seedheads and/or winter skeleton. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. The species is native to a wide region of central Europe and northern Asia.
18″ / light-purple / April-May / Su
Commonly known as chives, this clump-forming perennial which is often used for culinary purposes is also a useful ornamental. Forms clumps of long narrow dark-green grass-like foliage from which arise spherical clover-like clusters of soft-purple flowers. Well adapted to arid conditions where it will self-sow and naturalize. This is the only allium native to both new and old worlds, occurring across much of Europe, Asia, and North America.
2′ / dark red-purple / July-Aug. / Su
The round-headed leak is a bulb-forming species with dark red-purple globular flower heads roughly 2″ in diameter. The clumps of narrow dark-green chive-like foliage remain attractive longer than most. Attractive long-lasting seed heads. Moderately self-sowing and naturalizing. Native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia.
hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’
2.5′ / bright-purple / May-June / Su
A vigorous cultivar of a true bulb-forming species with large bright-purple 4″ globe-shaped flower heads that set seed abundantly. Short-lived foliage is best hidden by lower-growing plants. Attractive long-lasting seed heads. Native to Iran and Kyrgyzstan.
AMSONIA, Apocynaceae, bluestar
Virtually ideal long-lived and 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. Limited self-sowing.
2.5′ / 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.
2.5′ / steel-blue / June-July / Su-HSh
A strong, slow-growing but extremely long-lasting plant that 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 the central U.S.
1.5′ / dark lavender-blue / June-July / Su
A compact hybrid with dark lavender-blue, star-shaped flowers. Beautiful fall foliage.
ANAPHALIS, Asteraceae, pearly everlasting
2′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
Pearly everlasting is the one species native to North America. Attractive woolly, dark gray-green, lanceolate foliage and small papery white flowers born in flat heads. At home in humus-rich woodland soil in half-shade, though found growing in arid railway embankments and amongst grass in beach dunes. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seedheads and/or winter skeleton. Strong spreading yet easy to remove. 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. Useful for difficult sites and interplanted amongst indigenous vegetation.
ANEMONE, Ranunculaceae, windflower
This anemone from China and Japan flowers last grows tallest, and is moderately spreading. 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 that bears pale pink flowers. Can become rampant on fertile soil.
ARUNCUS, Rosaceae, goat’s beard
Indestructible plants that 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. Seedhead is insubstantial. Useful in dry shade. Native to North America.
4′ / cream / June-July / Su-HSh
A breathtakingly beautiful cross between A. dioicus and A. aethusifolius. Bears elegant panicles of small cream-colored flowers on reddish-brown stems. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive long-lasting seedheads and/or winter skeleton. Attractive fall foliage.
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 kidney-shaped, dark and glossy, evergreen leaves with light green veins. The curious three-petal purple-brown flowers remain concealed under the leaves. Ideal groundcover in a woodland setting provided the soil does not dry out. Prefers calcareous soil but tolerant of acidity. More ornamental than our native species. Native to large parts of temperate Europe.
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.
exaltata – coming soon
4.5′ / pale pink / July / Su
A sturdy border plant with umbel-shaped inflorescence covered in sweet-smelling pale pink flowers that 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. Allow to self-sow.
incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’
4.5′ / cream / July / Su
A unique white-flowering form of the above species. Comes true from seed
tuberosa ssp. interior
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. This sub-species is also very tolerant of heavier clay soils. It does not transplant well due to its deep taproot, so best left alone. Unlike other milkweeds, this species’s stems do not exude a 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 have brought them into the spotlight once again. Furthermore, Asters have been recently recognized as a keystone genus with over 100 species of caterpillar using it as a host plant, and over 30 pollen specialist bee species rely on its flowers. Asters are strong plants that thrive almost anywhere. New England asters can be a bit floppy and are best grown amongst plants of similar height, which also conceals the characteristically browning foliage below. The low-growing bushy varieties do not have this problem. Fairly recently the genus has been taxonomically reorganized following recent DNA-based evidence, yet we are sticking to the old names for now as the new ones are not yet familiar to the public.
2′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-Sh
A compact aster with narrow heather-like foliage and arching inflorescence covered in small, 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.
2.5′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A bushy cultivar with very dark, small, purple-black foliage and an abundance of tiny free-flowering small 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 local selection.
novae-angliae ‘Alma Potschke’
4′ / deep bright-pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A shorter cultivar of the infamous New England aster with intense bright pink flowers on sturdy stems. Slowly-spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / bright-pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A tall bushy selection with beautiful bright-pink flowers and contrasting bright yellow centers. Provide support with mid-height plants. Slowly spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
5′ / deep-purple / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A difficult to find cultivar of New England aster with deep-purple flowers. Slowly spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
novae-angliae ‘Honey Song’
3′ / light-pink / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A shorter cultivar with light-pink flowers. Slowly spreading. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
6′ / white / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A tall growing plant with inflorescence 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. Extremely strong and moderately-spreading, this 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.
oblongifolius ‘October Skies’
1-2′ / violet-blue / Aug.-Sept. / Su
Aromatic aster is a bushy, stiff, low-growing plant with hairy stems, small-leaved aromatic foliage, and clouds of medium-small violet-blue flowers. Tolerant of many soil types but particularly happy in arid conditions. Native to northeastern and central U.S.
1.5′ / violet-blue / Sept.-Oct. / HSh-Sh
Stiff aster, our most diminutive native aster, occurs locally in dry, sandy, open settings where it forms neat mounds of rough needle-like foliage topped by pretty violet-blue flowers. Very charming. Native to eastern North America. A local selection.
3′ / deep lavender-blue/ Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A tough hybrid of our native A. macrophyllus with striking deep lavender-blue flowers above relatively broad foliage. Very useful in the shade, even in dry conditions. Moderately spreading.
4′ / lavender-violet / Aug.Oct. / Su
Prairie aster is a showy, upright, mound-forming plant with lanceolate foliage and racemes of lavender-violet daisies. Native to dry prairies and open woods of east-central U.S.
divaricatus ‘Eastern Star’
2′ / white / Aug.-Sept. / HSh
A cultivar that forms compact mounds of shiny green foliage with contrasting black-red stems, and covered in small white flowers. A tough plant that is adaptable to dry shade. Moderately spreading and self-sowing, and useful as a groundcover. Native to eastern North America.
ASTILBE, Saxifragaceae, false goatsbeard
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 that 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.
tequetii ‘Visions in Pink’
2.5′ / soft pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A recent introduction with compact soft pink plumes.
tequetii ‘Visions in Red’
2.5′ / purple-red / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A recent introduction with compact dark purple-red plumes.
3 / bright purple-pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A stiff upright plant with long, lightly branched inflorescence. Spreads well but is not rampant. Particularly striking in skeletal form. Species native to China.
ASTRANTIA, Apiaceae, masterwort
Unique old-fashioned plants that 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 site-dependent. Slow to moderately spreading, while some cultivars are prolifically self-sowing. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of fewer than 10 years. Native to central and eastern Europe.
2.5′ / 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, and which has resulted in numerous cultivars in far-ranging colors. 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.
3.5′ / 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 ‘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.
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 mid-west North America.
3′ / bright yellow / May-June / Su-HSh
A bushy plant with numerous sparsely flowered clusters of yellow pea like flowers and mounds of trifoliate grey-green leaves. Inflated seedpods turn black when ripe. Blooms later than other species. A host plant of the Wild Indigo Duskywing skipper and Clouded Sulpher butterfly. Native to eastern U.S.
BLEPHILIA – coming soon.
CALAMINTHA, Lamiaceae, calamint
A genus of aromatic garden plants closely related to thyme and mint. The most important feature is 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 ‘White Cloud’
1′ / pure white / July-Oct. / Su
A white-flowered cultivar of the species, similar to Blue Cloud, yet shorter.
CAMASSIA, Hyacinthaceae, camas
Beautiful bulbs that 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. Attractive seedheads add early summer interest. 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′ / cream / May-June / Su
A later flowering cultivar with hefty spires of cream-colored star-shaped flowers. The seedheads remain decorative for a month or longer thereafter. Self-sowing.
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.
CHELONE – coming soon.
villosa – coming soon
CLEMATIS, Ranunculaceae, old man’s beard
There are a few perennial Clematis species that 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.
6.5 / cream-colored / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A cultivar with deeply cut, purple-tinged foliage and stems, and clouds of fragrant, cream-colored flowers followed by decorative seed tails.
12′-20′ / white / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
This native clematis is a rampant fast-growing plant with sweetly aromatic, small pure white flowers which cover it entirely and are followed by decorative seed tails. It definitely needs support from a building or surrounding shrubs as is common in its native wetland edge habitat here along the Cathance. Flowers attract Halicted bees, wasps, and flies. A local selection.
CONOCLINIUM, Asteracea, blue mistflower
3′ / blue / July-Oct. / Su-HSh
Corymbs of numerous fluffy, blue, tubular flowers that lack the typical rays characteristic of this family of plants. Strongly spreading and self-sowing, so best allowed to naturalize in wilder landscapes in its preferred moisture-retentive soil. Late to emerge in the spring in northerly climes. Host plant of the Cycleme Moth, Lined Ruby Tiger Moth, and Three-lined Flower Moth. Native to central and southeastern U.S., and West Indies.
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. Long stems appreciate support from plants of similar size. Slowly-spreading. Native to North America. 22 species of pollen specialist bees rely on the flowers of this genus.
2′ / cream-yellow / June-Aug. / Su
This cultivar of thread-leaf 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.
DIANTHUS, Caryophyllaceae, carnation
Many species belong to 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 a stronger wild species.
2′ / hard pink / June-Aug. / Su
The Carthusian pink has long stems, narrow foliage, and clusters of small hard pink flowers that hover airily. Drought-tolerant and moderately/pleasantly self-sowing. 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 are generally variable in form and will occasionally produce a white-flowered seedling. Does not go dormant like D. spectabilis. Drought-tolerant. 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.
4′ / beige-orange / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
The tall spike-like flower stems are laden with beige-orange 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 and abundantly on moisture-retentive soil. Native to Hungary, Romania, Turkey, and the Caucasus.
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. All Echinacea species suffer from too much competition from surrounding plants. 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. 6 species of pollen specialist bees rely on the flowers of this genus.
3′ / purple-pink / July-Sept. / Su
A species with long slender stems, purple-pink 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 and earlier flowering than E. purpurea. Forage plant for Ottoe-skipper larva.
pallida ‘Hula Dancer’
3′ / light lavender-pink / July-Sept. / Su
A seed-grown cultivar with very narrow, reflexed, and tinted lavender-pink petals.
2.5′ / pale lavender-pink / July-Sept. / Su
A sturdy and stockier selection of ‘Hula Dancer’. A Campo di Fiori selection.
3′ / pink-red / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
An improvement on Magnus with wide horizontal intense pink-red petals, a large orange-red cone, dark stems and uniform habit. Self-sows. The best seed strain for this color. Host plant of the Ottoe-skipper.
3′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A seed strain with petals more horizontally held than ‘White Swan’. Self-sowing.
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 (not true to type).
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 in the wild 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. 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 umbel-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 coarse 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, frequently found here along the Cathance river, 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.
fistulosum f. albidum ‘Ivory Towers’
7′ / white / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
This striking white flowering form is a nice change from the usual purple-flowering forms.
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 and remain attractive into 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.
GENTIANA , Gentianaceae, gentian
Most species are high-mountain plants that are difficult to grow and flower poorly in low-lying areas. The following species is one of a few exceptions.
2′ / deep blue / Sept.-Oct. / Su-HSh
The bottle gentian has deep blue flowers that never fully open and which remain “bottle” shaped. Growing best in cool moist places, they can form large clumps with time, though typically slow to develop. Native to Eastern North America. A local selection.
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.
18″ / 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. Self-sowing. A local selection.
18″ / white / April-June / Su-HSh
A beautiful sparkling white-flowering form of G. maculatum. Self-sow true to type.
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.
2′ / purple-pink / June-Sept. / Su
An extremely strong twining purple-pink cultivar that 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.
GILLENIA, Rosaceae, bowman’s root
3′ / white / June-July / Su-HSh
Sturdy and bushy plants with long-flowering clouds of white narrow-petaled flowers with red bracts on red flower stems. This plant will grow almost anywhere, even dry shade. 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 ‘Carroll Hybrids’
18″ / soft-pink, dark-red / April / HSh-Sh
These plants are of invaluable worth in the early spring 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 appear in the wild around the Black Sea. The plants in cultivation are probably all hybrids. ‘Carroll Hybrids’ is a local seed strain that is variable but leans heavily toward producing flowers of soft pink and dark red. Self-sowing.
HELENIUM, Asteraceae, sneezewort
Garden plants with an old-fashioned air about them. Round tubular centers with wreaths 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. One of the host plants of the Dainty Sulphur. 5 species of pollen specialist bees rely on the flowers of this genus. Native to much of North America and Canada.
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 shorter hybrid with red-brown flowers.
HELIANTHUS, Asteraceae, sunflower
8′ / lemon yellow /Oct.-Nov. / Su
A cultivar from a genus of giant plants from the American prairie, with course green lanceolate foliage and sturdy long stems topped with delicate lemon yellow sunflowers. Loved by bees and butterflies. Non-invasive. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
HEMEROCALLIS, Hemerocallidaceae, day lily
Ornamental plants that have been grown for centuries, with attractively arched grassy leaves and large lily-like flowers that 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 roadsides and old house foundations making 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.
18″ / dark red / May-July / Su
Small dark red flowers with yellow-green throats.
2.5′ / cream / May-July / Su
Medium-sized cream flowers with green throats.
HEUCHERA, Saxifragaceae, coral bells
Ornamental plants for shade with rosettes of attractive, palmate, indented leaves and small flowers on elongated stems. Humus-rich, moisture-retentive soil is appreciated. As the plant is shallow-rooted, mulch protects from winter heaving in moister locations.
micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
1′ / white / June-July / Su-HSh
The oldest of a flood of cultivars with strongly contrasting dark purple-red foliage, and elongated stems with small white flowers. Native to rocky slopes and cliffs of western North America, from British Columbia to California.
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 emerge many slender, leafless stems covered by small white flowers. This species is the most vigorous and hardy. Excellent ground cover in part-shade. Native to rocky, wooded slopes from Virginia and Georgia to Tennessee.
HOSTA, Liliaceae, plantain lily
Wonderful foliage plants that hail from Japan. Ideal for architectural purposes whose bold foliage gives body to a shaded garden amongst fine-leaved plants. Moist, humus-rich, fertile soil in part shade suits them best.
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.
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. Many irises cannot cope when combined with plants of the same height or ground-cover plants, as the rhizomes become overshadowed. There are a few species that grow well in normal, moisture-retentive garden soil and which can be combined closer to other plants in a naturalistic style.
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.
3.5′ / soft yellow / Sept-Oct. / HSh-Sh
Shade plants with attractive, corrugated, sycamore-like leaves. In summer, soft yellow buds are formed which grow very slowly until opening in late summer. Three-needled seed capsules remain attractive thereafter. These plants will grow and flower almost anywhere so long as the soil does not dry out. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to Japan and eastern China.
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 fewer than 5 years, yet which self-sows abundantly in drier conditions. Drought-tolerant. Native to eastern Europe.
LOBELIA, Campanulacea, blue cardinal flower
3′ / blue / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
Fat spikes covered in blue, tubular, lipped flowers and somewhat course-looking, finely toothed, lanceolate foliage. Grows best in moisture-retentive soil. Short-lived yet enthusiastically self-sow. Produces a compound that deters herbivory. Native to the northeast U.S.
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 species with long, pointed, cone-shaped spikes. Native to central and southeastern United States.
spicata ‘Floristan White’
2.5′ / white / July-Aug. / Su
A striking white-flowering cultivar. Species native to central and southeastern United States.
4′ / reddish-purple / July-Aug. / Su
A tall species that strongly resembles L. spicata, but has a longer inflorescence so that the whole plant seems more slender. Native to central and southeastern U.S.
novae-angliae – coming soon
LILIUM, Liliacea, Michigan Lily
michiganense – coming soon
LUNARIA, Brassicaceae, honesty
2.5′ / 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.
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 these plants’ beauty. Swarms of butterflies, bees, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds descend on the plant when in flower. 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. Though cultivars abound, we have found only a few varieties to be dependable for the longer term. 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.
4′ / lavender / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
Whorled heads of lavender tubular flowers above light green, pink-tinted bracts.
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.
2.5′ / bright pink / June-July / Su-HSh
A shorter cultivar with bright pink flowers.
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.
subsessilis ‘Sweet Dreams’
2′ / soft-pink / June-Sept. / Su-HSh
A pink-flowering form.
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 loose spikes somewhat resembling those of foxgloves. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of fewer 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.
1.5′ / soft-lavender / May-July / Su
Open clusters of soft-lavender trumpet-shaped flowers with white lower lips, on dark, hairy stems. This earliest blooming species is also tolerant of a wide range of soil moisture. One of the larval host plants of the Chalcedon Checkerspot, Baltimore Checkerspot, and Edith’s Checkerspot. Native to eastern North America.
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.
2.5′ / white to pink / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
This plant forms clumps of oblong-shaped leaves made attractive by a dark marking in the center. Forming just above the foliage are white to pink pin-sized flowers on thread-like spikes. Best planted at the front of the border to better appreciate its subtle appearance. Native to northeastern U.S. as well as Japan and the Himalayas.
PHLOX, Polemoniaceae, phlox
A very familiar plant that 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. Species native to the mid-west prairie.
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.
4′ / bright magenta-purple / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
A mildew-resistant cultivar with large clusters of bright magenta-purple flowers.
4′ / lilac-pink / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
An older cultivar with small, pale-lilac pink flowers in pyramid-shaped panicles. Resembles sweet rocket.
4′ / soft-pink / July-Aug. / Su-HSh
A cultivar with elegant soft-pink flowers. A Campo di Fiori selection.
divaricata ‘Blue Moon’
1′ / blue-violet / May-June / HSh-Sh
A spring ephemeral, woodland, ground-covering species with sweet-smelling, abundant blue-violet flowers and lanceolate foliage. A place in semi-shade, and most importantly, soil that never dries out, is essential for healthy growth. Moderately spreading and self-sowing. Native to eastern North America.
PHYTOSTEGIA, Lamiacea, obedient plant
4′ / pink / June-Sept. / Su
Spikes of pink, tubular, lipped flowers and narrow, lanceolate, sharply-toothed leaves. Strongly rhizomatous and self-sowing thus best used in wilder situations where it may naturalize. Prefers moisture-retentive soil. Native to North America from Quebec south to Florida.
POLYGONATUM, Asparagacea, Solomon’s seal
3′ / cream / April-May / HSh-Sh
A strong growing plant with long arching stems that dangle cream-colored flowers. Moderately spreading. Very good structure from spring to late winter with distinctive and long-lasting seed heads and/or winter skeleton. Native to eastern North America.
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 that appear over an extended period of time. Drought tolerant and easy growing.
2′ / scarlet-red / June-July / Su
A bushy growing seed-grown cultivar with masses of small, bowl-shaped, scarlet-red flowers. Native to Afghanistan and eastern Himalayas.
napalensis ‘Miss Wilmott’
1.5′ / salmon-pink / May-July / Su
A bushy seed-grown cultivar with masses of small salmon-pink flowers. Native to Himalayas.
napalensis ‘Helen Jane’
1′ / pink w/ red center / May-July / Su
A bushy seed-grown cultivar with masses of pink, red-centered flowers. Native to western Himalayas.
napalensis ‘Ron McBeath’
1′ / deep pink / May-July / Su
A bushy seed-grown cultivar with masses of deep pink flowers. Native to western Himalayas.
PYCANTHEMUM, Lamiaceae, mountain mint
3′ / pale pink / July-Sept. / Su-HSh
A bushy clump-forming perennial with aromatic leaves that 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 that 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. Makes excellent tea. 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
RUDBECKIA, Asteraceae, black-eyed Susan
A familiar genus of course plants with large yellow daisies with dark cone-shaped tubular centers that 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.
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.
subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’
5′ / yellow / July-Sept. / Su
A cultivar with rolled petals creates a quilled appearance.
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
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 that 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’
1.5′ / 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. A relatively short-lived perennial with a longevity of fewer 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 that create another perspective as you look through 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′ / 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.
2′ / pink-red / May-June / Su
A selection with very attractive grey-green foliage and longer flowering spikes that are fluffier and pinker. A Campo di Fiori selection.
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. ‘Arnhem’ is sturdier than the species with larger, darker red flowers. Native throughout the cooler regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and Asia.
officinalis ‘Pink Tanna’
2′ / soft-pink / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A shorter and earlier flowering cultivar with a profusion of soft-pink cylindrical inflorescence.
6′ / pink-red / July-Oct. / Su
A cultivar with longer and softer-colored spikes, which remains more upright than the species, together creating a strong vertical appearance
6′ / white / July-Aug. / Su
A white flowering form of the species which is taller and has narrower foliage and even narrower, cylindrical-shaped, pendent spikes. Native to eastern Asia.
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 that 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. Species native to Eurasia.
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.
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.
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.
1′ / soft-yellow / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
A compact cultivar with soft-yellow flowers and grey-green foliage.
mohrii – coming soon
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. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. A local selection.
SOLIDAGO, Asteraceae, goldenrod
A very familiar genus of plants that are native to Maine, but the majority being too weedy for the garden. Nonetheless, 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 that 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.
3′ / yellow / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A species of 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.
2′ / white w/pale yellow centers / Aug.-Oct / Su
Upland white goldenrod has low mounds of lanceolate foliage and white daisy-like flowers held in flat-topped corymbs from late summer to fall. Drought tolerant and naturalizing in drier conditions. Native to dry sandy or gravelly often calcareous soils from Quebec to Saskatchewan south to Georgia, Arkansas, and Colorado.
2′ / yellow / Aug.-Sept. / Su
Old field or grey goldenrod is one of the shortest species found locally. Small grey-green foliage and panicles of small yellow flowers. Limited vegetative spread yet moderately self-sowing. Drought tolerant. A local selection.
rigidum – coming soon
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.
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.
2′ / soft-pink / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A compact cultivar with deep green foliage and long-flowering spikes of soft-pink flowers. Limited spread.
2′ / white / June-Aug. / Su-HSh
A compact cultivar with deep green foliage and long-flowering spikes of white flowers.
SUCCISA, Dipsacaceae, devil’s bit scabious
An upright plant with narrow, dark green foliage and branched inflorescence with deep blue, pincushion-like, round flower heads. Very attractive to insects.
2.5′ / deep blue / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A shorter and earlier-flowering form of the species. A Campo di Fiori selection.
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.
4′ / lilac / April-June / Su-HSh
This plant is effective for the greater part of the year with its distinctive flowers of wide lilac panicles that seem to consist entirely of stamens with purple-black stems, followed by decorative shivering seeds that 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.
TRADESCANTIA, Commelinacea, Ohio spiderwort
3′ / deep blue / May-July / Su-HSh
A clump-forming plant with clusters of three-petaled deep blue flowers and dark bluish-green arching grass-like leaves. The combined characteristics of floppy mid-summer foliage and strongly self-sowing behavior lend this plant to a wilder landscape where it may naturalize. Prefers moisture-retentive soil. Native to eastern and central North America.
VERNONIA, Asteraceae, ironweed
8′ / purple-red / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A large late-flowering plant with dark narrow foliage and purple 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.
lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’
1.5′ / purple-red / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A shorter-growing cultivar with clumps of fine, needle-like foliage and umbel-like clusters of purple-red thistle-like flowers. Very tolerant of both drought and flooding. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less-intensively maintained gardens. Native to rocky outcrops, floodplains, and river scours of west-central Arkansas and adjacent areas of Oklahoma.
3′ / purple-red / Sept.-Oct. / Su
A short hybrid with upright stems and needle-like foliage topped by showy, umbel-like clusters of bright purple-red flowers. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Loved by pollinators.
VERONICA, Scrophulariaceae, speedwell
longifolia ‘Blue Shades’
3.5′ / light/dark blue / June-Aug. / Su
A vigorous seed selection with lanceolate foliage and long spikes in shades of blue. Dislikes dry soil. Abundantly self-sowing. Native to central and northeastern Europe to southwest Asia, Korea, and Japan.
longifolia ‘Pink Shades’
3.5 / light/dark pink / June-Aug. / Su
A seed selection similar to the above variety except in shades of pink.
VERBENA, Verbenacea, blue vervain
6′ / purple / July-Sept. / Su
A stiff and upright plant with reddish stems, lanceolate foliage, and elongated racemes bearing small purple flowers of which only a few are open at one time, and yet striking nonetheless. Short-lived yet abundantly self-sowing in its preferred moisture-retentive soil. Native to eastern North America.
VERONICASTRUM, Scrophulariaceae, Culver’s root
Tall and 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.
5′ / soft-pink / July-Aug. / Su
An earlier flowering cultivar with long spikes of 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 fewer than 10 years. A local selection.
PERENNIALS – ORNAMENTAL GRASS
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 the 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 grass 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.
A shorter selection with a buff-colored inflorescence. 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 than 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.
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-colored by August and tighten to slim spikes that remain upright and attractive through most of the winter. Makes a good deciduous screen that 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′ / smokey-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
Carex, otherwise known as sedge, is a common sight in our local woodlands whose subtle flowers provide interest in early spring. Having been ignored for years they are making a surge in popularity due to their neat evergreen foliage, often cespitose, and low-maintenance growth habits. As a textural groundcover, they are indispensable for woodland-type meadow or matrix plantings where they provide the perfect context from which other showier wildflowers may emerge.
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.
8″ / yellow / June-July / Su-HSh
A cultivar of woodland sedge native to the northeastern U.S. and beyond. Clump-forming, producing a neat mound of relatively broad, blue-green, ever-green foliage. Inconspicuous and slender flowering stems. Adaptable to a range of soil types. Prefers light shade but will grow in full sun with adequate moisture. A natural choice for dry shade.
8″ / yellow / April / HSh-Sh
Though subtle in its appearance unless mass-planted, this plant is nonetheless very useful as a no-mow lawn and ground-covering matrix which slowly spreads from runners and thrives in dry shade. Long and slender foliage creates a beautifully textured carpet for planting other more ornamental plants within. Can withstand minor foot traffic and tolerates periodic mowing. 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 that emerge light green eventually turning to red-bronze and remaining attractive through the winter. Limited spread and self-sowing. Native to the 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 an inflorescence that opens green-bronze and fades to dark bronze.
2′ / green-yellow / June-July / Su-HSh
A shorter cultivar with a green-yellow inflorescence that turns flaxen early in summer and, therefore, attracts more attention.
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 the 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.
HAKONECHLOA, Poaceae, Hakone grass
1′ / smokey-purple / Aug.-Sept. / Su-HSh
Warm-season mat-forming grass with delightful mop-heads of long, arching, graceful leaves that 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.
KOELERIA, Poacaea, prairie June grass
2′ / light green / May-June / Su
A cool season bunch grass with basal foliage and narrow, spike-like, light green inflorescence that rise well above the foliage, and that turn to silver-green as they mature. Prefers well-drained soils and is drought tolerant. May go dormant in hot and humid climates. Short-lived but self-sowing. Useful interplanted with later blooming warm-season grasses. Native to North America, Europe, and Asia.
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.
effusum ‘Aureum’-coming soon
MOLINIA, Poaceae, moor grass
Cool-season cespitose grass that 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 flower 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.
4′ / soft-purple / July-Oct. / Su
A cultivar that forms tidy clumps and whose upright, narrow, vase-shaped habit is formed by numerous narrow, leafless stems topped with narrow spikes of soft-purple flowers. Beautiful autumn foliage.
3.5′ / dark-purple / July-Oct. / Su
Similar to the above cultivar yet shorter and with more eye-catching darker, narrow, flowering spikes.
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 grass, 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 flower heads 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 ‘Heavy Metal’
4′ / tinted-pink / Aug.-Oct. / Su
One of the most erect and upright-growing cultivars with gray-green foliage that never lodges. An especially noticeable airy inflorescence tinted pink.
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.
6′ / silver / Aug.-Oct. / Su
This cultivar stands narrowly upright like few others through all weather and seasons. Relatively broad, upright blue-green foliage, and a narrower, lighter inflorescence than ‘Heavy Metal’
virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’
The tallest of cultivars with gray-blue foliage, vase-shaped growth, and a particularly large and airy inflorescence.
virgatum ‘Green Gene’
With gray-blue and dark-toned cultivars all the rage this bright olive-green leaved selection stands out refreshingly. A local selection.
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 snowstorms. 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, moor grass
1′ / cream-white / Aug.-Oct. / Su-HSh
Cool-season grass that forms mats of yellowish-green, almost transparent foliage, that remains fresh-looking, and narrow cream-white spikelets that later turn a contrasting brown. It provides a perfect contrast for illuminating other plants. Tolerant of dry shade but best in fertile moist soil. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens. Native to southern Europe and the Caucasus.
Warm-season clump-forming grass which is a major constituent of the tallgrass prairie, second to A. gerardii. Inflorescence open 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 spreading and self-sowing. A robust and long-lived perennial useful for less intensively maintained gardens.
5′ / copper / Aug.-Oct. / Su
A cultivar with glaucus foliage turning shades of true-blue and purple later summer into fall. A local selection.
5′ / copper / Aug.-Sept. / Su
A cultivar with green foliage turning shades of red and orange later summer into fall. A local selection.
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.
SPOROBOLUS, 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.
2′ / tan / Aug. / Su
A compact cultivar with stiffer foliage than typical, and inflorescence which are more narrow and verticle. Good orange-red fall color.
3′ / tan / Aug. / Su
A taller reliably blooming cultivar with gently arching stems and broad inflorescence. Best in dry soils.
PERENNIALS – SHRUBS and TREES
Shrubs are very useful plants in larger garden settings and landscapes: as a solid foliage backdrop/mass for highlighting a foreground planting, for making formal and informal hedges to divide space and provide screening, and they are typically some of the earliest flowering plants providing early interest as well as nectar and pollen for insects in need. Most of these bear edible and nutritious mast for wildlife and humans alike.
Trees, particularly large ones, are less commonly used in naturalistic planting design. Their size makes them much more suitable as specimens in lawns or other grassy expanses, which could include a meadow in need of some structural diversity such as ours (a psuedo-savanah). We offer a small handful of species here that have particularly significant wildlife value as both forage and mast. Much more than herbaceous perennials and shrubs, trees are the workhorses of the natural world, the backbone of healthy ecosystems worldwide. Thus we feel it even more important that should you decide to plant a tree make it a native species. Furthermore, from a design perspective both trees and shrubs alike, due to their size, have a significant visual impact on the landscape, and if the space is available planting one is the best way to make a visual union with the surrounding landscape. Conversely, a cultivar or non-native species of tree or shrub can stand out like a sore thumb if foreign enough in appearance, the very same characteristic which may have persuaded us to buy it!
ARONIA, Rosaceae, chokeberry
6-8 x 5-8 / white / April / Su-HSh
Aronia has been deemed one of the new superfruits. 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 adorns 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 that grows in almost 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. It begins to bear at 3 years. Free of diseases and insects. Native to the 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 that is well-adapted to a wide range of soil conditions. Useful in large naturalistic plantings with decorative berries and attractive compound foliage. Low maintenance and easy growth. Native to the eastern U.S.
CORYLUS, Betulaceae, neohybrid hazelnut
x americana, cornuta, avellana
8-10 x 8-10 / yellow / April / Su-HSh
Growing hazels 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 seeds from parents which are both vegetatively strong and productive. 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 than soy. Rounded vigorous bushes have showy male flowers, a long cylindrical catkin inflorescence that 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 plant’s 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 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. Corylus ranks For more information visit our Neohybrid Hazelnut webpage.
CORNUS, Cornacea, red twig dogwood
9’x10′ / white / May-June / Su-HSh
An upright and suckering shrub with bright red winter stems, ovate medium green foliage which changes color spectacularly throughout the fall, and cymes of tiny white, fragrant flowers, followed by drupes of white, blue-tinged berries that are attractive to wildlife. Prefers rich, moisture-retentive soil. Native to much of North America. A local selection.
SALIX, Salicacea, willow
20’x15′ / Su-HSh
A fast-growing and versatile hybrid willow with red stems throughout the year and shiny green lanceolate foliage from late spring to fall. This plant can be grown as a small ornamental tree, pruned to a dense shrub, pollarded into a standard, or coppiced seasonally down to the ground both of which produce the brightest colored regrowth. Useful for making baskets, to bring inside as winter decor, to stabilize wet embankments, or developing gullies. Prefer moist soil yet will tolerate considerable dryness. Non-flowering.
30′-60’x same/yellow-green / Su-HSh
The only willow species in Maine that can be truly considered a tree. S. nigra is early to leaf with characteristic lanceolate foliage followed by yellow-green flowering catkins. Its unique and beautiful form develops as it grows larger with dark brown to black deeply-grooved shaggy bark. Native to wet to moist soils of floodplains, stream/river banks, swamps, and marshes throughout eastern North America and elsewhere, though tolerant of drier conditions. Like all willows, this species has a variety of applications as mentioned above, and if need be can be kept small through annual pruning which promotes straight, bright olive-green stems that subtly stand out in the natural landscape. As a native plant, it has significant wildlife value hosting over 280 species of caterpillar and with 14 species of pollen-specific bees relying on its flowers. The genus Salix ranks number three as a keystone genus. A local selection.
QUERCUS, Fagacea, oak
Oaks are beloved by indigenous peoples, wildlife enthusiasts, and permaculturists alike. Long-lived and productive, they provide large amounts of forage in the form of leaf and mast supporting over 400 caterpillar species as a host plant, the most of any plant in the landscape, and numerous nut-eating insects, birds, and mammals, including humans. Wherever oaks are found, acorns are heavily depended on by indigenous peoples as a significant source of food. Though here in southern Maine the red oak (Q. rubra) is the most common species, it is the less common white oak group that is the most useful for food as they contain fewer tannins and are consequently easier to process. Indigenous peoples ground the acorns to make a powder used in thickening stews and as an addition to bread. Ground and roasted, they are also used as a coffee substitute. The seeds of white oaks are nondormant and germinate upon falling, thus they must overwinter as seedlings which limits their northern range.
80′ / May / Su-HSh
In Maine, Swamp white oak is a rare species in its most northern range, yet it is much more common throughout the rest of the northeast. Produces seed annually at around age 20, with heavy crops every few years, and has a lifespan of close to 300 years of age. Broadly tolerant of environmental conditions including compact soils, wet or dry, and urban pollution.
70′ / May / Su
Bur oak is a more common species in Maine, yet still much less common than red, Q. rubra. It is found in similar habitats as Q.bicolorand here in Maine primarily along the Sebasticook River, the lower Penobscot basin, and east to Hancock county. It is also very similar in appearance made distinguishable by the buds and acorns.
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. 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.