Few garden perennials have flowers as bizarre or beautiful as bleeding hearts. Nearly all gardeners recognize them. While the common bleeding heart is essentially a late spring bloomer, the dwarf species and hybrids bloom all season long, a feature rare among garden flowers. Read on to learn more about these wonderful exotic flowers.
If you want a bold perennial to make an impact in your garden, then look no further than Rodgersia. These east Asian plants have lovely, large foliage and attractive plumes of white to red flowers. For the back of a moist border, a semi-shaded woodland or as a backdrop for a water feature, Rodgersia are second to none.
Are you a primrose addict? Looking for a way to extend the blooming season? With a little bit of work creating a reasonably moist area in your garden, you can grow the elegant Candelabra primroses and extend the primrose season into mid-summer.
With the advent of spring, we think of the spring bulbs. But there is another perennial that is also a harbinger of spring....the Pasqueflower, so named due to its blooming season being near Easter. Few spring perennials have as impressive a floral display. And then in early summer, you get beautiful silky, plumose seedheads as an added bonus. For the front of the border or a rock garden setting, pasqueflowers are indispensible. Read on to learn more about this plant.
Among the most popular 'blue' conifers is the Colorado blue spruce. While most are tall, imposing trees for park settings, there are many smaller types suitable for our ever-smaller gardens. This article will introduce you to the variety that exists among Colorado blue spruce.
Hydrangea are wonderful flowering shrubs, most valued, by northern gardeners, for their late summer through fall floral displays. Most have white flowers but Hydrangea macrocephala has flowers in a range of colours from white through pink, purple and blue. A few even have the added value of excellent fall colour. Read on to learn which hydrangea are best for your northern garden.
You probably never heard of Hylotelephium but you certainly are familiar with them! They are the border stonecrops, a group recently split from Sedum. 'Autumn Joy' is perhaps the most well-known but this group is enjoying a surge in the release of new cultivars suitable for nearly any sunny situation. Foliage, flowers, all-season attraction, drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant, butterfly attractant...these plants have it all!
Most gardeners are familiar with leopard's-bane. They are among some of the oldest cultivated 'ornamental' plants. They are mostly appreciated for their spring display, but there are a few that don't bloom until late spring or early summer. This versatile plant can be used in the border, woodland garden or rockery. This article will introduce you to this wonderful daisy.
Traditionally, black elderberry was grown for its fruit but over the years, some interesting colour and leaf forms have arose and horticulturists have been quick to take advantage of these. The American elderberry and red elderberry have similarly been selected for their foliage colour and forms. The end result is that elderberries are now a standard ornamental shrub for the landscape with some exotic colour and leaf forms. the newest, look almost like cut-leaf Japanese maples and can be used as substitutes in colder climates. Together with newer dwarf forms, elderberries are gaining more popularity with each passing year.
Few perennials offer a full summer of bloom but in the right location and with the proper care, spiderworts can provide colour all season. The blooms may last only a day, but the display goes on and on.
This 3-part series will discuss the various hardy (zone 5b or colder) deciduous shrubs we grow primarily for their summer foliage. Part 1 will deal with those shrubs which have yellow or golden foliage. There are a surprising number available to northern gardeners with more being released each year. Depending on the species, these shrubs can vary from under 1 m to over 4m so are useful for both small and large landscapes.
Only a handful of orchids are hardy and showy enough to grow in our gardens. The Calanthe orchids from temperate east Asia are certainly foremost among these. If you want to learn more about these exotic garden additions, continue reading.
With fall approaching we start to think about next spring's garden and which bulbs we will plant this fall. Tulips, daffodils and crocus immediately come to mind. However, a group which is starting to gain more popularity are the ornamental onions. There are quite a few fall planted-spring blooming types available these days. Size and colour varies tremendously but most flower in that in-between time when the main crop of spring bulbs fade and the first summer perennials begin. Don't think of them as stinky onions, as only the bulbs smell. Several have quite fragrant flowers and many are great cut-flowers. Overall, they are a very versatile group of bulbs.
Part 2 of this series will describe the most popular primrose groups that are readily available and easy to grow in the garden setting. Not all of the 500 plus species of primroses are easy to cultivate but there are enough to keep most gardeners happy!
Many gardeners are familiar with London Pride. It is a very carefree groundcover for shady spots. However, for the most part, it is an under-used plant. Let me re-open your eyes to the beauty of London Pride.
The white-flowered blue flag iris, I. versicolor 'Murrayana' has an interesting history. Found in Newfoundland, lost, then rediscovered elsewhere and repatriated, this article may be of interest to plant history buffs! Certainly, beardless iris lovers will find this an interesting story.
While not the showiest flower, burnet does have a certain charm and elegance. If you have a damp site, then these plants are ideal for use as a garden ornamental. Some even have edible leaves for soups and salads. They are highly sought by floral arrangers. Let me introduce you to Sanguisorba, the burnets!
The genus Erigeron, commonly called fleabanes, is quite large. Appearing much like asters, they bloom earlier in the season, helping to extend the 'daisy' season. They are also ideal for the butterfly garden. If you are not already growing some, hopefully this article will entice you to start!
Mugo pines are among the most popular dwarf conifers for growing in both cold and milder climates. This article will introduce you to the variety that exists in this plant and the proper long-time care so your plants will stay compact and healthy.
Meadow cranesbill are among the oldest flowers in cultivation in the western world. With the recent surge of new cultivars this plant will be with us for many years to come. Let me introduce you to this tried and true ornamental!
Over the last few weeks I introduced you to several key members of the Pink family including Lychnis, Silene and Saponaria. This article will introduce the less well-known members of the Pink family which include such genera as Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Paronychia, Petrorhagia and Sagina. These are primarily alpine plants so if you are a rock gardener, this article will be of particular interest.
Avens or Geum are not the most showy of garden perennials but do possess a certain charm. While the hybrids are most popular, there are also some species that are ideal for the woodland/shade garden or even for rock gardens. This article will introduce you to the more popular or desirable species.
Goldenchains are one of the most graceful flowering trees yet are rarely grown in North America. Why is this tree so uncommon when it is reasonably hardy and tolerant to wind, salt and pollution? Europeans have enjoyed them for years, as have I, but most North Americans only wish they could grow them. Read on to find out why.
A little while ago I described the grape hyacinths...now it's time to describe the other blue-flowered spring bulbs. These include squills, bluebells, glory-of-the-snow and a few other relatives. Again, these are staples for the spring garden providing rich shades of blue to contrast with the bright yellows and reds of tulips and daffodils.
One the the best 'blue' flowers for the gardener are gentians. Yet few people seem to grow them. Yes, some are finicky, but others are quite easy. For rock gardeners, they are indispensible but many lend themselves to woodland gardening as well. Read on to learn more about this ultimate alpine symbol.
Camassia is one of the few garden-worthy bulbs to hail from North America. They are ideal for filling the gap between the spring-flowering bulbs and the beginning of the summer bulbs. To learn more about this small group of showy blue-flowered bulbs, continue reading!
Are you trying to garden on a slope? Do you live in a wind-swept area where gardening is a challenge? Do you live on a mountain side or in a cold climate? Do you like to grow as many plants packed into one area as possible? Well rock gardening may be the solution! This article describes the basics in rock garden construction and the best plants to grow.
Not all gardeners are familiar with Brunnera or Siberian bugloss, but if you have shade issues or woodland gardens, then this is the plant for you! Pretty delicate blue flowers in spring are delightful but the colourful, bold, heart-shaped leaves are perhaps their main claim to fame. Read on to learn about the varieties that exist.
Sea pinks or thrift are one of the most satisfying perennials due to their carefree culture and lack of pests and diseases. Suitable for rockeries, containers and coastal gardens, they really are a useful flower for almost any garden. If unfamiliar with this plant, this article will hopefully introduce you to a new garden friend!
Wildflower enthusiasts throughout the northern hemisphere will be familiar with the distinct red stems of red-twig or red-osier dogwoods. Gardeners too, appreciate these colourful stems, especially during the winter months. These dogwoods also provide a modest floral display, fruit display and many have excellent fall colour. Recently, there has been much selection within these dogwoods for colourful summer foliage as well as more diversity in stem colours. They really are a shrub for all seasons.
Every once in a while a particular plant will catch the eye of a gardener. For me, the rather obscure genus called Cremanthodium was such a plant. There was some sort of allure created by its nodding yellow daisies. This article describes my journey in obtaining and growing this plant.
Not all gardeners may be familiar with Siberian cypress but this evergreen groundcover is enjoying an ever-increasing popularity due to its hardiness, insect and disease resistance. And to think it was only introduced to Western gardeners in the 1970s! Read on to learn more about this versatile shrub.
We are all familiar with the standard Dutch hybrid crocus which grace our spring gardens, but there are many other crocus species and selections that we can choose from that will help extend the crocus season of late winter to early spring. These have smaller flowers than the Dutch crocus, but come in a rainbow of colours. Commonly, they are called snow crocus, as several bloom within days of the melting snow. Read on to learn about some of these less well-known crocus.
We are all familiar with the classic tulip, but not all of us have grown the wild counterparts or 'botanical' tulips. They deserve more attention as they are often longer-lived and more carefree than the high breed standard tulips. There are a surprising number of 'wild' tulips in the trade, along with selections/hybrids from the dwarf T. kaufmanniana, T. greigii and T. fosteriana. This article will hopefully peak your interest in trying some of these 'botanical' tulips or to expand on those you currently grow.
The genus Campanula, commonly known as bellflowers, comprised nearly 300 species. many of these are well-known perennials for the border. This article will introduce you to the most common border bellflowers.
Enkianthus may not be familiar to many gardeners but this small group of Asian deciduous shrubs provide garden value from spring through fall. Be it from their exquisite, delicate, bell-like flowers or from their brilliant fall foliage, this shrub is sure to please.
Weigela are often considered an old-fashioned shrub, but in recent years, they are enjoying a revival. Today there are many wonderful cultivars to choose from, ranging in size from a minute 30 cm to over 2 m. Colours range from white, multiple shades of pink to red. Foliage may be green, yellow-variegated, golden, chartreuse, bronzy-chocolate to deep purple-black. They are certainly one of the key landscape shrubs in many temperate regions of the world. This article will introduce you to the up and coming 'stars' in the Weigela world!
Mountain-ash or rowans are popular garden trees. They can provide both flowers, decorative fruit and an attraction to wildlife. While we think of them as small to mid-sized, orange-red fruited trees, there are many other mountain-ash species that are suitable for today's smaller gardens. Many of these sport white, yellow, pink or even peach-coloured berries! Several also have outstanding fall foliage. Read on to learn about some of these more uncommon mountain-ash species.