Evening Primrose

Oenothera-Evening Primrose (1)

Also know as Suncups or Sundrops these beautiful blooms sadly only open for a minute in the evening but are well worth the wait.  Because of this flowering phenomenon special bees exist that help pollinate this perennial. Native to Mexico and Central America it is considered a wildflower and are sown directly through seeds since they don’t transplant well.  Evening Primrose will also be the first plant in your garden to tell you it needs a watering with severe wilting occuring.

Evening Primrose

Oenothera sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 6-36″
  • Width: 8-24″
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to early Fall, depending on variety
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, white, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Spittle bugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, fragrant, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 3-11

Lantana

Depending on the USDA zone you grow in Lantana may be treated as an annual plant or a perennial shrub.  Upright and trailing varieties are available with globular flower heads in bright shades of red yellow, orange and pink.  Deadheading will encourage reblooming and planting it in acidic soil will guarantee and thriving specimen.  The plant can grow quite tall and will benefit from being cut back at least 1/3 to keep it from being overgrown and messy.

It is important to note that Lantana is toxic to kids and pets, especially the berries which consumed in small quantities can be fatal.  The leaves of the plant may also cause skin irritations.

Lantana

Lantana camara

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Light, fertile, well draining
  • Height: 4-12′
  • Width: 8-30′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, orange, red, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Foliage miiners, botrytis, whitefly
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive flower heads
  • Zone: 9-12

Example Varieties:

Japanese Bottlebrush

Resembling the cleaning instrument to which it is named it is grown for both it’s flowers and it’s foliage.  Originally from Japan this perennial can grown quite large almost into a shrub or tree if left to it’s own devices in more milder climates.  Also known as Burnet, you can divide this plant each Spring

Japanese Bottlebrush

Sanguinsorba obtusa

  • Light Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Type: Sandy, moist, clay or normal
  • Height: 27-35″
  • Width: 25-30″
  • Bloom Time: Early to Mid Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Deep pink
  • Foliage Colour: Grey green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, rabbit free
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

 

 

 

Perennial Verebena

‘Coral Red’

Drought tolerant Verbenas love the heat.  Planted in full sun this compact perennial will reward you with brightly coloured blooms that can last all season with regular deadheading. Cut back the plant right to the ground in the fall and if you wish for more plants divide then or in the early Spring.

Verbena

Verbena canadensis

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well draining
  • Height: 8″
  • Width: 16″
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Botrytis, spider mites
  • Landscape Uses: Beds. borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, attracts butterflies, long bloom time
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Fallingstars

Fallingstars

Crocosmia sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 20-40″
  • Width: 20-32″
  • Bloom Time: Mid to late Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, orange, red
  • Foliage Colour: Pale to mid green
  • Pests and Disease: Spider mite
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, containers
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, attractive foliage
  • Zone: 7-9

Example Varieties:

White Snakeroot

‘Chocolate’

White Snakeroot is incredibly poisonous to livestock with the toxins possibly be transfer to humans.  It is believe that this plant killed Abe Lincolns mother.  However it’s hard to not appreciate the dark foliage similar to stinging nettle and Ageratum like flower heads.  Just beware in whose proximity it is planted, presidential relatives and animals included.

White Snakeroot

Ageratina altissima

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, fertile, well draining
  • Height: 3-6′
  • Width: 3-6′
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White, brownish
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/purple
  • Pests and Disease: Rust, powdery mildew, leaf spot, snails, slugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 4-6

Example Varieties:

May Apple

Named for it’s flowering time and not for it’s fruit the May Apple is a compact, wetland friendly perennial with small flowers that may hide amidst the large bright green leaves. All parts of the plant are toxic to eat including any unripened fruit that develop in the fall. Once the fruit has become over ripe they may be consumed and are considered to have a bitter, astringent flavour.

Common drugs containing salicyclic acid have podophyllum derivitatives and thus the plant is known medicinally as a topical plantars wart treatment and digested as an emetic.

May Apple

Podophyllum peltatum

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Wet, marshy
  • Height: 24″
  • Width: 24″
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: White, rose/pink; Red berries in Fall
  • Foliage Colour: Green, hairy
  • Pests and Disease: Root rot, black spot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Fall colours
  • Zone: 4-6

Example Varieties:

Indian Grass

‘Sioux Blue’

This North American prairie grass loves things hot.  So much so that controlled burns are encourage to help renew it’s growth.  While that would only happen on a grander scale Indian Grass in the garden is popular because of it’s feathery upright blades of grass and soft brown plume like flower heads.  It turns a rich shade of gold and purple in the fall and is a popular choice in beautification projects.

Dived Indian grass in Spring to keep it tidy and to give you more plants to share elsewhere.

Indian Grass

Sorghastrum nutans

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 5-7′
  • Width: 16-32″
  • Bloom Time: n/a
  • Bloom Colour: n/a
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, mites, leaf spot, rust
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Drought tolerant, attractive foliage
  • Zone: 5-10

Example Varieties:

Bloodroot

What makes Bloodroot incredibly unique is how the stemless flowers are actually one palmate basal leaf that unfurls as it blooms.  Native from Nova Scotia South to Florida and West to the Great Lakes it had traditionally been used as an antibacterial and anti-plaque in toothpaste.  The sap is toxic if ingested in large amounts but has been used as a topical anti inflammatory.  The blood root attracts ants who in turn spread the seeds of the plant to other areas of your garden.  If you want to keep it contained make sure you cut back any spent blooms.

You can divide this plant every year in the Spring.

Bloodroot

Sanguinaria canadensis

  • Light Exposure: Partial sun-shade
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist
  • Height: 8″
  • Width: 4″
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: White, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/green
  • Pests and Disease: Leaf spot, slugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, groundcover
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage
  • Zone: 2-8

Example Varieties:

Sage

‘Purpurascens’

Edible Sage is probably one of my favorite herbs to have in the garden and the kitchen. You can fully harvest the plant up to three times ( once in it’s first establishing year) and each plant lasts about 4 to 5 years.  It doesn’t divide well so generally start your Sage using cuttings or seed.

In medieval times, Sage was used as a post meal digestive while Egyptian women drank Sage tea for fertility.  The flavours available go well past the classic with varieties that include orange, chocolate and pineapple.  These plants don’t enjoy heavy fertile soils so keep it out of your vegetable garden althoughwith it’s gray-green to burgundy leaves it would fit into any perennial garden with ease.

Sage

Salvia officinalis

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining, moist
  • Height: 30″
  • Width: 36″
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: White, purple, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/green, purplish
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, slugs, spider mites, thrips, leaf spot, rust, root rot, powdery mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, dried, fragrant
  • Zone: 5-10

Example Varieties: