Lupines

lupines

With it’s brilliant colours and tall towering spiky flower heads with buttons of petals slowly opening as the plant reaches the sky, Lupines are a showcasing winner in your flower garden. However they have many other uses aside from decorative.  It’s seeds are used in the culinary world and can be used as a soybean alternative.  Since it draws Nitrogen from the air and into the soil it makes a great green manure and because of this trait Lupines should be planted with other nitrogen loving plants.

Lupines don’t like to be moved therefore dividing is discouraged.  Deadhead spent blooms to encourage further flowering.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-Partial Shade
  • Soil Type: Acidic, Well Draining
  • Height: 3-4′
  • Width: 1-2′
  • Bloom Time: Late spring to Early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, pink, red, yellow, orange
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, slugs, powdery mildew, crown rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive Foliage, Cut flowers
  • Zone: 4-8

Foxglove

 

Digitalis-Foxglove (7)

This stunning biennial is popular choice for many English or cottage garden fanatics with it’s tall sturdy stalks of tubular flowers.  It is nectar rich making it a great spot for hummingbirds to zip in and out getting their fill.  While the entire plant is toxic it has been used medicinally in the distillation of cardiac medications.

To encourage more flowers remove the centrals stalk allowing for side shoots to sprout up and flower.  Because it is a biennial, let it go to seed and self sow for years of continuous plants.

Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

  • Light Exposure: Partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 1-5′
  • Width: 1-3′
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple, white, yellow, cream
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Japanese beetles, aphids, mealy bugs, powdery mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds
  • Zone: 3-8

Stokes Aster

‘Peachie’s Pick’

Stokes Aster is a wonderful addition to any cottage garden.  It’s frilly petals in a wide range of colors and it’s ability to readily self seed make it a great plant to have in an area that you don’t mind letting take care of itself. If you don’t want to let it go to seed and take over your garden space make sure you dead head any spent blossoms or cut the flowers just as they begin to open for flower arrangements and bouquets. Because of it’s late season bloom time this plant is great for spots that lack flowers or interesting foliage during the mid to end point of your growing season.

This Southern United States native can be divided every 2 years in the Spring.

Stokes Aster

Stokesia laevis

  • Light Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil Type: Light, free draining
  • Height: 10-30″
  • Width: 8-16″
  • Bloom Time: Late summer to early Fall
  • Bloom Colour: Mauve, purple, yellow, blue, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Mildew, leaf spot, rabbits, deer
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, drought tolerant, cut and dried flowers
  • Zone: 6-10

Example Varieties:

Blackberry Lily

Also known as the leopard lily it’s the shape of it’s seed pods that give it it’s fruity name.  Used in dried flower arrangements this seed pods help prolong the life of your plant in the garden by self seeding.  It’s bright spotted blooms only last one day yet it’s abundance of flowers still make it a showy display in your garden.  If you don’t let the plant self seed they are grown from fall planted bulbs.

This plant has been used medicinally in East Asia to treat asthma, swollen liver, spleen conditions, gonorrhea and malaria.

Blackberry Lily

Belamcandus chinesis

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 3′
  • Width: 12″
  • Bloom Time: July and August
  • Bloom Colour: Orange, Yellow, Red
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Bacterial crown rot, leaf spot, iris borer
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, containers
  • Special Features: Fall colour, winter interest, cut flowers, dried flowers, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 8-10

Example Varieties:

Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed

Asclepia incarnata

 

‘Soulmate’

Native to North America, Swamp Milkweed could possibly be one of the most important plants you have in your garden.  Nectar-rich it attracts one of our most regal winged friends; the Monarch Butterfly.  However, continued climate changes threatens their populations as temperature shifts effect their migration strategies.

Another unfortunate threat to the butterflies existence is the loss of their natural habitat. Land development has decreased the amount of swamp land where this plant can be found in abundance. By planting this sturdy, compact perennial you can provide a breeding ground for the Monarch and other species of butterflies. Laying eggs on the underside of the plants leaves, once hatched the larva have ready nutrition, munching happily on the foliage.  And with a short birth cycle, and the ability to recreate it up to 4 times a summer, several plantings can go a long way to repopulating the Monarch species.

While the milkweed sap can be unsightly and sticky when exposed it is only toxic if consumed in large quantities. The brightly colored umbels of pink, purple or white flowers will give you a summer long display of beauty with regular deadheading of spent blooms.  Divide the plant every 3-4 years.

  • Light Exposure: Sun to part shade
  • Soil Type: Light, well draining
  • Height: 3-6″
  • Width: 1-2″
  • Bloom Time: June to October
  • Bloom Colour: Rose, purple, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, naturalizing
  • Special Features: Attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, fragrant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Adam’s Needle

 

This evergreen plant is native to Southwestern Unites States and Mexico and with its spiky cactus like foliage it is easy to see why it prefers arid growing conditions.  It’s tall profusion of flowers are sweet smelling and lovely as a cut flower. The sword shaped leaves, which can be plain or variegated, are sharp at the tip and can be dangerous around small children.  If you don’t have little ones to worry about then make sure you plant the yucca in an area where it can’t be disturbed.  Make sure to remove it’s rooted suckers and propagate through root cuttings not division.

Its root can be used medicinally to help with inflammation and pain relief however with it’s single tap root you would be destroying the whole plant for harvesting.

Adam’s Needle

Yucca filamentosa

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Medium to dry, well draining
  • Height: 2-4′
  • Width: 4-6′
  • Bloom Time: Mid Summer to Fall
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Stiff green or variegated
  • Pests and Disease: Rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, fragrant, Fall colour, Winter interest, attracts birds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 4-11

Example Varieties:

Astilbe

Astilbe, False Spirea

Astilbe x arendsii 

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, fertile
  • Height: 6-40″
  • Width: 18-30″
  • Bloom Time: Early to mid Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White, pink, purple, red
  • Foliage Colour: Glossy green, fern-like
  • Pests and Disease: Rot, Japanese Beetle, spider mites
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, attractive foliage, cut flowers, dried flowers, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 4-8

Example Varieties:

Avens

Avens

Geum sp.

 

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 6″-2′, depending on variety
  • Width: 6″-2′, depending on variety
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Red, orange, yellow, white
  • Foliage Colour: Dark green, strawberry-like
  • Pests and Disease: Spider mites
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut and dried flowers, attractive foliage
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Baby’s Breath

Baby’s Breath

Gypsophila paniculata

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Alkaline, well draining
  • Height: 8″-4′
  • Width: 1-4′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Bed, borders, groundcover
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, dried flowers, attractive foliage, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Balloon Flower

‘Astra Bouble Blue’

Native to East Asia the Balloon Flower is striking with it’s beautiful, bright hues and a spherical flower bud that unfurls into a stunning star.  A late bloomer in your flower garden, this cousin to the Bellflower doesn’t like to be distrubed so it shouldn’t be divided.  Also known as the Chinese Bellflower, children love this plant as they can ‘pop’ the balloon to open the flowers.

Ballon Flower

Platycodon grandiflorus

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Slightly acidic, well draining
  • Height: 1-3′
  • Width: 1′
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, white, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Blue/green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut and dried flowers, attracts butterflies
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Basket of Gold

Basket of Gold, Perennial Alyssum

Aurinia saxatilis

 

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Average to sandy, well draining
  • Height: 8″-1′
  • Width: 1′
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/green, variegated yellow-green or white-green
  • Pests and Disease: Rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Drought tolerant, dried flowers, cut flowers
  • Zone: 3-7

Example Varieties:

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger

Asarum canadense

  • Light Exposure: Shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, acidic
  • Height: 12″
  • Width: 6-12″
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: Dark purple
  • Foliage Colour: Bright green
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, slopes, groundcover
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Western Mugwort

Western Mugwort

Artemisia ludoviciana

 

‘Valerie Finnis’

 

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 36″
  • Width: 36″
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Silver/gray
  • Pests and Disease: White rust, downy mildew, powdery mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 5-10

Example Varieties:

Bearded Iris

A Springtime favorite, Bearded Iris give you reliable colour with it’s vast variety of shades and appealing texture with broad grass like foliage. It is extremely easy to grow as long as you keep it clear of leaves and debris that could bring on a bout of root rot.  Cut the plant down to the ground after flowering and mulch it well over the winter.

Bearded Iris can be divided in the late Summer once it’s been trimmed back, every 4-5 years.

Bearded Iris

Iris sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 6″-3′, depending on variety
  • Width: 6″-2′, depending on variety
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: All
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Iris borers, root rot, thrips
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, slopes
  • Special Features: Fragrant, attractive foliage, cut flowers, drought tolerant, attracts birds, butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Beardtongue

Beardtongue

Penstemon sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 8″-6′, depending on variety
  • Width: 8-20″
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Red, pink, violet, orange, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Black spot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, privacy, slopes, groundcover
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Bee Balm

Also known as Bergamot, it’s sweet smelling tubuler flowers and bright green leaves are one of the more popular and well known herb used medicinally.  It is used as a tea, or an essential oil and to aid in the treatment of skin infections, wounds and dental pains. It’s leaves can be a substitute for mint and Native American use it as a seasoning.

On of the more fragrant plants to have in your garden it makes a great dried flower for sachets and is a popular choice in your yard for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Bee Balm can be divided every 2-3 years when the center of you plant begins to die out. Remove the plant clump and divide of the healthier edges for replanting while discarding the center.  Cut the plant each fall almost to the ground to help with its mildew troubles.

Bee Balm

Monarda didyma

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist, acidic
  • Height: 1-4′
  • Width: Up to 2′
  • Bloom Time: Mid to late Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, white, purple, red
  • Foliage Colour: Dark green
  • Pests and Disease: Mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Fragrant, cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Bellflower

Bellflower

Campanula sp.

Campanula species cross a wide range of plant categories.  You can find annuals, biennials, perennials, low growing, tall, upright or trailing and all of them are beautiful in an outdoor space.  The bell shaped flowers that open almost into a star enjoy cool evenings and should be remove once they have died to discourage seeding and encourage more blooms.

Perennial bellflowers can be divided every 3-5 years in the Spring.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well draining
  • Height: 4-36″
  • Width: 6-36″
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Blue, purple, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Snails, slugs
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

Tall Meadow Rue

Tall Meadow Rue

Thalictrum pubescens

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Hummus-rich, well draining
  • Height: 3-5′
  • Width: 20-32″
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Fall
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, mauve
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Powdery mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut foliage, attractive foliage
  • Zone: 4-9

Example Varieties:

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh

Actaea racemosa

  • Light Exposure: Shade
  • Soil Type: Hummus rich, moist
  • Height: 4-6′
  • Width: 2-3′
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to early Summer
  • Bloom Colour: White
  • Foliage Colour: Green, burgundy
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers
  • Zone: 4-8

Example Varieties:

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan, Brown Eyed Susan, Coneflower

Rudbeckia sp.

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Average, well draining
  • Height: 5′
  • Width: 3′
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
  • Bloom Colour: Yellow, orange, red
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Mildew
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers, attracts birds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 4-7

Example Varieties:

Black Mondo Grass

‘Ebony Night’

A stunning groundcover, Black Mondo Grass rewards you with dark lavender flowers and deep purple autumn berries to accentuate it’s already unique “black” foliage.  It is a great addition to containers or along the edge of a flower bed.  Native to East Asian this plant is actually not a member of the grass family but a close relative to the Lily-of-the-Valley.

It is a rather slow grower but can be divided each Spring to produce more plants you can use to fill in garden spaces.

Black Mondo Grass

Ophiopogan planiscapus

  • Light Exposure: Sun-partial shade
  • Soil Type: Moist, fertile
  • Height: 6″
  • Width: 1′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Lilac, pink
  • Foliage Colour: Dark purple
  • Pests and Disease: Trouble free
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders, slopes, groundcover
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers
  • Zone: 6-11

Example Varieties:

Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower

Gaillardia x grandiflora

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Dry, sandy, well draining
  • Height: 1-3′
  • Width: 6″-2′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Red and gold
  • Foliage Colour: Gray/green
  • Pests and Disease: Powdery mildew, crown rot, root rot, leaf hoppers
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Cut flowers, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-11

Example Varieties:

Blazing Star

 

Native to North America Blazing Star is a popular cut flower with stalks of furry blossoms in pink, purple or white and bronze foliage late in the season offers fall interest. They grow quite tall and may require staking to keep them upright. The plants should be divided every 3-4 years in the Spring.

Blazing Star, Gay Feather

Liatris spicata 

  • Light Exposure: Sun
  • Soil Type: Moist, well draining
  • Height: 2-5′
  • Width: 1-2′
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, purple, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green, grass-like
  • Pests and Disease: Root knot, nematodes
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, drought tolerant
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties:

 

 

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

Dicentra sp. 

  • Light Exposure: Partial-full shade
  • Soil Type: Rich, moist, well draining
  • Height: 1-2′
  • Width: 1-3′
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Bloom Colour: Pink, white
  • Foliage Colour: Green
  • Pests and Disease: Aphids, rot
  • Landscape Uses: Beds, borders
  • Special Features: Attractive foliage, cut flowers
  • Zone: 3-9

Example Varieties: