When posting pictures of my garden, I am often asked questions about some of the more unusual plants. So I thought I would write a quick post about some Plants To Consider as additions to your own garden this coming fall and spring.
The beauty of these featured plants is that they are tough, weather-hardy survivors that don’t require pampering once established in your flowerbed. But, best of all, they are favorites of pollinators and birds and will help draw them to your garden space.
Lycoris Squamigera ~ ( spider lily, magic lily, resurrection lily, naked ladies, pink flamingo flower and surprise lily are some of its common names). This amaryllis-like bulb sends up foliage in the spring which dies back. Just when you have forgotten all about them – up pop the long-stemmed, fragrant flowers in late July – August!
Impatiens Balfourii ~ the hummingbirds and butterflies are crazy for it! This native of the Himalayas grows to a height of two to three feet with airy pink blossoms and little seed pods that pop when touched. Also known as Poor Man’s Orchid, Dizzy Lizzy, Touch-Me-Not and Kashmir Balsam, it freely self-sows and can be invasive in areas that do not have frost. Easy to pull up when it appears in an unexpected place, Impatiens Balfourii is great in a hummingbird or butterfly garden.
Rudbeckia Maxima is one of the tallest coneflowers, growing five to seven feet tall. It is a butterfly and bee magnet in a sunny flowerbed, wildflower meadow, native plant or cottage garden. Hardy in poor soil and dry conditions once established, this is a great addition to any garden.
Clethra alnifolia “Ruby Spice” ~ a summer-blooming shrub that draws butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden! Its lovely fragrance is the reason for its common name, summer sweet. Tolerant of partial shade, damp areas and clay soil, this pretty deciduous shrub will grow in zones 4 to 8.
New York Ironweed ( Vernonia noveboracensis) ~ A native tall plant I love to use in the back of the butterfly garden. Mine is over 7 feet tall! Tolerating clay soil, it does not require staking and is resistant to deer. Beautiful purple blooms crown its top and gold finches adore the seed heads. (* it can be pinched back in May and June to keep to 3 to 5 feet and delay the flowering time)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) ~Did you know that nasturtium flowers are edible and also act as an organic pest deterrent? They repel aphids, whiteflies, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin beetles in your garden, all while looking gorgeous as they bloom until frost! Add some of the tender leaves and flowers to your salad for their beauty and peppery taste.
Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) ~ pretty silvery bracts and strong mint aroma on this clumping mint that is not as invasive as other mints. But the reason I like it best is its attraction to butterflies and bees! Mine is about two feet high in partial shade and is pretty in the flower border.
August Lily (hosta plantaginea “Aphrodite”) ~ large leaves and huge tubular blooms with a wonderful honeysuckle fragrance, these hostas are easy to grow and a favorite of hummingbirds. Not fussy about soil types, they grow well in partial to full shade and bloom in August, hence the name. Wonderful in a shady border, do be aware that fragrant hostas are loved by deer!
Toad Lily (Tricyrtis) the pretty flower with the ugly name! This lovely late-season bloomer dazzles with its orchid-like blooms starting in mid-September. Native to east Asia, it is very cold hardy and loves a shady, moist growing area. Two feet high, Toad Lilies look stunning tucked in amongst hostas in a woodland garden.
Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba) ~ this tall bush grows to about 9 feet high and 8 feet wide, although careful pruning can keep it more compact. Indigenous to eastern and central Asia, this wonderful shrub’s name has nothing to do with dogs! Dogwood branches were useful in making tools, since the wood is so hard. The old word “dag” meant sharp tool and evolved into “dogwood”. Removing about 1/3 of the branches each year will insure brilliant colored branches that turn red during the fall and winter.Plus, the leaves are a beautiful yellow in the fall!
Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ) These stately shrubs reach 6 to 10 feet and make a statement in the garden. A native plant, oakleaf hydrangea has something for every season. Lovely large leaves unfurl in Spring followed by gigantic white blooms which turn a rosey pink in Summer, then breathtaking leaf color in Fall and dried flowers and exfoliating bark in Winter. They are very drought tolerant, grow to zone 5 and are resistant to most pests and disease.