Archive for May, 2015

Modern Day Clematis Bloom Freely

              The old-fashioned clematis(es) in grandma’s garden bloomed one time in spring or summer and bore huge showy flowers (USDA hardiness zones 3-7). Vines took up lots of space in the garden. Old cultivars grew 8-9 feet tall; many bore one single large flower at the end of each growing […]

Flame Azalea Favorite Among Native Azaleas

Flame azalea (R. calendulaceum) is a spectacular sight when it flowers in early May through June (depending on location). The mountainsides across the Appalachian region seem to be afire with their yellow, orange or red flowers (USDA hardiness zones 5 thru 8). Its native habitat is in open, dry sites in woods, on the hillsides, and […]

Red Abyssinian Banana For Tropical Looking Landscapes

                    Red Abyssinian banana (Ensete maurelii ‘Red Abyssinian’) is a tropical banana from high in the mountains of Ethiopia in eastern Africa. Its enormous reddish to purplish foliage and red – burgundy trunk adds a tropical presence to any garden. Compared to hardier banana genus Musa, Ensete does not produce root suckers […]

‘Short and Sassy’ Helenium (Sneezeweed)

Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is a bee/butterfly friendly perennial that blooms heavily from mid-summer into early fall. Helenium (“sneezeweed”) does not cause hayfever or irritate sinus passages. The genus Helenium is named for Helen of Troy. Its dried leaves were once crunched to make a snuff to promote sneezing. This tough prairie native thrives in full […]

American Yellowwood Deserves To Be Planted More

    American yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) is a beautiful native tree which  is rarely planted in U.S. landscapes (USDA hardiness zones 4-8). Yellowwood is a tree for all seasons. It is both a lovely shade and flowering specimen. Long white wisteria-like flowers appear in mid- to late-May. It eventually matures into a lovely 35 to […]

Cosmos For Sunny Gardens

Cosmos, indigenous to Mexico and South America, are one of the easiest-to-grow flowering annuals. They start blooming in early summer and are at their best in late summer and early autumn. Two most popular species are Cosmos sulphureus and C. bipinnatus. Flower heads are composed of disc and ray flowers. Cosmos is a member of the aster […]

Fill Flower Gardens & Containers With Sweet Alyssums

 Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is one of the easiest annuals to grow. A member of the mustard family (Brassicaeae), it is native in the Mediterranean region and the Canary and Azores Islands (AHS heat zones 3-8). Modern day cultivars possess exceptional heat, humidity, and drought tolerance in summer months once fully established.  Alyssums may be utilized in mixed […]

Chinese Fringetree Gains In Popularity And Availability

When in bloom in mid-spring (May), the fringetrees (Chionanthus spp.) definitely will catch your eye. Chinese fringetree (C. retusus), is one of the finest small to medium sized flowering trees, not to be confused with the U.S. native fringetree (C. virginicus) (USDA hardiness zones 5-9). Both produce spectacular white lacy flowers in late spring. Flower […]

Cardinal Flower Attracts Hummingbirds and Butterflies

With their vibrant red colored blooms in July and August and a strong vertical growth habit, you visually can’t miss with our native cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) (USDA hardiness zones 3-9). Hummingbirds and butterflies won’t pass them by either. Cardinal flowers are also called scarlet lobelias. Their vibrant red single raceme flowers single them out […]

Pampas Grass – Have We Learned A Lesson?

Many areas in the mid-South and northeast U.S. (USDA hardiness zones 6 and 7a) learned a hard lesson in the harsh cold winter of 2013-14. Over the past decade gardeners had been lulled into zone bending, insisting on planting species from a warmer zone. One of them was pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). Very few clumps survived here […]