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Aster (Michaelmas Daisies)
at Digging Dog

Including Aster novi-belgii, Aster novae-angliae, Aster lateriflorus, Aster tataricus, and Aster x frikartii

Aster

Michaelmas Daisies

We never tire of Aster’s cheerful daisy faces and the profusion of colors and sizes that make up this genus, from 6 ft. giants to tiny dwarf alpines. Our Asters, large and small, are tried and true performers in ordinary garden soil and full sun. Generally late summer bloomers, they provide lots of oomph when other perennials have petered out.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Aster asperulus  full sun
Aster asperulus

With a not-too-tall, high-spirited presentation of lavender-blue daisies, this compact, rarely offered Aster should find its way into more gardens.

Sturdy, wine-tinged, open branched stems maintain a pert straight-up stance carrying the big buds and two in. wide, thin rayed flowers. Rising above unusual, large green leaves distinguished by toothed margins, prominent veins and a somewhat fuzzy surface, the long blooming, sunny-eyed blossoms make a vivacious match for the darkly beautiful Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ above our stone wall.

Blooms late July–October.

Size: 15" high x 15" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster asperulus (P-1307)
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Aster ‘Bill’s Big Blue’  full sun

Blooming long after other flowers have faded, Asters are associated with afterthought and cheerfulness in old age. This Ed Carman selection is one of the largest Asters we offer, with clean-looking foliage right to the ground on strong, upright stems culminating in sprays of blue-violet flowers. Bring cheer to the fading days of summer by planting ‘Bill’s Big Blue’ with Helianthus and other stately late bloomers.

Blooms late September–early November

Size: 4'–5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster ‘Bill’s Big Blue’ (p-0621)
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Aster ‘Cassie’  full sun
Aster  Cassie

Pretty pink 1-½ in. flowers gather in festive clusters as they top sturdy stems clad in toothed linear foliage. Several layers of frilly petals swirl around the bright yellow eyes, delivering spirited color to the front lines of a perennial border, while Gaura ‘Pink Cloud’ and the darkly red Angelica gigas take up the rear.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 18"–2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster ‘Cassie’ (P-1085)
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Aster ‘Coombe Fishacre’  full sun

With a billowy habit, a reliable floriferous nature and fine foliage that looks dapper all season long, ‘Coombe Fishacre’ is one of our favorite Asters. Its deep green leaves cover sweeping branches all the way down, while a slew of lilac flowers warmed by rosy brown centers roost above. Well after the blooms have faded, the seed heads add intriguing colors and shapes.

This first-class Aster never needs staking and can be planted in large drifts amid Miscanthus ‘Nippon’, Molinia ‘Bergfreund’ or Eupatorium ‘Gateway’ for glowing pink echoes.

Blooms August–September.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster ‘Coombe Fishacre’ (P-0392)
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Aster cordifolius  full sun
Aster cordifolius

FTD should get to know this perky, rarely seen Aster, and so should you. Buds form early and fool us into thinking they’re about to bloom, but they wait until the plant reaches full height. When it does, a mass of blue-violet on erect, wiry, wine red stems leaves us breathless. Try planting Teucrium f. ‘Azureum’ in front and Molinia ‘Windspiel’ as a backdrop. When flowering ends, we find the stems and seed heads of Aster cordifolius so delightful, we leave them on for winter interest.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.


Aster cordifolius (p-0022)
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Aster cordifolius ‘Avondale’  full sun  partial shade
Blue wood Aster

Selected from a versatile Aster indigenous to our southeastern mountains, ‘Avondale’ greets fall with a jovial long lasting barrage of small, yellow-eyed pale lavender-blue daisies atop tidy slender green foliage. Acquiescent to varied light, it exhibits an upright open habit in sunny spots and becomes more relaxed and arching in darker recesses. Ignored by deer, but coveted by butterflies, floral arrangers, and gardeners, this floriferous wonder endures dry shade once established, favors well-drained soil and can be planted en masse along woodland fringes, meandering amid Geranium ‘White Ness’.

Blooms mid-August–early October.

Size: 20"–2-1/2' high x 18"–2' wide. Zone 3/4.

Aster cordifolius ‘Avondale’ (P-1746)
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Aster cordifolius ‘Chieftain’  full sun
Aster cordifolius Chieftain

Lifted on tall strong stems, a starry haze of umpteen, tiny, pale lavender-blue daisies lining branched upright sprays earned this impressive celebrity an AGM award and a place in our garden. Rich green tailored foliage stays fresh, while the sunny-eyed flowers lend an ethereal look to the fall landscape that can be juxtaposed against the coarser beauty of Vernonia crinita. Let shrubby roses or more sturdy perennials provide support in the back of the border, otherwise it will need staking or a spring pinching to ensure a shorter stature.

Blooms mid-August – October.

Size: 5' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster cordifolius ‘Chieftain’ (P-1609)
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Aster cordifolius ‘Little Carlow’  full sun

‘Little Carlow’ is lush and cheerful. Its flowers are larger and a deeper violet-blue than those of Aster cordifolius, and they have bright yellow centers. The green leaves, which reach to the ground, are also broader and darker. It blends well with tall grasses like Calamagrostis and Panicums and contrasts with yellow flowering plants such as Achillea ‘Marmalade’.

Blooms mid-August–early October.

Size: 3'–4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster cordifolius ‘Little Carlow’ (P-0255)
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Aster divaricatus  full sun  partial shade
White Wood Aster
Aster divaricatus

Small white flowers like finely cut daisies, with a yellow center, and elongated heart-shaped, coarsely toothed, dark green leaves, are displayed in large clusters on sinuous, purple-black stems. This Aster is better-known in Europe, where it’s used to light up shady urban gardens. We find it indispensable in the country too, for its tolerance of dry, shady sites. A good plant for the front of the border, try it with Hypericum kouytchense or broad-leafed perennials.

Blooms mid-July–September.

Size: 15"–18" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster divaricatus (p-0023)
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Aster ‘Elsie Dale’  full sun
; hardy to zone 0.

Aster ‘Elsie Dale’ (P-0717)
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Aster ericoides hyb. ‘Ringdove’  full sun

Our anticipation soars as we wait for round buds to finally unfurl a galaxy of small starry blooms twinkling in rose-tinged lilac shades. Beneath the profuse late season display, tiny green leaves stay fresh for months, garnishing stiff branching stems, which angle out and form a well-mannered mound. Illuminated by citron-yellow centers with red streaks, the dainty daisies easily gratify companions like Achillea ‘Hella Glashoff’ or Origanum ‘Bristol Cross’.

Blooms mid-August–September.

Size: 2' high x 18" wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster ericoides hyb. ‘Ringdove’ (P-0024)
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Aster ericoides ‘Golden Spray’  full sun

Mirroring autumn’s warmth, this Aster’s unexpected golden floral hues bring a glittery Midas touch to the late season border. Arching branched sprays of copious small daisies with narrow buff white petals and prominent rich yellow centers rise above the well-groomed, dense leafy clump, which makes a congenial neighbor for Astrantias and Pennisetum spathiolatum.

Blooms September – October.

Size: 2-1/2'–3' high x 2' wide. Zone 3/4.

Aster ericoides ‘Golden Spray’ (P-1610)
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Aster ericoides ‘Monte Cassino’  full sun  new plant

Beloved by late season garden aficionados, florists and butterflies, this exceptional Aster spotlights wispy crisp white clouds of petite yellow-centered daisies hovering above well-tailored tiny green leaves that form a vigorous bushy clump. ‘Monte Cassino’s delicate illuminated texture becomes a simple-to-place ethereal filler, perfect for juxtaposing against bolder perennials such as Persicaria or Crocosmia.

Blooms late August–September.

Size: 2'–3' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster ericoides ‘Monte Cassino’ (P-1792)
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Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’  full sun
Aster x frikartii Mönch

In some gardening circles, ‘Mönch’ is acclaimed as one of the ten best perennials. Prolific, 2-1/2 in. lavender flowers bloom lavishly for months on end. The clear color blends with so many others: light pink Geranium renardii ‘Mavis Simpson’, Phlomis lanata, Penstemon ‘Ruby’ and those yellow Kniphofia ‘Vanilla’.

Blooms July–October.

Size: 18" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’ (p-0025)
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Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’  full sun
Bluebird Smooth Aster

If you are looking for a Aster with engaging late season color, impeccably handsome mildew resistant foliage and a medium-sized frame that never needs staking, look no farther! Clad in glabrous, bluish green leaves, the vase-shaped clump showcases numerous broad, bouquetlike clusters of single, one inch wide, delicately rayed petals gathered by gilded centers. The jubilant floral display is elevated on red-hued stems and seems to cover the entire top half of the plant. Undeterred by varied moisture levels and soil types, ‘Bluebird’ is a Mt. Cuba Center introduction.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 4' high x 2'–2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’ (p-1240)
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Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’  full sun
Aster lateriflorus Lady in Black

Shrouded in mysterious tiny black-purple foliage, ‘Lady in Black’ offers sprays of small white flowers with a healthy blush of pink. Unlike ‘Prince’s tight clumping habit, this tall and elegant Dutch lady has spreading upright stems that spread over time.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 3-1/2'–4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ (p-0700)
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Aster lateriflorus ‘White Lovely’  full sun
Calico Aster

A preeminent star of the fall show, ‘White Lovely’ entertains petite, thin-petaled white daisies tinged lilac when mature and brightened by sunny-side-up yellow eyes. The copious, late summer flowers are borne along horizontally branched leafy sprays of arching and wide-angled, purple-streaked stems with small, slender dark green foliage that never tuckers out.

We like to plant Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ behind while headlining this elegant Aster right up front.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 2-1/2' high x 2-1/2' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster lateriflorus ‘White Lovely’ (P-1366)
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Aster ‘Martha Roderick’  full sun
; hardy to zone 0.

Aster ‘Martha Roderick’ (P-0028)
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Aster novae-angliae ‘Harrington’s Pink’  full sun
New England Aster
Aster novae-angliae Harrington’s Pink

Celebrated by Graham Stuart Thomas for conveying “much garden charm,” this well-loved Aster’s attraction is her pink flowers and her tall profile. Lavish quantities of delicate gold-centered daisies house nearly 50 layered, extra fine rays each, while cresting thick, straight, somewhat woody branched stalks.

Bred by Mr. Hilliard from Williamsburg, Iowa, the robust, grayish green clump crowded with stem-clasping, bristle-rough, 4 to 5 in. long leaves tolerates wet soil and some shade, resists mildew and can accompany Sedum ‘Indian Chief’ and blue blooming Asters.

Blooms August – September.

Size: 3'–5' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Aster novae-angliae ‘Harrington’s Pink’ (p-1426)
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Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’  full sun
New England Aster

Lose yourself, like the linear, dark green fuzzy foliage, in a sea of royal purple flowers held on erect stems. Mildew resistant, compact and bushy, the handsome symmetrical mound becomes engulfed with 1-½ in. wide, golden-eyed, vividly colored daisies in a truly breathtaking spectacle, especially when planted en masse.

Dr. Richard Lighty developed this easy-care, late season show stopper that makes a sterling addition to arrangements and a captivating counterpoint to Stipa arundinacea.

Blooms August – early October.

Size: 18" high x 18"–2' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ (p-0175)
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Aster novi-belgii ‘Blue Danube’  full sun
Aster novi-belgii Blue Danube

This Aster’s alluring flowers promise a late season hurrah. Supported by stiff branching stems lined with verdant linear foliage, the blooms are the size of silver dollars, and layers of their closely set blue-violet petals radiate from yellow and maroon centers. ‘Blue Danube’ lends an air of elegance in the midst of Calamagrostis brachytricha and Angelica gigas.

Blooms September–early October.

Size: 3' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster novi-belgii ‘Blue Danube’ (P-0921)
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Aster novi-belgii ‘White Climax’  full sun

When this cultivar first bloomed in our garden, we were delighted to see such large flowers! A breathtaking contrast of pure white blossoms against handsome, verdant foliage with wine-colored veins creates a presentation even more spectacular than that of ‘Climax’. Combine with Origanum ‘Ed Carmine’ for a showy summer farewell.

Blooms September–early October.

Size: 2-1/2'–5' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 5.

Aster novi-belgii ‘White Climax’ (p-0633)
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Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’  full sun
Aster oblongifolius October Skies ; hardy to zone 0.

Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ (P-1241)
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Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’  full sun
Aromatic Aster

Mr. Raydon Alexander of San Antonio, Texas, said this hearty mint-scented Aster was his favorite, and we’re sure you’ll agree. Originating near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, drought tolerant ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ quickly forges a valiant, dense mound that gets buried under multitudes of bright blue-lavender daisies. With late richly colored flowers, distinguished by sunlit yellow eyes and fine-textured single rays, and a no-fuss, orderly nature, it proves indispensable in the fall border.

Blooms September – October.

Size: 3' high x 2' wide. Zone 3/4.

Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ (P-1611)
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Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’  full sun
Aster  Ochtendgloren

Conjuring a zestful spirit as summertime wanes, this elegant Aster parades branched heads of dainty pink starlike blooms and darker pink buds. The long and narrow, densely set foliage that lines its stiff, sturdy stems is handsome right to the ground. Claiming Aster pringlei lineage, ‘Ochtendgloren’ merrily partners with Pennisetum ‘Moudry’ and Geranium ‘Buxton’s Variety’ in front of our Beech hedge.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 4'–5' high x 2'–3' wide; hardy to zone 4.

Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ (p-1087)
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Aster pyrenaeus ‘Lutetia’  full sun
Aster pyrenaeus Lutetia

‘Lutetia’ is one of our favorite low growing Asters, and by summer’s end you’ll see why. Its pink buds open into a charming blanket of large, yellow-centered, pastel daisies with delicately splayed lavender petals, completely hiding the loose mound of finely textured foliage and intertwined, wiry, deep purple stems.

Blooms August–October.

Size: 18" high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 6.

Aster pyrenaeus ‘Lutetia’ (p-0631)
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Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’  full sun  partial shade
Dwarf Tatarian Aster
Aster tataricus Jindai

The name may sound like one of the bad guys from Star Wars, but this unique Aster is definitely on our side with its upright bearing and lush textural appeal.

Not as towering as its moisture-loving Asian counterpart, ‘Jindai’ spawns huge serrated rough-to-the-touch leafage on stout shorter stalks and abundant branched sprays of late blooming violet flowers engraved by large saffron eyes. A stand-alone for the mixed border, its assertive look can be juxtaposed against finer textured plants like Spiraea ‘Ogon’ and Phlox ‘David’.

Blooms September–November.

Size: 3' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ (P-0632)
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Aster turbinellus  full sun
Aster turbinellus

With a carefree cant, green, lance-shaped leaves have a lively look all season. Lean, dark violet-streaked stems give way to airy, lavender-colored sprays of glassine blossoms whose open petals are caught in a vivid yellow center. The red hues in the stems of Panicum ‘Shenandoah’ and Echinops enliven this Aster’s rich verdure.

Blooms September–October.

Size: 4' high x 2' wide; hardy to zone 3.

Aster turbinellus (P-0819)
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Aster ‘White Swan’  full sun
; hardy to zone 0.

Aster ‘White Swan’ (P-1088)
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Latest News

Straight from the Border: Enjoy autumn splendor in your garden.

Most gardeners experience a bittersweet sense of relief when the light finally shifts, lengthening shadows, shortening the days, and lulling the garden closer to it’s winter nap. Relieved of most of our watering duties, we usually have more time to pour ourselves a favorite beverage and slowly saunter through our leafy havens.

With mindful plant selection, a keen design sense, plus appropriate maintenance earlier in the season, a compelling fall garden will be yours to enjoy! During October and early November, our landscapes can offer extraordinary vignettes that celebrate a dynamic juxtaposition. Imagine brilliantly ignited leaves and stems, fanciful berries and glowing grass inflorescences set against the subdued beauty of diverse seed heads, peeling bark, artful limbs and mocha-hued fading foliage.

If you long for more blossoms later in the season, a mid-summer cut back of many herbaceous late-bloomers guarantees flower-power up until the first heavy frost. Along the same vein, a late spring pruning of tall architectural perennials ensures the longevity of their impressive stature, even as they morph into dormancy. Trimming the early spring flowering perennials that showcase exceptional foliage will keep them looking fresh throughout the fall.

The onset of cooler weather tends to be a good time to contemplate your plantings, taking note of the areas you may like to change. Try not to rush your fall cut-backs, since many spent flower heads as well as persistent fruit nourish the birds, and remember to be on the lookout for wondrous additions to your dried arrangements.

Whether they play a supporting role or act as shining stars, the exceptional plants mentioned in this newsletter promise to delight you with their fantastic late season appeal. Many regions across the country experience a safe fall planting period that extends into early November, so you may wish to dig some of these easily grown gems into your garden and get a head-start on next spring!

Perennials:

  • Anemone x hybrida ‘Alice’
    Unlike many Anemones, ‘Alice’ spreads slowly, growing into a clump 3 ft. across within three years. It is robust and upright with large leaves that outsize the foliage of most hybrida forms. In our garden, the semidouble soft pink flowers appear to float against a hedge of Carpinus and contrast well with the golden fall foliage of Amsonia hubrichtii. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0503)
    anemone

    Anemone x hybrida ‘Alice’

  • Aster lateriflorus ‘White Lovely’
    Calico Aster
    A preeminent star of the fall show, ‘White Lovely’ entertains petite, thin-petaled white daisies tinged lilac when mature and brightened by sunny-side-up yellow eyes. The copious, late summer flowers are borne along horizontally branched leafy sprays of arching and wide-angled, purple-streaked stems with small, slender dark green foliage that never tuckers out. We like to plant Monarda ‘Violet Queen’ and Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ behind while headlining this elegant Aster right up front. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1366)
  • Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’
    Aromatic Aster
    Mr. Raydon Alexander of San Antonio, Texas, said this hearty mint-scented Aster was his favorite, and we’re sure you’ll agree. Originating near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, drought tolerant ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ quickly forges a valiant, dense mound that gets buried under multitudes of bright blue-lavender daisies. With late richly colored flowers, distinguished by sunlit yellow eyes and fine-textured single rays, and a no-fuss, orderly nature, it proves indispensable in the fall border. Zone 3/4. ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ (P-1611)
    aster

    Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’

  • Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
    Awash in a mercury-like effulgence, broad heart-shaped leaves are etched by light green veins creating the most dramatic crackled ceramic pattern. ‘Jack Frost’s highly refined silvered persona offsets bronze, green and gold foliage, while sky-blue flowers add a playful lift. A Walters Gardens’ introduction that originated from a ‘Langtrees’s sport, this Brunnera brings sterling accents to the darker corners of your garden. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1353)
    brunnera

    Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’

  • Eupatorium purpureum
    This robust cousin is from the taller side of the family (up to 6 or 7 ft.), and shares the wine red stem coloring of its smaller kin. Eupatorium purpureum features a stately carriage with broad, domed heads hosting purple-mauve flowers. It’s tough, reliable and effective for the back of the border. Hardy to zone 4. (p-1081)
    eupatorium

    Eupatorium purpureum

  • Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’
    Renowned garden writer Christopher Lloyd, selected this Euphorbia for its sumptuous display of fiery hues. Heightened by purple coral shoots, reddish bronze stems, dark green foliage flushed with copper-red tints and burnt apricot-pink blooms, ‘Great Dixter’ seldom experiences a lackluster moment. The unforgettable brilliance that emanates from this superb, compact griffithii can be shown to great affect next to Brunnera ‘Langtrees’s soothing colors. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1232)
    euphorbia

    Euphorbia griffithii ‘Great Dixter’ with Calamagrostis foliosa

  • Geranium ‘Orion’
    Named after one of the brightest constellations in Europe’s night sky, this possible ‘Brookside’ seedling extends a shining floral display. Large, saucer-shaped and brilliantly blue flowers enhanced by violet-red veins and luminous whitened centers levitate above a mass of ample, finely dissected greenery. Courtesy of Dutch nurseryman Brian Kabbes, long blooming ‘Orion’ can be partnered with Helianthemum ‘Wisley Pink’ for sparkling color. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1266)
  • Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jonas’
    Promising early winter floral magic, this superbly bred selection boasts a luminous bevy of yellow-stamened crisp white petals atop burgundy stems. Defined by 7 petals, as opposed to the usual 5, and a light green or blush pink coloration as they age, full forward-facing flowers rise from dark green toothed leaves that shape a lustrous evergreen foil. Perfect for holiday decorating, ‘Jonas’ can be enjoyed in bouquets, in a lightly shaded mixed planting or a magnificent container specimen on the patio. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1806)
  • Phlomis russeliana
    With architectural assertiveness, stout straight stems broadcast separate whorls of butter yellow hooded blooms. Maintaining a stalwart beauty throughout the winter, the stalks look equally impressive whether fresh or dried as they stand above large and broad, heart-shaped olive-green leaves. The fuzzy, scalloped foliage develops into a plush low growing, evergreen cover that keeps those pesky weeds at bay.In our garden, Phlomis russeliana casts bold accents along a pathway, assorting with Aster ‘Ringdove’ and Molinias. Hardy to zone 4. (p-1314)
  • Salvia confertiflora
    With velvety, reddish purple stems, smooth, bright green new foliage that matures to a textured dark green, and fuzzy, vermilion flowers, this Brazilian native is lush and tantalizing. Wonderful cut or dried, the 6 to 10 in. long flower spikes make a bold statement in the fall border with Asters and grasses, and combine beautifully with mounding perennials. Hardy to zone 9. (p-0214)
  • Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’
    With the violet-blue tones of the blossoms, and the similar but rosier shades of the enduring calyxes and prominent streaks that mark the leafy upright flower stems, this richly colored Salvia is a jewel. With wavy-edged foliage, this long bloomer exhibits a handsome fullness. Softening the edge of our pathway in the company of Origanum ‘Ed Carmine’, a violet theme is created, while the addition of Kniphofia ‘Border Ballet’ adds a lively splash of melon to the picture. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0813)
  • Salvia uliginosa
    Uliginosa means "of the marshes", in this case those between the forests of southern Brazil and Argentina's fertile pampas. Eye-catching white flecked azure blue flowers soar atop slender branching stems lined with narrow lance-shaped green leaves. A quick-to-establish colonizing perennial, Bog Sage presents an airy, strong and erect habit that doesn't need staking and flourishes in moist niches along streams or ponds and in ordinary garden conditions, even tolerating heavy or dry soil. For a spectacular effect, plant it alongside Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson'. Hardy to zone 6. (P-0997)
  • Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’
    Strawberry Begonia
    Named for its slender strawberry-like red runners and flashy maroon undersides, this colonizing Saxifraga hosts intricately etched evergreen rosettes of thick rounded gray-green leaves with scalloped margins, silver hairs and pewter veins. Rising above the low growing velvet soft mat, wispy 5-petaled pink-tinged white flowers are loosely arranged on delicate 18 in. stalks. Appreciative of shade and evenly moist well-drained soil, ‘Maroon Beauty’ lends enchanting accents to the woodlands, rockery or a small container. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1819)
    saxifrage

    Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Maroon Beauty’

  • Selinum wallichianum
    This refined Himalayan beauty happens to be one of our favorite perennial umbellifers. With untold elegance, infinitely divided leaves craft a delicate, lacelike transparency. The compact yet airy green canopy is framed by distinctive, purple-infused branching stems that elevate a charming, late season display of white flattened umbels. Subduing the riotous array of summertime blooms, it seldom needs staking, appreciates a well draining moist niche and can be sited amid Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ and Echinacea Big Sky ‘Sunrise’. Hardy to zone 7. (p-1406)
  • Sedum telephium ‘Karfunkelstein’
    Fancied as one of the rising stars at the 2006 RHS Sedum Trials, this exceptional Ernest Pagels prodigy has a dainty demeanor. Copious rose red buds and small dusky pink flower heads crest a close-knit sea of upright multibranched green stems infused with lavish beet red shades. Ideal for gardens where space is scarce, the short stalwart stalks never flop and are clad in toothed gray-green spoon-shaped leaves with slate purple overtones, heightening ‘Karfunkelstein’s prismatic presentation. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1717)
  • Verbena bonariensis
    Brazilian Vervain
    A celebrated perennial whose fans include both experienced gardeners and novices, and florists and hummingbirds, this versatile South American native delivers outstanding flower power. Rough, lance-shaped dark green basal foliage gives way to wiry and sparsely leafed angular-branching stems, which elevate a consortium of tiny lavender violet blooms. With fragrant flowers borne in dense tufts atop its airy profile, Brazilian Vervain brings a colorful carefree look to cottage gardens or more wild venues, especially when paired with ornamental grasses. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1720)
  • Yucca dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’
    Dressed in gray icy greens and powder blues with a dusky purple overlay, this handsome pastel-hued treasure exhibits a tough disposition. Rigid evergreen leaves with sharp pointed tips and fine-toothed margins craft a rounded barrel-like rosette that develops slowly, its amethyst coloration intensifying as the weather heats up. Waxy white pendulous flowers draped on stout panicles deliver late summer sparkle. Unfazed by mettlesome deer, drought, moisture and humidity, ‘Blue Boy’ can harmonize with Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’ and Festuca ‘Superba’. Zone 7/8. (P-1495)
    yucca

    Yucca purpurea

Grasses:

grasses

Grasses and hornbeam columns

  • Andropogon gerardii
    Big Bluestem
    Historically renowned as the sod our ancestors broke their backs busting, Big Bluestem is the most widespread of all the prairie grasses. Its regal and wild color show makes it a must in our garden. Growing to great size, the stand’s lush, blue-blushed summer greenery becomes a burgundy and copper glory at first frost. Soaring three-pronged red seed heads beg its other common name, Turkeyfoot. Reliable, heat tolerant and sturdy, Andropogon gerardii thrives in poorly drained clay to dry sandy soils, and easily transitions the outskirts of your garden into the wild meadow beyond. Hardy to zone 4. (g-0448)
  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
    Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass
    Named for pioneering German nurseryman Karl Foerster, this selection bears loose and airy 12 in. seed heads, which tighten to slender plumes by midsummer. Rising above 2 ft. clumps of narrow green foliage, the inflorescences create an ideal semitransparent veiling effect. Plant with deep green Viburnums to accentuate its golden flowering stems. Hardy to zone 5. (g-0003)
  • Eragrostis chloromelas
    Blue Lovegrass
    Witness the ethereal haze of sheer amber-colored panicles floating on lax 3 ft. stalks over long fine cut powdery blue blades and you'll see why we love this gorgeous South African denizen. The flowing warm season mound spreads slowly over time, while the gauzy inflorescences tantalize birds, butterflies and the rest of us through early winter. Appreciative of fast draining locations, Blue Lovegrass makes a sterling drought tolerant specimen or mass planting. Flank with Pennisetum spathiolatum and tall Molinias, and intersperse Sanguisorba ‘Chocolate Tip’ or Aster ‘Blue Danube’ for a spectacular painterly effect. Zone 6/7. (G-0540)
    eragrastis

    Eragrostis chloromelas

  • Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni-kaze’
    With the same overflowing grace as its relatives, newly introduced ‘Beni-kaze’ entertains brilliant red fall colors. The lax green mound of loosely arranged, draped blades remains green until cooler weather ignites the smooth foliar ribbons and begs its name, which translates “red wind.” Lolling in the late season shadows, this larger growing Hakonechloa echoes the warm-hued fanfare of autumnal foliage. Hardy to zone 6. (G-0497)
  • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Positano’
    A graceful standout, ‘Positano’ warms the fall landscape with sunkissed colors. Large, red, glistening plumes are cast well above the impressive upright fountain of arching, fine textured blades. Etched by pewter midribs, the foliage grows in a sophisticated crisscross pattern and when fall arrives, transmutes toasty reds and oranges. Revered grass aficionado Ernst Pagels raised this clump-forming cultivar whose first-class profile and rich hues can accentuate Rudbeckia ‘Goldquelle’ and Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’. Hardy to zone 5. (G-0491)
  • Pennisetum spathiolatum
    Slender Veldt Grass
    A denizen of South Africa, this drought tolerant evergreen grass has low growing, narrow dark green blades that provide a verdant contrast to its tawny colored tapers. The dense, abundantly produced inflorescences hover on jointed nearly invisible stems, some 2 to 3 ft. tall, while fashioning a delightful see-through veil. Especially mesmerizing when grouped in a dry creek bed, a meadow or a water wise garden, the Slender Veldt Grass asks only for a well drained abode. Zone 6/7. (G-0511)
    pennisetum sesleria hydrangea

    Pennisetum spathiolatum (back), Sesleria ‘Greenlee’ (front) and Hydrangea paniculata

  • Sesleria ‘Greenlee’
    John Greenlee’s Moor Grass
    Exhibiting attributes from both parents, this tidy looking evergreen, discovered by grass aficionado John Greenlee, is thought to be a hybrid between Sesleria caerulea and Sesleria autumnalis. Blue-tinged green blades bear a likeness to Sesleria cearulea’s, but are longer, while the blooms resemble those of Sesleria autumnalis, except for being thicker, more elongated and for turning a purplish brown hue when mature. Topped by reflective green inflorescences with creamy yellow pollen sacs, thin stems rise well above the versatile upright clump that maintains its composure through a multitude of exposures such as sun, shade, moisture, heat or drought. ‘Greenlee’ renders a sprightly verdant statement whether massed in a meadow or a more formal setting. Zone 6/7. (G-0525)

Shrubs:

  • Aronia melanocarpa ‘Iroquois Beauty’
    A versatile North American native originating in Morton Arboretum, this small-statured deciduous shrub proposes something exceptional for each season: fragrant spring flowers, courtly summer foliage, brilliant fall color and persistent winter berries. Flaunting an autumnal pageant of stunning red, burgundy and purple hues, lustrous, deeply green, thickened leaves garb the compact, dense multitude of suckering stems. Airy, Hawthorne-like flowers gathered in white, 2 in. wide, eye catching corymbs precede the heavy clusters of polished purple-black berries that gracefully weigh down branches and bring color to gray December days. Obliging of low-lying wet areas, dry sandy sites and some shade, easy-to-grow ‘Iroquois Beauty’ thrives in full sun and can reside with equal ease in a small garden, a mixed border or a naturalized setting when planted en masse. Hardy to zone 3. (S-0600)
    pennisetum sesleria hydrangea

    Aronia melanocarpa ‘Iroquois Beauty’

  • Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’
    Purple Beautyberry
    A beacon for the fall border, this deciduous Korean species is considered by many to be the most refined Beautyberry, and its boldly hued early September fruit occurs well before other varieties. Small and shiny, rounded berry clusters achieve an astonishing, almost electric lavender hue. Flowers are delicate, diminutive and pink, quietly dressing up its handsome, very green leaf mass and gracefully rounded form. ‘Early Amethyst’ prefers well drained soil, tolerates some drought, appreciates a late winter pruning and produces more fruit when planted in groups. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0587)
  • Escallonia laevis ‘Gold Brian’
    Spangled with incandescent, gleaming golden foliage and terminal panicles of long blooming raspberry-colored flowers, this drop-dead gorgeous evergreen shrub promises to delight you throughout the seasons. The dashing medium-sized rounded leaves are leathery and toothed, transmuting fresh lime-green shades during the summer. Acquiescent to salt spray and varied soil conditions, even dry ones, ‘Gold Brian’s bushy hard-to-miss visage demands a well-drained abode, a trim immediately after the blossoms are spent and protection from hot afternoon sun. Zone 7/8. (S-0759)
    escallonia

    Escallonia laevis ‘Gold Brian’

  • Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’
    Though its name might make you think otherwise, this shrub is a showcase of earth tones. Its 8 in. long panicles of white flowers, which later take on a pinkish hue, stand out like snow against the beautiful cinnamon-brown, exfoliating bark and the large dark green Oak-like leaves that turn reddish purple in autumn. Hardy and undemanding, ’Snow Queen’ offers a fantastic fall display full of similar colors and contrasting forms when matched with Panicum ‘Warrior’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0201)
  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’
    Left to its own designs, this vigorous Hydrangea has a natural upright and arching form, but it also responds well to pruning, making ‘Unique’ an effective choice where space is scarce. The immense flower heads are spectacular and abundant, and true to name are unique in shape, being quite broad at the base and bluntly rounded at the tip. They begin the season a creamy white and gradually darken to a buff pink. Hardy to zone 3. (s-0348)
    hydrangea

    Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’

  • Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’
    A newly introduced English cultivar, ‘Golden Lanterns’ has the same tantalizing attributes as the species but with an illuminated twist. Dark burgundy bracts and berries become intriguing counterpoints to amber-tinted new growth and the lambent yellow-green foliage that promises to brighten your daytime, or even moonlight garden stroll. Zone 6/7. (S-0609)
    leysteria

    Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

  • Viburnum plicatum f tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
    The most exceptional attribute of this deciduous Viburnum is its horizontal growth habit, featuring flowers and fruit in parallel rows along the branches. Distinguished by a smaller stature, and foliage that’s not quite as large as Viburnum ‘Shasta’, ‘Summer Snowflake’ maintains a more rounded form and blooms well into summer with an extravagant offering of pure white lacecap flowers. It’s lovely in containers, grouped in a drift, or as a star specimen. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0075)

Trees:

  • Chionanthus retusus
    Chinese Fringe Tree
    Named for its clustered, snow-white fleecy flowers, the broadly spreading Chinese Fringe Tree casts light shade with rounded leathery leaves. This deciduous Olive family member is a captivating, four season specimen displaying blue, egg-shaped summer fruit, warm yellow autumn foliage and peeling gray-brown bark in winter. Well sized for a lawn or small yard, it’s easily cultivated in moist, loamy soil. Grows slowly. Hardy to zone 5. (T-0008)
  • Cornus capitata
    Evergreen Dogwood
    An elegant, large evergreen shrub or small tree, this slow growing Dogwood is a perfect anchor for the shrubby border. Handsome, curved leathery leaves with light green veins provide a pleasing texture and turn bronze in the winter months. Buttonlike flower heads surrounded by creamy yellow bracts precede the long lasting, prominent, pinkish red strawberry-shaped fruit that appears in November and can be brought inside as a colorful complement to holiday greenery. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0364)
    dogwood

    Cornus capitata

  • Parrotia persica
    Persian Ironwood
    F. W. Parrot, who made the first ascent of Mt. Ararat in 1829, lends his name to this low branched, round headed, deciduous Persian native with tremendous landscape value. In spring, the silver, green and cream-colored smooth bark is complemented by lustrous green foliage and in autumn it’s highlighted by exquisite gold, rosy pink and crimson tones. Later, showy red stamens and wooly brown bracts create a reddish haze around bare limbs, making a virtual carousel of color and texture. Pest free Persian Ironwood prefers well drained soil and detests both overly wet or dry conditions. Grows moderately. 10’ in 6–8 yrs. Hardy to zone 5. (T-0016)

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

We love Cornus capitata for it’s head-turning & festive fruit, that is set against handsome evergreen foliage. Evergreen Dogwood - An elegant, large evergreen shrub or small tree, this slow growing Dogwood is a perfect anchor for the shrubby border. Handsome, curved leathery leaves with light green veins provide a pleasing texture and turn bronze in the winter months. Buttonlike flower heads surrounded by creamy yellow bracts precede the long lasting, prominent, pinkish red strawberry-shaped fruit that appears in November and can be brought inside as a colorful complement to holiday greenery. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0364)

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