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Aster (Michaelmas Daisies)
at Digging Dog

Including Aster cordifolius, Aster novae-angliae, Aster lateriflorus, Aster novi-belgii, and Aster tataricus

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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

Aster cordifolius ‘Little Carlow’ (P-0255)
Each $7.25
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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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

Aster ericoides hyb. ‘Ringdove’ (P-0024)
Each $7.25
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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)
Each $7.25
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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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ (p-0175)
Each $7.25
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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.

AVAILABLE SPRING 2015

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

Give the Gift that keeps on Growing!

Special Offers from The Digging Dogs for Shopping Online & at the Nursery

Order a $50.00 minimum of plants described in our Holiday Collection to receive 10% off your purchase. Plus, we’ll wrap them in silver & tie them with a bow for FREE!

15% Discount on purchases of $100 or more for any plants listed on our website or available here at the nursery!

15% Discount on Gift Certificates of $100 or more. That’s $100 worth of plants for only $85! (Purchase one for yourself... cash it in on your Spring 2015 order!)

For discounts, place code “Holiday2014” in the Comment Box on the online order form; for gift-wrap, place code “Gift-wrap” in the Comment Box.

If you wish to receive your order by Christmas:

California orders must be received no later than Sunday, December 21 to be delivered by December 24!

For all other States, plant orders must be received no later than Monday, December 15, to be delivered by December 24!

Sale dates are November 25 thru December 29, with the last ship date being December 30th, 2014.

Digging Dog’s Holiday Collection

This year’s seasonal, gift-quality offerings feature an eclectic array of horticultural treasures that promise a little something for everyone, sure to delight those gardeners on your gift list. Our selection of grasses, perennials and shrubs can be showcased in diverse garden settings across the country. Most are easily cultivated, many oblige a wide variety of growing conditions and all of them are in some way outstanding. We wish you a happy holiday season!

Perennials:

  • Asphodeline lutea
    King Spear
    Native to the eastern Mediterranean, this clumping member of the Lily family greets spring with intriguing spirals of tightly wrapped bladelike foliage, patterned like green candy canes. Emerging from blue-hued grassy tufts, these leafy flowering spikes soon become dense with fragrant citron-yellow, star-shaped blooms, which look striking in drifts beside Omphalodes ‘Cherry Ingram’ and Euphorbia ‘Jade Dragon’. Zoë was the first to discover the hard, marble-sized, green fruit that appears after the flowers fade. Hardy to zone 6. (p-0361)
  • Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Spear’
    Silvery and swordlike, the stiff foliage grows in clumps and bears some resemblance to a Yucca. Highlighted with subtle bands in many shades of muted green and silver, the broad reflective leaves will make a dramatic presentation in your favorite container, or try planting Astelia as a specimen with Muhlenbergia rigens and Salvia melissodora in the rockery. Hailing from New Zealand, this unusual member of the Lily family prefers well drained soil. Hardy to zone 8. (P-0718)
  • 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. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0700)
  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’
    Fanciful, pretty-in-pink flowers dress up this Cyclamen’s marbled, glistening greenery. Interplant ‘Rose Pearls’ with the white blooming Cyclamen hederifolium and a marvelous autumn vignette is yours for the viewing. Hardy to zone 5. (p-1207)

    cyclamen

    Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Rose Pearls’

  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Silver Leaf Pink’
    With dainty pink blooms poised above, a silver effulgence splashes across the surface of each polished, prominently veined leaf in a unique fashion, sometimes concealing any sign of greenery, while rich wine hues warm the undersides. Place ‘Silver Leaf Pink’ beneath Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ to enhance the elegant frosty display. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1559)
  • Cyclamen hederifolium ‘White Pearls’
    The pristine white nodding flowers gracing this hederifolium cultivar show like comets against the deep green and very decoratively patterned foliage. ‘White Pearls’ serves as a clean and classy understory for Carpenteria ‘Elizabeth’. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1206)
  • Dianthus ‘Inchmery’
    A study in delicacy, this fragrant shell pink double blossom harmonizes with the blues of Nepeta and Lavender, or with yellows. Hosted atop bluish tumps, the buds that appear in May are a joy in their own right, long and linear, revealing a deep maroon stripe around each base. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0057)
  • Dianthus ‘Mendlesham Frilly’
    Aptly named, ‘Frilly’s semidouble flowers are just that, bright pink with fringed petals and a dainty look. Sue and Peter Russell of Mills Farm Plants in England bred this cultivar as one of their highly successful ‘Mendlesham Series’, a group of Dianthus selected for neat, compact form, demure appearance, intense fragrance, and repeat bloom. Hardy to zone 5. (p-0739)
  • Eucomis ‘Toffee’
    Pineapple Lily
    With bronzy merlot-colored undulating margins, the olive-green swordlike foliage shows off reddish toffee-shaded linear streaks on top, while curious burgundy stipples and striations mark the undersides. The warm-looking, somewhat erect rosette gets a cheerful lift when staunch flower stalks transform into pastel columns of star-shaped rosy pink flowers topped by leafy forelocks. Zone 7/8. (p-1450)

    eucomis

    Eucomis ‘Toffee’

  • Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’
    A gorgeous medley of deep burgundy, bronzy maroon and ruby red suffuses this Euphorbia’s head turning foliage. Cresting a well-groomed base defined by plush evergreen leaves and sturdy stems, plentiful ebullient chartreuse blooms provide vivid contrast. Compact, hardy and downright irresistible ‘Ruby Glow’ can be nestled near the front of the border, along a pathway or showcased in a patio container. (uspp#22,200) Hardy to zone 6. (P-1724)

    euphorbia

    Euphorbia amygaloides ‘Ruby Glow’

  • Gunnera tinctoria
    Everything about this amazing Chilean native is BIG! A super-sized perennial of prehistoric-looking, gargantuan magnitude, Gunnera tinctoria projects a bold, dignified persona. Palmately lobed leaves with toothed and frilled margins unfurl to 5 ft. across atop thick edible stalks that emerge from underground rhizomes, rich in tannins. Launching a large cob-shaped inflorescence inhabited by tiny rusty red flowers, the enormous domed mound adds sheer mass and a coarse stiff texture to the landscape. Although the Chilean Rhubarb sulks in high summer humidity, it is undemanding and quick to establish in moist areas, given A LOT of room and winter protection for the crowns. Hardy to zone 7. (P-1317)
  • 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)
  • Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’
    Also known as Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Walhelivor’. With dark dusky pink buds and outward facing, easy-to-view ivory-petaled blooms, this vigorous Lenten Rose is aptly named. Innovated by the truly gifted English breeder David Tristram, and vegetatively propagated, ‘Ivory Prince’s exquisite flowers reveal a subtle infusion of colors, from soft green and antique rose on the inside to earthy plum hues on the exterior. Sturdy wine-tinted stems and princely, deep green leatherlike foliage marked by light prominent veining and toothed margins maintain a pleasing evergreen presence all year long.(PPAF) Hardy to zone 5. (p-1325)

    helleborus

    Helleborus x nigersmithii ‘Ivory Prince’

  • Heuchera ‘Blackout’
    Smooth ultra dark foliage, burnished with a gemlike luster, is this Heuchera’s stylish signature. Celebrating more vigor and more black than those of its dark rival, Heuchera ’Obsidian’. Elegant lobed leaves fashion a compact mound, which offsets urn-shaped creamy white flowers. ’Blackout’ is a mysterious midnight-hued springboard for golden grasses, yellow-leafed perennials, Japanese Painted ferns and silvery Pulmonarias. (pp#25,280) Hardy to zone 4. (P-1636)
  • Melianthus major
    Honey Bush
    Big, bold, blue and architectural pretty much sums up the fantastic posture of this quick growing South African native. Deeply divided in an exotic feather-like fashion, the glaucous steely blue-green leaflets are sharply toothed, while gracefully curving downward. Erect and thick gray-green stems host the highly textured foliage that can grow up to 18 in. long and makes an enduring addition to arrangements. Elevated above the tropical-style foundation, intriguing one ft. long terminal spikes showcase deep brick-red bracts with green stamens, later followed by ornamental papery seed pods.Evergreen in warmer climates and choice for a container in colder areas, the Honey Bush grows into a spreading subshrub, sculpting a dramatic specimen if given room to move, average moisture, well drained soil and a heavy winter mulch. Hardy to zone 9. (P-0894)

    melianthus

    Melianthus major

  • Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
    Licorice-black, ¼ in. wide, spidery blades, delicate, bell-shaped purplish white flowers on dark spikes, and shiny bluish black fruit are all good reasons to invite this versatile perennial into your garden. The ebony-colored evergreen tufts with newly emerging green leaves can be dramatically juxtaposed against golden Carex elata ‘Aurea’ or Athyrium niponicum pictum’s silver flushed fronds. Nestled in between rocks, along pathways, near water or en masse as an easy going ground cover, Black Mondo Grass competes well with other plant roots, and favors well drained soil, periodic trimming and filtered sun. Hardy to zone 6. (P-1475)
  • Primula capitata ssp. mooreana
    Native to the coniferous forests of Tibet and southwestern China, Primula capitata was once used to cure headaches and please the palette in thick soups and rice. This species is named for its blue-violet, pincushionlike flowers that open face down in early spring. We plant it by paths or steps in shady rock gardens so that we can sit and look at the silvery powder on the green stems. It can take full sun, but only if planted in a moist loam or boggy location. Hardy to zone 5. (P-0212)
  • 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)

    primula

    Helleborus, Primula, and Saxifraga

  • 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)
  • 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 dismetiana ‘Blue Boy’

  • Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’
    Adam’s Needle
    Touted as one of the most attractive variegated Yuccas available, this Japanese cultivar’s stiff spiky foliage comprises a mesmerizing close set, evergreen rosette. Achieving an added luster when long, curly white margin fibers seem to capture the moonlight, each spine-tipped leaf is etched by celadon green margins and a bold, creamy gold central stripe, which becomes brighter in mid summer. ’Color Guard’s imposing silhouette can stand alone, be juxtaposed with Plectranthus ’Longwood Silver’s soft felted foliage or be planted en masse. Hardy to zone 5. (P-1781)

Grasses:

  • Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’
    Oshima Sedge
    Arching upward and out, this Carex’s lush foliage is elegant. A glinting cascade of refined, evergreen blades presents dark green margins with broad, alabaster-colored central stripes that mature to creamy yellow. Languishing if it’s too hot, slow spreading ‘Gold Strike’ thrives in moist, well drained sites, and makes a bold statement when its densely set, variegated tussocks are planted in a meandering swath amidst Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ or Epimediums. Hardy to zone 6. (G-0461)

    carex

    Carex oshimensis ‘Gold Strike’

  • Carex tenuiculmis
    New Zealand Sedge
    A cozy fusion of colors—from dark chocolate and cappuccino to reddish bronze—distinguish this fine textured evergreen sedge. Whether positioned in a border, cascading over a wall or embellishing a container, the long and narrow, arching foliage fashions a loosely arranged, graceful mound whose rich warm tones juxtapose green and golden leafage to great affect. Carex tenuiculmis favors moist soil, and can be brought inside wherever it’s not winter hardy. Hardy to zone 7. (G-0471)

Shrubs:

  • Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’
    Concorde Japanese Barberry
    Draped in deep maroon velvety purple foliage, this splendid diminutive shrub maintains a dense rounded slow growing profile. Small bell-shaped yellow flowers, enhanced by warmly colored sepals, sparkle against opulent deciduous leaves, eventually giving way to a wintertime showing of bright red berries. Perfectly sized for edging, responsive to pruning and unyielding to deer or drought, ‘Concorde’ is a refined and easily maintained contender for containers, border frontage, low hedges and knot gardens, especially when paired with silver and green companions. Hardy to zone 4. (S-0754)
  • 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)
  • Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’ Cabbage Palm
    Bold, bronzed and tropical-themed, ’Red Star’s long sword-shaped dark burgundy blades are applauded as the most handsome and the hardiest of the red-foliaged Cordylines. Endemic to New Zealand and eastern Australia, this winning palm-styled evergreen slowly forges an upright half-hardy vigorous frame that premiers large panicles of small sweetly perfumed flowers. Cabbage Palm’s year-round drama can be staged as a water-wise focal point for a dry garden or ample-sized container, where it appreciates light shade with occasional water during intense heat and shelter from harsh winter weather. Zone 8/9. (S-0770)
  • Correa ‘Dusky Bells’
    Red Australian Fuchsia
    Sprinkled amongst waxy green leaves, ‘Dusky Bells’s pendulous red tubular flowers, dressed in chartreuse calyxes and flared tips, become one of winter’s more endearing attractions. The dainty long lasting blooms appear in autumn and persist through early spring, luring both gardeners and hummingbirds alike. Whether utilized as a low mounding specimen in a large vessel or as a tidy evergreen ground cover for banks, hillsides or other tough spots, the Red Australian Fuchsia favors good drainage and light shade where it’s hot. This densely branched shrub is undaunted by deer, ocean frontage, poor rocky sites, and occasional drought. Affiliate with other steadfast companions like Ceanothus ‘Concha’ and Stipa arundinacea. Hardy to zone 9. (S-0735)

    correa

    Correa ‘Dusky Bells’

  • Erica cinerea ‘C. D. Eason’
    Distinctive for its deep green, fine textured foliage and pleasing form, this summer blooming Erica was named in honor of the man who discovered it—Australian born Charles Eason. Very tiny short needles and slender branches make an ideal foil for the freely borne, dense clusters of glowing dark pink flowers. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0565)
  • Erica cinerea ‘Purple Beauty’
    Twisted Heath
    It was a British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Letts, whose keen eyes first noted this summer flowering beauty in the wilds of Cornwall and later introduced it. Ample-sized, more than abundant and long blooming, the luminous amethyst flowers sparkle like jewels upon the vigorous dark green needlelike foliage that defines ‘Purple Beauty’s exquisite, low bushy habit. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0471)
  • Hebe recurva
    Shrouded in hushed gray-greens, Hebe recurva’s rounded visage conveys its composed character. A bushy array of glaucous, sickle-shaped narrow leaves, whose tips curve downward, elegantly garbs the red-tinged, slender stems and come summer, broadcasts infinite, snowy white Veronica-like spikes. One of the hardiest Hebes, this cool-colored shrub will easily fit in any garden, and looks especially alluring when sited amid Geranium lancastriense and Helianthemum ‘St. Mary’s’. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0629)
  • Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’
    We have Mike Dirr to thank for this vigorous selection. Tall and fast growing, ‘Alice’ displays large, very delicate, lacy looking white flower heads, and the show continues when the broad green oak-shaped leaves turn deep carmine in autumn. For contrast, try planting an understory of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0323)
    hydrangea

    Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Alice’

  • 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)
  • Lavandula ‘Richard Gray’
    With the hardiness of its angustifolia parentage and the soft-looking leaves of a lanata, ‘Richard Gray’ is a choice hybrid which bears medium blue-violet flowers on stems just a foot above the attractive, compact mound of silver-gray foliage. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0329)
  • Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
    Fetterbush
    An elegant arching Pieris relative, this elaborately variegated cultivar originated at the famed British nursery, Hillier’s as a chance seedling, while the species, first introduced in 1793, hails from the southeastern U.S. Living up to its name, ’Rainbow’ celebrates a carousel of color: pinkish copper-hued new growth, rosy red stems and long leathery pointed evergreen leaves, which are irregularly streaked, speckled and mottled in green, cream and ivory. Bell-style crisp white flowers held by drooping clusters, blue berries and plum-colored wintertime foliage are the icing on the cake. Appreciative of regular watering and well-drained organic-rich acidic soil, the deer resistant Fetterbush makes a stunning focal point or mass planting, embellishing mixed borders, house foundations, hedges and even cut arrangements. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0777)

    leucothoe

    Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’

  • Mahonia gracilipes
    A 1980 British introduction by noted plantsman Roy Lancaster, this rare, widely praised Chinese native features dapper dark green leaves, flashing bright white undersides and dainty reddish pink cupped flowers with creamy yellow centers. Poised in airy splendor on lax slender racemes, the eye-catching blooms precede a plentiful display of large, bloomy blue-black fruit. Mahonia gracilipes is a stellar and sturdy, slow growing evergreen, which favors partial shade in moist well drained, humus-rich soil. Hardy to zone 7. (S-0739)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp’
    That’s Arp, Texas, where one ol’ specimen is still growing strong at 80. An upright shrub with gray-green foliage and light blue flowers, ‘Arp’ is most at home inland, where it opens outward in the heat; on the coast its habit is more compact, but still handsome. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0060)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Madeline Hill’
    Dubbed for the renown herbal enthusiast from Texas, ‘Madeline Hill’ is not only a good-looking tough cookie hardy to below 0°, but she’s a savory delight as well. Intensely fragrant, rich green needlelike leaves, which are broader than ‘Arp’s cloak her robust, pale green upright stems. Wielding a not-too-tall bushy frame, this well branched Rosemary is generously sprinkled with dainty light blue flowers. Hardy to zone 6. (S-0700)
  • Santolina chamaecyparissus var. nana
    Lavender Cotton
    Botanicals first mentioned Santolina in 1550, when its dense filigree foliage and white felted stems made it the star player of that Elizabethan rage, the formal knot garden. This dwarf cultivar presents golden yellow button flowers borne profusely on a tight evergreen mound of aromatic silver-gray. It’s deer and pest proof, extremely drought tolerant, and is still the perfect choice for edging the herb garden or tucking into the rockery or a small sunny nook. Hardy to zone 6. (S-0579)
  • Teucrium fruticans (Select Form) Surprisingly light on its feet, this handsome ‘Select Form’ is smaller and more compact than Teucrium fruticans. Periwinkle-blue flowers embellish the downy white stems and gray-green, evergreen foliage which displays contrasting silver-gray undersides. Extremely durable, tolerating drought, wind and salt spray, this silvery mound makes an alluring backdrop for Muhlenbergia rigens. Hardy to zone 8. (S-0156)

    teucrium

    Teucrium fruticans (Select Form)

  • 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)

Current Staff’s Favorite Plant

staff favorite plant

Erica’s dainty urn-shaped flowers add sparkling detail at this dreary time of year, while Calluna’s fine textured ever green foliage maintains a tailored often colorful year-round appearance.

More news, events, and favorite plants


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