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Cistus (Rockrose)
at Digging Dog

Including Cistus x dansereaui, Cistus x oblongifolius, Cistus x pauranthus, Cistus x purpureus, and Cistus x aguilarii

Cistus

Cistus

Rockrose

This genus from the Mediterranean region fortunately grows exceptionally well in our mild climate. These evergreens are called Rockroses for their conspicuous single papery blooms, resembling wild rose blossoms. Though these last only a day, they arrive in such profusion, carpeting the ground beneath, that one can count on color for 2 or 3 months.

Fast growing and appreciative of well drained sites, they tolerate drought, poor soil, ocean winds, salt spray and even desert heat. Cistus vary from low spreaders to tall, imposing bushes, and are terrific for informal hedging and screens.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Cistus x aguilarii ‘Maculatus’  full sun
Cistus x aguilarii Maculatus

We favor this upright, robust Cistus for its decorative leaves and large showy flowers. A Cistus ladanifer and Cistus populifolius hybrid backcrossed once again with Cistus ladanifer, ‘Maculatus’s foliage is fastened by reddened petioles, tapers to a point and features margins so evenly rippled that the edges are pulled up. The intriguing slender greenery elevates 3 in. wide, billowy white blossoms whose closely arranged petals flaunt a striking, almost triangular, wine-colored mark at their bases while encircling a bright gilded hub of stamens.

Blooms late April–mid-July.

Size: 6' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x aguilarii ‘Maculatus’ (S-0603)
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Cistus ‘Ann Baker’  full sun  drought tolerant

Olivier Filippi, guardian of the French National Cistus collection, kindly gave us this delightful Eric Sammons hybrid. A robust descendant of Cistus dansereaui ‘Decumbens’, ‘Ann Baker’ is pleasingly attired with delicate, white saucer-shaped flowers, centered by a singular sanguine marking and a small yellow splash on each petal. Slightly undulating and lacking petioles, the handsome, dark green leaves clasp arching, red-tinged stems.

Noteworthy for blooming later than most other Rockroses, ‘Ann Baker’ prolongs the flowering period well into September, and is a welcome addition to the Mediterranean garden alongside Lavender, Rosemary, and other Rockroses.

Blooms May–September.

Size: 2-1/2'–3-1/2' high x 5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Ann Baker’ (s-0559)
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Cistus ‘Anne Palmer’  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus  Anne Palmer

Silvery pink, crepe-paperlike petals float over this evergreen shrub’s ripple-edged gray-green foliage. Equally at home in tough coastal or inland environments, it combines beautifully with Rosmarinus ‘Santa Barbara Blue’ and Lavandula ‘Richard Gray’.

Blooms May–September.

Size: 2-1/2'–3' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Anne Palmer’ (S-0187)
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Cistus creticus f. albus ‘Tania Compton’  full sun

This well-mannered Cistus wins a place in our garden for its neat rounded habit that stays relatively small. Knitting a handsome upright foil, the easily shorn, maroon-tinted stems and small, wavy and textured gray-green leaves parade quantities of 1-½ in. blooms with prominent golden eyes and white parchmentlike petals tinged pale yellow at each base.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus creticus f. albus ‘Tania Compton’ (S-0691)
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Cistus x dansereaui ‘Decumbens’  full sun

An excellent shrubby ground cover, this Cistus displays luminous flowers against a vigorous and glossy, dark green foil of wavy-margined, lance-shaped leaves. Each ornate snowy white petal is elegantly marked with a prominent burgundy blotch at its base.

Blooms May–July.

Size: 2' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x dansereaui ‘Decumbens’ (S-0413)
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Cistus x dansereaui ‘Jenkyn Place’  full sun  drought tolerant

A merlot-colored triangular brush stroke boldly brands each overlapping tissuelike petal, etching a distinctive 5-pointed star with a pronounced golden center. Large blossoms, spanning 3 snowy white in. across, are cupped, rimpled and renown for their long lasting flowery pomp.

Named after a private English garden and parented by Cistus ladnifer and Cistus inflatus, ‘Jenkyn Place’s small vigorous frame blends shapely red-tinged green stems and narrow sticky, pucker-edged deep green leaves that smell spicy and taper toward their tips.

Blooms April – July.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x dansereaui ‘Jenkyn Place’ (S-0621)
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Cistus ‘Jessamy Beauty’  full sun
Cistus  Jessamy Beauty

Created and named by British Cistus aficionado, Eric Sammons, this Cistus ‘Little Gem’ and Cistus laurifolius cross celebrates not only showy blooms but a low comely mound, which responds well to pruning. The gold-centered, 2-½ in. white papery flowers are engraved with striking, nearly triangular burgundy marks at each petal’s base, while gracing long, matt-finished, dark green slender leaves and somewhat lax, wine-infused stems.

Full of vigor, ‘Jessamy Beauty’ merits her name especially when set against Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’s large blue-tinged foliage.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 3' high x 5' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Cistus ‘Jessamy Beauty’ (S-0690)
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Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus ‘Bennett’s White’  full sun
Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus Bennett’s White

From afar, its easy to mistake this Cistus’ pure white, 5 in. wide flowers for those of a Romneya. Against cinnamon-colored stems and two-toned leathery leaves that are a glistening bright green on top and silver beneath, the frilly, unusually large, gold-centered blooms deliver an awe-inspiring presentation.

Yielding a sticky, sweetly fragrant resin known as Labdanum, the vigorous growing ‘Bennett’s White’ can be planted with Lavandula ‘Ana Luisa’ in a dry Mediterranean garden where its superlative flowers and pleasant aroma will undoubtedly turn quite a few heads.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

AVAILABLE LATE NOVEMBER 2014

Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus ‘Bennett’s White’ (s-0596)
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Cistus ‘Little Gem’  full sun

A refined Eric Sammons hybrid of Cistus inflatus parentage and distant Cistus ladanifer ancestry, this small-statured Cistus presents delicate white flowers. A single dark maroon mark is attractively painted at the base of each petal, enhancing the sunny yellow center. Lining red-tinged stems, the textured linear leaves are slightly reflective and provide a contrasting foil for Helianthemum ‘Cheviot’.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 3' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Little Gem’ (S-0477)
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Cistus monspeliensis ‘Vicar’s Mead’  full sun

Dotted with soft yellow, one inch wide, paper-thin blooms, this splendid Rockrose celebrates a flower color that is pleasantly unique! Rose-scented, overlapping petals swirl around a sunlit hub, while slender green leaves—long, tapering and ripple-edged—garb its small, well-branched frame. Collected on the Mediterranean island of Majorca by Harold Read, ‘Vicar’s Mead’ makes an airy evergreen companion for Isoplexis canariensis.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus monspeliensis ‘Vicar’s Mead’ (S-0636)
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Cistus x oblongifolius  full sun
Cistus x oblongifolius

With overlapping, sheet white petals drawn together by prominent, golden clusters of stamens, the jubilant-looking, 2 in. wide flowers remind us of sunnyside-up eggs. A Cistus laurifolius and Cistus inflatus progeny, this vigorous, tall growing Cistus hosts long and pointed, dark green leaves that are gray-green below, narrowly shaped and sticky. Its sizable presence, handsome foliage and perky floral display makes it a good neighbor for Rhamnus ‘Variegata’.

Blooms late

Size: 6' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x oblongifolius (S-0604)
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Cistus palhinhaii ‘Red Eye’  full sun

So named because of the ½ in. blood red spot at the base of each good-sized, paper-thin white petal, this dense, striking Cistus comes to us from Ken Montgomery of Boonville, California. Its deep green, glossy linear leaves and young stems are fragrant and sticky to the touch. Bold, deer resistant and adorned with eight-chambered brown seed pods, ‘Red Eye’ deserves to be displayed as a specimen.

Blooms March–May.

Size: 5' high x 5'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus palhinhaii ‘Red Eye’ (S-0024)
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Cistus x pauranthus ‘Natacha’  full sun
Cistus x pauranthus Natacha

With a high-born lineage that includes Cistus parviflorus and Cistus salviifolius, it’s no wonder this seldom offered, easy-to-maintain Cistus is shapely and small statured, unlike so many other Rockroses. ‘Natacha’ displays attractive textured gray-green foliage and delicate pink-tinged, yellow-centered white flowers. Stimulated by pruning, her rounded profile makes a superb companion for more diminutive plants like Ballota pseudodictamnus and Calamagrostis foliosa.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x pauranthus ‘Natacha’ (S-0745)
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Cistus populifolius  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus populifolius

The unique, apple green foliage of this hearty species has undulating margins and grows in dense mounds, creating a luxurious backdrop for white flowers embellished with yellow centers. When the plant is budding, red-hued sepals contrast brilliantly with the delicate flowers.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 6' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus populifolius (S-0273)
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Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’  full sun
Cistus x purpureus Alan Fradd

Achieving the delicacy of parchment, each white overlapping petal features a striking maroon brush mark at its base. The large flowers are drawn together by a predominant yellow eye, while poised amongst wavy, dark green narrow leaves. Upright and sticky, red-flushed stems forge a rounded profile that can be associated with Perovskia abrotanoides and Eryngium ‘Blaukappe’ for an arresting union.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 5'–6' high x 5'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’ (S-0652)
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Cistus ‘Silver Pink’  full sun

Parented by Cistus laurifolius and Cistus canescens, this compact, mounding Cistus delivers a wild, undomesticated presence to the landscape. A lavish display of silvery pink flowers dressed in tissue-paper delicacy shimmer against green, lance-shaped leaves with gray undersides and undulating margins. Showy gilded stamens upstage the cheerful, white-centered petals.

Plant ‘Silver Pink’ amid Nepeta ‘Snowflake’ and fellow Mediterranean Euphorbia myrsinites for an engaging collage of foliar colors, flowers and textures.

Blooms May–July.

Size: 3' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Silver Pink’ (S-0602)
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Cistus ‘Snow Fire’  full sun
Cistus  Snow Fire

Regarded by Eric Sammons as perhaps the most successful of his unreleased hybrids, this well-bred Cistus claims Cistus populifolius subsp. major and Cistus inflatus as its parents. ‘Snow Fire’ closely resembles ‘Snow White’, except for a slightly smaller, more spreading stance and its decorated blooms, whose blazing marks undoubtedly kindled the “fire” in this cultivar’s name. Dainty white overlapping petals surround a golden eye, and each is brushed by a prominent burgundy-red patch at its base. The bright green, wavy-edged leaves and reddish stems respond quite well to pruning.

Blooms April–August.

Size: 4'–4-1/2' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Snow Fire’ (S-0560)
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Cistus ‘Snow White’  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus  Snow White

The name ‘Snow White’ surely refers to the multitude of orange-centered, papery white flowers that embellish this choice mounding Cistus. Perhaps even more noticeable are the large, intricately-winged buds. Deep red in color, and covered with a downy fuzz, they nearly obscure the bright green, undulating foliage for most of the season, adding to its soft, alluring appearance.

Blooms April–August.

Size: 6' high x 8' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Cistus ‘Snow White’ (S-0401)
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Latest News

Straight from the Border
Bring sparkling beauty to your late summer and early fall garden.

By the time August rolls around and the waning days of summer segue into fall, gardens can appear tired and somewhat lackluster. We may find ourselves simply losing interest in our verdant abodes.

Over the years, we’ve discovered a few simple techniques that allow any plantscape to resonate with late-season appeal. For starters, the addition of well-rotted compost and or mulch not only reduces watering requirements throughout the warmer months, but generally makes it easier for plants to stay perky and fresh looking during the dog days of summer. Sometime in early May, you may wish to cut back tall, late blooming perennials that have a tendency to flop or become messy by the time they finally flower. By doing so, they’ll maintain a tidier habit, and when coupled with frequent deadheading many blossoms will keep on coming ‘til the season’s end.

You could include a few specimen shrubs or trees. They serve as strong bones or placeholders, lending an overall pleasing appearance to the landscape, even though some of the perennials or grasses may be spent. White, clear pink or chartreuse-hued flowers tend to forge soothing counterpoints as they effortlessly meld autumn’s cozy parade of warm oranges, reds and yellows. Major stars of the late show, ornamental grasses become poetry in motion during gusty days, while their shimmering inflorescences are set aglow by afternoon sunlight. When designing your outdoor space, it’s important to choose plant’s not only for their flowers, but to consider their seed heads (often important food sources for birds), foliar intrigue, berries, bark and dynamic architecture as well.

We’ve included a sampling of our very favorite plants that promise to inspire your green thumb, heighten your senses and entice you back into the garden for a stellar last hurrah! There’s still enough time to select a couple of new botanical wonders and get a jump start on next spring before winter finally arrives.

Perennials:

  • asarum splendens

    Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea’ & Helianthus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine’

    Actaea simplex ‘Atropurpurea’
    Grown from seedlings carefully selected for dark, coppery purple foliage, the regal profile of ‘Atropurpurea’ shows its good breeding. A garden dweller with a staid bearing, its stately reddish purple stems soar above your head, displaying dense spires covered with round mahogany-hued buds and sweet starbursts of white. Echo this Actaea’s somber tones by bringing it together with Angelica gigas, and let the lime green foliage of Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’ brighten the mood. Hardy to zone 4. (P-0049)
  • Asarum splendens
    asarum splendens

    Asarum splendens



    Chinese Wild Ginger
    “Splendid” seems like too modest a word to proclaim the elegance of this ginger’s foliage! glistening, broadly arrow-shaped, deep green leaves flaunt dramatic silver marbling and come spring, 2 in. wide dark purple blossoms with white throats. Situated among Podophyllum hexandrum, easy-to-grow Asarum splendens sculpts a show stealing, illustriously patterned ground cover in just a few years that appreciates warm, humid summers while resenting cool ones. Hardy to zone 6. (p-1247)
  • Aster cordifolius ‘Avondale’
    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’. Zone 3/4. (P-1746)
  • 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 jindai and melianthus major

    Aster ‘Jindai’ & Melainthus major

  • Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’
    Dwarf Tatarian Aster
    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’. Hardy to zone 3. (P-0632)
  • Eupatorium maculatum ‘Riesenschirm’ Regarded as one of the top ten plants of the Dutch wave, favored by bees and butterflies and an AGM winner, this superb back-of-the-border beauty propels polished, tall dark purple stems—stiff, straight and staunch—skyward bound. Loosely arranged whorls of heavily textured deep green tapered leaves anchor fluffy 8 in. wide domed flower heads awash with reddish purple hues. Its lofty architecture maintains a dignified profile, even in winter, enhanced by warm browns and seed heads, which nourish finches and tits. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1754)
  • Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’
    A statuesque beauty, ‘Venusta’ is distinguished by huge, fluffy cloudlike plumes painted with soft salmon pinks floating above a good-sized, leafy mass of upright stems and jagged, Maple-shaped foliage. Forging an impressive stand in a moist well drained setting, Meadow Sweet seldom needs staking, and makes an airy partner for Trollius ‘ Superbus’. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1024)
  • Helenium ‘Zimbelstern’
    Cymbal Star
    One of the largest flowered Heleniums, ‘Zimbelstern’s undulating, brilliantly golden, mahogany-splashed petals converge at a russet eye. Before its enthusiastic bloom, strong stems sport unusual chartreuse buds that have a joy all their own. Hardy to zone 4. (p-0854)
  • Helenium ‘Red Jewel’
    Saturated with dusky red hues, uniquely shaded petals perform a lavish dance around prominent maroon and saffron hubs. Droves of closely set flowers, some marked by yellow tips, are esteemed for their long blooming period and the consistent color they maintain throughout the season, unlike many other Heleniums. Destined to be a vivacious garden mainstay, this Bob Brown introduction grows as a bushy verdant clump, looks spectacular en masse and can escort perennials like Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’ and Salvia confertiflora for a galvanizing floral affair. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1701)
  • Helianthus giganteus ‘Sheila’s Sunshine’
    Giant Pale Yellow Sunflower
    Late blooming pastel yellow flowers gaze down at onlookers from atop lofty, sturdy stems. Combine with Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and tall, late Asters in the rear of the border. Hardy to zone 6. (p-0461)
  • Kniphofia ‘Yellow Cheer’
    Bolstered by hefty, tall and straight asparagus-hued stalks, dense yellowish orange buds, infused with chartreuse, remind us of miniature Christmas trees. Radiant yellows, pumpkin colors and lime tinges meld an unparalleled luminosity as the gorgeous torches stand sentinel, their plump rounded bases tapering to blunt tips well above a bright green, upright clump of strapping, deeply furrowed lax leaves. A robust specimen for the fall garden, ‘Yellow Cheer’s late season effervescence steals the show, especially when staged against a dark green foil. Hardy to zone 8. (p-1458)
  • leontis

    Leonotis menthifolia ‘Savannah Sunset’

    Leonotis menthifolia ‘Savannah Sunset’
    Lion’s Tail
    Conjuring images of romping safari lions, wondrous dense whorls of furry bright orange tubular flowers ascend straight lofty stalks in spaced intervals. New growth emerges from the blossom’s center, crafting an unusual tiered effect, while freely branching square hairy stems sprout neatly paired triangular green leaves that are narrow and toothed. Majestic as a container specimen or a mixed border focal point, this easy-to-grow South African mint family member favors a sunny well-drained spot with average moisture and a hard cut back after frosty winters. Hardy to zone 8. (P-1657)
  • Origanum ‘Bristol Cross’
    Assuming an air of refinement, the very slender blooms feature small, deep rose and chartreuse bracts that resemble decorative braids. Tipped with tiny purple flowers, the clustered bracts are held at nearly right angles to upright and reddish leafy stems. Grounded by medium green foliage, this long lasting, delicate floral display casts earthy yet saturated hues in the border or an arrangement. Shown in the middle with Hypericum androsaemum to the left. Hardy to zone 6. (p-1277)
    origanum, persicaria, hypericum

    Hypericum androsaseum to the left with Euphorbia ‘Excalibur’ behind & Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ back right;
    low growing Origanum ‘Bristol Cross’ (middle, to the right of the Hypericum)

  • Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Summer Dance’
    With foliage that’s close to lime-green, and spiky floral tails that approach the scarlet spectrum of rosy pink, this slow spreading perennial is sure to please. We brought ‘Summer Dance’ home from Piet Oudolf’s Dutch nursery and have come to appreciate its brighter, less rambunctious nature. Swaying to a late summer breeze, our stand lives up to its name while cheerfully commingling amid Anemone ‘Andrea Atkinson’ in the border. Zone 5/6. (P-1312)
    rudbeckia

    Rudbeckia ’Praire Glow’, Helenium ‘Zimbelstern’ & Helenium ‘Red Jewel’ on the right

  • Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’
    Spangled with burgundy, bronze and reddish orange shades, irresistible legions of ebullient long blooming daisies parade dark chocolate centers and bicolor gold-tipped petals. At the base, large trilobed verdant leaves form a handsome bushy mass that gives way to upper, narrower leaves and openly branched, erect purple flowering stems. A denizen of the Great Plains, this summertime showstopper is not as long-lived as other Rudbeckias; it eventually wears out, but easily reseeds. Hardy to zone 3. (P-1713)
  • Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Red Thunder’
    Derived from a Korean collection of Sanguisorba officinalis, this high-fashion Sanguisorba was selected by Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf for its deep ruby-red bobbles, perched on tall stiffer stems. Whether in the border or a meadow planting, a bouquet or frost-covered in the garden’s winter light, their distinctive silhouette inspires as much drama as a gathering thunderhead. A bluish green bed of pinnate foliage with toothed leaflets launches the strong floral display that can be superimposed against lofty silvery plumed Miscanthus, whorled Veronicastrum blooms and Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’. Hardy to zone 4. (P-1542)
  • Sedum telephium ‘Red Cauli’
    A vibrant carousel of color and a neat compact visage earned this popular Sedum the RHS Garden Merit award in 2006 and a place in our border. Flashy cardinal-hued arching stems and notched blue-green succulent leaves with purple tinges elevate pale rosy buds and bright pink clustered flowers, which age to a dark ruby red. Let ‘Red Cauli’ festoon a patio container or a pathway’s edge, accompanying other late blooming companions such as Salvia reptans West Texas Form and Calamagrostis foliosa. Zone 3/4. (P-1716)
    sedum and salvia

    Salvia ‘Limelight’ & Sedum ‘Red Cauli’

  • Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’
    Whorls of densely packed, chartreuse terminal buds on strong upright stems provide exciting contrast to the lush green color of ‘Limelight’s foliage. In flower, this cultivar is sure to take center stage as deep bluish purple blooms peek out from the vibrant yellow-green calyxes. Cut back each season to encourage new growth at the base and to maintain a pleasing shape. Hardy to zone 8. (p-0608)
  • Tricyrtis lasiocarpa
    Amethyst Toad Lily
    A favored standout among Tricyrtis, this exceptional species sprouts an attractive tightset clump of sturdy erect arching stems garbed with glistening green and purple freckled alternating leaves. Amethyst and blue petal tips embellish white upward facing orchid-style blooms that populate large well-branched terminal sprays. Hailing from Taiwan, where it has been observed growing in nearly full sun, Amethyst Toad Lily’s lovely long blooming flowers can model their ornate features in a brighter garden bed. Hardy to zone 7. (P-0271)

Grasses

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Molinia caerulea ssp. arundinacea ‘Bergfreund’
    Invite this “friend of the mountain” into your garden bed and it will quickly become your friend as well. Dynamic yet not too imposing, a gauzy array of gently pendulous, rich-colored reddish purple panicles mingle on dark green upright stems. Handsome foliage forms a low green stage that radiates yellow hues in autumn. Studded with ricelike beads transmuting warm chestnut hues when mature, the airy plumes should be headlined right up front where they become a mysterious veil that you can peer through. Hardy to zone 4. (G-0489)
  • 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)

Shrubs

  • 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)
    cotinus and persicaria

    Persicaria ‘Summer Dance’ & Cotinus ‘Grace’

  • Cotinus ‘Grace’
    Smoke Bush
    An arresting beacon as the sun casts a ruby glow through its purple-black leaves, ‘Grace’ inherits her elegance from Cotinus coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’ and Cotinus obovatus. The sprays of tiny deep pink flowers throw a smoky, wine-colored fog over its robust form, and a close glance reveals bright yellow at the center of each bloom. Lovely in contrast with the silver foliage of Teucrium fruticans (Select Form), ‘Grace’ conveys a stately presence matched by few other plants. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0394)
  • hydrangea ruby slippers

    Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’


    Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’
    Easily slipped into a diminutive spot, this compelling smaller-statured beauty sprung from a 1998 U.S. National Arboretum cross between ‘Snow Queen’ and ‘Pee Wee’. Exceptional 9 in. upright flowers, which open white but quickly transmute pale pink and eventually deeper rose hues, dress up a more petite, compact rounded carriage. Broad, lobed deciduous leaves are dark green in summer and mahogany tinted come autumn. A peerless companion for fine textured plants such as Spiraea ‘Ogon’ or Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis, ‘Ruby Slippers’s lovely low profile can be ushered to the foreground, planted en masse or utilized as a hedge. Hardy to zone 5. (S-0766)
  • 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 unique

    Hydrangea paniculata ‘Unique’

Trees & Vines

  • Clematis terniflora
    Sweet Autumn Clematis
    This spectacular New Zealand native is covered with small white flowers borne on long, arching panicles. The pink anthers, silky seed heads, and dark glossy leaves combine with the Hawthorn-like fragrance of the flowers to create a sensuous, alluring effect. We trained our Sweet Autumn Clematis to grow horizontally against a wall, so that the evergreen foliage contrasts with the hanging flower panicles. Hardy to zone 6. (T-0108)
  • Parrotia persica
    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

This week the hummingbirds picked our favorite plant! We love it as well because of it’s colorful two-toned effect. Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ This eye catching Salvia offers abundant, deep cobalt blue, tubular blooms and nearly black calyxes on 15 in. terminal flowering spikes all summer long. More compact than many of the guaranitica species, ‘Black and Blue’ provides complementary color for the shining blooms of Crocosmia ‘Star of the East’. (P-0772)

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