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Hardiness Zone Map


Centaurea

Knapweed

Centaurea’s heritage extends all the way back to ancient Greek mythology when Achilles’s wise teacher, Chiron the Centaur was wounded by one of Hercules’ poisoned arrows and subsequently cured by this herb’s miraculous healing powers.

Equally at home in a present day border or a more naturalized setting, our hardy undemanding selections paint a bright picture inside as well. The long lasting boisterous blooms are celebrated cut flowers, bringing high-spirited accents to both fresh and dried arrangements.

Appreciative of well draining “sweet” soil, the ever amenable Knapweed withstands some drought, but not wet, wintertime feet.

Milling about the mountainous meadows of Europe’s Carpathian Range, this garden rarity spotlights large ruby red thistle-styled blooms bolstered by impressively tall sturdy stems. Even before the marvelous flowers appear, intricately detailed buds with brown-tipped green scales and curvy white spines beg a closer glance. A delicate-looking rosette of long feathery leaves—silver-gray and narrowly cut—completes the picture, while yellow blooming Centaurea ruthenica makes an ideal companion.

Blooms June – August.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Centaurea hypoleuca</i> ‘John Coutts’

Cradled by silvery, paper-thin bracts, a vivacious summertime showing of deep rose-pink thistlelike blooms with pale centers promises a fall encore when deadheaded regularly.

Long green leaves—deeply divided, lobed and powdery white beneath—line stiff-backed stems, bolstering the fragrant high energy performance.

A magnet for butterflies and gardeners alike, this carefree Centaurea exhibits a compact, not-so-tall profile that can be featured atop a wall or near the border’s front, obliges dry soils and keeps us coming back well after the flowers have faded to relish its long lasting, decorative seed heads.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 2' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Centaurea macrocephala</i>

An overgrown, sun-struck relative of the Bachelor Button, this “big-headed” native of the Caucasus Mountains has so many good qualities you’ll soon be inviting it into your garden. A medium green, rowdy mass of oversized, wavy-edged lanceolate leaves attached to stout stems gives way to intriguing, rust-colored buds as big as a chicken’s egg. Scaled by papery bracts, the bud’s rotund profile opens to offer a large, bright yellow thistle, a cheerful mop of thread-like petals bursting with sunshine and color. Back this easy-to-grow cut flower with Aconitum ‘Arendsii’ and surround it with Nepeta stewartiana.

Blooms late July–mid-September

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2-1/2' wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Coveted by florists, bees and butterflies, the silken starburst of finely fringed blackberry-colored petals and embroidered dark buds creates an arresting contrast against silver-haired, gray-green lanceolate foliage. ‘Black Sprite’s exotic, long-blooming tubular flowers sojourn on upright stems above a low growing leafy mound that tolerates dry conditions once established and prefers good drainage plus slightly alkaline soil as well as a periodic cutback. (pp #23,250)

Blooms May–June

Size: 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

Ringed with spidery ultra-fringed tubular florets, the dark-as-midnight blooms are presented singularly, strutting sumptuous reddish purple shades on tall staunch stems. Black embroidered buds, intriguing seed heads and silver felted new growth further enhance the tidy clump of broadly lanceolate green leaves that sport minute pearly hairs. A fan of lean chalky sites, this fanciful bloomer appreciates periodic pruning and works best as a filler in a Mediterranean planting, cottage garden or a naturalized setting, where it will bring on the bees, butterflies and other admirers.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 18" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

Touted as one of the prettiest species of the genus, Centaurea pulcherrima celebrates brilliant rose-colored flowers with silvery yellow bracts unfurling from large papery buds. This rarely offered robust perennial hosts handsome narrow pinnate grayish green leaves with hairy white undersides. Endemic to the Caucasus Mountains, Pink Bachelor Button makes a sterling prospect for stone walls, sun bathed rock gardens or even a bouquet.

Blooms June–August

Size: 16" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Centaurea ruthenica</i>

“A border flower of the highest merit,” is how British horticulturist, William Robinson once described this awe-inspiring Centaurea, and we couldn’t agree more! Crowning long straight green stems, the fluffy thistle-style heads in unique pale citron yellows and tissue-thin buff-colored bracts will attract more than a few admirers. These ample-sized, sublime-for-cutting blooms heighten a graceful ferny pedestal of rich green pointed leaves with gray undersides, narrow silhouettes and a refined countenance. Appreciative of adequately draining soil, the ever amenable Knapweed withstands some drought, but not wet winter feet.

Blooms July–September.

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shasta’

Vivacious Viburnums, Revel in Late Season Repose, Go-Green 2021 Holiday Sale!

Vivacious Viburnums……

Endemic to both Asia and North America, this vast group of graceful cold-hardy shrubs includes more than 150 species and numerous cultivars that are moderate to fast-growing. Our reliable Viburnum offerings sprout dashing deciduous or evergreen foliage with an array of leaf shapes and textures. Their gorgeous flowers unfurl in either a lace-cap style or dome shape, with  species such as V. carlesii and V. x burkwoodii wafting a delectable scent. Many don lustrous bird-friendly fruit, ranging from red to dark purple to black, while others blaze with autumn color. Preferring sun or part shade, these undemanding shrubs can be ensconced in large containers and shrubby borders, or featured as a stellar specimen, clipped into an  informal dense hedge or planted in a drift.

Revel in Late Season Repose……

As November draws to a close, a quieter mood prevails in our gardens. Many perennials are either dormant or getting ready for their winter’s rest. Though, some of the more stalwart ones, especially those that are located in protected spots still present a foliar aspect plus a handful of blooms. The blades and dried buff or silver-laced inflorescences of quite a few ornamental grasses thankfully remain standing, providing movement and delightful rustling sounds. Many deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees continue to hold our interest either with fall color, artful bark and branching patterns or year-round foliage. The plants that we chose for this newsletter captured my attention, as I was strolling with my trusty canine cohort, Boobah this past week.

All of us plant wranglers at Digging Dog hope you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends, and perhaps find some time to enjoy your garden.

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