Articles in Category: Perennial

Baptisia australis

on Wednesday, 07 May 2014. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Blue False Indigo


Baptisia or Blue False Indigo may not be all that familiar but it should be for it's striking purple flower stalks and refreshing blue-green foliage.  It has what we always look for- drought tolerant (has deep roots), deer resistant (poisonous), good cut flowers (blooms in late spring), long lived (so can require some age to bloom and is slower growing), North American prairie native (can tolerate clay or sandy soils), and butterfly attractor.  The easy to care for Baptisia can get 3-4' tall and 18"-3' wide and is rather vase shaped, so low growing perennials at it's base might be nice. Looks great with chartreuse Euphorbias, round headed Alliums, or silver Artemesia nearby. The sweet pea-like flowers make a great contrast with grasses as well. We have an exciting new variety called 'Solar Flare' -  a sulphur yellow that just grabs your attention.

Pulsatilla vulgaris

on Wednesday, 02 April 2014. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Pasque Flower


Of all the flushes of new growth and bright flowers of spring, Pulsatillas are my favorite harbinger of this vibrant season.  Among the earlier of perennials to bloom, Pasque flowers emerge from dormancy covered with silky hairs that lend a silvery tone to their soft green, lacy leaves.  They quickly produce fat buds that are equally furry; the entire plant just begs to be touched!  These buds open into both nodding and upright cup shaped blossoms in shades of purple, red and white.  Their stamens are arranged in a ball of golden color with a tuft of purple in the center, looking like a little pineapple.  The seed heads that follow are akin to thin, silky feathers gathered into pompoms that last for weeks, swaying in the slightest breeze and really adding to the overall show.  Pulsatillas are one of those refined yet bold flowers that don't need any frills to be visually exciting.  They truly stand out when placed at the edge of a border or nestled among boulders in a rock garden, especially when scattered about.  They can reseed themselves if happy, although not so heavily as to be a nuisance.  The seedlings of this special perennial are welcome in most gardens and often vary in bloom color from their parents, creating a wonderful blend of tones throughout their clumps.  Pasque flowers are best situated in a spot with plenty of spring sun, but some afternoon shade during the hot summer months, otherwise they simply go dormant early.  This can be achieved by placing them next to a perennial that does not have much of a presence in spring, but come summer is a towering, shade providing neighbor.  Native to the prairies and steppes of central Europe, Pulsatillas prefer well drained soil and will even tolerate gritty, nutrient poor soil.  On the smaller side, Pasque flowers only reach 6-8 inches tall and spread 12-18 inches in time.  Their diminutive stature allows them to be easily stashed into any remaining blank nooks that show up in the springtime garden.  Year after year this sweet little plant will reward even the most negligent gardener when it sparkles with morning dew in March and is smothered with jewel toned beauties throughout April.

Lobelia laxiflora v. angustifolia

on Friday, 31 May 2013. Posted in Showy Bark/Stems, Attracts Pollinators, Perennial, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Mexican Cardinal Flower


lobelia-laxifloraThe sunset colored blooms of Mexican Cardinal Flower are truly one of my favorites.  This long lived perennial starts blooming in June and goes strong most of the summer and into fall.  Better than an annual right?  The clean, glossy, linear leaves on dark stems add another layer of texture that looks great in a pot or in a mixed border, and even would look appropriate poolside.  The tubular salmon/red flowers with an orange and yellow throat just beckon to the hummingbirds.  I have mine in a large pot and it has reliably come back every spring after going dormant in winter.  In the ground it will spread to about 3' wide and get about 18-20" tall.  Picking off spent flowers will prolong its bloom but is not neccessary, overall its a very easy care perennial.  It is also not too choosy about soil, tolerating it on the dry side, but also accepting moister soils too.  Give it a good mulching and full to half a day of strong sun and it will reward you with tropical looking flowers all summer. Reported to be deer resistant but have not tried it yet in the Rogue Valley.  Let us know!


Creeping Thymes

on Tuesday, 14 June 2011. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Evergreen, Edible, Perennial, Ground Cover, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Creeping Thyme


Creeping Thyme may seem too simple or common of a plant to feature but it is so useful and tough that we find ourselves using it all the time!   What other plant has evergreen leaves, spreads rapidly but not aggressively, has lovely bee-attracting flowers, and suppresses weeds without needing much water or care?  The creeping Thymes are not used for edible purposes but they still have a strong smell so the deer will leave them alone.  They will tolerate part shade but prefer full sun and a deep soak only when the soil is dry.  We use them to drape over a wall, or pot; as groundcover between pavers or at the edge of paths, anywhere you need a soft edge.  They are also great as filler- keeping weeds out while other shrubs are growing in and then they can either be lifted and divided or just let them remain under the existing shrubs.  The thyme pictured is Thymus pseudolanuginosus or Wooly Thyme- it is a bit slower to get established but that could be good in certain areas.  Thymus serphyllum 'Coccineus' or Red Creeping Thyme, and Thymus ser. 'Minus' or 'Elfin' grow more quickly and make great mass groundcovers that spread about 18".  Thymus 'Lemon Frost' is  a very handsome white flowering variety with lemon scented leaves that is well behaved, not spreading as fast to 12" or so.

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'

on Monday, 04 April 2011. Posted in Winter Interest, Evergreen, Shade Plants, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Purple Wood Spurge


Seems as if we are always singing the praises of Euphorbias but what else has such bright, ever-changing color, is deer resistant and drought tolerant, and provides contrast with other shrubs and perennials?  Euphorbia purpurea is one of the shorter growing species and in the hot valley is best in part shade, morning sun, or dappled light; although increased sun will bring out more of the burgundy/purple tones.  Once established it is drought tolerant as long as it has well draining soil and the white sap in the stems make it poisonous and resistant to deer.  This Euphobia is always going through interesting color changes- the leaves go from fresh green/lime to wine-colored reds and purples as the season progresses.  The red stems and purple rosettes of leaves contrast beautifully with the chartreuse/lime colored blooms that perch atop the plant.   The blooms last for months and when they finally fade is the best time to prune the stems back to the base to keep it tidy.  This Euphorbia is at it's prime it's first few years and then may get a little tired looking, but it reseeds quite a bit so you will always have fresh plants.  It looks great as a mass groundcover in part shade, combined with yellow daffodils, black mondo grass, Mahonia repens or compacta, yellow toned ornamental grasses, Veronica 'Georgia Blue', Hellebores, I could go on and on.  The colors and form of the Euphorbia purpurea just complement so many other leaf shapes and colors.  They do well in containers as well and are a great choice for winter color and multi season interest in a shade/part shade pot.  Euphorbia purpurea will typically get about 12-18" tall and spread about as wide with seedlings popping up nearby.  They are easy to identify and remove or transplant.