Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’ Coneflower
Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’ Coneflower

Very strong, well-branched, plants produce large single daisies in coral-pink color and bronze cones. Color is strong and lasts for months in the garden. The flowers are excellent for cutting and attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is an herbaceous perennial that is native to the central to southeastern United States. Easy-to-grow plant is tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil. Plants bloom with showy, daisy-like flowers from mid-summer until first frost. Excellent choice for perennial border, natural meadow, butterfly or pollinator garden, or wildflower garden.

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Echinacea Sombrero ‘Lemon Yellow’ Coneflower
Echinacea Sombrero ‘Lemon Yellow’ Coneflower

Sunny, lemon yellow blooms sure to brighten a summer border! A must-have for a cutting garden, this drought tolerant perennial was bred for cold hardiness and compact form with prolific flowering over an exceptionally long season. Keep dried flower heads on the plants in the fall for winter interest. An herbaceous perennial.

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Echinacea Sombrero ‘Salsa Red’ Coneflower
Echinacea Sombrero ‘Salsa Red’ Coneflower

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Salsa Red’ is characterized by intense red blooms atop strong, well-branched stems. The large, single, daisy like flowers are bright red surrounding a large brown cone. The showy flowers bloom happily from mid-summer to frost and are easy to grow plants tolerant of drought, heat, humidity and poor soil.

Attractive to butterflies, Echinacea Sombrero ‘Salsa Red’ Coneflower is also a magnet for important pollinators and beneficial insects. The flower heads provide visual winter interest and are an important food source for birds.

The Sombrero series is a new introduction bred to produce well-branched, sturdy and compact plants featuring a high bud count.

Grown in 4.5″ square pots.

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Gaillardia aristata ‘Spintop Red’
Gaillardia aristata ‘Spintop Red’

Blanket Flowers are valuable in the summer border for their very long season of bloom. They form a low mound of light-green leaves, bearing upright stems of large daisy-type flowers. This very compact selection from the SpinTop series has flat, serrated, rich medium red petals and prominent gold stamens. Attractive to butterflies. Drought tolerant once established. Heat tolerant and actually prefer poorer soils. Their name comes from the fact they blanketed the North American prairies with their blooms. Not the best choice for heavy clay soil that will stay wet through the winter. Removing faded flowers will encourage constant blooming. USPPP: unlicensed propagation prohibited.

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Gaillardia grandiflora - Arizona Sun
Gaillardia grandiflora -‘ Arizona Sun’ Blanket Flower

2005 All-America Selections Winner 10″ tall x 12″ wide. 'Arizona Sun' is one of our finest Gaillardia cultivars with showy three-inch single flowers that are mahogany-red with bright yellow edges. It has better uniformity and more numerous flowers than older varieties and is a remarkable garden performer. Plant in well-drained infertile soils for best results. Deadhead occasionally to keep the flowers coming all summer long

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Liatris aspera – Rough Blazing Star
Liatris aspera – Rough Blazing Star

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of poor soils, drought, summer heat and humidity. Intolerant of wet soils in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris aspera, commonly called rough blazing star, is an upright, clump-forming, Missouri native perennial which typically grows 2-3′ tall (less frequently to 5′) and which commonly occurs in dryish soils on prairies, open woods, glades, meadows and along roads and railroad tracks. Features rounded, fluffy, deep rose-purple flower heads (each 3/4″ across) which are crowded into long, terminal flower spikes atop erect, rigid, leafy flower stalks. Stalks arise from basal tufts of rough, very narrow, lance-shaped leaves (to 12″ long). Flowers open somewhat at the same time, which makes this species a particularly good fresh cut flower for floral arrangements. Blooms later (late summer to fall) than most other Liatris species. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no rays. This species is distinguished from other Liatris species by its rough appearance and rounded, outflaring involucral bracts.

Genus name of unknown origin.

Specific epithet means rough.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Taller spires may need staking.

Garden Uses

Perennial borders, cutting gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas.

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Liatris spicata - Kobold
Liatris spicata – ‘Kobold’ Dwarf Gayfeather

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, fertile soils. Tolerant of poor soils, drought, summer heat and humidity. Intolerant of wet soils in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This blazing star cultivar is a small, compact, upright, clump-forming perennial which typically grows 2-2.5′ tall. Features terminal spikes (6-15″ long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4″ across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. Multiple stalks arise from basal tufts of narrow leaves (to 10″). Flowers generally open top to bottom on the spikes. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no rays.

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Liatris squarrosa –Scaly Blazingstar
Liatris squarrosa –Scaly Blazingstar

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Somewhat tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile ones and generally performs better in moist soils than most other species of Liatris. Intolerant of wet soils in winter. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity. May be grown from seed, but is slow to establish.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Liatris spicata, commonly called blazing star, dense blazing star or marsh blazing star, is a tall, upright, clump-forming perennial which is native to moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins.  It typically grows 2-4′ tall in cultivation, but can reach a height of 6′ in some parts of its native habitat. Features terminal spikes (6-12″ long) of sessile, rounded, fluffy, deep purple flower heads (each to 3/4″ across) appearing atop rigid, erect, leafy flower stalks. One or more stalks arise from a basal tuft of narrow, grass-like, medium green leaves (to 12″ long). Stem leaves gradually decrease in size toward the top. Blooms in summer. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling “blazing stars”) and no ray flowers. The feathery flower heads of liatris give rise to another common name of gayfeather.

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Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’

Culture

Easily grown in dry to medium, organically rich to average, well-drained soils in full sun. Best bloom occurs in full sun, although plants will tolerate some light shade. Plants prefer consistent moisture throughout the growing season, with some tolerance for drought once established. Good air circulation is appreciated. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage additional bloom. Plants slowly spread in the garden by rhizomes.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rudbeckia fulgida which occurs in both dry and moist soils in open woods, glades and thickets. An upright, rhizomatous, clump-forming, free-blooming coneflower which typically grows to 3′ tall, often forming colonies in the wild. Features daisy-like flowers (to 2.5″ across) with yellow rays and brownish-purple center disks. Prolific bloom production over a long mid-summer to fall bloom period. Oblong to lanceolate, medium green foliage. Good cut flower.

Genus name honors Olof Rudbeck (1630-1702) Swedish botanist and founder of the Uppsala Botanic Garden in Sweden where Carl Linnaeus was professor of botany.

Specific epithet means shining or glistening.

VIETTE’S LITTLE SUZY is a compact, upright, rhizomatous, clump-forming, free-blooming coneflower which typically grows only 10-15″ tall. Features daisy-like flowers with yellow rays and dark brownish-purple center disks. Prolific flower production over a long mid-summer-to-fall bloom period. Oblong to lanceolate, medium green foliage. Good fresh cut flower.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Mass in bold drifts in the perennial border, cottage garden, meadow, native plant garden or naturalized area. Provides excellent bloom and color for the late summer. Good cut flower.

A compact cultivar.

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Solidago sphacelata – ‘Golden Fleece’ Dwarf Goldenrod
Solidago sphacelata – ‘Golden Fleece’ Dwarf Goldenrod

Another fantastic Mt. Cuba introduction. A stunning show of sprays of golden yellow flowers from mid-August through September. Semievergreen heart-shaped leaves. Truly an excellent groundcover and bee and butterfly charmer! Hairstreaks, sulphurs and skippers are particularly attracted to goldenrod. Monarchs visit it during their autumn migration.

Goldenrod Interesting Notes
Golden Fleece autumn goldenrod was discovered in 1985 as a spontaneous garden seedling in Eden, North Carolina. It was evaluated under diverse conditions at Mt. Cuba Center and determined to be a low-growing, compact form of the species suitable for use as an herbaceous perennial groundcover only reaching 18” tall. Multi-branched stems arise from basal rosettes of broadly rounded foliage and are covered with a profusion of golden-yellow floral spires from mid-September to October. It performs best in full sun with average moisture but is tolerant of a range of conditions from sunny and dry to partial shade. 'Golden Fleece' is hardy in zones 3-8. It won the Internationale Stauden-Union’s Award for an outstanding new plant in Switzerland in 1994. – Mt. Cuba Center

In many of the gardens I design, I use goldenrod to give late summer and fall gardens just the right autumnal color. Luckily for urban dwellers with limited gardening space, goldenrod also can be grown quite successfully in a container. Beautiful in the garden, goldenrod does double-duty as a long-lived cut flower. In Europe, where goldenrod has long been shown the appreciation it deserves, it is sold by the bunch, and gardening catalogs offer more cultivars than are available in the States.

Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' Growing and Maintenance Tips

Native to calcarous woodlands and rocky pastures from Virginia to Illinois south to Kentucky and Georgia. Prefers somewhat fertile, sandy, well-drained soils in full sun. Propagate by seed or division every 3-4 years. Cut back to encourage rebloom. Used in butterfly and wild gardens or as a groundcover or border perennial.

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Vernonia missurica – Ironweed
Vernonia missurica – Ironweed

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Although it is mostly seen growing in the wild in moist soils, with tolerance for periodic flooding, it performs quite well in cultivation in average garden soils. Plants generally grow taller in moist soils. Overall plant height may be reduced by cutting back stems in late spring. Easily grown from seed. Remove flower heads before seed develops to avoid any unwanted self-seeding. This species of ironweed tends to hybridize with some other species of native ironweeds, which can sometimes complicate plant identification.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This ironweed is best distinguished from other ironweeds by the usually greater number of disk florets per flower and by the hairy stems and leaf undersides. It is native from southern Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska south to Alabama and Texas.  This is an upright perennial that typically grows 3-5’ (less frequently to 6’) tall on stiff, leafy stems which branch at the top. Narrow, lance-shaped to narrow-ovate leaves (to 7” long) have serrate margins. Composite flowers, each with dense, fluffy, magenta purple disks (rays absent), bloom in corymbose cymes from late summer into fall. Flowers give way to rusty seed clusters. The source of the common name for vernonias has been varyingly attributed to certain “iron-like” plant qualities including tough stems, rusty-tinged fading flowers and rusty colored seeds. Notwithstanding its toughness, the plant is, with the exception of its attractive flowers, a somewhat unexceptional ornamental. Genus name honors English botanist William Vernon, who collected plants in America in the late 1600s. It was named for the Missouri River. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies.

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