Peggy's Flowers

peggys-flowers-jpg.jpgTo put it plainly,
Lee Coates and his wife Peggy grow some of the most beautiful plant stock in the Ozarks, or for that matter, anywhere in the U.S.A. As Peggy's Flowers they've gained a wide reputation for being "on the cutting edge" in the plants they grow and for being unusually generous in sharing their knowledge of plant culture and gardening.
      These days the couple raise premium plant stock primarily for landscapers. They do, however, continue to sell retail at the Greater Springfield Farmers' Market in the Battlefield Mall parking lot in Springfield, Missouri.
      Here, then, are some of the remarkable plants that have delight visitors to Peggy's Flowers.

Peggy Coates, who is also extremely knowledgable about the couple's offerings, is always willing to take time to chat with customers and give them her best tips on plants and gardening.

Peggy's Hat

While Peggy's a bit shy about pictures, she didn't mind us catching this one. She designed the hat herself, and one for Lee, too.

Gorgeous Lilies

Lee and Peggy's most beautiful plants may well be their lilies--Asiatics, Pixie Asiatics (dwarf lilies bred from Asiatics), and Orientals. Asiatic lilies usually bloom in June and Orientals in July. The flowers of all three perennials last up to a month. Oriental lilies, which are taller, are also sweetly fragrant. These are 'Orange Pixie' lilies, which grow to 12 inches high with upward-facing flowers.

'Muscadet' Oriental Lily

Pure white petals with wavy edges and delicate pink spots and pink blushes make the 'Muscadet' Oriental lily a garden treasure. The flowers can be as wide as 10 or 11 inches and have a fragrance often described as "heavenly" and "intoxicating." 'Muscadet' likes full sun and blooms from July to August.

'Stargazer' Lily

The beautiful 'Stargazer' Lily is said to be the best known lily in the world, universally celebrated for its lovely fragrance and upfacing, white-edged, crimson blooms. It grows 3-4 feet tall and is an excellent choice for the garden or containers. All lilies make wonderful cut flowers.

'Dizzy' Lily

'Dizzy' is an Oriental lily variety that features a dizzying array of rose-colored dots and a lovely fragrance. It grows to 4 feet tall and blooms in July and August. 

'Snow Crystal' Pixie Lily

Petals of the purest white with red flecks distinguish the 'Snow Crystal' Pixie lily. The foliage is light green. It blooms in the fall.

'Arena' Lily

The exquisitely subtle coloration of the 'Arena' Oriental lily is reason enough to spotlight it in the garden, and in addition, its flowers are highly fragrant. It likes sun or part shade, grows to 4 feet tall, and blooms in July and August.   

Pixie Lilies

Peggy's Flowers grows several remarkable Pixie lily varieties. Shown here are 'Crimson Pixie' at top, 'Snow Crystal' at right, and 'Butter Pixie' at lower left.

'Butter Pixie' Lily

A closer look at the 'Butter Pixie' Lily, with its beautiful buttery-yellow petals and deep green foliage. Pixies' 12-14-inch height makes them not only good in the garden for variety, but ideal as potted plants.

'Crimson Pixie' Lily

Pick your own name for the color of 'Crimson Pixie'--some call it "red-orange," others "burnt-orange," some "cherry-red," and others "brick-red." All we're sure of is that it's stunning whether in the garden or in pots.

'Mona Lisa' Lily

This unfolding Oriental lily is the 'Mona Lisa', said to be the most popular pink lily in the world. Also known as "the pink Stargazer," it likes sun and partial shade, grows to 4 feet tall, is very fragrant, and blooms in midsummer.

Mini Calla Lily
mini-calla-lily.jpgCalla Lilies (Zantedeschia species) aren't really lilies and their "flower" isn't a flower, but a spathe--a modified leaf that protects the tiny true flower(s) inside. This beautiful sunshine-yellow calla, Zantedeschia elliottiana, or Yellow Mini Calla, is either the 'Millenium' or 'Sunshine Gold' variety, says Lee. Mini Callas grow 10-12 inches tall with a 2-3-inch spathe. Regular callas reach 2-3 feet with 6-8-inch spathes. Callas like sun and moist soil. They grow from rhizomes that in the Ozarks should be lifted and stored before winter. Caution: Calla lilies are highly toxic to both humans and animals.


Belamcanda (Belamcanda chinensis), also known as Blackberry Lily and Leopard Lily, is nothing less than a delight in the garden for its beautiful orange flowers and narrow, upright habit. Officially a member of the Iris family because it spreads by rhizomes, it produces clusters of glossy black seeds that resemble blackberries. Some people want to change its name to Iris domestica but we hope they don't because we love the sound of "Belamcanda." 

'Mango Meadowbrite' Coneflower
mango-meadowbrite-coneflower.jpgThe 'Mango Meadowbrite' coneflower is a cultured variety derived from the redder 'Orange Meadowbrite'. Its beautiful sunset-orange petals, delicious citrus scent, and long bloom season make it a prize, but unfortunately the hues can vary and be rather dull. For that reason Lee and Peggy didn't offer it this year. We had to include this specimen, however, because it was so striking and promises a more reliable variety in the future.

Dwarf Conifers

These intriguing dwarf conifers--varieties of Chamaecyparis japonica, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Chamaecyparis pisifera, and Juniperus x media--are distinctive for small size and delicate, mossy-green foliage, and in some, new growth is vivid white or pale-yellow. Withal, their features make them perfect for rock gardens, water gardens, containers, and garden railways.



Commonly called Hen 'n Chicks and Houseleeks, Sempervivums stand out for rosettes of thick, pointed leaves. The leaves die after flowering, but new rosettes soon grow from the runners. Shown are Sempervivum 'Sanford hybrids' with dark red leaves, the small 'Cobweb', and 'Silverine'. These plants love full sun and are wonderful in rock gardens and containers.


Hostas are also a premier item for Lee and Peggy, who grow 250-300 varieties for sale and, in fact, are creating a 54,000-square-foot garden of hostas and ferns at their Highlandville, Missouri, home.

'Hi Ho Silver' Hosta

Narrow, lance-shaped leaves with vivid white margins make 'Hi Ho Silver' an especially distinctive hosta. At maturity it makes a neat mound 4-6 inches high and about 2-1/2-feet wide. It bears deep purple flowers with a white stripe in August. This hosta's coloration, size, and compact habit make it nothing less than perfect for borders and rock gardens.

'Radiant Edger' Hosta

This striking hosta features rather thick leaves with apple-green centers and margins that vary in color from pale green to gold. It grows to 14 inches tall and 35 inches wide and is said to like a little extra sunlight.

'Fantasy Island' Hosta

'Fantasy Island' is a small hosta with its own distinctive charm, most notably the lovely, heart-shaped leaves with white centers and a pronounced green margin. Growing in a neat mound to 8 inches tall by 15 inches wide, it's also perfect for the front of the garden or for containers.

'Becky Towe' Phlox

This showy Phlox, Phlox paniculata 'Becky Towe', grows in full sun to part shade in clumps that reach 2 feet high. It blooms from July into September with fragrant cherry-red flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies. The variegated foliage makes it especially eyecatching even when not in bloom. Note: 'Becky Towe' was discovered only a few years ago by an Englishwoman, Mrs. June Towe, who named it after her retriever dog Becky. Arf. 

Special Grasses

Lee and Peggy also offer ornamental grasses. This is Variegated Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegata'), a favorite since the early 1900's for its gracefully arching leaves of white and green. It reaches 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide with golden brown flowers in August-September. At its left, Variegated Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora Overdam) has elegant, thin, arching foliage and reddish-pink flowers in July-August. Reaching 4 feet tall, it's deer-resistant and excellent for bordering water gardens and areas that flood.

Japanese Blood Grass

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra') at any time of year strikes a small but dramatic note in the garden and landscape, turning its reddest during the cool days of fall. It's easy to grow in full sun to light shade, likes moist soil, and reaches 2 feet tall.

Black Taro Elephant Ears

Black Taro Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic') is a remarkably beautiful plant with dusty charcoal-black leaves on dark burgundy-black stems. It grows from 3-6 feet in sun or shade. As a "marginal" plant, it can also be used in or near water to add an especially dramatic note. In the Ozarks, the bulbs should be taken up and stored over winter.

'Morden's Gleam' Loosestrife
'Morden's Gleam' is a seedless, non-invasive Loosestrife (Lythrum virgatum). It grows to 3 feet tall and in July and August bears beautiful tall spikes of pinkish-purple flowers prized for the beauty of their reflection on water. Its cousin, Purple Loosestrife, is banned in many states, including Missouri, because a single plant produces as many as 2 million seeds, making it highly invasive and destructive in wetlands. Not to worry about this one, though. It's safe and legal. In the Ozarks, it's also a perennial.

'Trehane' Veronica

'Trehane' Veronica (Veronica prostrata 'Trehane') is noted for its eyecatching, bright yellow-green leaves and lovely blue flower spikes. A perennial, it grows to 6 inches high and spreads to 18 inches wide. It likes full sun and moist soil. The light foliage and striking flowers make it a superb accent plant in the garden or in containers. It's also known as Golden Speedwell.

'Snow Lady' Shasta Daisy

'Snow Lady' Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snow Lady') is a vigorous dwarf perennial that literally covers itself with brilliant snow-white, 2-1/2-inch blossoms with bright yellow eyes. It grows in a neat mound 10 inches high and 12 inches wide and blooms till frost. Expect it to star in the garden, in containers, in windowboxes, or wherever you care to plant it. (No wonder it was an All-America Selection in 1988.)

'Caradonna' Sage
'Caradonna' Sage (Salvia nemerosa 'Caradonna') is a sport, or mutant, of the 'Wesuve' variety of sage. It turned up as a seedling in Germany and in 2000 was named the Outstanding New Perennial by the International Hardy Plant Union. The plant is prized especially for its 2-foot-tall, blue-violet flower spikes. The plant also has velvety light green foliage and purple stems and forms a mound 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide. It does beautifully in the Ozarks.

Hardy Chinese Orchid

Hardy Chinese Orchid (Bletilla striata) is also known as Ground Orchid and Chinese Ground Orchid. This once-rare plant is a true terrestrial orchid and thrives in part shade and moist, organically rich, well-drained soil. It grows to 1-1/2 feet tall and a foot wide and is widely beloved for its light green, lance-like foliage and spikes of delicate lavender-purple-pink flowers in April and May. It's effective in beds, borders, and in containers.

'Royalty' Clematis

We're not sure of the exact variety on this clematis. The label says, 'Royalty', but it may be another, as 'Royalty' is more purple. We'll have to check with Lee. In any event, this one is beautiful and Lee and Peggy have it for sale. 

Blue Flax

Blue Flax (Linum Lewisii) is a beloved wildflower native to many states, including Missouri. It grows 18-30 inches tall and for about six weeks in spring and summer bears its small, pristine, sky-blue flowers in great abundance on graceful, arching stems. The plant tolerates poor soils, takes drought, and does well in sun or semi-shade. It can also be seeded over wide areas in late fall to spring to provide tall groundcover and good erosion control.

Bishop's Cap
bishop-s-cap.jpgBishop's Cap, more commonly called Bishop's Hat or Barrenwort, is a plant in the Epimedium species. We don't know the name of this variegated variety, but epimediums come in many hybrids and are increasingly popular as shade groundcovers. They grow 6-9 inches tall and a foot wide in dry to medium-wet soils and part to full shade. Especially effective grown at the base of trees, epimediums are thought by many to be the gardener's best plant alternative for dry shade. The flowers appear in April.

Red Campion
red-campion.jpgRed Campion (Silene dioica) is a perennial wildflower native to England, Ireland, and now many states in the U.S., where it grows naturally in roadsides, woodlands,and rocky slopes. It favors damp, rich soil and sun to partial shade, growing 12-18 inches tall and as wide. It bears its unique pink flowers from March to October and is also favored for its chartreuse foliage, which makes it a standout in borders. Attractive to bees and butterflies, it's said to be a favorite especially of swallowtails. Other common names: Catchfly and Red Catchfly. A white variety is called White Campion.

'Max Frei' Geranium

'Max Frei' Geranium (Geranium sanguinem 'Max Frei') is an easy-to-grow perennial geranium with reddish-purple flowers and deeply lobed dark green leaves that turn reddish in fall. It likes full sun to part shade and medium-wet soil. It grows to 9 inches tall and 24 inches wide with a beautifully compact habit that makes it perfect for rock gardens and small borders. It's sometimes called Bloody Cranesbill for its fall foliage color and crane-like seedheads.

'Stairway to Heaven' Polemonium

Widely praised by gardeners everywhere, 'Stairway to Heaven' Polemonium (Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven') brings unique beauty to the garden. Commonly called Creeping Jacob's Ladder for its creeping habit and ladder-like foliage, the plant grows in a mound to about a foot high and 18 inches wide and bears sprays of intensely blue flowers in May and June. It likes moist, humusy soil in full sun or dappled shade and makes a wonderful companion to hostas, coral bells, and other shade-loving plants.

Variegated Brunnera

Variegated Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata') is an especially lively addition to the shade garden, with its creamy white leaf margins and sprays of light blue flowers in May and June. The plant grows to 15 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It likes rich soil and shade to partial shade, but will burn in direct sun. Common names for Brunnera and its hybrids include Siberian Bugloss and False Forget-Me-Not.

'Stars and Stripes' Pentas

'Stars and Stripes' Pentas (Pentas lanceolata 'Stars and Stripes') is a marvelous plant. The first variegated Pentas to appear in the garden trade in the Ozarks, it boasts beautiful variegated foliage and clusters of intensely scarlet flowers with pink centers.Annual in our climate, it grows well in partial shade but has the best variegation in full sun. It reaches 12-20 inches in height with a similar spread. Like all Pentas, it's terrifically attractive to birds, butterflies, and especially hummingbirds. Common names include Egyptian Star, Egyptian Star Flower, and Star Flower.

'Caramel' Coral Bells

'Caramel' Coral Bells (Heuchera villosa 'Caramel') is a real standout for variety in the garden by virtue of its caramel-color foliage with rust, red, and brown highlights. A great example of plant breeders' recent move to create primo foliage plants with Heuchera hybrids, 'Caramel' likes moist but well-drained, humusy soil. It thrives in summer heat and humidity, but will also grow in dry shade. It's said the plant rarely flowers, but with color like this, does it matter?

'Snow Angel' Coral Bells

Beautifully marbled green-and-white leaves make the relatively new 'Snow Angel' Coral Bells (Heuchera Sanguinea 'Snow Angel') a true marvel in the garden. It likes part shade and well-drained soil and grows to a foot high and 18 inches wide. Bonus: It bears airy, graceful red flowers for several months. Note: This and other striking new Heuchera hybrids are particularly effective for adding eyecatching variety when spot-planted at border edges.

'Indian Summer' Rudbeckia
Many Rudbeckia species flowers are famed as Black-eyed or Brown-eyed Susans.  'Indian Summer' (Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer') is a new cultivar that grows to 3 1/2 feet tall, thrives in full sun or partial shade, bears profusely from summer to frost, and is both drought- and heat-tolerant. Beautiful in the garden or landscape, it also attracts butterflies, is deer resistant, and makes a superb cut flower. Definitely a winner.

'Stairway to Heaven' Jacob's Ladder

'Stairway to Heaven' Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven') is said to be the best variegated Jacob's Ladder ever produced, and certainly the bold variegation and showy blue flowers make it a true standout in the garden. Given partial to full sun and moist soil. It will grow into a clump 12 inches tall by 18 inches wide. 

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