| ||A Sweet Beginning Note|
The beautiful daylily above, 'Strawberry Candy', is a teasing taste of the beauty to come in this marvelous garden complex. A delightful reblooming daylily, in 1998 it won the American Hemerocallis Society's highest award, the Stout Medal. We like it because for us it really does look strawberry-ice-creamy enough to eat. it's superb in borders or in containers, blooming in June and July and repeating in August and September. It grows to 26 inches tall and the flowers are about 4 1/2 inches wide and each lasts about 16 hours.
|A Great Guide to the Gardens|
One outstanding feature of the Demonstration Gardens is this kiosk, the panel at right listing details of the individual gardens, the panel below displaying a map of Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and all 26 of the park's botanical gardens.
Note: If you click on these two images, then enlarge them slightly in your browser, you should be able to actually read the information.
In early March these jewel-like dwarf iris (Iris reticulata) appeared amidst the dead Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina). Rising from one of our earliest spring-blooming bulbs, they grow to 6 inches tall in sun or partial shade and naturalize wonderfully in the Ozarks. Note: Because the bulblets can take years to mature, many gardeners plant a few anew each year.
| ||A Cheery Spray of Crocus|
This isolated spray of brilliant golden crocus is one of our favorite photos and testimony that the Demonstration Gardens are a photographer's dream for their amazing diversity of colorful plant life.
| ||The Parade|
The gardens' real parade of color
begins when liberal plantings of spring bulbs reach full bloom, as with
these tulips and grape hyacinths showing their best in mid-April.
|A Border of Daffodils|
One marvelous newer feature in the Demonstration Gardens is a beautiful and inspiring border made up entirely of daffodils. Planted along the south fence, it's intended to display most, if not all, of the 13 descriptive divisions of the daffodil: Trumpet; Large-Cupped; Small-Cupped; Double; Triandrus; Cyclamineus; Jonquilla; Tazetta; Poeticus; Bulbocodium; Split-Cupped; and Miscellaneous; Species, Wild Variants, and Wild Hybrids. What happened when the daffodils finally appeared? Glad you asked. You can see 'Jack Snipe' at right. To see the rest, simply click here.
| ||A Pink Hyacinth|
If it's edible-looking spring flowers
you like, how about this sumptuous Pink
Hyacinth? It's for looking only, though, as hyacinth blooms are
toxic if eaten.
| ||Reed Canary Grass|
Just beginning to grow in early spring is this Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris
arundinacea var. 'Picta'), a variegated ornamental grass that will bear showy white-to-pale-pink flowers in June and July. An engaging addition to the
landscape, it can reach 4 feet in height and spread 5 feet. It does well
in full sun to part shade with at least medium watering.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a very striking native plant that blooms in very early spring with very showy bright white flowers with prominent yellow stamens. Each flower is about 2 inches wide, opens in the sun, closes at night, and lasts about 2 days. The plant thrives in moist, humusy, well drained soil in part shade to full shade. Growing to 10 inches tall, it spreads to form colonies. The name comes from a blood-red juice extracted from the root that can be used as a dye.
| ||'Prairie Fire' Flowering Crabapple|
It would be hard to find a more brilliant note of spring in the garden than the 'Prairie Fire' Flowering Crabapple (Malus x 'Prairie Fire'), here photographed on March 29th. The vivid red-purple flowers are followed by very attractive glossy, dark-green foliage that turns a vivid orange in fall. This exceptionally beautiful tree grows to 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide with an upright, spreading habit that becomes rounded with maturity. For all of these charms and its high disease resistance, a great many gardeners and landscapers regard it the best possible small tree for the landscape.
| ||'Twilight Bluebells' Baptisia|
'Twilight Bluebells' Baptisia (Baptisia australis x 'Twilight Bluebells') and related
varieties are more commonly known as False Blue Indigo. We think this
plant may actually be 'Twilight Prairieblues', a lovely perennial plant
that grows to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide and bears early spring flowers
and attractive seedpods in late summer. Whatever the name, it's a
clearly a winner for beautiful blue color in garden beds and borders.
| ||Flowering Almond|
Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa) is an especially lovely presence in any garden by virtue of its neat, oval shape and cheering profusion of soft pink flowers in early spring. A multistemmed perennial shrub, it thrives in many soils and is drought tolerant. Given full sun it will grow to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Bonus: The leaves are pale green and also attractive in the garden.
| ||'Fujino Pink' Spirea|
Blooming in early April, 'Fujino Pink' Thunberg Spirea (Spiraea
thunbergii 'Fujino Pink') is an exceptionally beautiful
deciduous shrub with delicate, yellow-green foliage and gracefully
arching branches filled with white blossoms lightly tinged with pink. It does best in sun but also performs well in
light shade. The plant grows to 5 feet tall and as wide, tolerates
drought, and requires some pruning to look its best. Common names
include Thunberg Spirea, Breath of Spring Spirea, and Bridlewreath
| ||'Ogon' Spirea|
'Ogon' Spirea (Spiraea
thunbergii 'Ogon') is another exceptionally attractive shrub. In
early April it produces, as you can see, an amazing profusion of white
blossoms on graceful, arching stems. The foliage is pale yellow green,
finely textured, and turns an eye-catching orange in autumn. The plant
grows to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It does best in full sun but
performs well in light shade. It does require some pruning to look its
best. Common names include Golden Thunberg's Spirea, Golden Bridlewreath
Spirea, Willow Spirea. Note:
'Ogon' Spirea is a cultivar of 'Fujino Pink' Spirea (see above).
| ||Master Gardeners Plant Sale|
The plants you see here are a tiny fraction of the thousands you'll find at the Master Gardeners Plant Sale in April. We're not
kidding about the numbers, either. This is the
Greene County Master Gardeners main fundraiser and it always happens in late April in Nathanael Greene Park at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield,
Missouri. Watch for it because it's a great sale. It always starts at 7:30 a.m and lasts till all the plants are gone.Our Advice: Arrive before 7:30 for
the best choices.
| ||'Red Fox' Veronica|
A gorgeous profusion of beautiful red flower spikes from spring to late summer makes 'Red Fox' Veronica (Veronica spicata 'Red Fox') a highly attractive presence in any garden. The plant grows vigorously in normal, clay, or sandy soils to 15 inches high and 14 inches wide. It also resists rabbits, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. One common name: Speedwell.
| ||A 'Raspberry' Sage|
Raspberry Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii 'Raspberry') is a dwarf perennial shrub
native to Texas and Mexico that grows beautifully in the Ozarks. Ideal
for dry garden areas, it can reach 4 feet tall with a similar spread and
flowers from spring to fall. It does best in full sun and must have
well-drained soil. Hardy to zone 7, it requires protection to make it
through winter in the Ozarks. Its bright-raspberry flowers make it a
standout in any garden.
| ||Ox-Eye Daisy|
The Ox-Eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum
leucanthemum) can be a cheery presence in the garden with its
abundance of white flowers with sunny yellow center. This meadow flower
blooms in spring and summer.Though sold in nurseries for the garden, in
the wild it's considered a noxious weed in many states. The plant can
grow to 3 feet tall and and as wide and does well in average soils and
sunny to partically shady exposures.
| ||Red Twig Dogwood|
Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus
sericea) is a beautifully upright shrub that bears white
blossoms in May and bright red berries in the fall. Its attractive red
twigs and branches make it a colorful winner in the winter landscape.
| ||'Ramona' Clematis|
'Ramona' Clematis (Clematis
'Ramona') is a climbing vine that can reach 12 feet in height with a
3-6-foot spread and produces large, 7-inch-diameter pale lavender
flowers from May into September. It likes full sun to part shade. This
clematis is simply excellent for walls, trellises, arbors, porches, and
other structures, and in addition makes an superb ground cover. Hot tip: 'Ramona' can also be trained
to grow over and through large shrubs, stumps, or, for that matter,
virtually anything to provide unusually beautiful, and novel, effects.
| ||Purple Clematis|
We couldn't find a label for this remarkable clematis but decided to include it anyway because, well, we can't imagine anything more purple. (We'll find out the variety and post it as soon as possible. Honest. We will. We really will.)
| ||Sweet Autumn Clematis|
Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) is a marvelous perennial climbing
vine that blooms on new wood and in late summer is covered with masses
of tiny, sweetly scented, star-like white flowers. Slow to start in the
spring, once it gets going it can reach 20 feet tall. Attractive to
hummingbirds and butterflies, it also produces silvery seedheads that
provide winter interest. Another common name: Sweet Autumn Vine.
| ||'Madame Julia Correvon' Clematis|
'Madame Julia Correvon' Clematis (Clematis viticella 'Madame Julia Correvon') is a twining vine that produces a great abundance of beautiful pinwheel-shaped red-purple flowers beginning in July. It does best in full sun and fertile soil. To climb, it requires support, and a trellis is ideal. If not controlled it can reach 20 feet in length. If pruned in March to just above the first pair of healthy buds, its length will be 8-12 feet.
| ||Coral Bark Japanese Maple|
for its red bark, the Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') in spring sprouts finely cut light green leaves with reddish and pinkish
tinges. In time the leaves turn medium green, then yellow and red in
autumn. This most striking tree can reach 25 feet tall with a 20-foot spread.
It does well in full sun or partial shade; in hot climates, however, it
definitely prefers afternoon shade.
| ||'Sunny Border Blue' Veronica|
Deep-green foliage and violet-blue flower spikes make
'Sunny Border Blue' Veronica (Veronica
spicata 'Sunny Border Blue') extra-attractive in the garden.
With deadheading the plant will bloom all season long in sun or very
light shade, reaching 24 inches tall by 18 inches wide in sun or partial
shade. It's very effective at the front of the border and makes a
superb mix with flowers in the yellow-to-orange spectrum, as with the
Butterfly Weed in this photo.
| ||'Royal Candles' Veronica|
This virtually stunning little plant is 'Royal Candles' Veronica ('Veronica spicata x 'Royal Candles'), Perennial Plant Association's Plant of the Year in 2001. Sending forth a great many flower spikes of the richest blue from June to September, it grows into a mound 12-18 inches tall and as wide. It likes partial sun and moist soil. It does beautifully in the Ozarks and, as a bonus, responds beautifully to deadheading.
|'Missouri Memories' Daylily|
One of the loveliest daylilies we've ever seen began flowering in late June in the garden. 'Missouri Memories' is a reblooming daylily whose pale-pink hues, violet eye, and extended bloom time have made it a favorite of a great many gardeners. First introduced in 1992, it features flowers up to 6 inches wide on 24-inch scapes, or stems, and evergreen foliage. Note: If you find one for sale, act quickly, as it tends to sell out very early in the season..
| ||'Autumn Red' Daylily|
'Autumn Red' is an excellent choice for the garden, a
reblooming daylily that reaches 3 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet wide in sun
to part shade and produces deep-red, gold-throated flowers about 5
inches across in June through August. A
nice bonus: Its elegant, fountain-like foliage is also uniquely attractive.
| ||'Longfields Twins' Daylily|
'Longfields Twins' is a gorgeous daylily that features
very large, 6-inch-wide double flowers of uniquely delicate
roseate-yellow coloration and an exceptionally sweet fragrance. A
rebloomer, it grows to 26 inches tall and blossoms at midseason and then
again in late summer.
Ready for a perfectly wonderful plant? Okay, Perilla Frutescens (Perilla frutescens Atropurpurea) is an annual herb of great beauty, with very dark purple, frilly leaves. It grows 2-3 feet tall and a foot wide in sun or shade and in late summer bears pretty lavender flowers. Apart from its appearance, it's grown world-wide for its unique, spicy flavor and is recommended especially for Japanese dishes. In the garden it makes a terrific accent plant or beautiful background for smaller flowers. A big treat: It reseeds wildly wherever it grows, but is easily pulled out where not wanted. One gardener we know loves it that Perillas pop up helter-skelter in his lawn, where he pulls some but lets many others continue to grow for what he considers a lovely, other-worldly effect. Perilla is also known commonly as Purple Basil, Beefsteak Plant, and Shiso.
| ||Broad-leafed Spiderwort|
Native to many states, Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) is one of Missouri's most beautiful spring wildflowers. This species, Broad-leafed Spiderwort (Tradescantia subaspera) is less commonly found in the wild, has larger, broader leaves, and flowers from May to August. Flowers can range in color from pale to dark blue and sometimes white. The plant prefers shade to part shade and grows to 3 feet tall and as wide. Other common names include Broad-leaved Spiderwort, Zig-Zag Spiderwort.
Elecampane (Inula helenium) is a perennial herb of legend that performs beautifully in today's gardens. A member of the aster family and one of the largest of all herbal plants, it grows 3-5 feet tall (some say 8 feet tall) and in summer bears an enormous profusion of highly picturesque, many-rayed, bright yellow flowers. The root of the plant is a rich source of inulin, a substance known since antiquity to have many beneficial properties. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.
| ||Blue Star Amsonia|
Blue Star Amsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is a beautiful perennial wildflower that grows to 3 feet tall and as wide and features clusters of exceptionally beautiful, tiny, light-blue star-shaped flowers beginning in May. The plant likes full sun to part shade, is easy to grow, and tolerates some drought. Bonus: The flowers make good cut flowers and, even more favored by gardeners, the lance-shaped foliage turns a beautiful yellow in the fall. Other common names include Blue Star Dogbane, Bluestar, Amsonia Blue, and Star Amsonia.
The uniquely beautiful, feathery foliage of this plant suggests that it's Arkansas Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii) before it develops its beautiful light blue, star-shaped flowers. An Arkansas native, it's been named the 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. To see it in full bloom and learn more about its charms, click here.
| ||A Good Place to Relax|
This pergola and bench make up a beautiful spot to
relax and cool off while visiting the gardens. Facing the pergola is the
complex's herb garden.
|'Fascination' Culver's Root|
'Fascination' Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum 'Fascination') is an herbaceous perennial that brings to the garden flowers of almost breathtaking beauty. Appearing in June, the flower spikes in color have been described as pink-purple, lavender, lilac, blue lilac, and otherwise, so feel free to come up with your own description. The plant itself does best in full sun to partial shade with adequate moisture, grows to 3 feet in height and 4 feet wide, and is very low maintenance. In addition to its beauty, the plant is very attractive to butterflies and the blossoms make superb cut flowers.
| ||'Lucky Yellow' Lantana|
Blossoms of bright yellow and a neat, compact habit make the 'Lucky Yellow' Lantana (Lantana camarata 'Lucky Yellow') a cheery addition to any garden. Lantanas, which grow beautifully in the Ozarks, do well sun or part shade and can take dry soil. The "Lucky" series are considered dwarf lantanas. This one grows in a mound to about 15 inches high and as wide, making it perfect as edging for the border, or, for that matter, as a container plant. How can you lose?
|Mexican Bamboo--Be Careful of This One|
Mexican Bamboo (Polygonum cuspidatum) is a beautiful plant, to be sure, but watch out, it's not really a bamboo and it's not Mexican. Imported from Japanese islands in the 18th century, its main common name is Japanese Knotweed and it can grow very quickly to 9-10 feet tall and become an invasive pest very difficult to eradicate, as it grows in very tight clumps from tough, aggressive rhizomes. Some who grow it advise cutting it to the ground three times a year to control it. Us? We'll admire it in other people's gardens. Other common names include Japanese Bamboo, Japanese Fleece-Flower, Wild Rhubarb, Huzhang, Sally Rhubarb, Donkey Rhubarb, Hancock's Curse, Crimson Beauty, and Itadori, which is Japanese for "strong plant."
| ||Pale Purple Coneflower|
One of our most beloved wildflowers, the Pale Purple
Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
is an herbaceous perennial that grows to 3 feet tall by 1 1/2 feet wide
and bears a great abundance of beautiful lavender flowers. Easy to grow,
it thrives in average soils and tolerates drought, heat, humidity and
poor soils. Note: In the fall
the dark "cones" attract goldfinches to feed on their seed.
| ||Garlic Chives|
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) grow more quickly than regular chives
and have a delicious, mild garlic-onion flavor. The flowers are borne in
pleasing clusters on stalks up to 30 inches tall, much taller than the
leaves. A perennial, its clumps can be divided and it also reseeds
prolifically. Tip: The flowers
can be a lovely addition to bouquets and floral arrangements
| ||'Purple Smoke' False Indigo|
'Purple Smoke' False Indigo (Baptisia australis 'Purple Smoke') is a happy accident, a highly attractive plant that began in 1990 as a chance seedling at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. It grows in a neat habit with appealing foliage to 4 feet tall with a similar spread. In April and May it produces spires of quite showy smoky-violet flowers. It does best in full sun and poorer soils. The dried, bean-like seedpods are appealing in dried flower arrangements.
|'Robert Poore' Garden Phlox|
We won't mince words here. The 'Robert Poore' Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore') is a stunning phlox that in summer bears an abundance of gorgeous red-purple flowers. With full sun and moist (but not soggy) soil it can grow rather quickly to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Ideal for the cottage garden, perennial border, or landscape, its flowers are fragrant, attractive to hummingbirds, and superb as cut flowers. Note: The plant is named for Mississippi ecological planner and landscape architect Robert Poore.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' (Crocosmia x Curtonus 'Lucifer') can be a most striking presence in the garden with its intensely red flowers. Growing from a bulb, it does best in full sun, blooms from June into August, and can grow to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The flowers are tubular and grow above attractive, deep green, swordlike foliage. The plant tolerates high summer heat and humidity, but in the Ozarks its hardiness is iffy as it will not survive temperatures below zero. Gardeners therefore advise digging up the bulbs and storing them over winter Crocosmia species plants are also often called Montbretia. Bonus: The flowers make superb cut flowers.
| ||The Tour|
Master Gardeners led tours of the Demonstration Gardens in 2011. Among the attractions were the beautiful Hyacinth Bean growing over the arbor in the foreground. Hyacinth Bean (LabLab purpureus) is without question one of the most beautiful vining plants to grow in the Ozarks, producing lovely, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds followed by shiny, vivid purple seedpods. Common names include Purple Hyacinth Bean, Egyptian Bean, and Indian Bean.
| ||Lilium Citronella|
This lemon-colored lily with dark brown spots is
likely the heirloom Yellow Turk's Cap (Lilium citronella). Turk's Cap lilies
are so called because of their recurved petals. An Asiatic lily, it
grows in full sun or partial shade to 4 feet or taller with 20 or more
blooms per stem. A bonus: unlike most Asiatic lilies, the flowers are
| ||French White Lilac|
French White Lilac (Syringa vulgaris 'Alba'), also known as White French Lilac, is a marvelous hybrid shrub that in late spring and early summer features tall panicles of beautiful, intensely fragrant, pristine white blossoms. The plant should only be planted in full sun where at its best it can grow 12 feet tall and spread 9 feet. It does require some care, as it spreads by suckers and can be invasive, is quite leggy, and can attract damaging insects. A little care, however, will be rewarded with a magnificent ornamental.
| ||Variegated Canna|
Variegated Cannas are among the most striking plants one can add to the garden, and, as you can see, they do beautifully in the Ozarks. This specimen, the variety Canna 'Bengal Tiger', is one of the most popular of all cannas for its beautiful variegated leaves and vivid orange summer blossoms. It likes rich soil and full sun and if kept moist with timely, deep waterings can grow to 6 feet tall. Note: 'Bengal Tiger' originated at the Agri Horticultural Society of India in Bengal, India, in the 1960's. Tip: This 'Tiger' will also grow in aquatic gardens.
Welsh Onion (Allium fistulosum) is in our opinion a wonderfully whimsical-looking plant. A perennial onion, if let grow to maturity it becomes a real eye-catcher in the garden, growing to about a foot in height if given full sun and well-drained soil. The plant is edible and often eaten as a green onion when 5-6 inches high.The shoots also can be used in the same way as scallions in any dish. Welsh Oniion is a prominent ingredient especially in Asian and Jamaican cookery. Note: The plant isn't really Welsh, but "Welsh" in this case is simply a corruption of Old English and German word meaning "foreign." Common names include Stone Leek, Spring Onion, Japanese Leek, and Japanese Bunching Onion.
|Rainbow Knock Out Roses|
The Knock Out family of roses has all but revolutionized the role of roses in gardening and landscaping. The original red Knock Out introduced in 2000, for example, is today the most widely sold rose in North America. Easy to grow and extremely disease-and-pest resistant, Knock Outs bloom heavily from spring to frost, can be trimmed as desired, and are virtually self-cleaning. The Rainbow Knock Out Rose is justly a 2007 All America Rose Society winner for its abundance of beautiful coral-pink blossoms with yellow centers. More compact than other Knock Outs, it grows to 4 feet tall and as wide. In sum, it's a winner on all counts.
| ||'Roy Davidson' Pulmonaria|
Unlabeled in the garden when we first saw it, this is
most likely 'Roy Davidson' Pulmonaria (Pulmonaria
longifolia 'Roy Davidson'). A wonderful addition to the border in any shade garden, and especially among hostas, it features very striking silver-specked foliage and flowers that open pink and gradually
turn a lovely sky blue. Common
names include Lungwort and Bethlehem Sage.
| ||Brown-Eyed Susan|
Many plants of the Rudbeckia
species go by the name Brown-Eyed Susan. From the number of petals (13)
on each bloom, we think this one is Rudbeckia fulgida, sometimes also
called Orange Coneflower and sometimes Black-Eyed Susan--an enormously popular garden
perennial that provides masses of brilliant golden color the summer
Sea Holly (Eryngium planum) is a most unusual plant. A long-lived, thorny perennial thistle, from August through October it virtually explodes in exquisitely beautiful steely blue flowers. I loves full sun, tolerates drought, and grows in a nice, mounded habit to 36 inches high and 20 inches wide. (It can also send out shoots to start new clumps.) A superb pollinator, it attracts more different wasps and bees than any other plant we've seen. Note: Those who grow it say to be sure and resist the temptation to deadhead the spiky flowers, which when dry also provide great visual interest.
| ||'Paprika' Yarrow|
The aptly 'Paprika' Yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Paprika') is thought by many to be the prettiest and most colorful yarrow of all. From June into August it displays a great abundance of pink-to-hot-red flower clusters. It grows in an upright clump to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide and must have full sun to flower best.
|'Viette's Little Suzy' Rudbeckia|
'Viette's Little Suzy' Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia speciosa) is a petite Black-Eyed Susan that
grows only 12-18 inches tall with a foot-wide spread, which size makes it perfect
for fronting borders or in containers. It blooms
profusely from July to September, and in winter the foliage turns
mahogany. A low-maintenance perennial, it thrives in full sun and average soils.
| ||A Beautiful Coral Bells|
This beautiful plant is clearly mislabeled, which sometimes happens in public gardens. It's actually a Coral Bells (Heuchera species) and likely one of the intriguing very dark purple varieties such as 'Amethyst Myst' or 'Black Beauty'. Coral Bells are low-growing, mounding perennials with showy foliage that provides season-long color. Colors and color mixes vary widely. They need well drained soil and are ideal for woodland gardens. Their flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Cautionary Note: Their degree of sun tolerance depends on the variety.
| ||'Palace Purple' Coral Bells|
'Palace Purple' Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple') is so attractive and performs so well in the garden that it was the Perennial Plant Association's 1991 Perennial Plant of the Year. Its color is a unique matte purple-bronze and it sends up delicate white flowers in June and July. Growing in a mound to 18 inches tall, it does best in neutral soil (pH 7) and full sun but in the Ozarks' summer heat and humidity should be grown in partial shade and away from afternoon sun. The flowers attract hummingbirds and make good cut flowers. In sum, a great plant for the border, woodland garden, or rock garden.
We're not sure of the variety of these Zinnias, but since they're about 3 feet tall and fully double, we think they're probably 'Benary Giant'. Most gardeners think Zinnias unequaled for season-long color brilliance and color variety in the garden. They are easy to grow in average soil and somewhat resistant to pests, but they are susceptible to mildew and fungus (especially in the humid Ozarks) and therefore should get as much sun as possible and never, ever watered overhead.
| ||Showy Goldenrod|
One of Missouri's most beautiful wildflowers, Goldenrod
(Solidago speciosa) was the
state flower until falsely blamed for causing hay fever. (The real
culprit is Ragweed, which blooms at the same time.) A perennial prairie
plant, it grows in full sun or part shade, blooming from August to
October and attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Songbirds
also feed on its seeds. Goldenrod has 67 species and several cultivated
varieties. This plant is also known as Noble Goldenrod.
Astilbe (Astilbe spp.) is a deciduous shrub with beautiful, feathery flowers. Its hybrids come in many bloom colors and may vary in bloom time, leaf color, size, and shape. We think this remarkable dark burgundy variety is most likely 'Key West' (Astilbe simplicifolia 'Key West'). Astilbes can do well in exposures ranging from full shade to full sun, but soil must be moist and well draining. Many gardeners think Astilbe unparalleled for contributing marvelous color and texture to the shade garden. The plant is also known commonly as Feather Flower and False Spirea.
| ||Golden Sword Yucca|
Golden Sword Yucca (Yucca
filamentosa 'Golden Sword') brings beautiful color and texture contrast
to the garden with its rosettes of sharp, yellow-centered green leaves.
Especially striking at the front of the perennial border, this evergreen
plant forms clumps 3-4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. A "dry" plant, it thrives in sun or partial shade, tolerates drought, and must have good drainage. Bonus: When mature, in midsummer it
bears spires of fragrant white flowers.
| ||Fiery Sage|
Fiery Sage, also known as Red Mountain Sage, is Salvia darcyi, one of
the tallest perennial sages and most striking in the garden. It bears bright red
flowers through summer and fall that hummingbirds love. Given full sun or partial shade it and grow to 4
feet tall or more and 20 inches wide.
| ||Sapphire Sage|
Sapphire Sage (Salvia guarantica 'Sapphire Sage') is a beautiful plant with dark green foliage that bears an abundance of deep blue flowers from spring to frost. Given full sun or partial shade it can grow as tall as 5 feet with a 3-4 foot spread. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds and make superb cut flowers. Note: Hardly only to zone 7, it may survive the winter in much of the Ozarks
| ||Snow Hill Meadow Sage|
'Snow Hill' Meadow Sage (Salvia nemerosa 'Snow Hill') is a gardener's delight for
its compact size and ease of care. The plant grows to 18 inches tall
and 18 inches wide and bears dense spikes of white flowers from early
summer on. (Removing spent flowers prolongs bloom.) It likes full sun
and is most effective in the border among brighter colors and in mass
| ||Mexican Sage|
Graceful, arching stems, lovely lavender-and-white
color, and soft, downy foliage make Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) uniquely attractive
in any garden. The plant can reach 4 feet in height with a similar
spread. Give it full sun and plenty of room and in late summer it will
flower abundantly. One of the few salvias that make a good cut flower,
it's also terrifically attractive to butterflies and bees. Other common
names include Mexican Bush Sage, Bushy Sage, and Velvet Sage.
| ||Red Hot Poker|
The vivid red-orange-yellow flowers of Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia alcazar) certainly suggest their namesake, or perhaps even a flaming torch. Red Kniphofia often are called Red Hot Poker or Poker Plant, and there also are more subtly colored species such as Kniphofia uvaria maxima, shown at right. These plants, of South African origin, are perennial in most zones. They like full sun and can take drought but prefer plentiful water in summer. Some varieties reach 5 feet tall and all do beautifully in the Ozarks. Another common name is Torch Lily.
| ||Compass Plant|
One of our most wonderful and most abundant prairie
wildflowers, Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) can reach skyward to a height of 10
feet. The name comes from the fact that the large basal leaves stand
upright with the edges aligned north and south. Though it looks like a
sunflower, it belongs to a different family altogether. It thrives
even in dry, rocky soils.
|Pee Gee Hydrangea|
PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a beloved old-fashioned shrub that bears beautiful panicles of white flowers from midsummer to September. It does require pruning to maintain any preferable size, for if left unrestrained it can grow as tall as 25 feet with a 16-foot spread. A deciduous plant, it comes in several varieties. This variety, 'Tardiva', is especially appealing for its longer, more open flower clusters. The flowers attract butterflies; for example, the beautiful Buckeye at right.
| ||Vinca Minor|
Vinca minor (the species and common name) is a trailing, vigorous, viny plant with lovely glossy green leaves and very pretty light blue flowers. It spreads rather quickly and takes root along the stems to create a superb, dense groundcover. Each plant can reach 6 inches tall and spread to 18 inches. It thrives in sun to partial shade and must have good drainage. Cultivars with different flower colors, variegated foliage, and double flowers are available. Common names include Periwinkle, Common Periwinkle, Lesser Periwinkle, Dwarf Periwinkle, Myrtle, and Creeping Myrtle.
|Dark Foliage Dahlias|
Dark foliage dahlias are terrifically engaging plants for their combination of lovely flowers against a background of dramatic black/purple foliage. Though unlabeled, we're pretty sure the variety at left is 'Mystic Dreamer'. At right is another dark-foliage dahlia from another Master Gardeners garden, the Xeriscape Garden in Springfield, Missouri. We think this one is Happy Single Party, or HS Party. Mystic and Happy Single are two separate series of dark-foliage dahlias that warrant checking out, as they include flowers in red, yellow, peach, rose, lavender, orange, white, and pink in varying shades and hues. The plants generally grow to 30 inches tall by 24 inches wide if given full sun. All without exception are garden standouts.
| ||A Pink Wonder|
We haven't been able to identify this unlabeled plant yet, but it's no less than a wonder. If you know its name, please give us a clue. All we can tell you for now is that it's lovely and stands almost 6 feet tall.
|'Silky Yellow' Butterfly Weed|
'Silky Yellow' Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Yellow') is a marvelous member of the Milkweed family. It grows quickly and vigorously to 4-5 feet tall by 2-4 feet wide and from spring to fall bears bears clusters of bright yellow flowers. Terrifically attractive to butterflies, it's also a host plant for the Monarch and its caterpillars. Common names include 'Silky Yellow' Milkweed, Blood Flower, Indian Root, and Swallow-wort. One caution: Contact with the plant's sap can cause allergic irritation in some humans and animals.
| ||Sunset Hyssop|
Sunset Hyssop (Agastache ruprestris Sunset Hyssop) is a unique wonder of a plant for its exquisite, finely textured foliage, subtle "sunset" or burnt-orange flower color, spice-and-licorice fragrance, and nectar-rich blossoms. A perennial subshrub, it can grow to 3 feet tall and half as wide, prefers sun, and tolerates poor soils. The trumpet-shaped flowers appear on spikes in late summer to fall and are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Other common names are Licorice Mint, Hummingbird Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Threadleaf Hyssop.
| ||Joe Pye Weed|
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) belies its unfortunate name by in fact being a superb plant. A perennial native wildflower in many states including Missouri, it's altogether outstanding in the landscape or in the garden. It grows 5-7 feet tall by 2-4 feet wide in sun or part shade and from July through September bears a huge abundance of attractive, vanilla-scented mauve-pink flowers. Bonus: the flowers are wildly attractive to several Missouri butterflies. Oh, who was Joe Pye? A legendary herb doctor said to have used this plant to stop a typhus epidemic.
| ||Plumbago Leadwort|
Plumbago Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) seems a most awkward name for such a delicate-appearing plant. In late summer its neat, attractive foliage adds sprinklings of pale blue flowers. It can do well with
as little as 2 hours of sun per day, spreads nicely, and can grow to 18 inches
tall. An excellent plant for perennial borders or as a ground cover.
| ||And What, Pray Tell, Is This One?|
This most engaging little plant with such nicely rounded lavender flowers is another unlabeled one we don't know but would certainly like to. It grows to about two feet tall with a very open habit. If you have a clue, please let us know. Ah, but what would life be without a little mystery?
| ||Golden Tansy|
Golden Tansy (Tanacetum
vulgare 'Isla Gold') is a perennial aromatic herb with
distinctive yellow-green foliage and small yellow "button" flowers. It
grows to 3 feet tall and unlike its cousin, the common tansy, spreads
slowly and is not invasive. Gardeners love the brightness it brings
to garden settings when growing among darker-foliage plants.
| ||'Emerald Gaiety' Euonymus|
'Emerald Gaiety' Euonymus (Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety') is an evergreen
shrub that features gorgeous, glossy green-and-white variegated leaves
that take on pinkish tones as winter nears. The plant can grow to 5 feet
tall with a 6-foot spread and can be trained to climb. It does well in
full sun to part shade. The common name for Euonymus fortunei and its hybrids is Wintercreeper.
| ||Tatarian Aster|
Tatarian Aster (Aster tataricus) is a monster in the garden, albeit a beautiful monster. Indeed, it often draws double-takes for its height, which can reach 8 feet, and its elongated leaves, which can extend to 2 feet. In late fall it bears flower heads packed with beautiful yellow-centered lavender blossoms. The plant is named after Tatar, the area of Mongolia and Siberia to which it's native. The plant is extremely cold-hardy. It is not, however, drought-tolerant and must have moist soil. As you see, butterflies love it. Note: In ideal growing conditions, it can be quite invasive, controllable only by digging out spreading rhizomes.
| ||Aromatic Aster|
Aromatic Aster (Aster
oblogifolius) is one of the last wildflowers to bloom before
frost. It gets its name not from the flowers, which are virtually scentless, but from the aroma of the crushed leaves and flower heads,
which fragrance resembles that of balsam. The plant normally grows to 2 feet tall
and as wide, but can grow larger depending on location. The flowers are
pale lavender, abundant, and attractive to bees and butterflies.
| ||'Samantha' Lantana|
The 'Samantha' Lantana (Lantana camara 'Samantha') is a unique Lantana with beautiful variegated foliage and brilliant yellow flowers all season long. Given full sun, it can grow to 2 feet tall and as wide. It also tolerates drought, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The foliage is also fragrant. This is a plant ideal for virtually everything--the garden border, edging, containers, hanging baskets, or the landscape. Grow it as an annual in the Ozarks, as it's of tropical origin.
| ||Weigela Variegata|
Weigela Variegata (Weigela florida 'Variegata') produces an enormous
profusion of gorgeous pink flowers on beautifully arching stems from
late spring into autumn, and to make matters even more lovely, the leaves are
green edged with creamy white. The result is a spectacular presence in
the garden or landscape. This amazing shrub thrives in full sun or partial
shade and can grow to 8 feet and 5 feet wide. As you can
see, it does wonderfully well in the Ozarks.
| ||Korean Spice Viburnum|
Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) is a deciduous shrub with beautiful clusters of very fragrant white flowers in spring. In sun or partial shade it can grow 6 feet tall or taller with a nicely rounded shape. In fall the green foliage turns a lovely wine red and berries appear red first, then turn black. Said to among the most fragrant plants, its name refers to its rich, spicy scent. Common names include Koreanspice Viburnum and Korean Spicebush.
| ||White Crape Myrtle|
Just beginning to bloom on July 16 was this lovely White Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia
indica). We're not sure of the variety, but it closely resembles the one aptly named 'Coolly White'. Crape myrtles of all colors thrive and bloom
profusely in the Ozarks. Some varieties grow to 7 feet tall,
others tower to 20 feet. Easy to grow in most soils, they prefer full
sun and moist, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter.
| ||Geranium 'Orion'|
Gardeners looking for perennial geraniums will love Geranium 'Orion' for its its brilliant blue flowers with darker violet veining and its longer period of bloom--from July into fall. Heat and humidity tolerant, it can grow to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide in full sun or part shade. If it gets a little leggy in late summer, cutting it back by about half will bring a new flush of bloom.
| ||'Snowflake Rose' Geranium|
The 'Snowflake Rose' Geranium (Pelargonium 'Snowflake Rose'), here just beginning to bloom, is one of several rose-scented geraniums available to the home gardener. An annual in the Ozarks, it grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with beautiful cream-to-white-edged foliage and lavender flowers from June to September. The leaves when crushed have a lovely citrus-rose fragrance. In the garden it's attractive to birds, butterflies, and bees. Note: It also makes a lovely houseplant.
If you think these okra blossoms look like Hibiscus,
you're right. Okra is Hibiscus
esculentus in the Malvaceae, or Mallow family, which includes Cotton,
Hollyhock, Hibiscus, and many other flowers. Native to Africa, Okra does quite well in our hotter Ozarks summers. For culinary use, pods
should be picked when they reach 3-4 inches long. Bon ton roulez, mon ami--Let the
good times roll !
| ||Bush Red 'Fiesta' Pepper|
The Bush Red 'Fiesta' Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Fiesta') works nicely in the garden as an ornamental, growing to 9 inches tall and as wide with dense green lance-like leaves and bright red fruit. The peppers are edible, too. Are they hot? We don't know. Want to try one?
| ||Silver Feather Grass|
Silver Feather Grass (Miscanthus sinsensis 'Silberfeder') is an elegant, slender ornamental grass named perfectly for the tall, silvery flowers it bears from August into November. Given medium moisture and well-drained soil, it does well in sun or partial shade, growing 4-6 feet tall and spreading to 4 feet.One of the loveliest ornamental grasses, it's a winner in the garden or the landscape.
| ||Japanese Silver Grass|
Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus') is a highly attractive variegated grass with a graceful, arching habit. In full sun to partial shade and with regular watering, it can grow as tall as 6 feet with a 5-foot spread. It bears showy white flowers in fall that make good cut flowers.
| ||'Little Kitten' Miscanthus|
'Little Kitten' is a new variety of Dwarf Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) ideal for small-space gardeners, as it grows to
only 15 inches tall with beautiful plumes up to 30 inches high in summer
and fall,. Thanks to
it's size, it's also an excellent container plant.
| ||'Avalanche' Feather Reed Grass|
'Avalanche' Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche) is a hybrid of the popular 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed Grass. It grows in a narrow clump to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide and its tightly vertical flower stalks and flowers gradually turn golden as shown here, providing great visual interest in fall and winter. Earlier the leaves are variegated green with white centers, making the plant an outstanding specimen plant all year-round.
| ||Winter Grasses|
The foregoing grasses and others in the garden can be even more dramatic in the very dead of winter, as illustrated by this imposing Miscanthus specimen photographed in mid-December.
| ||'Crimson Pygmy' Barberry|
'Crimson Pygmy' Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy') is a great answer
for gardeners who need a good, small, slow-growing, hardy shrub to add
year-'round color to the landscape. The plant does well in sun or
partial shade. New growth is bright red and turns to a deep
crimson-burgundy, and the plant bears small red berries in fall through
winter. It grows to 2 feet tall with a 3-foot spread, and does well even
in harsh exposures and poor soils.
| ||Ornamental Kale|
This beautiful Ornamental Kale (Brassica oleracea italica) was in
full color and a cheery note in the garden on December 2nd. Fun fact: If gradually acclimatized,
this remarkable plant can survive temperatures down to 5 degrees.
| ||Espaliered Apple Tree|
"Espalier is the art of training trees to branch in
formal patterns...." reads the legend on this beautiful espaliered
apple. Developed in Medieval Europe hundreds of years ago, the espalier technique
shapes trees to take up less space and receive more light, resulting in
better flowering, more colorful fruit, and higher fruit production. And guess what. The
picking's easier, too.
| ||'Pink Crystals' Ruby Grass|
'Pink Crystals' Ruby Grass (Melinis nerviglumis 'Pink Crystals') is an ornamental grass that features sedge-like, erect blue-green leaves and exceptionally lovely, frothy pink flower panicles from summer into fall. Native to Africa, the Ruby Grass species are unlikely to survive winters in the Ozarks.The plant likes full sun to partial shade and moderate water. It grows to 2 feet tall and 15 inches wide. Common names for the species include Pink Bubble Grass and Bristle-Leaved Red Top.
Did you know you can grow cotton in your garden? Yep, you sure can, and we can't think of anything more fun, especially for the kids. 'Burgundy' Cotton (Gossyplum herbaceum 'Burgundy') sports richly purple leaves and plenty of boll-bursting snow-white cotton. It does beautifully in Ozarks gardens with at least six hours of direct sun, reaching 3-5 feet tall and as wide. Common names include Ornamental Cotton and Purple-Leaved Cotton. Note: Because it won't take temperatures below 40 degrees it must be grown as an annual in the Ozarks.
The beautiful 'Fireworks' Gomphrena (Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks') has been called by many gardeners "the best garden annual ever." While that may sound extreme, we can't really argue the point. This spectacular plant grows thickly 3-4 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide and is covered with an enormous profusion of hot-pink flowers with gold tips that make them appear gold-encrusted. Absurdly easy to grow, this tallest of Gomphrenas likes full sun, virtually any soil, and has low moisture needs. Bonus: The flowers make excellent cut flowers as well. Common names include Fireworks Globe Amaranth and Globe Amaranth.