|Xeriscape Zone 1|
A MASTER STROKE by Master Gardeners--adding large, clear signs identifying the three Xeriscape Garden zones by beds and plants has proved an invaluable help to gardeners. Just think; now you can not only see in this garden a huge number of beautiful plants that thrive in the Ozarks, you can also get their names and water requirements. Talk about saving time and energy ....
|Xeriscape Zone 2|
Zone 2 Xeriscape plants are ideal for those who want beauty with relatively little maintenance..
|Xeriscape Zone 3|
Zone 3 Xeriscape plants are real prizes for gardeners who want minimal maintenance--and ideal for our region's moderate drought conditions, as well.
This Prickly Pear (Opuntia vulgaris) bears striking flowers in early June. It thrives in the garden's lowest water use area.
Noting the bloom time and physical characteristics of Xeriscape Garden plants can help enormously in planning and designing gardens. These gorgeous blue-violet iris, for example, are at their peak in early May.
This beautiful Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera) was in full bloom on April 9. One of the earliest-flowering trees in the Ozarks, it also bears an edible fruit that depending on species may be sour or sweet with good flavor and makes good jams. Many cultivars of Cherry Plum are available, and those with reddish foliage are the most popular. The plant may be grown as a shrub or tree.
Nearly all Xeriscape Garden plants are clearly labeled, as with this Ice Plant (Deleosperma cooperii). The garden, a joint project of the Springfield/Greene County Park Board, Springfield City Utilities, and the Master Gardeners of Southwest Missouri, is maintained entirely by volunteers and is free to all.
Barbara St. Clair, shown on her way to plant spring-blooming bulbs, oversees and manages the garden. She's also the new president of the Master Gardeners of Greene County, Missouri.
|Flowers from Fairyland?|
The mid-May parade of foxglove is one of the prettiest displays in any Ozarks garden. Fun fact: Foxglove's genus name, Digitalis, comes from the folk myth that fairies wear the long, tubular flowers on their fingers, or digits. Also pictured are yellow and pale pink iris.
|A closer look|
The pristine white petals and delicate burgundy spots of this foxglove, Digitalis purpurea alba, have endeared it to gardeners since the 18th Century. Foxglove do beautifully in the Ozarks. They like rich soil and grow in full sun or dappled shade. Some newer varieties grow as tall as 6 feet.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) gets its common name from the conical form its center takes as it grows. The species name Echinacea is Latin for "hedgehog," referring to the spiny texture of the center. This vigorous wildflower's color, uniquely graceful blossoms, and 3-5-foot height are always striking in the garden. And, as this Monarch might testify, butterflies love it.
|'Little Magnus' Coneflower|
The 'Little Magnus' Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'Little Magnus') is a real gem for gardeners who want the robust beauty of a purple coneflower in smaller spaces. Although this dwarf variety grows to only 18-24 inches tall, the flowers are still large. A vigorous grower, it likes full sun and thrives in average soil.
Master Gardener Jim Hawkins works tirelessly in the Xeriscape Garden virtually every day. Here he checks the garden's rose arbor.
|A subtler Torch Lily|
This Kniphofia uvaria maxima is more delicately colored than its cousin, Kniphofia alcazar, whose vivid red-orange-yellow flower indeed resembles a flaming torch. Redder varieties often are called Red Hot Poker or Poker Plant. Of South African origin, the plants are perennial in most zones. They like full sun and can take drought but prefer plentiful water in summer. Some varieties reach 5 feet, and all do beautifully in the Ozarks.
Gallardia, also known as Blanket Flower and Indian Blanket, is one of the most colorful perennials found in Ozarks gardens. This is Gaillardia x grandiflora, which can grow to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. It can do well in drier conditions, blooms profusely, and its flowers are beautiful cut or dried.
These hollyhocks in early June brought an old-fashioned air to the Xeriscape Garden. Though the leaves were plagued by leafminers, the flowers were still so lovely that no one seemed to mind.
We had to add this closer view of the Gaillardias because of the bumblebee nestled in one of the blossoms.
|Two More Gaillardias|
"Dazzling" would be a fair word for this Gaillardia grandiflora planting. The red one is 'Burgundy,' which grows to 24 inches tall, takes dry soil, and blooms prolifically through fall. The smaller, multicolored 'Baby Cole' grows to 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide, a perfect size for rock gardens.
|'Summer's Kiss' Gallardia|
The new 'Summer's Kiss' Gaillardia (Gaillardia grandiflorum 'Summer's Kiss') is as beguiling as its name. It features soft-apricot flowers with a gold-orange blush, grows 18 inches tall by 24 inches and loves full sun. It does beautifully in the Ozarks and if deadheaded blooms all season.
Cleome (Cleome hasslerana), commonly known as Spider Flower, is an intriguing presence in the Xeriscape Garden. Native to South America, Its open, airy flower heads can be as large as 8 inches wide on stems as tall as 6 feet. New hybrids feature violet, cherry, pink, and white flowers. Extremely attractive to hummingbirds, the plant is also superb for cut flowers.
We're almost certain this brilliant red poppy is the 'Turkenlouis' variety Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale). By whatever name, it's a treasure for spectacular color and beautifully fringed petals. Oriental poppies are reliable perennials that grow to 3 feet tall and in the Ozarks blossom in May and June. They like sun but will also bloom in part shade.
|A unique Phlox|
This summer-blooming phlox, Phlox paniculata 'Nora Leigh,' is unique for its cream-and-green variegated leaves. Its flowers are the palest pink with a dark pink eye. It's so striking that it's been called "The phlox that rocks" and "The brazen hussy of the garden." 'Nora Leigh' grows to 3 feet tall and its variegated leaves make it a strong accent plant even when not in bloom.
This Black Swallowtail appeared on the garden's verbena in mid-September.
|An heirloom rose?|
The exact identity of this rose, which once stood 7 feet tall in the Xeriscape Garden, remains a mystery. Some Master Gardeners said they thought it an old heirloom rose present on the site when the Garden was created in 1992. It's been removed now, but we're keeping it here to honor its memory. Its fragrance was almost unbelievably beautiful.
Dana Allyn is one of several Master Gardeners that keep the Xeriscape Garden in beautiful shape. Here she's shoveling rich black mulch to be hauled and spread throughout the garden.
|And More Work...|
Master Gardener Pat Schwartz takes over the shoveling as Dana spreads the mulch.
Among the garden's many amenities, a good place to relax.
|Purple Poppy Mallow|
This vividly colorful perennial wildflower, Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata), thrives from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Forming clumps up to 3 feet wide and 6-12-inches tall, it's absolutely loaded with tiny (1-inch or so), cup-shaped blossoms. It's drought-tolerant, likes full sun, and reseeds freely in the garden.
|Variegated Yellow Loosestrife|
Green-and-cream leaves and season-long bright yellow flowers make Variegated Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander') a superb accent plant in any garden. Introduced in 1990, it's slower-growing than most loosestrife and produces a clump 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide. Many gardeners consider it worth growing for its foliage alone. A new variety, 'Golden Alexander', has the same yellow flowers but green-and-cream-yellow leaves.
The garden displays some beautiful ornamental grasses as well as flowers and shrubs. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum), shown here, is an extremely graceful plant that grows to 3 feet tall with airy flower panicles often tinged with purple. One common name, Purple Fountain Grass, now more often refers to newer varieties such as Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubra', which actually has purple stems. A deciduous perennial, Fountain Grass is easily propagated by division. An outstanding accent plant in any garden.
|Variegated Solomon's Seal|
One especially pleasing plant for shade gardens is this variety of Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum falcatum 'Variegatum'. Growing to 2 feet tall, it also spreads nicely in the garden. The name "Solomon's Seal," incidentally, refers to a scar on the rhizome of some species that looks like two overlapped triangles, the seal of King Solomon of the Bible.
|Japanese Blood Grass|
Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra', is a dramatic note in the garden and landscape any time of year but turns its reddest during the cool days of fall. It grows in full sun to light shade, likes moist soil, and reaches 2 feet tall. It's slow to establish, but once it does, it spreads freely.
The unusually graceful plant in the foreground is Burkwood's Broom (Cytisus x Dallimorei 'Burkwoodii'), which once won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from England's Royal Botanical Society. The plant grows to 3 feet the first year and eventually to 5 feet or more. Photographed here in November, in May it bears beautiful crimson flowers edged with yellow.
|The Broom in Bloom|
In mid-May, Burkwood's Broom is in full bloom.
|A beautiful background|
The garden also makes a wonderful setting for photos....
|White Jupiter's Beard|
Showy clouds of white star-shaped flowers make White Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus ruber 'Albus') especially engaging in the garden. A reliable perennial, it grows quickly to 3 feet tall with a spread up to 2 feet. It likes full sun but will grow in part shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil but can do well even in poor soils. A good cut flower that blooms all summer if deadheaded. Many gardeners consider it an ideal companion to roses.
|Japanese Beauty Berry|
Clusters of perfectly round, rich-purple berries make Japanese Beauty Berry (Callicarpa japonica) a true visual treat in fall and winter. The berries normally show peak color in November through January, but often remain on the plant into early spring. The plant is a deciduous shrub that can reach 8 feet tall with attractive yellow-green foliage and lilac-colored flowers in spring. A marvelous landscape specimen.
A weed to some, Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is also a gorgeous wildflower. It's a stately presence in the wild, towering to 6 feet or more with velvety leaves and long, bright-yellow flower spikes. Over 40 common names include Velvet Dock, Candlewick, Torchwort, and Big Taper. The latter refers to the practice of dipping stalks in tallow and using them as funeral torches, common in ancient Greece.
Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is one of the most versatile and attractive ornamental grasses available. It grows 3-6 feet tall with a graceful fountain-like shape with blooms appear ing in August and September. In winter it turns a beautiful almond color and is attractive till spring, when it should be cut to the ground for new growth. Easily divided, if cut into thirds, each portion will grow to a full-size plant. It likes full sun but also does well with partial sun and in the shade. Several varieties are available.
|'Everest White' Hibiscus|
This pure-white hibiscus with a crimson eye is 'Everest White', an outstanding variety of Hibiscus moscheutos. An herbaceous perennial, this superb accent plant needs full sun and grows 3-4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It blooms from July through September.
|A Rose-Colored Hibiscus|
For the life of us, we can't find the precise identity of this beautiful rose-colored Hibiscus, but we include it because we love the splayed petals and warm rose color and thought you might, too. If you know the varietal name of this marvelous plant, please tell us so we can share it with everyone.
|'Luna Red' Hibiscus|
The newly introduced 'Luna Red' Hibiscus combines huge 7-8-inch claret-colored flowers with a smaller, more compact habit. It grows 2-3 feet tall and as wide, making it perfect for containers as well as in the garden. It tolerates heat, cold, and drought and also attracts butterflies.
|'100 Degrees' Hibiscus|
Flowers of the palest pink and a neat crimson center make this one of the most engaging plants in the garden. It's most likely the '100 Degrees' variety Hibiscus, an extremely vigorous grower that can reach 4 feet tall or taller. It loves full sun and tolerates 100-degree-plus temperatures. The flowers are huge, about 9 inches across.
Crimson Scabious (Knautia macedonia), sometimes called Field Scabious, features unusual 1-2-inch-wide pincushiony flowers often described as claret or burgundy in color. Praised as a superb border plant, its open foliage gives it a see-through quality that many gardeners love. It likes full sun or partial shade and grows to 4 feet tall and as wide. Perennial in the Ozarks, it blooms from summer into early winter. Bonus: it's also very attractive to butterflies.
|'Flying Saucer' Morning Glory|
Its vivid blue-and-white swirls make the 'Flying Saucer' Morning Glory a singularly pretty flower. This one caught our eye in the Xeriscape Garden in late October. Given full sun, average soil, and good drainage, the vine grows vigorously and quickly to 12-15 feet long. Like most morning glories, it's ideal for trellises, arbors, fences, poles, and other structures.
|Purple Dome Asters|
No plant brings more spectacular color to the garden in late summer and fall than the Purple Dome Aster (Novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'). A low-maintenance perennial, it likes full sun and good well-drained soil and grows to 18-24 inches tall and 2-3 feet wide. Birds and bees love this flower, whose common species name is New England Aster.
Imagine a perennial shrub 3-4 feet tall and as wide filled with these beautiful white blossoms. Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida) is a singular presence in the garden, thanks to its rich green foliage and profusion of flowers from late summer through fall. It likes part shade, regular watering, and well-drained soil. This variety is most likely 'Whirlwind,' long a garden favorite.
Bushy Aster (Aster dumosus), a native plant in many states, is an outstanding choice for the late-season garden. Given full sun and moist, well-drained soil, it bears a surprising profusion of bright lavender flowers from October into December. The plants are compact and grow to 12 inches high and 15 inches wide.
The Burning Bush (Euonymus alata) brings the most vivid scarlet beauty to landscapes when its leaves turn in fall. This deciduous shrub does well in full sun or partial shade, growing as tall and wide as 15 feet. Smaller varieties are 'Compactus', which grows 8-10 feet tall and wide, and 'Rudy Haag', which reaches 5 feet both ways. Best left unpruned for the most attractive shape, this marvelous accent plant is virtually maintenance-free.
|'Feisty' Miniature Rose|
The 'Feisty' miniature rose (Rosa 'Feisty') is a real winner in the garden. Beautifully compact at 20 inches tall, it bears an abundance of many-petaled medium-red blooms in clusters of three to seven flowers per stem. The blossoms are 2 3/4 inches wide, velvety with an apple fragrance, and resemble hybrid tea blooms. Bonus: It's perfect for training as a standard.
|Variegated Porcelain Vine|
Variegated Porcelain Vine (Ampelopsis brevipednuculata 'Elegans') is a perennial vine often described as "spectacular." Named for the unique porcelain-like finish of its berries, it grows vigorously in any well-drained soil to 25 feet tall and climbs by tendrils.With leaves of medium green splashed with white. Ithe vine bears creamy white flowers in midsummer and the berries in the fall.Berries change color from lavender to turquoise to blue to black, with several colors appearing at once in a single cluster. Its variegation is best in part shade, but fruiting is best in full sun.
|'Coral Reef' Monarda|
Commonly known as Bee Balm, plants in the Monarda family are noted for sweetly fragrant flowers wildly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 'Coral Reef' Monarda (Monarda didyma x 'Coral Reef') adds bright coral color to the garden and grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. In moist soils it spreads quickly; with average watering, growth is more restrained.
|Purple Fountain Grass|
One of the loveliest of the ornamental grasses, Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') must be treated as an annual in the Ozarks. Its beautiful arching habit, dark burgundy color, and "wooly" flowers make it a highlight in any garden or landscape. It grows 3-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide, likes full sun to part shade and medium moisture, and requires little maintenance..
|'Bright Edge' Yucca|
'Bright Edge' Yucca (Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge') is an eyecatching evergreen perennial with dark green, swordlike leaves edged in gold. Given well drained soil and at least 6 hours a day of direct sun, it grows to 18 inches tall and 20 inches wide, forming clumps that may be divided for propagation. Great in the garden for color and variety, it also makes a very striking container plant. Bonus: Creamy white flowers in summer attract butterflies.
Arkansas Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii) is a lovely perennial shrub that bears clusters of tiny, very light blue star-shaped flowers at the ends of its stems. An Arkansas native plant, it grows to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide and does well in sun or partial shade. The feathery, light green foliage is also quite attractive and turns golden yellow in autumn. Be patient with this plant, as it tends to look spindly the first year, but then comes into its own as a true star in the garden. Note: Arkansas Bluestar was named The 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.
We know of no plant that brings more cheer to the shadiest gardens than Kerria Japonica. This mounding deciduous shrub features eye-catching bright yellow flowers and bright green foliage and stems. Several cultivars are available on the market, but the species is the one to get: in the Ozarks it blooms all season long. The plant likes as much shade as possible, as the flowers fade in the sun. Easy to grow, in good, well drained soil it can reach 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Common names include Japanese Kerria, Japanese Rose, Japanese Yellow Rose, and Easter Rose. As you can see, it's extra-lovely with blue flowers such as these columbines.
|Cherry Profusion Zinnias|
Profusion Zinnias are winning gardeners and landscapers nationwide for their gorgeous color, vigor, versatility, and drought, heat, and disease resistance. There are five colors in the series: Profusion White, Orange, Fire, Apricot, and Cherry. These Profusion Cherry flowers strike a dramatic note along the garden walkway. Each plant grows to 13 inches tall and 2 feet wide, making them ideal in borders, mass landscape plantings, or in containers. Note: Butterflies and bees love 'em, too.
The Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) is so named because its unopened buds look remarkably like miniature 2-3-inch hot air balloons. The buds open into lovely star-shaped flowers. This whimsical perennial needs well-drained soil and thrives in full sun to partial shade. It can grow to 3 feet tall with a similar spread. Hybrids can be found with white, pink, and blue flowers. Other common names are Bellflower and Chinese Bellflower.
The Castor Bean (Ricinus communis), also called Castor Oil Plant, is a most dramatic plant in the garden for its enormous, glossy leaves as much as 18 inches in diameter. Unfortunately its seeds are highly toxic. This specimen has now been removed from the garden. And yes, the seeds are also the source of castor oil, which, with the toxin removed, is still used by some as a laxative.
Slender Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis) is a literal marvel for its spectacular sprays of fragrant white flowers, its graceful, arching habit, and fine, delicate texture. It grows to 3 feet tall and as wide and likes fertile soil and full sun, but also does well with partial shade. Blooming profusely for many weeks in spring and early summer, the shrub is nothing less than wonderful in the garden border, as shown in the next photo.
|The Deutzia Border|
This photo--which we could easily call "Curb Appeal."--shows Slender Deutzia to its best advantage as a garden border plant. Note: This beautiful shrub blooms on new wood, so cutting back the arching stems after they bloom assures a brilliant display the following spring.
One of the garden's most imposing denizens is this beautiful Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum tomentosum). This deciduous shrub, a native plant in Arkansas, can grow to 15 feet tall and 18 feet wide. In April and May it bears beautiful pristine-white clusters of flowers in a most unusual configuration--the name "doublefile" refers to its double rows of flowers. The shrub then bears bright red fruit that birds love and the leaves in fall turn a highly attractive burgundy red to purplish red. In sum, this marvel of a plant is little short of spectacular in the garden or in the landscape.
|The Doublefile Up Close|
A closer look at the Doublefile Viburnum's flowers, showing the double rows.
|'Sunshine Daydream' False Sunflower|
'Sunshine Daydream' False Sunflower (Helianthus x multiflorus 'Sunshine Daydream') is a real winner for summer Ozarks gardens. This marvel of a plant can grow as tall as 6 feet and as wide as 4 feet and in July and August is literally covered with very bright, fully double flowers. Give it full sun and moist but well-drained average soil, and stand back for a real display.
|A Lush Autumn|
The garden is so well planned and maintained that even in October it's still lush and beautiful. Here Jim, surrounded by exceptionally healthy, vigorous plants, checks his handiwork.
|A Very, Very Special Dahlia|
Happy Single Dahlias are a series of single-flowered dahlias developed in the Netherlands and famed worldwide for their exceptional beauty. All have striking purple-black foliage and colorful flowers with dark centers and are dramatic additions to any garden, landscape, or containers. This example, Happy Single Party, or HS Party, has richly yellow flowers. Other flower colors in the series include red, peach, rose, orange, white, and pink. HS dahlias thrive in full or partial sun, grow to 30 inches tall by 24 inches wide, and bloom from spring to frost. Hardy down to 15 degrees, in the Ozarks they're best treated as annuals, so to save the tubers over winter they should be dug before the first frost, let dry, packed in peat moss, and stored in a dark, cool place. Note: To see another in the HS Series, click here.
Many plants, especially those in the Rudbeckia species, go by the name "Black-Eyed Susan." The most acclaimed, however, is 'Goldsturm' (Redbuckia fulgida var. sullivantii), which in 1999 was named the Perennial Plant of the Year. This extremely hardy plant grows to 30 inches tall by 24 inches wide and bears brilliant yellow, black-centered flowers all season long, making it an especially commanding presence in landscapes and gardens in the late fall.
|Monarch & Asters|
September in the Xeriscape Garden always means the advent of Monarchs
and Asters and all of the good things in the autumn garden.
|Pink Muhly Grass|
As you can see, Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is nothing less than spectacular for late-season garden color, this curbside specimen being photographed in October. Growing to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it displays its profusion of flowers in a beautiful, fountainlike, cascading habit. Highly tolerant of drought, heat, and humidity, likes full sun and thrives in the Ozarks.
|Mums & Sage|
Another imaginative curbside planting in the Xeriscape Garden, these orange mums clustered with blue sage make a most engaging entryway.
|Barbara at work|
|Jonquils and Angelina Sedum|