Plants for 2021

* indicates plants native to eastern North America

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Allium cernuum

*Allium cernuum. Nodding onion. This nodding pink onion is native to shale barrens, so is able to cope with dry soils and heat. Blooming in June and July, it is just 18” tall with attractive narrow blades.. The bulbs are edible. For full sun to light shade. Propagate by seeds or division of clumps of bulbs.

Alium 'Pink Star'

Allium ‘Pink Star’. A starburst of pale pink flowers on 2’ plants. In my garden it has spread to form sweeps of thin foliage and large flowers in July and August. Full sun or light shade. Easy to divide the clumps or even move them in bloom.

Allium schoenoprasum. Chives. Yes, this is usually classified as part of the herb garden, but the lovely lavender flower heads pair well with coreopsis and sundrops. Both the flowers and the narrow hollow leaves are edible. At 18” it never needs staking. Propagate from seed or division.

Allium tuberosum. Garlic chives. The white flowers on 2’ stems also hail from the herb garden but are so pretty they can go to the flower bed. Blooming in late summer, easy to grow from seed or bulbs, and like all the onions, of no interest to deer and rabbits.

Agastache foeniculum

*Agastache foeniculum. Anise hyssop. Spikes of light purple flowers on 3’ plants, blooming all summer. This mint family perennial makes good tea and is irresistible to butterflies and other pollinators. It does not spread out of control like other mint family plants. From seed. Full sun, dry soil.

Ajuga ‘Bronze Beauty’. Blue bugle. This easy to grow groundcover sports dark purple basal foliage all winter, making it lovely in the winter months. Then in April it sends up 10” spikes of blue just as the daffodils are blooming. Pick up rooted stems and move them to wherever you want more. Sun or shade.

*Amsonia hubrechtii. Thread-leaf bluestar. Many heads of blue star flowers in May and June followed by great glowing yellow fall color. The tall plants (3-4’) need no staking and perform well in dry, rocky soils in full sun or light shade.

*Aquilegia canadensis. Columbine. This cheerful red and yellow native of dry, rocky woods and meadows has a deep taproot which makes it good for dry slopes. Blooming in April and May, it attracts hummingbirds as well as other pollinators. Blooms at 2’ with pretty meadow rue leaves. Grows easily from seed.


Arum italicum f. pictum. Lords and ladies. Mottled leaves produced in the fall are attractive in the winter landscape, followed by hooded flowers and spikes of bright orange berries in spring. Then the plant goes dormant until another year. A winter ground cover, unpalatable to deer. Dry shade, 18” tall.

*Asarum canadense. Wild ginger. This native ground cover produces purple spiky flowers at ground level, where ants seek out the sweet fleshy seeds. That’s how it spreads. At 6” tall, it has mat green leaves and is great for dry shade. Divide the stems and replant runners.

Asarum europaeum. European wild ginger. The shiny leaves of this European counterpart to our native ginger is equally fine in the woodland garden. The plants do indeed smell like culinary ginger and were supposedly used that way by early settlers. Maybe.

*Asimina triloba. Pawpaw. This small understory tree or shrub grows 15-20’ tall. It is found in low bottom woods and along streams. It’s really a tropical species but is perfectly hardy. The tree sends out root suckers to form thickets, so is not a good candidate for a lawn specimen. You need two different one for fruit, which is a green sweet custard type ripening in October. Sun or shade, moist soil..

Athyrium angustum f. rubellum. Lady in red fern. This gorgeous fern grows 18-30” in shade or deep shade or even sun, with adequate moisture. The real beauty is the red stems in contrast to the lacy foliage. No pests or diseases. No deer.