Sea Holly although it behaves like a prairie plant is not native. It has however been in North America since the 1800’s. I love it for its true blue color. This small thistle like plant has round umbels with bright steel blue flowers and blue-green bracts, on bright blue stems. The color, although quite bright blue also appears somewhat silvery; so this plant is wonderful in the moon garden and as a backdrop for white flowers. This is one of those plants that will live nearly anywhere, but it is best in full sun and sandy or poor soil and not too wet. If placed in shade or overly rich soil it tends to get bigger and flop over. In preferred conditions it stays about 2 feet tall, fuller and upright. This plant is very drought tolerant once established and is also ignored by deer. It is a super easy care free plant, just cut the taller stems from the basil leaves once a year. I usually do it very late in fall. The plant dries really well and holds its color when dried. If using it for wreaths and arrangements wait until the stems and flowers develop their brightest color.$5.00
Category: Perennials Page 2 of 3
This native plant is 3-4 feet tall and a branched form can make it equally as wide. The fuzzy, dark green, three lobed leaves make it deer resistant. It prefers moisture but will do fine in any condition including drought when established. The plant self-sows easily and flowers in the second year so don’t worry that they are considered a short lived perennial. These plants seem to “move around” in your garden. The first year it is a mound of basal foliage and the next year a mass of 1-2 inch bright yellow flowers with contrasting dark brown centers. They bloom from midsummer into hard frost. It plays well with native grasses and is a great cut flower.$4.00
‘Karl Rosenfield’ produces magnificent deep red to magenta flowers that fill the garden with fragrance. Hardy to zone 3 The Peony is an extremely long lived, hardy, shrub-like plant. Flowers are extremely showy, and foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season.
Commonly called Beardtongue, this native plant is a perennial that is fully hardy to zone 3. Mature plants can be 2 feet tall and a foot and a half across. The shiny leaves are dark green/maroon and the undersides are fully colored maroon, as are the stems and flower stalks. It holds its color long into fall, after most things have gone dormant. The beautiful upright stems of lipped, tubular flowers are white to very light pink. Husker’s Red blooms in April to June and then re-blooms until frost if cut back when the first stalks start to go to seed. The white flowers have high contrast with the foliage so the plant is ideal for the moon garden. The plant has the best foliage color, and blooms best, in full sun, but it can take some shade. It’s super easy to care for, just remove old foliage in spring and cut off seed heads in fall if you don’t want self-sowing. It has many other benefits including being deer resistant, drought tolerant once established, and attractive to bees, birds and butterflies. Being the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year in 1996 is what brought this plant into the public eye and into our gardens. Penstemon means five stamens in Greek.$6.00
This Lupine is native to western Canada and north western US. It was hybridized by Russell in the 1930’s by crossing with other species to get a wide range of colors, the Russell lupine is not the same as the plant that I have. The selection that I’m offering is mainly purple, but I occasionally get different shades of pink. Lupines prefer cool moist conditions, full sun to part shade. The flower spikes are 3-4 feet tall, rising above a cluster of compound palmate leaves. This plant is perennial and can live for many years in the right conditions. Although they do need moisture, they do best in a sandy soil. Here’s another benefit of the lupine; because they are in the pea family they fix nitrogen and can improve dry sandy soils. Some say that these plants don’t transplant well. I find this to be untrue. Small plants do very well as long as they are watered frequently after planting. Lupines are poisonous to livestock, but this is a benefit to those of us living in the woods, since deer won’t touch them. Lupines flower in response to day length which is why they bloom earlier, the farther north you are…interesting.
One order consists of multiple one year old plants or one two year old plant. You may specify which you prefer.
Ligularia stenocephala – The Rocket; Commonly called Senco or Leopard plant. This is a stately, noble specimen plant with huge leathery leaves. Give this moisture lover room as it can reach heights of 5 feet and easily 5 feet across. The leaves are serrated and deep green on top, with dark maroon/ green on the reverse side and on the stems. We use these huge leaves for making leaf castings. Tall spikes of golden yellow flowers start to climb above the foliage in mid to late summer and are a hummingbird favorite. The plant produces a large number of seeds, but don’t worry, you will not have a million seedlings; the plant is sterile. The plant will do well in part sun to mostly shade and is hardy here in northern WI (zone 4). Ligularia will live in most soils but prefers a rich moist soil. It will tolerate an overly moist soil, but not too much humidity. If the soil is too dry the plant will droop rather than die and in that case will need supplemental watering. There is a light sweet fragrance and the name means sweet smelling roots in Japanese which is where the species is from.
This gorgeous specimen plant is brilliant in the back of a shady border or at the ponds edge, and hardy to zone 3. They get 3 feet tall with a 4 foot spread, and heart shaped leaves that can be a foot across. The foliage emerges burgundy with the leaves turning dark green on the top side, but holding their burgundy color on the underside and stems. Golden to orange/yellow daisy-like flowers emerge in July. Desdemona likes wet soil, and will benefit from part to full shade; but really this architectural beauty is quite easy and will do fine in nearly any conditions. They will take some sun and do fine with less than optimal water.
A 3 to 5 foot tall native perennial with an equally wide spread. It is great on a prairie or in a wild garden. In the border just be aware that you will need to give it space and consider removing the seed heads if you don’t want too many seedlings. The Branched stems have masses of sunflower-like heads. The petals as well as the cone-shaped center disk are yellow. The 2 inch flowers are nicer than “real” native sunflowers because the petals remain though out the summer and into fall where the sunflower petals fade as the seeds are produced. It tolerates both dry sandy soil and clay and needs little care other than to cut it back when it is done. You can do this in spring if you like the branching skeleton for winter interest. This multipurpose butterfly magnet is great for arrangements and doubles as a bird feeder.$4.00
Bleeding heart has attractive mounded foliage with arching stems of delicate, heart-shaped flowers in spring. It thrives in moist woodland gardens along with ferns and other shade-lovers. They are deer resistant and this is the old fashioned variety favored for cottage gardens that has pink hearts and white teardrops falling from them. The plant is ephemeral which means that the foliage will die back after they flower and reappear the next spring. You may notice seedlings; transplant them to a desired spot.$5.00
Vibrant pink feathery flower spikes appear from June thru August. You can cut them and hang to dry for arrangements. Glossy deep green foliage is deeply cut and very graceful. The stems are also pink. This tough hardy perennial is not bothered by pests or disease. Leave seed heads standing for winter interest. Prefers part shade with loamy moist soil, but can be grown in sun if it is watered enough. The plant is 2 feet tall with an 18” spread. It attracts butterflies and humming birds and is resistant to rabbits and deer.