See also: Herbaceous Perennials
Honestly I was just wandering around the Georgia Botanical Garden when I was first introduced to Cestrum 'Orange Peel'. The name is far too cute for this tough and undemanding plant that thrives in the heat of summer.

Cestrum 'Orange Peel'

Cestrum 'Orange Peel' - garden perennial for sunny exposures. Click for larger.

Cestrum 'Orange Peel' bears flowers faintly reminiscent of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), coming into bloom just as butterfly weed finishes. Cestrum 'Orange Peel' is extremely long-flowering, from early summer into late fall.

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See also: Garden RosesDavid Austin Roses
'The Alnwick Rose' from David Austin is a pink rose that is the result of breeding a yellow David Austin rose, Golden Celebration, with an unnamed seedling. Introduced in 2001, The Alnwick Rose is considered a solid addition to the David Austin catalog.

Alnwick rose - gardening

The Alnwick rose in the garden.

'The Alnwick Rose' is considered more disease resistant than many David Austin roses, and stays within a manageable size (four feet by four feet). Many early David Austin roses grew much larger in the heat of America than in their native England. Graham Thomas is a prime example of this habit.

The pink flowers are gorgeous.

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See also: Native PlantsTrees and Shrubs
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia) is not widely planted in gardens nor often available commercially, which is a shame because it is a beautiful native tree. Flowers are like mini-versions of Magnolia grandiflora, only 3"-4" across. Its smaller leaf structure allows sweetbay magnolia to fit into most gardens more gracefully than bigleaf magnolia.

Sweet bay magnolia virginiana - native tree

Magnolia virginiana - The sweetbay magnolia is a worthy addition to any garden. Click for larger.

Magnolia virginiana is most commonly called sweetbay magnolia, or sweetbay. Perhaps my favorite common name is beaver tree. As one might imagine with a name like beaver tree, Magnolia virginiana likes soils that are wetter than average.

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See also: Herbaceous Perennials
Asclepias curassavica, commonly known as tropical milkweed or blood flower, is not reliably winter hardy in gardens north of zone 8. Native to South America, tropical milkweed has showy scarlet and yellow flowers. Asclepias curassavica is longer flowering than the much beloved native Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed).

tropical milkweed

Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed, is showy and long-flowering, but not reliably hardy in temperate North America. Click for larger.

Tropical milkweed is attractive to monarch butterflies and easy to grow in a garden setting. It prefers full to partial sun and can tolerate dry conditions once established in spring. Tropical milkweed is also at the center of ecological research at my alma mater, the University of Georgia.

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See also: Native PlantsTrees and Shrubs
Aesculus parviflora (bottlebrush buckeye) is a deciduous shrub native to the southeastern U.S. that blooms in early summer. The freely produced panicles of white flowers are elegant and long-lasting in the garden, making the bottlebrush buckeye one of the most beautiful of our native shrubs.

bottlebrush buckeye

Aesculus parviflora - bottlebrush buckeye

Being a buckeye, Aesculus parviflora does produce nuts, although not (in my experience at least) as easily and freely as red buckeye (Aesculus pavia).

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See also: Native PlantsHerbaceous Perennials
Introduced in 1995, and often sold to gardeners as an annual, Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer' will come back some years. 'Short-lived perennial' is the catch-all term for plants that may or may not return each year. Indian Summer is the showiest black-eyed susan I am aware of, with golden yellow petals on flowers that can reach over 8" across.

Rudbeckia hirta Indian Summer

Ruckbecka hirta 'Indian Summer'. Click for larger.

Rudbeckia hirta is native to the eastern United States. Indian Summer, along with Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm', is easily found at your local garden nursery.

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See also: Garden Roses
Rosa gallica var. officinalis is a rose intertwined with human history, a.k.a. the apothecary's rose. Flowers can range from deep pink-red to clear pink. Yellow stamens juxtapose with the pink petals beautifully.

rosa gallica officinalis

Rosa gallica officinalis. Click for larger.

Rosa gallica officinalis' flowers are semi-double with nine to sixteen petals. Foliage has excellent disease resistance. Gallica roses bloom once per season.

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See also: Herbaceous Perennials
Hemerocallis fulva, tawny or orange daylily, has been planted in American gardens forever it seems. As you drive rural roads during early summer, the flashes of orange you see along the side of the road or in abandoned rural farmsteads are almost certainly Hemerocallis fulva (or perhaps Asclepias tuberosa - butterfly weed).

Hemerocallis fulva flower

Hemerocallis fulva flower detail. Click for larger.

Watch out, as Hemerocallis fulva will take over a bed completely. Choose where you plant orange daylily in the garden wisely, in places where it may spread and colonize the area completely. If you need to control erosion or have a weedy spot, tawny daylily is an apt choice.

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See also: Native Plants, Trees and Shrubs
Ryan Gainey hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Ryan Gainey') solves the primary issue many gardeners experience with the most commonly grown smooth hydrangea, 'Annabelle' (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'). Annebelle has floppy stems from the weight of the huge white flowers.

Ryan Gainey hydrangea

Ryan Gainey hydrangea flowers in early summer - Click for larger.

A specimen introduced by noted Atlanta garden designer Ryan Gainey, his namesake is a lower-growing cultivar with stronger stems, darker foliage, and smaller flowers than Annabelle hydrangea.

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See also: Trees and Shrubs
Gardeners in the south looking for small deciduous trees often think of dogwoods and redbuds, but Japanese stewartia can be an inspired choice in the garden. It is a small tree with beautiful flowers and foliage. Japanese stewartia functions well as an understory tree, flowering even in shady areas.

Japanese stewartia small tree for the garden.

Japanese stewartia flowers in early summer. Click for larger.

The scientific name is Stewartia pseudocamellia. The first time you see Japanese stewartia in the landscape the first instinct is to wonder why a camellia is blooming in summer. Pseudocamellia = 'false camellia'. Both camellias and stewartias are in the tea family.

The flowers are refined, 2"-3" across in single form with white petals and gold stamens. The flowers, while beautiful, are only a small part of the charm of Japanese stewartia, as its value spans all four seasons.

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