Deer Resistant

See also: Herbaceous Perennials, Peony Bowl of Beauty
I find peonies such as Pillow Talk achingly beautiful to look at and very difficult to photograph. Lots of petals and a cruelly short bloom time creates a narrow window of opportunity. Occasionally I stumble onto a worthwhile image and off we go...

peony pillow talk

Click for larger (please...I don't take many good shots of peonies).

Pillow Talk was released in 1974 and won a gold medal from the American Peony Society twenty years later. Such staying power says something. You can view the entire list of gold medal winners here.

Continue reading ‘Peony – Pillow Talk’

When a garden designer or landscape architect plants something in their own garden, you know they are serious. We are happy to appreciate plants in other people's gardens, but to find the plants closest to our hearts, snoop around our places. There is only so much room after all.

Evergreen clematis

The flowers are lovely, but Clematis armandii is a winner in all seasons. Click for larger.

Clematis armandii is a classic and one of my two favorite vines (the other being hops vine). It is the plant I walk under first thing in the morning and the plant I walk under last thing in the evening.

Continue reading ‘Clematis armandii’

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.

Continue reading ‘Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’’

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).

Continue reading ‘Aesculus parviflora – Bottlebrush Buckeye’

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.

Continue reading ‘Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’’

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.

Continue reading ‘Japanese Stewartia’

See also: Native PlantsHerbaceous Perennials
Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is a native perennial with possibly the coolest name in gardening. Eryngium yuccifolium earned its common name because native Americans used the roots as anti-venom for snake bites.

Eryngium yuccifolium

Rattlesnake master is a perennial native to North America. Click for larger.

As the name implies, rattlesnake master is a tough customer, at home in tough conditions. It likes sun, and lots of it. Dryish soils are perfect, and rattlesnake master is a candidate for xeric gardens.

Continue reading ‘Eryngium yuccifolium – Rattlesnake Master’

See also: Native Plants
The eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is native to various parts of the United States. The flowers are beautiful in spring. The flowers and perhaps the edible fruit are the main reason I would consider planting eastern prickly pear in the garden.

prickly pear flower

Prickly pear cactus growing in gravel along track tracks. Click for larger.

I personally would not choose to plant Opuntia in the landscape. Outside of the yellow flowers, I find few redeeming qualities to recommend prickly pear cactus aesthetically. Still, the eastern prickly pear is a native plant, and I would think twice before removing Opuntia humifusa from any garden or landscape where it occurs naturally.

Continue reading ‘Prickly Pear Cactus – Opuntia humifusa’

See also: Herbaceous Perennials
A stalwart of the perennial garden, golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria, syn. Cota tinctoria) bears beautiful golden flowers in spring. I like tough plants with lacy foliage...something about the juxtaposition of appearance and true nature is compelling.

golden marguerite

Garden perennial golden marguerite is a solid choice for the xeric garden. Click for larger.

Golden marguerite is a long-flowering perennial if cut back after each wave of flowering. Golden marguerite tolerates poor soils and prefers lots of sun. If you give golden marguerite too much shade and too rich soil, it may sprawl in the garden. Anthemis tinctoria is an excellent choice for xeric gardens.

Continue reading ‘Golden marguerite – Anthemis tinctoria’

See also: Native Plants
Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' (syn. 'Katherine') is a yellow-flowered variant of our native sweetshrub. Named after the city of Athens, Georgia, Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' was introduced by well-respected UGA professor Michael Dirr, who originally named the plant for his daughter Katherine.

Common names include sweetshrub, Carolina allspice, and strawberry bush. It is a beautiful and understated shrub.calycanthus floridus katherine

Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' bears softly colored butter-yellow flowers on a shrub that grows to nine feet tall after many years in the garden. The color of the flowers is reminiscent of those on the native tree Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip poplar)...perhaps a little softer.

Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' is native and deciduous, with nice fall color (yellow).

I spend a lot of time examining the gigantic specimen over at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and the flowers are so light that from a distance of over ten feet they blend into the medium-light green foliage. Carolina allspice 'Athens' is best viewed at a relatively close distance in order to appreciate the beautiful and unusual flowers.

Continue reading ‘Calycanthus floridus ‘Athens’’