Alyssum is a good, low growing or cascading rock garden flower for early season yellow color
Athyrium- Japanese Painted Fern is a dwarf fern with silver and reddish blades. It works nicely in a shade garden.
Astilbe- is a well-loved favorite that blooms lavender, pink, red and white in June. It grows best in partial shade. Astilbe make a bold statement when planted in a group. Unfortunately, the flower is relatively short lived- generally only a couple of weeks.
Boltonia Snowbank is a sturdy plant, growing about 3’ tall and producing white aster flowers in August-September.
Coreopsis Moonbeam- blooms pale yellow throughout much of the growing season. Its lacy foliage grows about 1’ tall. Moonbeam can not be counted upon to always over-winter successfully.
Coreopsis Zagreb is a favorite of ours. It grows a little taller than Moonbeam, about 1.5’, and can be depended upon to produce small yellow flowers all season long, year after year. Zagreb grows in full sun and partial shade.
Dicentra Luxuriant- Pink Bleeding Heart is a dwarf, somewhat delicate, plant that produces attractive pink, heart-shaped flowers
Dicentra Snowdrift- White Bleeding Heart is tougher than Luxuriant and produces its white, heart-shaped flowers throughout the season. It works best in partial shade.
Echinacea Bright Star- Pink Coneflower is one of our best, long-blooming summer flowers. It belongs in every serious perennial garden.
Echinacea White Swan- White Coneflower is equal to Bright Star in its long-blooming summer performance
Eupatorium- Perennial Ageratum produces attractive lavender flowers in fall when most other perennials are shutting down
Geranium John Elsley is a very nice, low growing, pink blooming geranium. It works well as a front edging plant or in a rock garden.
Geranium Rozanne grows a little taller than John Elsley and also produces pink flowers. The entire family of perennial geraniums performs well.
Heliopsis is a taller plant that produces a nice yellow flower, excellent for cutting, in the summer.
Hemerocallis- Daylily comes in hundreds of varieties. It flowers in shades of yellow, orange, red, pink and lavender. Daylily is a great early summer bloomer that can grow in sun but prefers some shade. It’s too bad that deer love its flower bud so much.
Hibiscus Southern Belle grows 3-4’ tall and produces huge plate-shaped flowers of mixed colors in summer
Hosta varieties are as numerous as those of Daylily. Hosta foliage can range in size from small blades to huge leaves 2’ across. We grow and use several dozen hosta varieties. We prefer ones with the most striking variegated foliage.
Hosta will grow where nothing else will. Have a problem with shallow soil or shade? Attractive gardens can be constructed in difficult areas comprised entirely of contrasting hosta varieties. As long as there is not a deer presence, hosta can represent a great solution.
Iberis- Candytuft is a nice, small fronting or rock garden flower that blooms white in April. Its compact, deep green, blade-like leaves are evergreen.
Iris Germanica-Bearded Iris is a beautiful flower that unfortunately blooms only a couple of weeks. Even without the flower, however, Bearded Iris provides textural contrast to a garden with its spiky foliage.
Iris Germanica Zebra boasts stunning foliage blades variegated white and green.
Iris Sibirica- Siberian Iris is taller than bearded iris and has a smaller flower but it is tolerant of poor drainage, which makes it valuable. In addition, deer do not eat it.
Leucanthemum Becky- Shasta Daisy is one of our favorite plants. It produces abundant white daisy flowers throughout the early and mid-summer. When flowers begin to fade, Becky’s foliage can be cut low and the plant will regenerate and bloom again. Becky belongs in every perennial border.
Liatris Kobold produces lavender-pink flower stalks in summer. Kobold is a relatively long bloomer.
Ligularia Othello features large greenish purple foliage that grows best in light shade. It produces orange daisy flowers in summer. Othello is an excellent choice for the shade garden.
Liriope Silvery Sunproof is sort of a cross between a small daylily and an ornamental grass. It has white and green variegated foliage with a small purple flower stalk in late summer. We like to use Liriope as an edging plant.
Lythrum Robert produces pink flower stalks in summer. It is not at all invasive as some other lythrum are.
Monarda-Bee Balm produces a daisy-like red flower in July that is excellent for cutting. Monarda is one of our better blooming summer flowers. Newer varieties are more mildew resistant
Nepeta Blue Wonder- Catnip is a fantastic low mounding plant that is covered with lavender blooms for much of the growing season. It loves sun and is deer resistant. We love it.
Nepeta Subsessilis is a more upright Catnip form growing about 2’ tall with a larger flower than Blue Wonder. It doesn’t bloom as long as Blue Wonder but it is still a nice addition to gardens in deer country.
Oenothera- Evening Primrose produces an abundance of cupped shaped yellow flowers in June. Oenothera foliage is only so-so in appearance. The plant will spread aggressively if left unchecked.
Peony blossoms make fantastic cut flowers. It is unfortunate that the plant blooms for such a short period. We strongly recommend that peony cages be positioned over peony plants before new growth begins in spring. The wire or plastic cages will give the plant stems the support that they will surely need once the large flower blossoms open up. What invariably happens in May is that soon after the peonies come out in bloom, we receive a heavy rainstorm and the top-heavy stems are bent to the extent that the bloom period is significantly reduced.
Peony blooms white, pink and red with either single or double flowers. It grows as a sturdy multiple-stem plant 2’ or more in height. The foliage, even when not in bloom, adds body and textural interest to a garden. It is substantial enough to almost be considered a shrub. This is an important consideration in deer country, where deer resistant flowering shrubs are hard to find.
Phlox is an old-time, cottage garden favorite that is still one of our best summer bloomers. There are many hybrid varieties available, some more mildew resistant than others. The flower color range includes white, pink, lavender and red. If your garden is not ravaged by a lot of wildlife, summer phlox should be a part of it.
Creeping Phlox is an excellent low rock garden flower for early season color
Primula- Primrose is a wonderful low edging flower that blooms very early in spring and keeps blooming for at least a month. The foliage tends to dieback in summer, then regenerate in fall. Primrose can be found in a wide range of colors.
Pulmonaria is another low edging flower that blooms for more than a month in early spring. A neat characteristic of some pulmonaria varieties is that both blue and pink flowers are produced on the same stem. Pulmonaria foliage features spotted white variegation. This is an underused plant that we like a lot.
Rudbeckia Goldsturm- Black Eyed Susan is one of our best summer bloomers. It tolerates the summer heat much better than most other perennials. It features a golden daisy-like flower with a brown center.
Salvia Blue Hill is a favorite of ours. It is one of the first salvia to start blooming in May and it just keeps on going. Blue Hill becomes covered in bluish-lavender flowers over its low mounding habit. When it peters out during summer, the plant foliage can be cut back to newly emerging leaves from its base. Blue Hill will then begin to flower again.
Salvia Lubeca blooms more purple in color than does Blue Hill. It starts in early June and continues flowering for most of the month. Lubeca does not regenerate its flowers as much as Blue Hill does.
Salvia May Night looks and acts very similarly to Lubeca. When the purple flower spikes of the salvia family of plants kicks into gear in early June, this signals the real start of the summer perennial garden; it is at this point where the garden really starts to look good.
Salvia Purple Rain has larger foliage than the other salvia varieties but a similar purple flower stalk. It will spread out a lot.
Salvia Snow Hill looks a lot like Blue Hill but with white flowers. It is another great salvia variety and it can be cut back to regenerate blooms.
Sedum Autumn Joy is one of our best blooming fall perennials. It displays nice succulent green foliage for much of the growing season, then produces a pink flower head in September. It grows about 18” tall.
Stachys Helen Von Stein- Lamb’s Ear is a great low edging plant for sunny, hot locations. Its sterile, silver foliage adds unique coloring to the garden. Deer do not like it.
Stokesia is a small plant that produces a surprisingly large, daisy-like, lavender or blue flower in summer. It’s a nice plant that is underutilized.