Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pickerelweed and Other Summer Favorites

Pickerelweed doesn't sound like the name of something wonderful, does it? But it is! This is one of DH's most successful Lowe's purchases, brought home over 12 years ago when we moved to the farm. First pickerelweed lived in a now defunct pond, behind the old house site. Then, since pickerelweed spreads quickly, I transplanted it into some of the nearby ditches, where it has formed large clumps. Here it is growing in a ditch is close to the old house site. Lizard's tail grew wild there already, and the pickerelweed loves it as well. If we get enough rain, pickerelweed blooms all summer and fall; if not, it goes underground and waits until next year.

Although an enthusiastic grower, pickerelweed is not to be confused with the extremely aggressive water hyacinth, which is from South America. Pickerelweed is native to the eastern US.

Crepuscule is new to the garden this year, and I managed to get a picture of the flower before Japanese Beetles devoured it. Crepuscule is considered by many rosarians in the Southeast to be *the* perfect rose. It's disease resistant, thornless, remontant, the flowers are very fragrant and a beautiful apricot color. This rose was bred by Francis Dubrueil (grandfather of Francis Meilland) in France in 1904.

This is mountain mint, P. incana. The leaves have a lovely cool silvery color and attracts many pollinators. I got it to help colonize the area that runs along the driveway.

You can see the bed beside the driveway is mulched with hay in this picture. There is a deep drainage ditch on the other side of the hay, then a narrow strip of land, then the neighbor's electric fence. In addition to the mint, there are several shrubs planted in that area, mostly roses (R. setigera, R. rugosa, R. arkansana, and Rosa x cantabrigiensis) along with an old-fashioned Pearlbush.

The flowers are white and have a cool silvery look as well. The smell of the foliage is pure mint and wafts off of the plants on warm days.

'Raspberry Wine' -- a beautiful name for a beautiful flower.

This Stoke's aster must be a cultivar, the flowers are such a bright, crisp violet-blue, but I can't find a tag... The blue is much brighter than that of Stoke's aster I grew from seed from the NC Botanical Garden. It's probably 'Peachie's Pick', one that Niche Garden sells.

Brazilian blue sage peaking out from under the leaves of a fig that we transplanted from my husband's grandparents' yard. I have this sage with the black calyx and another with the green calyx and love both of them. The hummingbirds love them too. The sage and Buddleia 'Potter's Purple' seem to be special favorites.

This is a shot taken where the house use to stand, looking west, of a swamp cyrilla and sweet pepperbush. I didn't plant these, they grew there on their own. This cyrilla is a seedling of two older ones that grow close by. The flowers are very much like those of sourwood. I first noticed the parents of this tree when the leaves turned color in November. The leaves usually start out bright orange and may turn red before dropping in late December. The bark is much like wax myrtle, smooth and a lovely gray/brown with silvery patches. It is a picturesque little tree with a lot of beauty and character.


  1. Looking at your pictures I think about introducing more native plants into my garden. Especially now, when I am discovering new losses almost every day due to a deer visits. You are doing such a great job in your garden!

  2. I can see why your husband loves that pickerel weed. It is great! I don't have it here and really know nothing about it. The diversity you have is really something.

  3. Hi Sweet Bay! Yes, our posts are similar. I haven't heard of pickerlweed, but sure like yours. I'll have to see if it grows here. That last flower looks happy to be where it is. It reminds me of speedwell.

    I like your kind of mountain mint, too. Last summer, mine were full of bees and wasps most of the day.

    I also enjoy growing Stokes asters.

    Oh, as I'm about to send this, my eyes have landed on your raspberry wine. Yes it is beautiful. Is is a monarda?

  4. I was going to say Sue just posted on her mountain mint, but I see she found you.

  5. I just like everything - you have that look I love. The Raspberry Wine is beautiful. Monarda right? And your rose, how delicate and the color is too.
    Love it all. Linda

  6. I just added Pickerweed to my pond and it's got some buds on it that I can't wait to see bloom. Yours looks really good. I love seeing pictures of your garden and the variety you have!

  7. I love the clethra but it is just too dry for it here in most years. I'd love to be able to grow a couple nice bushes.

    Ah, Crepuscule, I would give much to be able to have that here also. I've seen photos of it that take your breath away.

    Your farm is beautiful. It looks like all those flowers and shrubs naturalized there. Amazing job.

  8. It's always nice to have native plants especially when they are this beautiful. I love the Raspberry Wine! -Jackie

  9. the Swamp Cyrilla is a plant I had not heard of, thanks! Looks interesting. Natives sure make life easier.

  10. How lucky you are to have Pickerelweed growing wild in the ditches. Wonder how it got its name? Silvery-colored foliage is always attractive to me and yours is no exception. As usual, the bunny ate my one and only Aster, so I'll just enjoy the nice flowers on yours. It's so pretty there in NC. My husband sometimes thinks he'd like to live there, but it's more for the the NASCAR shops than gardens. One winter we did do a tour of the all race shops. Well, he did. I sat in the car reading while he toured.

  11. The flower you call Rasberry wine. What a funny and lovely one! I think it is the same we call Temynta, Monarda didyma. Is it the same?

  12. Hi everyone, thank you for your comments! Raspberry Wine is a Monarda. I believe it's a didyma x fistulosa hybrid.

    Donna, yes, Nascar is very big down here. My husband has some relatives who are big fans.

  13. I grew mountain mint years ago and just loved the fragrance that was released when the leaves were brushed. It always seemed to be a cold, crisp fragrance, great on a hot summer day.

    Always Growing

  14. Sweet Bay I love your Pickerelweed both the name, plant and flower... It looks like a thug that would fit in with my garden thugs just fine. I also like your wordage ... " enthusiastic grower". I love it! It most likely would not survive our winters though. Lovely the way it seems to be naturalizing. I also favor your Mountain Mint it too looks like the sort of plant that could put my bishops weed in it's place. Great foliage.I am intrigued by your Pearlbush... so too your bumblebee. Your bee balm is beautiful! The Brazilian Sage is stunning... so exotic there under the fig. Wonderful post!

  15. Dear Sweetbay, I love this post! So many delightful plants to ooh and ahh over! Isn't stokesia a wonderful critter magnet! I think I must investigate the Mountain Mint! Could it take the drier conditions...your garden has moisture (you lucky gardener!) gail

  16. Gail, Mountain Mint does very well in dry conditions... mine is planted on a somewhat raised bed next to the driveway, and conditions there are quite dry. I think it would love your garden.

  17. Beautiful shots! I work at a nursery and the Clethra there is in full bloom. With so many concentrated into a small area the fragrance is nearly overwhelming. I'm thinking of limiting the amount of time my employees are permitted to spend near them. I do not want anyone passing out from overexposure.

  18. Donna I looked up the origin of the name pickerelweed and what's weird, the plant is a NA native that's named after a European fish!
    How pickerelweed got its name.

    Les, yes, the fragrance of Sweet Pepperbush is very strong and sweet. Passing out? Delirious with a feeling of well-being maybe. ;) lol


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