Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blooming Friday -- Second Favorite Garden Center (NCBG) Part III

Rather than put up practically the same pictures I put up on Bloomday, I've decided to continue with the Botanical Garden posts and plants that I grew from seed received from the Garden.

Small's beardtongue (Penstemon smallii) is a lovely short-
lived Penstemon that prefers dry half shade. I love it. It's very showy.

One plant can form a very sizeable clump.

Butterfly Weed is a plant that I can only grow from broadcasting the seed. I know it's transplantable when small, but I still haven't had any luck with growing it in pots. So I broadcast the seed (fresh has worked best for me) and it always comes up.

Bees and butterflies love it, and the flowers create such a bright spot in the garden.

Tall skullcap (Scutellaria integrifolia) grows wild here, forming colonies beside the woods and in ditches. I've transplanted some into the garden and enjoy its beautiful lavender-blue flowers in May. The Garden also sometimes sells Heart-Leaf Skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) and Hoary Skullcap (Scutellaria incana).

Scutellaria integrifolia

S. ovata, which has broad fuzzy gray-green leaves, blooms a month later in June.

Scutellaria incana blooms last in mid-summer. This one is tall (for a skullcap -- about 2 feet high) with shiny silvered leaves. It tolerates dry half-shade very well. All of the skullcaps repeat some until winter cold shuts them down.

I first read about pineland hibiscus in the Wasowski's book Gardening with Native Plants of the South, which Sally Wasowski described as having "gorgeous flowers, which range from palest yellow to rich cream with an unusual pleated texture, scalloped edges, and velvety red centers." Who can resist such a description? The flowers more than live up to expectation, by the way. H. aculeatus is a small hibiscus, the only one I have that prefers dry conditions, and while never covered in flowers it throws some blooms all summer and fall. The foliage is unusual too, highly divided and with a wonderful rough texture.

Dotted Horsemint has a certain understated elegance. There's something about the combination of pink and green and the way the flower is put together that really captures the eye. The foliage has a smoky musky fragrance.

Hibiscus coccineus is gorgeous -- a bit tall and gawky, but still gorgeous. Unfortunately its color doesn't agree with the rest of my garden, so it's been relegated to the pond in one of the floodway fields. This hibiscus can grow with its roots under water year round.

American beautyberry has beautiful fruit. It's even a very handsome shrub when pruned every spring, although it often ultimately assumes a rather octopus-like habit by fall. I like it best mingling with other plants.

I got one plant from my packet of aromatic aster seeds (the rest rotted). From that one plant I probably have at least 2 dozen divisions. IMO this is probably the perfect aster: it's low-growing, well-behaved, and a very exuberant late bloomer. True to its name it has sticky foliage that has the sweet scent of pine sap.

I have a swamp sunflower from Niche Gardens, and then this more delicate swamp sunflower from the Botanical Garden. This has much narrow leaves and may prove to have more healthy foliage, although it will have to be in my garden larger than a year to prove that. The flowers really glow and are the ultimate eye-catcher.

Thanks to Katarina at roses and stuff for hosting Blooming Friday.


  1. Wow, those are all in your garden? It looks vast! And lovely. Ah, summer... it will be here someday. Lots that we can't grow here in the NW but they look really fun, and how impressive that you grew them from seed! That penstemon in particular, I want to see if it would grow here. I think I lost my big garnet one to frost this winter, sadly.

  2. Wow, nice summer pictures you're showing! :-) I especially like the Hibiscus coccineus.

  3. Beautiful pictures. That American beatyberry, that was something! Probably to cold here in mid Sweden.

  4. I have a packet of butterfly weed to start this spring. I'm glad you recommended direct seeding, that is what I had planned.

    The beautyberry is lovely. Wish I had some room for one.

  5. What a glorious collection of blooming plants to brighten this snowy, blowy morning. The wind is blowing snow straight across the landscape. It's going to be a blustery day!
    You have some real beauties in your garden. I'd love to try growing penstemon. Those fuzzy bee photos are wonderful :)

  6. I just love the color of the Beautyberry! It's amazing! I wonder if it can grow here in my garden...
    You have lots of lovely photos today - thanks för showing. =)

    Have a nice weekend.

  7. Thanks for the visit in this beautiful garden. Simply beautiful! :) I really do like the hibiscus and the American Beautyberry.

    Have a nice weekend!

  8. You've got such interesting plants! The American Beautyberries has such an unusual colour - I would love to be able to grow that one. And that pale Hibiscus...such a lovely flower! Your penstemon looks similar to one that I have in my garden.
    Thanks for showing all those lovley plants - and have a lovely weekend!

  9. Is it a Callicarpa, the one you call Beautyberry?
    If so I have one .... :-)))

  10. I too spread some butterfly weed seeds. I hope I get some to come up. Do you remember about when they appear in the garden? I have a couple of beautyberries. I just cut them down to knee level the other day. I think I'll like that better, but we'll see. All these flowers are splendid and I appreciate all the information you put out about them.

  11. Hi Karen,
    Yes all of the plants in this post are in my garden. I don't know how many of these plants would grow in the NW, but they're worth trying, and easy to grow from seed.

  12. Thank you for your kind comments everyone.

    Glädjekällan, the Beautyberry is Callicarpa americana. :)

  13. Tina, I think the Butterfly Weed usually starts sprouting when the weather gets hot.

  14. Hi Sweet Bay,
    I grow most of the plants in the first part of your list, up to the hibiscus. I do have a couple, but not the same kind as yours. I love skullcaps. They are great bloomers.

    My butterfly milkweeds are late coming up in the spring. Sometimes I am about to give up on them, and then they come up. My hibiscus is late coming up, too.

    What a lovely bunch of blooms!

  15. Sweetbay, Such loveliness...aren't we lucky to have wildflowers and beauties like this to enjoy! A wonderful yellow on the swamp sunflowers...and I must check out the is quite lovely. Thanks for a lovely time~~gail

  16. Hi Sweetbay, thanks so much for showing these plants. Some I know and some are new to me. As the seed orders are placed, and wish lists are made, seeing these plants helps add to the lists. The skullcap is intriguing, I have tiny little pink flowered ones that are so drought tolerant it is wonderful, but wish they were taller. The blue one you show is lovely.

  17. Hi Sue,
    Yes Butterfly Weed and Hibiscus like it hot, hot, hot. lol I am happy to have plants that thrive under a blazing midsummer sun, even as that sun makes me wilt.


    Both Swamp Sunflowers and Scutellaria would love your garden. Swamp Sunflowers are one of those plants that can thrive in low-oxygen soil, and doesn't really need moisture. It's beautiful in dry gardens as well.

  18. Frances,

    I have pages of wish lists. :) You ought to see my iris wish list!

    Perhaps we could swap seeds -- I collect tons of seeds from my plants every year.


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