Peonies: Long-lived, Voluptuous Beauties

Peonies grow really well in the cold climate of the Midwest, requiring a prolonged winter chill in order to flower. There are numerous cultivars in a range of colors from white to pink and red, with some yellow and orange tones mixed in. These long-lived perennials are also fairly easy to grow if you know how. Get some tips on growing these beauties in this article…

Glory-of-the-Snow, Chionodoxa forbesii

Light blue, upward facing flowers bloom early in the spring – sometimes even poking out of the snow, giving rise to the common name glory-of-the-snow. Chionodoxa forbesii is a great addition to gardens in beds, for naturalizing or mixed in a lawn. This small bulb combines well with other spring bulbs, too. Learn more about glory-of-the-snow in this article…

Bells of Ireland, Molucella laevis

It really has nothing to do with Ireland – other than it’s green color – but that didn’t stop the marketers from giving this annual the name Bells of Ireland. It’s unusual green inflorescenses have been a symbol of good luck for centuries. Learn more about Molucella laevis in this article…

Angel’s Trumpet, Brugmansia

With huge, fragrant  flowers hanging from a small tree, angel’s trumpet is a spectacular exotic plant common in the tropics. It can also be grown as a seasonal outdoor plant in the Midwest during the summer, or as a conservatory plant. There are many species and hybrids of Brugmansia although many retailers only offer unnamed plants by flower color. To learn more about this interesting group of tropical trees and how they can be grown in cold climates, read this article…

Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch'

There are numerous cultivars of Dianthus that make great additions to the garden. Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’ has been chosen by the Perennial Plant Association as their Plant of the Year 2006. With shocking magenta flowers and blue foliage, it’s not one to disappear into the landscape! To learn more about this tough, pretty low-growing plant, read this article…

Clivia

With glossy leaves and clusters of brilliant orange flowers in late winter, this exotic tender perennial makes a nice houseplant. Native to souther Africa, it is now used as a landscape plant in mild climates around the world. To learn more about kaffir lily or clivia, read this article…

‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod, Solidago rugosa

With a sensational explosion of golden flowers bursting from the plant like skyrockets, ‘Fireworks’ is not your usual goldenrod. This refined cultivar of our native North American Solidago rugosa makes a great focal point in the autumn garden. Hardy to zone 4, slowly expanding clumps grow 3-4 feet tall but rarely need staking. Combine this spectacular plant with purple asters and bright-colored chrysanthemums for a fabulous fall display! Learn more about ‘Fireworks’ in this article…

Winecups, Callirhoe involucrata

Brilliant magenta cup-shaped flowers festoon the rambling stems of winecups all summer long. This native prairie plant comes from dry, rocky areas, but tolerates many types of soil. It combines particularly well with other plants that have pink flowers or blue to gray foliage. Learn more about Callirhoe involucrata in this article…

Nierembergia

Nierembergia is not a common plant in the upper Midwest. This perennial in the potato family is only hardy to zone 7, so in colder climates it is grown as an annual. It loves hot, dry weather, so is good for edging along pavement or flagstone, in rock gardens and in containers. To learn more about this plant that flowers in white or purple, read this article…

Campanula carpatica ‘Blue Clips’ & ‘White Clips’

Campanula carpatica is a low growing herbaceous perennial from the Carpathian Mountains of southeastern Europe. One of the best selections of this species is the ‘Clips’ series. These plants form neat mounds of light green foliage about a foot wide and 6-8 inches tall and remain in clumps that spread only slowly. To learn more about these attractive perennials, read this article…

Controlling Creeping Charlie, Gleochoma hederaceae

It doesn’t matter what common name you call it, Glechoma hederaceae is a pest in lawns and gardens. This European perennial plant in the mint family – often called creeping Charlie – thrives in moist, shady spots and is difficult to eradicate because it can spread by runners and seeds. To learn more about how to control this creeping nuisance, read this article…

Lady of the Night Orchid, Brassavola nodosa

With a lovely perfume coming from the flowers in the evening, Lady of the Night orchid is aptly named. This relatively small epiphytic orchid from Central and South America adapts readily to being grown as a houseplant. To learn more about Brassavola nodosa and how to grow it as a pot plant, read this article…

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