Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis

Every year the International Herb Association chooses one plant that is used as an herb to highlight. For 2007 this plant is lemon balm, an attractive plant with a fragrant, lemon-lik odor. Used for tea and medicinal purposes, it is very easy to grow. To learn more about this herb, read this article…

Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba

Commonly called Brown-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia triloba is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial with typical coneflowers with yellow rays and brown centers. This rangy plant with masses of small flowers works well in cottage gardens or in wildflower plantings. Learn more about this prairie native in this article…

Silver Sage, Salvia argentea

If you’re looking for a perennial with eye-catching foliage, silver sage is a great choice. This award-winning plant native to southern Europe has large, fuzzy, blue-green leaves that contrast nicely with other plants. Although it will flower, the individual flowers are not particularly impressive, and allowing it to bloom can weaken the plant. To learn more about silver sage, read this article…

Goatsbeard, Aruncus dioicus

Here’s a low-maintenance plant with spires of foamy white flowers and mounds of dark leaves that turn golden in the fall. This perennial combines well with many other plants in the shade garden. To learn more about goatsbeard, read this article….

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…

Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis

This early spring bloomer produces bright yellow flowers close to the ground. This plant in the buttercup family is one of the earlierst “bulbs” to bloom in spring. It’s actually not a true bulb, but a tuberous perennial. It is right at home in rock gardens, flower beds and woodland gardens. To find out more about this pretty harbinger of spring, 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…

Blue Oat Grass, Helictotrichon sempervirens

With steely blue foliage, blue oat grass is a great compliment to other grasses and many perennials. This cool-season grass is evergreen in mild climates, but the leaves may die back in the Midwest unless protected by snow. It tolerates many types of soils, although it should not remain too wet in winter. To learn more about this easy-care addition to beds and border, 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…

Wild Ginger, Asarum spp.

There are several species of perennial foliage plants in the genus Asarum that make great ground covers for shady sites. European wild ginger and the North American wild ginger are the most commonly used as landscape plants. Both have interesting, but inconspicuous, dark-colored flowers. Learn more about wild ginger in this article…

Support Extension