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Dig It! Garden Blog

Category: Horticulture

Beautiful and Resilient Native Plants

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

In preparation for designing our parking lot gardens, CMBG horticulturist and landscape designer Jen Dunlap researched forest restoration and studied the process of naturalizing areas. She researched the species growing in Maine’s native forests, then branched out to add diversity to her design plans. The common denominator in all of her research was native plants.

As natural spaces dwindle, native insects, birds, amphibians and mammals lose their habitats. Here at the Gardens, we’re committed to using native plants in our landscaping in order to conserve biodiversity, contribute to a living landscape and to create pollination and migration corridors for animals and insects. Native species, already adapted to our particular growing conditions, work immediately toward restoring habitats for all creatures, regardless of where they fall on the food chain.

Though most native species are perennials and slow to grow, they are long-lived, low-maintenance, strong and resilient. This year’s new native plantings will include sundial lupines (Lupinus perennis), the beardtongue ‘Blackbeard’ (Penstemon), and Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

Those familiar with the Maine landscape are probably familiar with lupine and their fragrant, pea-like, blue-to-violet flowers that bloom in late spring. Besides being an iconic symbol of Maine, lupine enhance soil fertility by fixing nitrogen into a useful form in the soil. This particular lupine, sundial, is the sole host plant for the karner blue butterfly and a host plant for the frosted elfin butterfly. Sundial also attracts other beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds, while birds and small mammals enjoy the seeds.

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Because of its dark, eggplant-colored foliage, Penstemon ‘Blackbeard’ was named after the infamous English pirate. Bright lilac-purple flowers stand tall, and attractive dark burgundy seed pods follow the flowers. ‘Blackbeard’ is a magnet for hummingbirds and bees and sure to cause delighted cries of “Yo, ho, ho, me hearties!” from all who cross its path.

Though they’re called Virginia bluebells, these flowers are native as far north as Maine. When the cheery, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom, you know spring has arrived. These beauties start off pink, then slowly transition to a soft blue as flowers develop. Bluebells are perfect spring ephemerals for woodland gardens, and this herbaceous wildflower happily seeds itself in the garden, quickly forming a community of large drifts.

Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

As a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, one of my most favorite “duties” is designing new annual plantings and tweaking existing combinations every year. The daughter of two very artistic parents, I grew up making art and creating, and went on to be a fine arts major in college. When it came time to graduate, my work in horticulture – both as a summer job in Maine and a work-study position in college – had taught me the pure joy of using plants as a living art medium. The artistic nature of the work was one of the major factors that compelled me to move into horticulture as a career.

At the Gardens, one of the more frequent remarks I hear from guests is how much they love the different combinations of plants used throughout our property. While each horticulturist has their own, unique way of designing, I hope to share a little insight into my process of choosing those plants and perhaps help to inspire you in your own gardens along the way! Read More

The Promise of Spring

Monday, February 11th, 2019

As I walked into the office this morning and looked at our desks, I had to smile. Peeking out from the heaping piles of Carharts, gloves, and scarves were bright glossy images of impossibly perfect flowers gracing the covers of innumerable catalogs. Ah the promise of spring, just as surely as snowdrops poking through the late winter snow.

With the un-wrapping and processing of Gardens Aglow lights mostly behind us, we now turn our sights to one of my most favorite times in our year: next season’s garden designs. So the process begins… digging out catalogs and converting dreamy thoughts into concrete design. What color and texture combinations will inspire? How to incorporate and enhance my existing gardens with my choices? What is the right balance of perennial to annual plantings this year? What new cultivars are available and which would work in my combinations? Do I have a good ratio of workhorse plants to showy but brief ones? My list narrows as I research, create, and edit combinations, incorporating old tried and true friends with some experiments. I even take advantage of a warm winter day to walk my gardens, envision some of my combinations, and take a few measurements in areas I want to develop.

Part of this process involves allowing myself a little project of sorts by choosing a plant of focus for the upcoming season, and this year it is the irresistible poppy. It is one of those rare plants that offer endless options of color, texture, and shape, and I find it almost impossible to narrow my choices. I finally settle on an interesting mix of common, Icelandic, and California poppies, each made special and unique by its color – such as ‘Black Swan,’ a poppy that is well named for its almost black color, or ‘Pink Bicolor,’ with its delicate tissue-like foliage and elegant soft pink shade. I have done very little propagation of poppies so it will be a fun spring project, growing them and hoping that they will be the stars of my garden show this year.

With plant decisions made and combos committed to, I add my list to our plant orders and wait…and wait and wait!

– Lesley Paxson, horticulturist

California popppies lining the walk towards the Kitchen Garden Terrace.

What’s in Bloom – September 13, 2018

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Hibiscus are amazing and putting on quite a show! Lovers of black-eyed-Susan will not be disappointed this week. And be sure to check out the incredible blue flowers on the various types of gentains. And the very unusual flowers of Tricyrtis or toad lilies are sure to impress. Ornamental grasses are looking good and the asters are starting to open.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Hibiscus ‘Cherry Cheesecake’ – rose mallow
Hibiscus ‘Jazzberry Jam’ – rose mallow
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea
Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ – sweet coneflower

Founders’ Grove:
Hylotelephium ‘Autumn Joy’ – sedum

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Cyclamen purpurascens – purple cyclamen
Gentiana ‘True Blue’ – gentian
Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Blue River II’ – rose mallow
Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Pink Elephant’ – rose mallow
Lobelia siphilitica – great lobelia
Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’ – ornamental oregano
Phlox paniculata ‘Danielle’, ’David’, ‘Tracy’s Treasure’ – garden phlox
Pycnanthemum pilosum – downy mountain mint
Rosa ‘Nearly Wild’ – rose
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ – black-eyed susan
Sedum ‘Dazzleberry’ – sedum, stonecrop
Read More

What’s in Bloom – August 23, 2018

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Lobelia cardinalis, cardinal flower is spectacular! Be sure to check out the cool orb-like flowers of Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush). The flowers of Clethra alnifolia (summersweet) are filling the gardens with their lovely fragrance. Phlox are putting on quite a show too. Both the solidago (goldenrod) and coreopsis (tickseed) are in full bloom. The big white flowers of Hydrangea paniculata or peegee (panicle) hydrangea are very showy! Lovers of black-eyed-Susan and Joe-pye-weed will not be disappointed this week.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea

Founders’ Grove:
Clethra alnifolia ‘Sixteen Candles’ – summersweet
Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 31, 2018

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

The echinacea are looking great. Be sure to search out the Monarda (beebalm) and watch for hummingbirds at the bright colored flowers. Lilium selections look and smell amazing! The bottlebrush buckeye, a butterfly magnet, is in full flower. Phlox are starting to put on quite a show, too. Hydrangea paniculata (peegee or panicle hydrangea) are showy too!

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ – oakleaf hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia

Founders’ Grove:
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia
Magnolia virginiana – sweetbay magnolia

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ – yarrow
Actaea racemosa – black cohosh
Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’ – nodding onion
Anemonopsis macrophylla – false anemone
Calycanthus floridus ‘Michael Lindsey’ – sweetshrub
Campanula ‘Kent Belle’ – bellflower
Clematis addisonii – Addison’s leather flower
Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’ – purple coneflower
Eryngium planum ‘Tiny Jackpot’ – sea holly
Helenium hybrid ‘Helbro’ – sneezeweed
Hemerocallis ‘Spider Miracle’ – daylily
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bulk’ – panicle hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sike’s Dwarf’ – oakleaf hydrangea
Lavender x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ – lavender
Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ – shasta daisy
Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ – blazing star
Ligularia ‘Little Rocket’ – leopard plant
Lilium ‘Silk Road’ – orienpet lily
Lilium ‘Golden Stargazer’ – lily
Lobelia siphilitica – great lobelia
Melanthium virginicum – bunch flower
Monarda ‘Prärienacht’ – beebalm
Phlox paniculata ‘Danielle’ – garden phlox
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ – balck-eyed susan
Slater Forest Pond:
Actaea racemosa – black snakeroot
Ligularia ‘The Rocket’ – golden ray

Woodland Garden:
Actaea racemosa – black snakeroot
Campanula takesimana – Korean bellflower
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Kyushu’ – panicle hydrangea

Cleaver Event Lawn and Gardens:
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Allium ‘Millenium’ – ornamental onion
Echinacea ‘Rubinstern’ – purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ – purple coneflower
Helenium ‘Red Jewel’ – sneezeweed
Hemerocallis ‘Gordon Biggs’ – daylily
Hemerocallis ‘Ice Carnival’ – daylily
Hyrangea serrata ‘Midoriboshi Temari’ – mountain hydrangea
Inula magnifica ‘Gold in Spring’ – giant fleabane
Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ – gay-feather
Phlox paniculata ‘Danielle’ – garden phlox
Spigelia marilandica – indian pink
Thalictrum rochebruneanum – meadow rue
Veratrum formosanum – veratrum

Great Lawn and Ledge Gardens:
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Asclepias tuberosa – butterflyweed
Callirhoe involucrata – purple poppy mallow
Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’ – purple coneflower
Echinacea ‘Pica Bella’ – purple coneflower
Echinacea assorted selections – purple coneflower
Geranium ‘Gerwat’ – Rozanne geranium
Helenium hybrida ‘Hellbro’ – Mardi Gras sneezeweed
Hemerocallis ‘Unexpected Extra’ – daylily
Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’ – mallow
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ – black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia maxima – giant coneflower
Silphium perfoliatum – cup plant
Thalictrum rochebrunianum – giant meadow rue
Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ – culvers root

Bosarge Family Education Center Gardens:
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’ – swamp milkweed
Echinacea purpurea – purple coneflower
Eryngium yuccafolium – rattlesnake-master
Heliopsis ‘Bressingham Doubloon’ – false sunflower
Monarda – bee balm
Phlox paniculata ‘David’ – garden phlox
Rosa carolina – rose
Stokesia laevis ‘Blue Danube’ – Stoke’s aster

Harold & Bibby Alfond Children’s Garden:
Acanthus hungaricus – bear’s breeches
Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’ – yarrow
Allium ‘Pink Planet’ – ornamental onion
Astilbe ‘Ket West’ – astilbe
Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’ – Peruvian lily
Calycanthus ‘Venus’ – sweetshrub
Clematis x ‘Rooguchi’ – clematis
Delphinium exaltatum – tall larkspur
Delphinium grandiflorum ‘Dwarf Butterfly Blue’ – larkspur
Digitalia ferruginea – rusty foxglove
Echinacea purpurea ‘Elbrook’, ‘Rubinstern’ – purple coneflower
Eupatorium perfoliatum – boneset
Geranium ‘Jolly Bee’ – geranium
Hemerocallis ‘French Tudor’ – dayliliy
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’ – Incrediball smooth hydrangea
Hydrnagea arborescens ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ – smooth hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ – oakleaf hydrangea
Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ – lavender
Leucanthemum superbum ‘Becky’ – Shasta daisy
Liatris pycnostachya – prairie blazing star
Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’ – leopard plant
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ – trumpet honeysuckle
Monarda ‘Petite Delight’ – beebalm
Nepeta subsessilis – Japanese catmint
Nymphaea ‘Gold Medal’ – water lily
Ruellia humilis – wild petunia
Salvia dolichantha – clustered sage
Sanguisorba hakusanensis ‘Lilac Squirrel’ – burnet
Scutellaria incana – downy skullcap
Veronica spicata ‘Purpleicious’ – speedwell

Haney Hillside Garden:
Corydalis lutea – yellow fumitory
Dicentra eximia – fernleaf bleeding heart
Eutrochium fistulosum – hollow Joe-pye weed
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ – sunflower
Lobelia cardinalis – cardinal flower
Oxydendrum arboretum – sourwood

Vayo Meditation Garden:
Rhododedron prunifolium – plum-leaf azalea

Burpee Kitchen Garden:
Allium sphaerocephalon – drumstick onion
Hydrangea arborescens ‘A. G. Anabelle’ – smooth hydrangea
Hydrangea arborescens ‘PIIHA-I’ – Endless Summer Bella Anna smooth hydrangea

Arbor Garden:
Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’ – yarrow
Astilbe chinensis var. taquetii ‘Superba’ – Chinese astilbe
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite – sweetshrub
Clethra barbinervis – Japanese clethra
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ – purple coneflower
Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’ – sea holly
Geranium ‘Gerwat’ – Rozanne geranium
Geranium ‘Jolly Bee’ – geranium
Helenium hybrid ‘Hellbro’ – sneezeweed
Hyssopus officinalis ‘Blue’ – hyssop
Lavandula angustifloia ‘Munstead’ – lavender
Liatris ‘Floristan Weiss’ – blazing star
Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’ – ligularia
Perovskia atriplicifolia – Russian sage
Scutellaria incana – downy skullcap
Veratrum woodii – wood’s bunchflower
Verbena bonariensis – verbena
Veronicastrum virginicum – culver’s root

Giles Rhododendron and Perennial Garden:
Astilbe chinensis ‘Veronica Klose’ – astilbe
Astilbe ‘Sprite’ – astilbe
Deinanthe bifida ‘Pink Kii’ – two-lobed false hydrangea
Hydrangea arborescens ‘A. G. Annabelle’ – smooth hydrangea

What’s in Bloom – June 20, 2018

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Entrance Walk:
Aesculus x carnea ‘Ft. McNair’ – red horse chestnut
Benthamidia japonica var. chinensis ‘Samzam’ – Japanese dogwood
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Chionanthus virginicus – fringetree
Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris – climbing hydrangea
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ – ninebark

Founders’ Grove:
Heuchera ‘Fandango’ – coralbells
Iris ‘Spartan’ – iris

Lerner garden of the Five Senses:
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ – yarrow
Allium ‘Globemaster’ – ornamental onion
Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ – blue star
Calycanthus floridus ‘Michael Lindsey’ – sweetshrub
Clematis addisonii – Addison’s leather flower
Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Feuerhexe’ – cheddar pinks
Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ – variegated iris
Nymphaea ‘Fire Crest’ – pink waterlily
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’ – peony
Paeonia ‘Bartzella’ – Itoh peony
Paeonia ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – Itoh peony
Paeonia ‘Sanoma Amethyst’ – peony
Primula japonica – primrose
Rosa ‘Nearly Wild’ – rose
Salvia argentea ‘Hobbit’s Foot’ – sage
Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ – meadow sage
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ – sage
Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’ – comfrey
Syringa komarowii – lilac
Syringa pubescens ssp. patula ‘Miss Kim’ – lilac
Weigela ‘Alexandra’ – weigela
Read More

What’s in Bloom – June 7, 2018

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Entrance Walk:
Aesculus x carnea ‘Ft. McNair’ – red horse chestnut
Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’ – blue star
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Syringa x prestoniae ‘Donald Wyman’ – lilac
Viburnum plicatum forma tomentosum ‘Shasta’ – doublefile viburnum

Founders’ Grove:
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Albiflorus’ – white redvein enkianthus
Iris ‘Spartan’ – iris

‘Fernwood’s Golden Slipper’ and ‘Cream da Mint’ lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) outside of the Lerner Garden.

Lerner garden of the Five Senses:
Allium ‘Globemaster’ – ornamental onion
Calycanthus floridus ‘Michael Lindsey’ – sweetshrub
Clematis addisonii – Addison’s leather flower
Convallaria majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slipper’ and ‘Cream da Mint’ – lily of the valley
Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ – daphne
Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Feuerhexe’ – cheddar pinks
Diphylleia cymosa – umbrella leaf
Dodocatheon clevelandii ssp. insulare – Padre’s shooting star
Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’, ‘Lemon Zest’, ‘Yokihi’ – barrenwort
Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ – variegated iris
Lamprocapnos spectabile ‘Valentine’ – bleeding heart
Paeonia rockii – peony
Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’ – creeping phlox
Primula japonica – primrose
Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ – meadow sage
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ – sage
Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chuntz’ – thyme
Read More

What’s in Bloom – August 24, 2017

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is spectacular! These are at the Norweb Entrance Garden. – Sharmon, director of horticulture

Pennisteum ‘Fireworks’ certainly is putting on a show this time of year! This annual grass makes a great foliage contrast all season. Come see it at the entrance to the Arbor Garden. – Amy, writer/editor

I look forward to this gorgeous Rose of Sharon blooming every summer. Lavender, shades of blue, and dusky red make this an eye catching shrub that pollinators and humans alike simply cannot resist. Three cheers for the Hibiscus ‘Notwood Three.’ – Jen, horticulturist

I’m excited about the new addition of Monarda punctata (Spotted beebalm) around the Cleaver Event Lawn- it took me a few days to realize there were spotted golden flowers hiding beneath the pinkish bracts. I love this plant and so do the pollinators! – Anna, horticulturist

This sunflower! I just want to cut one down and hug it whenever I have a bad day. Seriously—it’s the cutest bloom I’ve ever had the luck to stumble upon. The bees think so, too! Helianthus annuus ‘Teddy Bear’ is in the Learning Garden in the Children’s Garden. – Amy, writer/editor

Lobelia syphilatica (Great Blue Lobelia) is blooming in the Lerner Garden and Slater Forest Pond. – Will, horticulturist

This Calibrechoa ‘Chameleon Sunshine Berry’ is pretty radiant at the moment! You can find it at the front of the Arbor Garden. – Syretha, horticulturist

This variegated leaf Abutilon is in containers at the Norweb Entrance Garden. Beautiful! – Sharmon, director of horticulture

In the wild and wooded spaces along the Maine Woods Trails, you might be able to find the rattlesnake plantain, Goodyera pubescens. A native orchid with magnificent foliage, this plant slowly creeps across the ground forming a green and silver mat. – Dan, grower & horticulturist

Check out this hot little combo! Dahlia ‘Fire Pot’ commingling with Ageratum ‘Tall Blue Planet’ in the Children’s Garden. – Jen, horticulturist

This Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bokrathirteen’ near the bench on the Cleaver Event Lawn is just beginning to bloom. Watch it over the next few weeks to see it subtly change from this creamy white color to a light pink. – Anna, horticulturist

There are so few true, blue flowers. And though blue is my favorite color, I think I’d love these sweet Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ flowers no matter what their hue—there’s something about that happy lollipop burst of flowers atop the severely straight stem that hints at a really stellar sense of humor… These are in the Arbor Garden. – Amy, writer/editor

Talinum ‘Limon’ is another annual used throughout the Arbor Garden that I get constant questions about. This lime-green beauty is drought-tolerant and sun-loving. – Syretha, horticulturist

Beesia calthifolia is a lovely woodland plant hailing from Asia. Hardy to zone six or so, this plant sports beautiful, glossy, evergreen foliage in a high, airy rosette. Rebloomimg now in the Giles Rhododendron and Perennial Garden, it’s a rarely seen, but highly worthy garden plant. – Dan, grower & horticulturist

I let this Cleome (Spider Flower) seed in around the Cleaver Event Lawn from last year’s annual planting and am happy that I did! – Anna, horticulturist

What’s in Bloom – August 14, 2017

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I love this ‘American Dawn’ Dahlia! Find it on the steps leading up to and scattered around the Cleaver Event Lawn. – Anna, horticulturist

Sagittarius latifolia (Common Arrowhead) is beautiful in the Slater Forest Pond. – Will, horticulturist

Rudbeckia fulgida, ‘Goldsturm’ Black-eyed Susan. This cheerful native perennial is actually an herb—Native Americans valued this plant for its variety of uses for centuries. Recent studies indicate it may even have a more stimulating effect on the immune system than Echinacea! Just don’t eat the seeds—they’re poisonous. – Amy, writer/editor

This Eucomis, the pineapple lily, is a stunner in the Alfond Children’s Garden. – Jen, horticulturist

It’s daylily time of year! One of my favorites here at CMBG was actually bred by our very own plant propagator, Dan Robarts. He named this variety ‘Unexpected Extra’, to reflect a strange double flower in a breeding program that didn’t involve double flowers, and also the unexpected incidence of his twins! Great story and fabulous flower! – Syretha, horticulturist

Clematis ochroleuca has cute bell-shaped flowers in the spring, but the real attraction is these funky seedheads! The common name “Curlyheads” is fitting. Find them around the bench area on the Cleaver Event Lawn. – Anna, horticulturist

Asclepias incarnata ‘Cinderella’ shows its garden value by calling to a plethora of pollinators, including our beloved monarch butterflies. A long-blooming and adaptable perennial, this variety of milkweed can be found all over in our gardens and on our grounds but is in flower now and will do so for more than a month in the Bosarge Family Education Center. – Dan, plant propagator

Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’ is spectacular on the Rainbow Terrace. – Jen, horticulturist

Solidago ‘Sweety’ Goldenrod. So, you probably don’t have to visit a botanical garden to see Goldenrod, but while you’re here, you should give this hardy, golden perennial a few moments of your time. Its flowers, harvested and used either fresh or dried as tea are wonderful for the common cold, allergies (contrary to popular belief, since Goldenrod is insect-pollinated, not wind-pollinated, it doesn’t cause allergies), and sore throats. Fun fact: the colonists called Goldenrod flower tea “Liberty Tea” and drank it instead of the traditional black tea after the Boston Tea Party. – Amy, writer/editor

A new perennial I’m trying out this year is Crocosmia, which is a corm in the iris family. I grew them very successfully when I worked in New York City, but while they are hardy to zone 6a (which is what we are here at CMBG), our wet winters will sometimes rot the corms. Here’s hoping they make it! This variety is Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’ – Syretha, horticulturist

The deep purple of this Platycodon grandifloras ‘Sentimental Blue’ Balloon-flower really pops from the chartreuse carpet of sedum surrounding it in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. I love how this is planted on one of the elevated beds so that you can really get a good look! – Anna, horticulturist

Verbena bonariensis, (Purple-top Vervain) is a gorgeous member of the Vervain family. Although its cousin, common vervain (Verbena officinalis), is plant rich in herbal attributes—it’s been used to treat everything from snakebites to headaches to restless sleep. But no matter which Vervain you meet, they’re all steeped in lore. Its sacred plant status dates back to Egyptian times, where it was thought to have first sprung from the tears of Isis. The Greeks called it ‘holy plant,’ and in Medieval times it was both used as protection and (rumor has it) was a common ingredient in witches’ brews… – Amy, writer/editor