Archive for the ‘One Plant, Three Seasons’ Category

One Plant, Three Seasons: Sanguisorba tenuifolia

Purple Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) against the bright yellow foliage of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra 'Aurea') [Nancy J. Ondra/]

Purple Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea) against the bright yellow foliage of golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’)

Happy first full day of spring, all! Unless you’re in the other hemisphere, of course, in which case, it’s the start of autumn. We could actually split the difference and say happy winter, since it’s still decidedly wintery here, no matter what the calendar says. I wish I could have done a Bloom Day post back on the 15th, but it would have been awfully short. So instead, I decided to write about one of my favorite perennials. Continue reading

One Plant, Three Seasons: Patrinia scabiosifolia

Patrinia scabiosifolia at

Is it possible for any gardener to have just one favorite plant? For most of us, I imagine, it’s tough to get closer than a top 5 or top 10. But if you asked me that question at this time of year and insisted on one top pick, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose Patrinia scabiosifolia (or scabiosaefolia, as some sources prefer to list it).

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One Plant, Three Seasons: Amsonia hubrichtii

Amsonia hubrichtii with Muhlenbergia capillaris [October 22, 2006]
October 22, 2006

I recently read somewhere that Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) is now “out.” Shows how much I know, because I thought that it was finally “in,” having been named the 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. Hmmm…maybe that’s part of the problem: I guess it’s not cool to like plants that are (or are becoming) readily available and widely grown.

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One Plant, Three Seasons: Iris ‘Gerald Darby’

Iris 'Gerald Darby' at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra/]

Irises as a group aren’t among my favorite plants. The individual flowers are exquisite, of course, but the flowering period isn’t all that long, and many of them just aren’t all that interesting when they aren’t in bloom. There are exceptions, though. One that I’ve found to earn its keep through much of the growing season is ‘Gerald Darby’.

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One Plant, Three Seasons: Beta vulgaris Cicla Group

Chard seeds Chard yellow seedling Chard Bright Lights selection 2 Aug 25 08

As a garden vegetable, Beta vulgaris Cicla Group – more commonly known as Swiss chard – has to rank right down there with Brussels sprouts and lima beans on the popularity scale. I’m not knocking any of these, mind you; right now, I’d be grateful to enjoy any of them fresh-picked from the garden. But chard is one of those crops that often gets lumped into the generic “greens” category, and few catalogs carry more than two or three varieties. (I was floored to find 49 chard entries listed in the Cornell Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners database – who knew?) I can’t claim to be able tell any difference in their flavors, because I’m more interested in chard as an ornamental. And for my purposes, I need only one packet of one kind each year: ‘Bright Lights’.

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One Plant, Three Seasons: Agastache ‘Blue Fortune

Agastache Blue Fortune Achillea Anthea July 16 09

I know, I know…it’s time for Bloom Day. But look, I’ve got nothin’. There isn’t anything that I haven’t already shown multiple times, and I’m at a total loss for a creative way to present the same old things. Still, it’s hard to break years of conditioning, so I’m posting on the 15th anyway. But this time, I’m taking a different tack on the magical number of three: Instead of three different neat plants, I’m looking at one plant at three different times during the year. My first subject: ‘Blue Fortune’ hybrid hyssop (Agastache).

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