Try these crowd pleasers:
Goldenrod 'Golden Fleece': A new take on goldenrod, an American native. Covered in late summer with stunning golden, spiky flowers; dark green foliage. This dwarf (for a goldenrod, that is) tolerates drought, loves sun. Grows 1 ½ to 2 feet tall.
Butterfly Weed: Another great-looking native. And yes, butterflies flock to its clusters of bright orange flowers in summer. Needs full sun. Drought-tolerant. Grows to 2 feet.
Lady's Mantle: Looking for something bold? A froth of lime-green flowers in mid-summer rise above soft, gray-green pleated leaves-leaves that holds drops of glistening dew in their folds. Takes full sun or part shade. Likes moist soil. Clump-forming, 12 to 18 inches tall.
'Chocolate Veil' Coral Bells: Speaking of bold ... here's a substantial plant with deep burgundy foliage. Clump-forming; grows 2 feet tall.
'Walker's Low' Catmint: A blue-ribbon winner the Perennial Plant Association's Plant of the Year for 2007. Long-lasting blue flowers; soft gray-green leaves. Pest resistant. Spreads reliably even in poor soils. A magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies (but not cats!). Tolerates drought. Easily reaches 2 feet tall. (The name refers to a place in England not to its growth habit.)
Aster 'Snow Flurry': Got a spot for a groundcover that's hardly higher than your ankle? This heath aster is blanketed with white flowers in September. Forms dense, low clumps. Full sun to part shade. Drought tolerant. Grows 6 inches tall.
Creeping Phlox 'Emerald Blue': Here's another low-lying beauty, a native phlox smothered with pretty blue flowers in spring. Evergreen, mat-forming foliage. Needs full sun and moist soil. Grows 6 inches tall.
Give them the right stuff:
|Gardening hint: Mulch is your friend. Newspaper covered with 3 inches of shredded bark mulch works wonders in the "keep-weeds-out-while-your-plants-are-young" department. Find mulch at your garden center.|
For sustainable ways to manage pests that reduce environmental, health, and economic risks check out Integrated Pest Management website.
For more gardening info, go to Cornell University's Gardening Website.
Brian Eshenaur is an Ornamentals IPM specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University. Brian has nearly 20 years of experience in horticultural education and diagnosis of plant problems. His current projects include promotion of weed suppressive ground covers and evaluation of alternative herbicides for control of annual and perennial weeds in ornamental gardens.