One of the frustrating things about growing and propagating plants is when you find an incredible plant, offer it for sale, and virtually no one buys it. Such is the case with the Texas native, Ageratina havanensis, aka: Havana Mistflower, Eupatorium havanense. This fascinating woody perennial, formerly classified as a eupatorium, forms a 3′ tall x 7′ wide mound of foliage, that’s smothered starting in late October with a dense blanket of white flowers. I can think of little else that gives you this much flower power in the fall sun garden. An array of butterflies and moths are regular visitors. The photo below is from mid-November this year. Located with enough space, there is never any required maintenance. Any idea why we never could get folks to purchase these when they were offered through PDN?
Here is one of our bog gardens showing off the lovely native Spiranthes bightensis ‘Chadd’s Ford’, wrapping up its flowering in early November. This easy-to-grow native orchid is right at home with sarracenias (pitcher plants) in very moist soils.
Despite its popularity in gardens, Spiranthes bightensis has a global rarity rank of G1, meaning it is the rarest of the rare plant species. It is currently known from only nine populations in the Delmarva region of the US East Coast. DNA testing showed that it is an ancient hybrid between two other species, Spiranthes odorata and Spiranthes cernua. The plant was named after the NY Bight, which is the geological area at the mouth of the Hudson River.
It would be interesting to know how those individuals who abhor hybrids deal with this.
Looking great in our trials in early November is Symphotrichium dumosum ‘HillandSchmidtii’. Also, known as Aster dumosus before its name change, this fascinating 2018 Zac Hill/Jeremy Schmidt collection from Wilkes County, Georgia has proven to be quite a winner, so it will certainly be slated for a future Plant Delights catalog. We initially though this was the plant formerly known as Aster pilosa, before Patrick straightened us out. Evidently, virtually everything in the trade as Aster dumosus is incorrectly named.
In full flower now is Patrick’s selection of the native Helianthus angustifolius from Berkeley County, SC. This widespread wetland, often shaded species can be found from New Jersey to Texas. As is the case for most species, each population varies in one or more traits. Most Helianthus angustifolius usually reaches 5′ in height, but this amazing compact selection matures at only 3′ tall x 7′ wide. Here, we have in growing in slight moist, but un-irrigated sandy loam ammended with compost, in full sun. I have a feeling this one is heading for the propagation shed next year.
The beautiful Gaillardia aestivalis var. winkleri ‘Grape Sensation’ is still in full flower as we approach the end of October. This amazing, but quite rare blanket flower is only found in a small area of the East Texas pineywoods region. Although it’s currently listed as a variety of Gaillardia aestivalis, we feel it deserves to be elevated to species status, and am shocked that no taxonomist have tackled this yet. Good drainage and plenty of sun are keys to success. Hardiness Zone 7a-9b.
The shaggy blazing star, Liatris pilosa has put on quite a show over the last few weeks. Looking quite different in the garden than it did in the wild, this native from Delaware south to Florida enjoys bright sun and well-drained soils. Our plant is growing in one of our Permatill amended rock gardens. Hardiness is Zone 6-9.