Prime planting time is just weeks away! The Nature Center’s team of Master Gardeners have chosen several shrubs and perennials that will attract pollinators and birds and add to the biodiversity of your yard. Almost all are natives, but we have included a few “worthy non-natives” as well. Remember to pick the right spot and amend before you plant! The Master Gardeners will be glad to answer any planting questions you have when you pick up your plants. All of the profits from our annual fall plant sale benefit the programs and operations of the Nature Center.
Shade – Filtered Sun
Florida anise (Illicium floridanum) is one of the South’s most dependable broad-leaved evergreen shrubs with large glossy, leathery, dark green leaves year-round. This dwarf form grows to 5′ High x 5′ Wide. It prefers full shade in rich well drained soils. It has fragrant leaves and small maroon flowers. This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. We have some beautiful examples behind the cabin at the Nature Center– take a look at them! It is a fantastic choice for moist shady locations.
Sun – Part Shade H&W: 6’
A long-time Master Gardener favorite! This is an outstanding deciduous shrub that grows with a loose, open form and outward pointing branches. It is adaptable to most soils, bears white flowers in mid-summer which give way to striking clusters of glossy purple berries that attract many species of birds. The beautyberries are packed tightly together in clusters that encircle the stem. Berries attract birds, so enjoy their beauty while you can! Cut it back severely each year for best berry production (flowers on new growth). Prefers rich soil; requires medium moisture and little maintenance. We have an outstanding beautyberry planted next to the kitchen door at the Nature Center. Come over and see it!
Part Shade – full shade
Red Buckeye is less well-known than the Bottlebrush Buckeye and is harder to find. It has a moderate growth rate with a round, pyramidal shape and can be used as a large shrub or small tree. The leaves are dark green and 6” panicles of red flowers appear March – May. Red Buckeye is a favorite of hummingbirds and bees, but is not drought tolerant. Plant some red buckeyes in the filtered shade of a large oak or some pines, or in front of the wooded edge of your yard. Likes moist, average soil and they go well with oakleaf hydrangea. Flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Can reach 10-12 feet in height. Likes moisture.
Morning sun – part shade H: 3.5’ W: 5’
Developed from a 1998 hybridization of oakleaf hydrangea cultivars ‘Snow Queen’ and ‘Pee Wee’. It was released in 2010. A profusion of exceptionally large flower clusters in summer are showcased against dark green, deeply lobed oak like leaves. Blossoms open white, quickly age to deep pink and are robust, remaining upright even after heavy rains. Foliage turns a brilliant mahogany in fall. Compact form is well suited for small landscapes. Ideal used in mass plantings, hedges and mixed borders. A real beauty!
Partial Sun H: 10-12’ W: 3-6’
2007 GA Gold Medal Blooms in early May. This is a fast grower that can take heat and humidity. This yellow native azalea will thrive in heat and humidity and can take more sun than other native azaleas – a good choice for our area. Pest and disease free. Provide part sun and moist, well-drained, rich soil. Plant it carefully and then don’t disturb their shallow roots. We have ours planted under the Sweetgum tree by the parking lot.
Partial Sun H: 10-12’ W: 3-6’
This is a hybrid produced to be heat tolerant with fragrant, brightly colored flowers. ‘Four Kings’ has bright yellow flowers with a darker orange blotch. These hybrids not only produce lavish flowers but the foliage looks good all season. A neighbor has a grouping that is in full sun and they are stunning in the late spring and early summer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]
GA Gold Medal Winner. Easy to grow vine that provides abundant tangerine blooms over a long season. Grows in just about any condition. Semi-evergreen to evergreen. A fabulous, high-climbing evergreen vine with no pest problems. Grows to 30 feet long. Late spring-summer flowers are big, showy orange-red, trumpet-shaped flowers with a yellow throat. With tendrils and clinging disks, it does well on fences, walls, tree trunks, trellises or arbors, as well as sprawling on the ground. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer. Provide support such as a trellis or arbor. Prune annually in winter to control size. It flourishes in a wide range of conditions and is the first stop for returning hummingbirds. What more could you ask for?
Partial sun – shade H: 12-24” W:24-36”
GA Gold Medal winner. Also known as Japanese Shield Fern, this is a good companion plant for hostas. A sturdy, evergreen fern with seasonal color value; fronds appear bronze-red when young. For massing, plant 18” apart. Easy to transplant and tolerates neglect. Drought tolerant when established in deep shade. Autumn ferns are ‘non-native’ favorites of Master Gardeners. Plant with Coral Bells, hosta,and astilbe. Likes moist, acidic soil.
Sun – partial shade H: 4-5′ W: 2′
Also known as Wild Blue Indigo This is an American Beauty native plant. It is a large, showy, tall grass prairie native wildflower treasured for its lush blue-green foliage and stunning deep blue, flowering spikes. It has an upright, shrubby form with clover-like trifoliate leaves. Blooming in June and July, it has an enormous, deep reaching root system and is very long lived, so give it a few growing seasons to reach mature size and don’t try to transplant it!. Baptisia is a member of the pea family and you’ll notice a resemblance in its foliage and flowers. It offers a long season of interest, with flower spikes, seed pods and foliage that is almost never bothered by pests or disease. Plant it with Echinacea and Penstemon. Thrives in loam and clay soils.
Full sun – Partial Shade H&W: 2-3’
This native perennial is a standout in borders, native gardens, cottage gardens or open woodland areas. It is best when massed. Mix with ornamental grasses and plants that have attractive seed heads. It grows best in full sun and partial shade and in well-drained soil. This all-season perennial has blue star-shaped flowers in spring and light green foliage all summer. The foliage turns a beautiful golden-yellow in fall. Arkansas blue star is very soil-adaptive and insects and diseases are rare. Deer tolerant; attracts butterflies; native; nice feathery foliage; spectacular fall color in full sun.
Full – part shade H:12-24”
Yellow or Celandine Poppy is a handsome perennial with bluish-green lobed leaves that form clumps. From March to May, clusters of bright yellow, 2-inch buttercup-like flowers appear and are followed by nodding green hairy pods. A favorite wildflower for moist, rich, lightly wooded area. It will self-sow and multiply when happy. Grow it with other shade-tolerant species such as Foamflower, Columbine, Bleeding Heart, Wild Ginger, and Phlox. We have beautiful specimens under the Yellowwood tree at the Nature Center. One of our favorites!
Part – Full Shade
The white woodland aster is a terrific ground cover and is especially valuable because it grows so well in dry shade. Asters are the backbone of many late summer and fall landscapes. Thin, nearly black stems grow 1-3 feet high and are topped with clouds of white flowers. Flowers are flat-topped clusters with 6 to 10 white petals and a yellow center that turns bronzy purple. Flowers from late summer to fall. If plants tend to get leggy, cut them back to about 12″ by early June. Nectar plant for butterflies and other pollinators; seed source for songbird; provides nesting material for birds. Perfect for woodland garden!
Medium blue, fine textured single ray flowers in September and October. Fragrant Aster is a very showy, low growing bushy native wildflower with hundreds of daisy type blue-lavender flowers with yellow centers. These asters, like many of its relatives, are a preferred nectar source for many butterfly species and makes excellent cut flowers. Irresistible – a really tremendous plant!
Part – Full Shade
This worthy non-native favorite is a well-behaved addition to a shady area that adds seasonal interest with foliage and flowers. The bright green foliage edged with white reaches about 8 to 24 inches tall and spreads by rhizomes to form small colonies. In late spring pendulous, white, bell-shaped flowers appear in pairs underneath the arching stems and release a delicate fragrance. In fall the foliage turns a lovely yellow.
Morning sun with afternoon shade H & W: 1 foot
WORTHY NON-NATIVE and a GA Gold Medal winner. A ground cover with shiny, medium green leaves that turn bronze-red in autumn. It is a semi-woody, mat-forming perennial that spreads by rhizomes (shallow underground stems). The plant dies back to the ground each year and leafs out late in the spring, so plant it where it won’t get damaged by early spring cultivation. The late spring green-up makes it an excellent plant for inter-planting with spring-flowering bulbs; its leaves will be emerging just as the foliage of bulbs is dying back. The gentian blue flowers that resemble woodland phlox, appear above the foliage from late summer to frost. Attracts butterflies.