Garden Fundamentals - Learn about plants and gardening

Archive for the Favorite Plants Category

Paeonia rockii

Paeonia rockii, from seed by Robert Pavlis

Paeonia rockii, from seed by Robert Pavlis

Paeonia rockii is a lovely tree peony that should be grown more. It can be difficult to find in a nursery, but those specializing in peonies will have it. The ones pictured here were grown from seed obtained from the Ontario Rock Garden Society Seedex program. The flowers are mostly white or light pink with dark maroon basal flares on the petals. There is some variation in flower form and coloration. One seedling from this group has red leaves in early summer.

The common name, tree peony, describes the woody stems that are produced, but it is probably more correct to call these shrubs, not trees.  They do not need staking.

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Lamium orvala

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Mention lamium to most gardeners and they run for the hills. Some lamium spread so fast they are thugs in the garden. Others, like L. maculatum, spread but can be controlled. A few are excellent, well behaved, garden plants and this includes Lamium orvala, which forms a nice non-spreading clump. It might seed around a bit, but it is easily pulled out if you get too many.

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Ruellia humilis

Ruellia humilis, wild petunia by Robert Pavlis

Ruellia humilis, wild petunia by Robert Pavlis

Petunias are very popular in the garden but in colder climates they are annuals. The wild petunia, Ruellia humilis, is a hardy perennial that can take the place of other petunias.

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Itea virginica Little Henry

Itea virginica Little Henry by Robert Pavlis

Itea virginica Little Henry by Robert Pavlis

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’, aka Little Henry, is a small shrub that offers several seasons of interest. Adding it to a rock garden containing larger plants would be a perfect place for it. Alternatively it can make a nice addition to the front of a perennial bed. Since it can take quite heavy shade it also works well in a shade garden, next to your favorite hosta. It will look its best with at least 6 hours of sun.

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Campanula betulifolia

campanula betulifolia by Robert Pavlis

Campanula betulifolia by Robert Pavlis

A lovely campanula for the rock garden, Campanula betulifolia has large flowers in white or light pink. The white form is more readily available. The flowers tend to point down so it is a good idea to locate the plant higher up so that it is easy to see inside the bells.

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