12 key plants from the or­na­men­tal meadow

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Gar­den­ing Tal­ent -

1 Py­c­nan­the­mum flex­u­o­sum The white glob­u­lar flow­ers of this Ap­palachian moun­tain mint turn into blue­grey seed­heads that pick up the colours of sur­round­ing stone walls. The nee­dle-like leaves also fall away, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the seed­heads fur­ther. 90cm. USDA 6a-8b†.

2 Sym­phy­otrichum cordi­folium One of sev­eral asters found grow­ing in the meadow, which bears clouds of small, star-like flow­ers in vary­ing shades of blue. The flow­ers are fol­lowed by th­ese fluffy white seed­heads, which ex­tend the pe­riod of in­ter­est. A vig­or­ous self-seeder, it may have to be culled pe­ri­od­i­cally. 90cm. USDA 3a-8b.

3 Am­so­nia hubrichtii Also known as the Arkansas blue star, this pretty plant has del­i­cate blue blooms in spring but its peak in­ter­est comes when the feath­ery fo­liage turns a bril­liant gold for au­tumn and win­ter. For the best au­tumn colour it should ideally be grown in full sun. 75cm. USDA 5a-8b.

4 Li­a­tris as­pera Long after the tufted, pur­ple, sum­mer blooms have faded on its tall flow­er­ing spikes, Li­a­tris as­pera pro­vides vol­ume and ver­ti­cal­ity to the mix. 90cm. USDA 3a-8b.

5 Eu­pa­to­rium du­bium ‘Baby Joe’ This is the short­est of the meadow’s Joe pye weeds. Its ma­genta-pink domes of flow­ers con­tinue to pro­vide in­ter­est with state­ment-mak­ing seed­heads that last all win­ter. 75cm. USDA 3a-9b.

6 Dau­cus carota The wild car­rot needed no en­cour­age­ment to spread through the meadow and re­quired thin­ning by the sec­ond year. Its in­va­sive­ness can be for­given when it pro­duces its dense um­bels of white

flow­ers. Th­ese then fold in on them­selves to give th­ese glo­ri­ously sculp­tural seed­heads. 90cm. USDA 3a-9b.

7 Ilex ver­ti­cil­lata Known as win­ter­berry, this de­cid­u­ous holly is na­tive to eastern North Amer­ica. Leaves turn a lemony yel­low in au­tumn but this soon turns to brown. In­stead it is the clus­ters of red berries that are the star at­trac­tion, pro­vid­ing in­ter­est through win­ter. 5m. USDA 3a-9b.

8 Py­c­nan­the­mum loomisii This moun­tain mint, col­lected by Aaron Flo­den in Camp­bell County, Ten­nessee, is one of sev­eral that David has in­cluded in the or­na­men­tal meadow. The upper leaves turn a bright sil­ver in June and are topped by ter­mi­nal flow­ers. The comely seed­heads pro­vide in­ter­est from a dis­tance as well as close up. 1.3m. USDA 6a-8b.

9 Cala­m­a­grostis brachytricha Orig­i­nally from cen­tral and east Asia, the clump-form­ing Korean feather reed grass, Cala­m­a­grostis brachytricha, has showy pan­i­cles that add vol­ume to the meadow. 90cm. AGM*. RHS H6, USDA 8a-10b.

10 Schizachyrium sco­par­ium

‘The Blues’

The blue blades of this clump-form­ing grass turn a deep bur­gundy red at the end of sum­mer. 90cm. USDA 3a-9b.

11 Pen­ste­mon dig­i­talis This na­tive meadow plant of­fers a tubu­lar flower shape, a wel­come con­trast to its neigh­bours. Seed­heads are at­trac­tive. 90cm. USDA 2b-8b.

12 Eryn­gium yuc­ci­folium Has sword-shaped leaves and this­tle-like blooms in creamy white that give off a honey scent. Good ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­est well into win­ter. 1m. USDA 5a-9b.

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