LABYRINTH PLANTS TO EN­GAGE THE SENSES

Country Gardens - - GARDEN KNOW-HOW -

USE SCENTED, TEXTURAL, COL­OR­FUL, AND NA­TIVE PLANTS, AS AN­NA­MARIE FERNYAK HAS, FOR YOUR OWN MED­I­TA­TIVE GAR­DEN.

1. BLAZ­ING STAR

(Li­a­tris spi­cata)

This prairie na­tive brings ver­ti­cal in­ter­est to the labyrinth. Its pur­ple spikes draw bum­ble­bees and but­ter­flies.

2. COM­MON MILKWEED

(As­cle­pias syr­i­aca)

Pink clus­tered blooms draw a plethora of pol­li­na­tors, in­clud­ing monarch but­ter­flies, to this plant. The gar­den’s four other milk­weeds in­clude swamp

(As­cle­pias in­car­nata), whorled

(As­cle­pias ver­ti­cil­lata), showy

(As­cle­pias speciosa), and but­ter­fly weed (As­cle­pias tuberosa).

3. SUN­FLOWER

(Helianthus spp.) Th­ese taller flow­ers cre­ate ver­ti­cal in­ter­est at eye level. Try both an­nual and peren­nial va­ri­eties.

4. CUL­VER’S ROOT

(Veron­i­cas­trum vir­ginicum) This tall prairie plant is per­haps un­der­used in gar­dens. It fea­tures white or pink flow­er­ing spikes and brings height to the gar­den.

5. TALL VER­BENA

(Ver­bena bonar­ien­sis) Th­ese airy pur­ple clus­tered flow­ers of South Amer­ica are great part­ners with grasses and sedges. The plants are semi­hardy and can be grown as self-sow­ing an­nu­als in north­ern cli­mates.

6. LIT­TLE BLUESTEM

(Schizachyr­ium sco­par­ium ‘Stand­ing Ova­tion’) This textural blue-green grass turns a strik­ing crim­son in fall and is an im­por­tant food source for wildlife. The gar­den’s other grasses in­clude prairie dropseed

(Sporobo­lus het­erolepis), na­tive Musk­ingum sedge (Carex musk­ingu­men­sis), switch grass

(Pan­icum vir­ga­tum ‘Shenan­doah’), feather reed grass (Cala­m­a­grostis × acu­ti­flora ‘Karl Fo­er­ster’), and red Ja­panese blood grass

(Im­per­ata cylin­drica ‘Red Baron’) .

7. OHIO SPIDERWORT

(Trades­cantia ohien­sis) The blue-vi­o­let flower clus­ters open in the morn­ing and close by af­ter­noon.

8. RATTLESNAK­E MAS­TER

(Eryn­gium yuc­ci­folium) This Ohio na­tive has or­na­men­tal seed­pods and pairs great with tall grasses.

9. CONEFLOWER

(Echi­nacea spp.) Plant pur­ple or yel­low va­ri­eties of this prairie icon. The dainty pale pur­ple coneflower (E. pal­l­ida) blooms in June; its deeper pur­ple cousin (E. pur­purea) blooms in July. For yel­low blooms, try gray-head coneflower (Rat­i­bida pin­nata) and cut­leaf coneflower (Rud­beckia lacini­ata).

10. LAMB’S-EARS

(Stachys byzantina) This semiev­er­green peren­nial fea­tures soft, sil­very leaves and pur­ple-flow­ered spikes.

11. PUR­PLE GAR­DEN PHLOX

(Phlox pan­ic­u­lata) Th­ese large pur­ple flow­er­ing clus­ters at­tract but­ter­flies and hummingbir­ds and of­fer a spicy vanilla-clove per­fume.

12. FRA­GRANT HERBS

Planted along a path, mint and other fra­grant herbs (thyme and laven­der) heighten the sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence for walk­ers as they brush by or gen­tly step on a few leaves.

SEA­SONAL AD­DI­TIONS

Ex­tend sea­sonal in­ter­est with salvias and cat­mint in spring and asters, Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium pur­pureum), and bolto­nia in late sum­mer and fall. For win­ter, An­na­marie leaves grasses and flow­ers’ seed heads stand­ing for con­tin­ued in­ter­est, es­pe­cially for her an­nual win­ter sol­stice walk.

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