LABYRINTH PLANTS TO ENGAGE THE SENSES
USE SCENTED, TEXTURAL, COLORFUL, AND NATIVE PLANTS, AS ANNAMARIE FERNYAK HAS, FOR YOUR OWN MEDITATIVE GARDEN.
1. BLAZING STAR
This prairie native brings vertical interest to the labyrinth. Its purple spikes draw bumblebees and butterflies.
2. COMMON MILKWEED
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).
(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.
(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).
(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.
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.