Favorites in a Restored Garden
Jennifer Bigham shares a few of her favorite plants including: Peacock moss, yellow anise, Kenilworth ivy and chocolate-leaf snakeroot.
E-mail This Page to Your Friendsx
A link to %this page% was e-mailed
Peacock moss (Selaginella uncinata).
This prehistoric relative of the fern has metallic, aquamarine foliage that resembles a cross between a fern and a small conifer. It has a low, spreading habit. The unusual color will be at its best on new growth in the spring. Hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 10. Evergreen.
How to use it: As a groundcover in a small area, to drape from a low stone wall or for a shaded rockery.
Cultivation: Plant in partial to full shade in woodland type soil. Some thinning may occur under winter or under dry conditions.
Source: Plant Delights Nursery
Yellow anise (Illicium parviflorum).
Native to the wet areas in southern Georgia and Florida, this small tree (9 to 15 feet) has an upright pyramidal habit. The olive-green foliage is evergreen and provides a slightly different color from the more lustrous dark green of the Florida anise. Tiny yellow-green flowers appear in May-June on this broadleaf evergreen. Leaves are pleasantly aromatic when crushed, giving off a mild anise scent. USDA Zones 7 to 9.
How to use it: As an evergreen hedge or screen. Or mix with other broadleaf evergreens like darker colored hollies or with other conifers.
Cultivation: Grow in any ordinary soil in sun or shade.
Kenilworth ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) or dwarf Kenilworth ivy – a.k.a. toadflax basket ivy (Cymbalaria aequitriloba).
Native to Europe (the southern Alps, central and southern Italy), this creeping vine has tiny lavender or white flowers beginning in May and appearing sporadically until frost. The dwarf form forms a mat on the ground. The scalloped, medium green leaves measure about one inch across. Hardy in USDA 7 to 10.
How to use it: Tuck into a rock wall, or grow in a shady rock garden. Also works in a hanging basket.
Cultivation: If the conditions are right, this plant will self-seed readily. Plant in moist, well-drained soil, and provide protection from the sun.
Source: Glasshouse Works
Chocolate leaf snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate').
This new selection is a form of the native Eupatorium rugosum introduced by the Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora in Greenville, Delaware. The dark brownish-purple foliage on purple stems is highlighted by clusters of creamy-white fuzzy flowers that reach six inches across in late summer. The herbaceous perennial is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8, and grows to about three or four feet high.
How to use it: Plant in a large grouping or mix with other late summer perennials.
Cultivation: Site in full to partial sun in average to moist, well-drained soil.
Source: Niche Gardens
Hardly a favorite.....
No restoration in the Southeast would be complete without mentioning kudzu (Pueraria lobata). This is possibly the fastest growing of all vines in the temperate zones of the world. Under ideal conditions, kudzu can grow 60 feet a year. Native to China and Japan, the plant produces violet-purple, beanlike flowers that emit a cloying, grape fragrance. The leaves are three-lobed and large and drop off the plant during the winter. The noxious vine was introduced to the U.S. in 1876, but it was during the Great Depression that the Civilian Conservation Corps planted it widely to curb erosion. In the 1940s, farmers were paid as much as $8 an acre to plant kudzu. The vine quickly covers barns, trees and utility poles and is extremely difficult to eradicate. It is said that kudzu covers millions of acres across the southeastern U.S., where it grows much more robustly than in its native Japan. Those who optimistically like to find something useful about kudzu point to its basket-making potential or to the possibility of goat feed, but most land owners try only to eradicate it. Kudzu has proven resistant to herbicides. Continuous chopping of the vine and repeated applications of herbicides are recommended.
—Martha Tate is co-executive producer of Gardener's Diary.
Pete Wallenborn shares some of his favorite plants in his sloped southeastern garden.