Summersweet is a name that truly conveys the virtues and beauty of this native shrub. This deciduous plant grows to an oval shape with a with a height of 3-8 feet and a spread of 4-6 feet. It features fluffy, bottle-brush like spikes of fragrant white, rose or pink flowers which bloom for 4-6 weeks from mid to late summer and attract a variety of nectar gathering insects. The flower spikes give way to dark brown seed capsules which persist into winter, providing continued interest. It has glossy, dark green leaves which turn a brilliant yellow in the fall.
Summersweet makes an excellent, trouble-free shrub which masses well in planting displays in lawns or shrub borders although it will require regular watering until the plant becomes established. It can be easily grown in moist, acidic soils in full sun to part shade and is recommended most for perennial borders or foundation plantings and works especially well in wet areas such as low spots, stream banks or water edges.
Named after the Philadelphia-born Caspar Wistar, American wisteria is a twining deciduous vine known for its lilac-purple, pea-like, fragrant flowers that bloom in pendulous racemes in early summer. In its native habitat, American wisteria can be found in moist woodlands or along streambanks in fertile, well-drained soils. For the average homeowner, however, it is a great plant for training against a wall or over a sturdy arch or pergola where it can receive at least six hours of full sun each day.
American wisteria is a hardy plant that does well without fertilization and only needs to be watered during times of drought. Pests and disease can be a problem with this plant, but proper care will help keep it healthy.
Bluestem goldenrod is a lovely native wildflower with dark green foliage, dark blue stems, and small yellow flower heads. Typically growing in part shade at the edges of woodlands, these plants can grow up to 3 feet in height. The blooming period occurs from late summer into the fall and lasts about 3-4 weeks. In late fall, the flowers give way to small tufts of fuzzy seeds that are distributed by the wind.
Growing conditions are for medium shade to partial sun and in soil that is loamy or somewhat rocky. They have great wildlife value as the nectar and pollen of the flowers attract a wide variety of insects, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies. The seeds or capsules in the fall are eaten sparingly by songbirds and are especially liked by White-tailed deer. For homeowners, bluestem goldenrod is best planted in a naturalistic setting at the edges of woodlands or other plantings.
April 2010 – The Garden Club of America (Zone V nomination by The Garden Workers) presented Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens Executive Director, Dr. Harold Sweetman, the non-member Garden Club of America Horticulture Commendation Award. This award was presented to Harold “for continuous and inspiring leadership in preserving valuable native plants, encouraging use of interesting new hybrids and mentoring thousands of gardeners with humor and enthusiasm.”
Since its founding in 1913, the Garden Club of America has grown to include 200 member clubs with 18,000 club members. To learn more about the Garden Club of America and this award, please visit www.gcamerica.org. (link to GCA website)