The Aster Family is full of wonderful, prolific plants. This native perennial spreads abundantly and will self-sew easily. This divaricated or widely spreading plant is happy to thrive in sun or shade. It stands at 1 to 2 feet tall with masses of small white flowers. White woods aster can live well in fairly unkind conditions. Found from New Hampshire to Ontario and south from Ohio to Maryland and wide spread as to the mountains of Georgia, which includes all of Zones 3 to 8.
This interesting, colorful character is a favorite fern here at Jenkins. In early spring, its silver-haired shine erupts in tightly curled ‘fiddleheads’. As they continue to unfurl and mature, their white hairs turn cinnamon colored, and hummingbirds collect them to line their tiny nests. When fully mature, its fronds are large, ranging from 2 ½ to 4 feet long. The robust and swamp-loving cinnamon fern can tolerate some sun but prefers a wet woodland habitat. With fertile and sterile leaves, this ‘dimorphic’ fern has both rust-colored reproductive fronds, wispy green vegetative fronds, and outstanding bronze fall color. It is common from Zones 2 through 10.
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.
The maidenhair fern is a finely-textured, somewhat frilly fern that has curved stalks covered with finger-like projections. They grow to a height of 1 to 2.5 feet in part to full shade which makes them perfect for shaded borders, woodland gardens, or shaded rock gardens. They can grow in sunnier locations, but high summer heat may cause the fronds to brown, particularly if good soil moisture is not maintained. Like many ferns, the maidenhair fern prefers moist, acidic soils and spreads slowly to form large colonies over time.
They have water-repelling compounds on the foliage with the result that water runs off the leaves, and even when the plant is immersed in water, the leaves remain dry. This strong water repelling property is the scientific basis for the botanical name Adiantum, translated as “unwetted”.