Pink muhly grass is a perennial grass that stands 2–4 feet tall and grows to be 2–3 feet wide. It is a warm-season grass, which means the green foliage will begin growing in the summer, turning a copper color in autumn. Pink muhly grass is a great complement to summer annuals, as it will give some interest later in the season as the blooms of annuals are fading. Around the beginning of fall is also when the vibrant pink flower stalks begin to appear, rising up above the leaves, which will last until the end of the season.
This grass is commonly found along roadsides, prairies, and open woodlands. Pink muhly grass grows in clumps, and does not spread through underground stems, making it a relatively easy plant to maintain. It is shade and drought tolerant but performs best with lots of sun and planted in well-draining soil.
Wild ginger is a low-growing and vigorous plant that grows in rich woodlands from Louisiana to Canada. In dense shade, its heart-shaped leaves will appear a velvety, dark green. In the spring, small, dark purple flowers emerge on the underside of its leaves. This is a prolific, deciduous plant that spreads through underground rhizomes to create a lush groundcover. Wild ginger can be incorporated into any shade-loving garden bed.
This herbaceous perennial plant benefits native wildlife in various ways; since it is among the first wildflowers to bloom, its flowers provide nectar and shelter for early pollinators. Additionally, its seeds contain a fatty appendage, known as an elaiosome, that is eaten by ants. By taking the seeds back to their underground homes to eat, ants subsequently disperse and plant them. Wild ginger is also said to be an alternate host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.
The coastal azalea is a deciduous shrub that grows in moist, acidic, sandy soils from Pennsylvania to Georgia. At maturity, it is typically 2-3 feet tall, but can reach up to 6 feet in the right conditions. In the spring, this azalea is adorned with white flowers that are blushed with light pink. These tubular flowers are fragrant and attractive to butterflies and bees.
As its name implies, it is native to coastal regions. However, the coastal azalea can also be a beautiful addition to home gardens with moist, well drained soils. Mulching around the roots can help the soil retain moisture and provide a conducive growing environment. Its spring blooms make a great addition to a partly shaded entrance or border garden.
Aromatic aster is an herbaceous perennial that is found growing on limestone glades, prairies, and open woodlands. It is a small, bushy plant that grows up to 3 feet tall and spreads to form dense colonies. This late-summer blooming wildflower features blueish-purple, daisy-like flowers from August through September. Similar to other asters, the flower center is a bright yellow that matures to a deep red once pollinated
This native plant is visited by numerous pollinators, including bees and butterflies. As its name implies, the leaves and stems are aromatic and emit a balsam-like fragrance when crushed. This is a robust plant that prefers to grow in sunny, dry conditions. In the right habitat, it is quite floriferous and will have numerous blooms decorating its foliage for weeks. Aromatic aster is a versatile plant and can be a great addition to naturalistic and formal gardens alike.
Appalachian Mountain Mint is an under-used,
multifaceted plant. Native to the Southern Appalachians, this plant grows 2 to
3 feet tall and spreads 3 to 4 feet in hardiness zones 6 to 9. Its aromatic,
white, tuft-like flowers bloom summer to fall and attract butterflies and other
pollinators. The fragrant foliage has a hint of red along the margins and is
resistant to deer browsing.
Unlike many other mints, Appalachian Mountain Mint
will not take over the garden. It is a clump species and spreads slowly through
rhizomes, which is great for helping with soil erosion. Plant in well-drained
soils with full to part-sun conditions.
Appalachian Mountain Mint looks nice in naturalized
areas, meadows, mass plantings in the landscape, or near vegetable gardens to
entice pollinators. Since the flower is showy, it also makes a nice cut flower.
To add winter interest to your garden, resist cutting back the spent seed
heads. These can add an element of texture to the landscape and are a beautiful
addition to dried wreaths and arrangements.