The sweetbay magnolia is a graceful, southern evergreen to semi-evergreen tree. It will tend to be more evergreen the farther south it is planted. In nature, it is found most often in moist, acid soils near swamps or stream banks in the eastern United States. It is a small, typically multi-stemmed tree, columnar in shape with a mature height of 20 to 30 feet in the northern and 60 feet in the southern ends of its range. Its small size makes it an excellent tree for planting next to buildings or in urban areas with little space.
It is prized for its creamy-white, lemon-scented flowers that appear from June through September and are followed by small red seeds which are enjoyed by a variety of wildlife. Sweetbay magnolia roots easily, is tolerant of droughts and floods, and will grow in part to full sun.
The bottlebrush buckeye is a wide-spreading, suckering, multi-stemmed shrub making it an excellent plant for shrub borders. With its long, bottlebrush-like panicles of white flowers, there are few summer flowering plants which can rival this species.
If transplanting, do so in early spring into a moist, well-drained soil that has been adequately prepared with organic matter. It is best planted in full sun or partial shade and rarely needs pruning. It prefers acid soil but is adaptable.
Wild columbine is native to North America and can be found growing in open woodlands and along roadsides from eastern Canada through northern Florida, and westward into New Mexico. It is a hardy perennial that grows two to three feet tall and is best propagated by seed.
Its most noteworthy characteristic is its unusual, nodding reddish flower shaped like a bonnet, with elegant long spurs. These flowers bloom from late April to June making it very popular in mixed perennial beds and borders.
Columbine thrives in fertile loamy soil in sun or partial shade, but it is best grown in light shade. It prefers moist, sheltered locations, but can tolerate dry shade as well as some air pollution.