Botanicals, wildflowers, orchids and house plants

Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger, Little Brown Jugs- Wild Ginger rhizomes have been candied and used much like commercial ginger, which is not related. The plants form an appealing ground cover for shady areas. Small, jug-shaped, brownish flowers hide under a dense carpet of heart-shaped leaves. This species is a native wildflower, easy to grow,and very cold hardy. Wild Ginger loses its leaves in the winter and spreads at a controllable rate. They reach about 5 inches high. (care)

Calopogon Sp., Bog Orchid, Grass Pink- (Probably C. pulchellus / tuberosus) Here's an orchid That is easy to grow, winter hardy and quite showy. We have had great success growing them along with Pitcher Plants in bog gardens. (care) They do need a moist soil, not necessarily flooded, and 60-100% sun. In late spring to early summer, several bright pink flowers (photo) form on stems about a foot high. Each flower is nearly 1 1/2 inches across and shaped like a butterfly. The entire plant dies down to bulb in the fall.

Calopogon Sp., Bog Orchid-WHITE- (photo). Slightly less cold hardy, in our trials.

Gentiana catesbaei, Gentian -If you have a moist spot or bog garden, you will definitely want to grow this beautiful native wildflower. One of the Bog Gentians, G. catesbaei, covers itself in the late fall with blue, funnel-shaped flowers. Despite its delicate appearance, it's a tough and hardy perennial (care). Usually less than a foot high, it combines well with taller Sarracenia and provides a rare color to bog gardens. (photo) The stems are often tinted purple. Its leaves are lance-shaped and green, sometimes with a purplish cast. Everyone who sees it here admires the flower show. Rarely offered.

Hibiscus coccineus, the Great Red Hibiscus - A native of the southeast, the Great Red Hibiscus is hardy to at least zone 7. Its large six-inch flowers look tropical (photo). They have a classic Hibiscus shape and are deep red. The leaves are cut, much like a Japanese Maple. For some reason, Japanese Beetles don't seem to bother them as they do other Hibiscus. Suitable for the north side of a bog garden, be sure to allow plenty of growth space; this perennial can reach seven feet high and across! (care) Provided with good sun and average soil, the Great Red Hibiscus becomes a show-stopper, beautiful. The entire plant dies to the ground in fall, returning with warm weather. Highly recommended.

Iris cristata, Dwarf Crested Iris- Blue or white beautiful little two-inch flowers complemented by pretty fan like leaves make this hardy perennial a favorite (photo). The leaves and blossoms rarely grow over 5 inches tall. The dormant rhizomes remind me of little scorpions, both in appearance and the way they climb around in the garden, often exposed to the air. After a few years, a wonderful carpet can form.(care) The foliage dies away in the fall with flowers appearing in early spring. Native to the western mountainous regions of Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas. Hardy to at least -15 degrees F. Suitable for partial sun and deciduous shade. This species needs good drainage and can tolerate poor, dryish soils. Slopes, rock gardens and borders are good spots as well.

Kaempferia roscoeana, Peacock Plant - Named for its shimmering, green leaves which display almost metallic patterns (photo). Makes a fine container plant during the warm season. Easy to grow as a house plant, too. A tropical from Burma, do not let this one freeze! Keep in mind that this species will go dormant around winter and will require a couple months of dry conditions during this rest (care).

Lilium canadense, Canada Lily - A beautiful woodland wildflower that blooms in the spring on tall stems. The nodding flowers are orange-red with little spots and dangling maroon anthers (photo). It may take two years before the plants establish and anchor themselves enough to flower. A classic for open (bright/deciduous) shade (care). Needs good drainage and enjoys sandy soil.

Marshallia grandiflora, Bog Buttons- This rare native of North Carolina is seldom seen, let alone offered for sale. Quite at home in bog gardens with carnivorous plants, Calopogon and other moist peat lovers. The dark, tongue-shaped leaves nicely offset pink/lavender/cream colored flowers on stems 6-10 inches high. Each "button" flower is about 1 1/2-2 inches across, with the entire plant forming a rosette approximately 10-12 inches in diameter (photo). Blooms appear late spring to early summer. We're guessing the hardiness to U.S.D.A. zone 6 (care).

Maxillaria tenuifolia , Coconut Orchid- This orchid produces 1 1/2 - 2 inch dark red flowers (photo) in spring to early summer which smell like coconut! Small, oval pseudobulbs are topped with gracefully arched, grassy foliage, making the plant quite attractive even without flowers. It is a native from Mexico through Central America and seems to enjoy growing in gravel. Our best plants are in 1/2 inch stones we scooped from the edge of our driveway! Of course occasional fertilizers are necessary.(care) As the plant is semi-climbing, it can also be trained on slabs of bark or tree fern. They grow well with Nepenthes and most other orchids. Tolerates from 45o-105o F, with 60o-80o F as the preferred range.

Passiflora incarnata- Purple , Passionflower, Maypops- Winter hardy (zone 7-6), flowering native vine. Scores of purple banded flowers are produced during the summer and, if cross-pollinated, followed by edible fruit. While many people love the exotic look of this plant, a word of caution - it is a vigorous, invasive grower that sends rhizomes up around the original plant. It can be managed with regular maintenance or left to spread around brush piles, fences, etc. (care) Do not plant it close to your neighbor's border!

Passiflora incarnata-White -All white version of the above! (photo) Beautiful and a good pollinator/companion for the purple. Cross pollination yields the best tasting fruit we've sampled in this species, delicious! Very prolific. From noteworthy plantsman Bill Scholl. We may have to trim the vines a little to fit them in a box, if ordered after May.

Polemonium reptans, Jacob's Ladder-Combining fern-like leaves and lovely blue, bell- shaped flowers, Jacob's Ladder is a wonderful perennial for the shade garden. It forms carpets usually under a foot high and spreads at a moderate rate. (care) It's native to the south east U.S. and West Virginia but is seldom seen because of its rarity. Winter hardiness should extend at least to zone 6 and probably zone 5 with a winter covering of leaves. Each flower is just under a half inch, riding in clusters on branched stems.

Polygala lutea, Orange Milkwort - When visitors scan our midsummer bog gardens, they usually want to know “what is that bright orange flower that looks like clover?” The neon orange flowers of the Orange Milkwort add a rare color to “bogscapes”. Indeed, they are about the size and shape of red clover, but are not related. These flower heads are about an inch long on stems that are usually under a foot tall (photo). Its rounded leaves are thick and succulent, forming rosettes just two to three inches across. This species is a biennial or short lived perennial that self-sows seed (care).

Sabatia kennedyana - Sabatias are relatives of Gentians, but look very different, having a loose, daisy like shape to the petals but lacking the daisy’s center “button”. This species is a native wildflower in damp areas. It produces spring/summer flowers that are pink and about two or so inches across. The center of the flower is yellow, with a thin, red line (picotee) around it (photo). These lovely blossoms have a delicate, pleasant scent and appear in clusters on stems near a foot high. Cool, green rosettes of strap-shaped leaves complement the flowers. This species is a perennial that is excellent in outdoor bog gardens (care). We’re guessing the hardiness limit is U.S.D.A. zone 5. Prefers damp, acidic soils and often self-sows from tiny seeds. Rarely offered, yet highly desirable.

Stapelia variegata , Star Flower - Star flowers are Milkweed relatives that look like cacti, but lack spines. This species has yellow flowers two inches across with dark purple spots, very showy (photo). However if you put your nose up to the bloom, beware! It smells bad. Lovely to look at, easy to grow as a house plant and very tolerant of neglect, (care), this plant is always amusing!

Vaccinium macrocarpon, American Cranberry - You don't need a bog to grow cranberries. These sturdy plants form a dense carpet of small leaves and the familiar red fruit. We do not recommend putting cranberries in a bog garden with other plants as they are very aggressive growers. We grow ours just outside of the pitcher plant bogs, planted in regular soil with some added peat moss. The cranberry carpet turns a pretty red in cold weather and is usually evergreen, with the scarlet fruit making a really beautiful display that's only a few inches tall. Tolerant of short-term soil drying, cranberries do best if watered occaisionally during dry periods. Cranberries are just starting to get the attention they deserve as a landscape plant.

Vanilla pompona, Vanilla Orchid- Grown most often for flowers, its succulent vining stems and foliage (photo). Vines can easily reach 20 feet long, if allowed to roam. Prefers greenhouse or plant room conditions and likes high humidity (care). Tolerant of cool conditions, but must not freeze. The vine roots along the stem and can be trained up moss-covered poles, logs, etc. Listed as a minor source of vanilla spice. Vanilla planifolia is the primary source of vanilla, but is reputedly harder to flower. Our clone blooms reliably once large (over 8 feet). We're experimenting with curing the pods.

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