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Plant Reference

Here is a partial list of plants I have offered for sale during our open weekends. Although the nursery is now closed, I’ll keep the list complete for a while for reference.

About soil: in many descriptions I have indicated a plant preference for “composty” soil. It is always difficult to describe soil conditions, so what I mean by this term is this: I assume you are starting with reasonably well-drained soil, a sandy loam, say. A composty soil is that typical soil to which some coarse, crumbly, mostly decomposed, organic matter has been added. Homemade compost is great so long as it is finished compost (i.e., a fairly low nitrogen content.) Figure 1″ of compost worked into the top 6″ of soil.

About light: in many descriptions of so-called shade, or woodland, plants, I have indicated a plant preference for part shade. Think of shade as filtered sunlight; when you walk in a woodland at midday when it is sunny, you see small patches of “direct” sunlight on the ground. You may have to remove trees or limb them up to let in enough light. I consider “shade”, where you may not see this direct sunlight, insufficient for most plants. They just won’t grow well. You can consider several hours of morning direct sunlight to be equal to daylong filtered sunlight.

About water: the single biggest cause of plant demise is overwatering. Make sure your soil drains well, is well-aerated (think coarse organic matter) and that you water when your garden really is dry.

About prices: lower than mail order nurseries. 3″ pots average $4.75; 4″ deep pots average $6.75. Rarer and bigger plants are more. Lady-slippers run around $26-28.

About time.


The Plants

Allium cyathophorum var. farreri (photo)

“Farrer’s Allium” A deeply colored small allium for the front of the border. Arching sprays of rich purple papery blooms in mid summer when daylilies flower. A foot tall and wide. Easy to grow in a sunny garden or container.

Allium fistulosum (photo)

We first got this allium from Japan under a different name, but have since found out that it is a nice straw yellow form of the Welsh Onion. Grow it for its very wide hollow leaves to cook with, or enjoy it as a perennial in the garden, or both. Doesn’t form a subterranean bulb like a lot of alliums. 20″ tall and sun. Average soil.

Allium nigrum (photo)

This allium (which you may also find under the name of Allium multibulbosum) has one quality that makes it especially useful: it blooms at the same time as most garden peonies. They reach up just beyond most peony flowers- 3″ white globes on strong stems- and provide a beautiful contrast.

Allium obliquum (photo)

An ornamental allium with strong (cut flower) stems that support 1 ½ inch globular sulfur yellow flower heads. As with all alliums, a good butterfly plant. Sun. Mid-summer. 18” tall. Average soil. Easy to divide.

Allium robustum (photo)

Grown from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Club, this uncommon species has rich purple flowers on 12″ stems in midsummer. Sun. Average soil.

Allium schoenoprasum  ‘Album’  “White Chives”

This heirloom is actually very rare in gardens. I received a division from an elderly man in Ohio a few years back. Grows the same as regular chives but seeds less. Pure white flowers on 20” stems. NOTE: this is NOT the common garlic chives. A very ornamental plant.

Allium senescens ex McLaughlin Garden (photo)

This ornamental onion is from Bernie McLaughlin. The McLaughlin Garden in South Paris has an interesting diversity of Allium nutans and Allium senescens in a range of color shades, leaf forms and scape heights. This is a wide-leaf form and it’s quite handsome when paired with daylilies which overlap in bloom time. 18″ tall and sun to part shade.

Allium spirale (photo)

A valuable, underutilized perennial with clusters of lavender flowers over a long period in summer. Butterfly magnet. Spiraling narrow leaves. 10” tall x 16″

Allium tricoccum (photo)

A native allium that covers acres in the south in damp forests. Not quite as spready in the north, but it is worth the trouble to get it to do so. We have had fine restaurants inquire about this delicacy. Worthwhile ornamentally in the shade garden-flowers and strappy leaves are quite nice. 10″ tall; spreads slowly. Soil with high organic content that doesn’t dry severely.

Amsonia montana (photo)

Icy blue star-like flowers literally cover this perennial in spring. Glossy dark green foliage; shrublike. 1 ½ feet tall and across. Sun. Average soil. When this flowers in our gardens, we immediately sell out.

Anemone x lipsiensis (photo with 2 parents)

A stable hybrid between A. nemorosa (white flower) and A. ranunculoides (yellow flower) yielding light, cool yellow flowers on vigorous plants. 6″ tall; spreads slowly. Adaptable to light and soil conditions; just not too dry or it will go dormant in summer.

Anemone nemorosa ‘Bill Baker’ (photo)

An early spring riser in the garden. Attractive ferny foliage. Bright white anemone flowers an inch across in profusion. They gradually become 2 tone pink and white, and then deep rose. These plants spread slowly and form clumps 1-2 feet across in time. For average soil. Sun to shade. Use between plants in the perennial garden to get an early bloom start. 6” tall.

Anemone nemorosa ‘Bowles’ (photo)

Another spring gem. Attractive ferny foliage and blue anemone flowers with a purple blush. Spreads from thin rhizomes and will create a nice patch in a few years. Average soil. Sun to shade. Great interplanted with other anemones. 6” tall. 

Anemone nemorosa ‘Vestal’ (photo)

A spring-blooming woodland anemone with bright white 1” flowers that have a central cluster of staminoids. I usually sell out of this cultivar when they are in bloom. Lovely and refined. They grow 6” tall and slowly creep to form a large patch in time. Part shade. Average soil.

Anemone nemorosa ‘Wilkes’ (photo)

For years we grew the species A. nemorosa which has nice white flowers in the spring. Then, we discovered this cultivar which has larger flowers in greater numbers. Nice robust plants that fill in nooks and crannies in the garden over time. 6″ tall.

Anemone ranunculoides

The other common woodland anemone (with A. nemorosa) from Europe that spreads on forest floors far and wide. Rich buttery yellow tepals on 6″ tall plants in spring. Spreads slowly, is easy to divide, is adaptable to sun and soil: perfect!

Anemone trifolia

A southern European species that ranges through southern France and Spain. Definitely hardy, it differs from A. nemorosa in the north by having white pollen which gives it a “whiter” appearance. It also has a very different trifoliate leaflet arrangement which looks bolder. Same culture as A. nemorosa.

Anemonella ‘Shoaff’s Double’ (photo)

This collectors plant normally sells for $25-30 at mail order nurseries; and for good reason: it is devilishly slow to propagate. Elegant rose-colored round button flowers- fully double- in spring. A small plant, it grows to 8” tall and wide, but is long-lived and easy to grow. Average soil, not wet. Part shade.

Anemonopsis macrophylla ‘White Swan’ (photo)

I remember this plant being offered for sale in Japan 10 years ago for $100 or more. I found a gardener there who gave me a few seeds- I didn’t think they would come true- and I ended up with one pristine white Anemonopsis that I have self pollinated and collected seeds from for a few years. These plants are seedlings, a year old ( or 2 years old from time of seed sowing.) You will have to protect them during their first year simply because they are small (i.e., don’t drown them or let them become too shaded by neighbors.) The lower price reflects this inconvenience. 24″ tall. Hovering white flowers opening from “champagne grape” buds will enthrall you in late summer. Part shade and composty soil.

Aralia racemosa (photo)

A majestic shrub-like native that should be grown in every garden. With striking coumpound foliage reaching 2-3 feet across and, in time, 4 1/2 feet tall, “Spikenard” produces tiny flowers in panicles that give rise to masses of equally tiny purple berries that birds will thank you for. Part shade. Composty soil.

Arisaema ciliatum var. liubaense (photo)

This jack-in-the-pulpit hails from Sichuan Province in China. It has a boldly striped spathe with a long drip tip. The plant gets larger each each year from its also larger corm; we have had some reach 4 feet tall. Are these plants male or female? It depends. Some years jacks are male and others they are female. Just saying. A key to growing jacks well is to not overwater them. If you want 100% success, dig them up when dormant, let dry completely, put in a baggie in the fridge for the winter (just like dahlias.) They are easy to grow in pots, too. Part shade. Fully hardy.

Arisaema consanguineum ACE robust form (photo)

Seed-grown from plants originally collected during the 1994 ACE China expedition. These are are quite different from any A. consanguineum I’ve grown and may actually have a different ploidy (chromosome number) than the types. They are very robust plants that size up quickly, are floriferous, and they produce huge clusters of berries. 3 feet tall. Part shade. See above species for culture notes.

Arisaema ringens (photo)

A late rising species (late May) with huge glossy green trifoliate leaflets measuring over 2 feet across. Boldly-striped cobra lily flowers arising from the earth in a tight furl- perhaps the most dramatic entry of any plant in the garden, but, then again, that can be said of most Arisaema species.

Asarum canadense

Our native ground-covering Canadian ginger emerges in the spring from fuzzy gray green buds. All the while, large “Dr. Seussian” flowers, with red starfish fronts, develop along the soil surface, putting on their best show to induce beetles to crawl around inside, maybe pick up some pollen, maybe crawl into a neighboring flower….So delightfully strange. A great groundcover for part to full shade.

Asarum canadense ‘Eco Choice’

This Canadian ginger was selected by intrepid plantsman Don Jacobs at Eco Gardens in Georgia. It is an amped up version of the species and spreads faster.

Asarum europaeum

European ginger has become a mainstay in many shade gardens. Most of you have it. For those that don’t, here you go. Glossy, deep green leaves and strange little flowers- almost invisible at ground level- combine in a slowly spreading groundcover. Part to full shade.

Asclepias tuberosa (photo)

A bright, cheerful, clump-forming (i.e., it doesn’t spread) native milkweed. Fantastic butterfly and pollinator plant. Bright yellow-orange flowers in clusters. To 2 feet tall and 1 ½ wide. For full sun and average to dry soil (just not too moist). Really very nice.

Astilbe biternata

A rarely available native astilbe. Gorgeous glossy compound foliage  to 2 feet tall; feathery white  branched flower clusters in mid summer. Part shade to shade in compost soil; not too dry. 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Boykinia intermedia

Brookfoam -like the name of some Tolkienesque sprite- is a Pacific Northwest native. This saxifrage is now being protected in areas of overdevelopment. It grows along streams and other spring-damp places in part shade. A foot tall with handsome foliage, it sports panicles of white flowers in May/June. It spreads into a nice patch in part shade with ample soil moisture.

Campanula incurva (photo)

O.K., so this is a biennial (i.e., it dies after flowering), so why grow it (why buy it)? It has immense fat pale lavender flowers- that turn white- and it flowers endlessly all summer. Foot tall plants in full sun in soil that drains well. That problem with dying in the fall? Did I mention that it produces copious amounts of seed that you can collect and sow with your annuals  the following spring- and once your friends see this, they will want seed, too.

Campanula persicifolia grandiflora alba (photo)

The large-flowered white version of the peach-leafed campanula (don’t ask me where they got “peach-leaved campanula”). The nicest campanula of all? I am seriously considering that proposition. 24” tall x 12” Sun/pt. shade

Campanula persicifolia ‘Telham Beauty’

A peach-leaf bellflower with loads of large light violet blue bells on strong robusto stems to 30”  For sun to part shade. Average soil. Flowers in June into July.

Cardamine heptaphylla (photo)

A European toothwort that inhabits open woodlands. It has large white flowers (for a toothwort) often blushed pink. Spring. Sun to part shade in composty soil that is not too wet. Add a bit of lime. These Cardamines are not often available outside of European nurseries. We found a seed source in the Canary Islands of all places. A foot tall.

Cardamine maxima (photo)

A native toothwort with medium-sized white flowers in the spring. Gorgeous purple tinged foliage when emerging from the ground. C. maxima is considered to be a natural hybrid between C. concatenata and C. diphylla. It is of special concern in Maine where populations have dwindled. These are divisions of plants originally from the New England Wildflower Society. Part shade, composty soil with a bit of lime added.

Cardamine pentaphylla

This toothwort won an AGM (award of garden merit) from the Royal Horticultural Society, so that’s “Sir” Pentaphylla to you. It has pretty pink/purple flowers in spring and has nicely textured pinnate foliage. A foot tall. Part shade; composty soil.

Cardamine quinquefolia

We got this one from the now defunct Heronswood Nursery years ago. It has a nice pink flower and is shorter than the previous three species, reaching a height of 8″ or so. Spring-blooming. Spreads a bit faster and goes dormant in summer. Sun to part shade.

Cardamine waldsteinii (photo)

Perhaps the most refined of the bunch, this toothwort is a bit more erect and the numerous white flowers are less floppily arranged. To 14 ” tall, it does not (in my experience) spread. Rather, it stays nicely clumped and is easily accommodated in the garden. Sun to part shade in moist, well-drained soil.

Chaerophyllum hirsutum ‘Roseum’ (photo)

A ferny-foliaged umbellifer with soft pink flowers in flat clusters. Adds a fine texture to the perennial border. Rather rare in the trade. 20” tall and wide. For sun in compost soil- not too dry.

Chelonopsis yagiharana

Say that name three times fast! This late summer bloomer forms a nice little shrub-like perennial presence in the garden. 2 feet across and 18″ tall in 3 years or so. Tubular rose colored flowers are closely scrutinized by hummingbirds. Sun to part shade. Average soil; not too dry.

Chiastophyllum oppositifolium

An unusual succulent for the woodland. Evergreen fleshy leaves and pearl-like acid yellow flowers on drooping racemes in late spring/early summer. 10″ tall and slowly spreading. Composty soil in part shade.

Cimicifuga japonica ‘Cheju Island’ (photo)

This is a rare version of the Japanese Bugbane. It is special for its stunning foliage and flowers: deep green compound leaves form a clump to 14” tall followed by graceful flower spikes to 4 feet with bright white flowers. Part shade and composty soil. Flowers in late summer.

Clematis integrifolia ‘Blue Ribbons’ (photo)

An herbaceous clematis (doesn’t vine) grown like a perennial. Large, dangling blue ribbon flowers in June. 20” x 20” Longer-lasting in the garden than other clematis. These plants are seedlings which will take a couple of years to bulk up- hence, the low price.

Clematis integrifolia ‘Mongolian Bells’ (photo)

Like ‘Blue Ribbons’ (above) this integrifolia is actually a seed strain, which means there is variability among the seedlings. In this case the colors range from white to rose to blue. Interestingly, the pigmentation range in the emerging leaves gives some clue to the final color. These are fabulous cut flowers. We’ll offer a discount price for purchasing 3.

Convallaria ‘Aureovariegata’

Lily of the Valley is such a mainstay in landscapes that it is hard to imagine adding more, but this cultivar is special. It has yellow stripes traversing each leaf that look as if they were carefully drawn with a fine pen. Not as vigorous as the typical form.

Corydalis malkensis

One of my favorite spring flowers. This early riser (April into May) has wide lipped milk white flowers over ferny foliage. 10” tall. It makes offset corms and will reward you with a large clump. Make sure to look for self-sown seedlings as well. Easy in average soil (not wet) and sun to part shade.

Corydalis magadanica

I received seeds of this rare species years ago from Alexandra Berkutenko who worked at a research station in Siberia. She collected the seeds locally around the port town of Magadan. It sports fine silvery green leaves and creamy white flowers in spring before going dormant. For gritty soil with a little peat moss added. It will persist and seed best with a few hours of morning sun.

Corydalis solida

Plant breeders have coaxed a myriad of colors from this Eurasian species. This is the original species with pink/mauve flowers in April/May and beautiful ferny foliage. It grows from corms which are easy to divide when dormant. 8″ tall. Sun to part shade in composty soil.

Corydalis solida ‘George P. Baker’ (photo)

This hard-to-find cultivar has bright brick-red tubular flowers in profusion in early spring. A collectors plant but very easy to grow. 6” tall and wide. These will gently self sow (an added feature.) Sun in spring, but plants can grow up and shade them in summer. Average soil; not wet.

Cypripedium ‘Gisela’ (photo)

“Ladyslipper” This highly coveted garden orchid is easy to grow. It is a hybrid between the deep red Cyp. macranthos and our local yellow Cyp. parviflorum. For composty but well-drained soil (just make sure water doesn’t collect around the plant.) Plant so the roots fan out in a shallow upside down “V” Water when dry. 12” tall and wide. Part shade, but it will flower best if given a few hours of early direct sun. 1/4 strength liquid fertilizer in second year.

Cypripedium parviflorum (photo)

“Yellow Ladyslipper” The beautiful native yellow ladyslipper orchid. Multiple May-blooming yellow slipper flowers on 14 “ stems. For loose (i.e., not compacted) composty soil; average moisture (i.e., not wet.) Part-shade (ladyslippers benefit from a few hours of morning sun.) Fairly easy to grow.

Delosperma congesta

“Hardy Ice Plant” This succulent for sun and very well-drained soil has bright yellow daisies w/ white eyes in summer. Only 2” tall, it spreads outward slowly. Great in pots on a patio.

Dianthus andrzejowskianus

This very pretty garden pink is native to Russia. It has rich rosy flowers with dark streaks and toothed petals For sun and average soil with good drainage. 18” stems: a good cut flower.

Dianthus ‘Nyewood Cream’ (photo)

A completely charming cultivar with fragrant white flowers that age to pink. Only 4 inches tall or so when in bloom, this dianthus forms a tight cluster of fine leaves 2 inches tall. For rock gardens or the front of a sunny border (or a container) in average soil in sun.

Dianthus superbus

This garden pink is called Nadesiko in Japan which means pretty child, and indeed it is. Finely cut frilly petals give it a delicate charm. A foot tall and wide. Plant in well-drained soil in sun. Add a handful of lime to sweeten the soil a bit.

Dicentra cucullaria (photo)

Our native dutchman’s breetches is a dainty little bleeding heart that will spread into a significant colony over time. It has the most sumptuous ferny foliage imaginable which emerges in spring followed by inflated white pantaloon flowers dangling from fine arching stems. Only 6 -8″ tall, this is a charmer. Sun to part shade. Composty soil.

Dicentra cucullaria pink form (photo)

A rare, light pink form of the above.

Dictamnus albus var. purpureus (photo)

“Gas Plant” Tremendous, long-lived perennial with rosy flowers etched with dark red veins. 30” tall and wide. Best in full sun. It is called gas plant because the stems produce an oil on hot days that ignites if you hold a match to it- really interesting at dusk, and it doesn’t harm the plant. That same oil is said to cause a rash in some people (although I’ve never met anyone who had this problem.) Slow- growing; these plants will take another year to flower.

Diphylleia cymosa (photo)

“Umbrella Leaf” Native plant with huge attractive leaves; one of the most commented-on plants in our garden. Clusters of white flowers on red stems give rise to bright blue grape-like berries that are eaten by birds. 30” tall and wide. For part to full shade in composty soil.

Disporum maculatum (photo)

Spotty Fairy Bells and Spotted Mandarin are just two of the common names for this delightful native woodlander. This clump-former has pleated simple leaves on arching stems. Terminal clusters of 1 1/2″ wide spidery, white flowers are finely spotted in purple. 12″ tall and wide. For part shade and composty soil.

Dodecatheon dentatum

A pretty shooting star from the Pacific Northwest with white reflexed flowers on 12″ stems in late spring to early summer. For part shade and composty soil.

Dodecatheon meadia

Shooting stars are primrose relatives that have their petals reflexed, as if standing in a stiff wind. This particular species has a wide distribution from Pennsylvania through the midwest. It has pink flowers on 10″ tall stems. Sun to part shade. Composty soil.

Doronicum ‘Bernie McLaughlin’

I received a start of this Leopard’s Bane years ago from Bernard McLaughlin in South Paris. At the time, each of us were sure of the species. But, we were both wrong. In any case it is a fabulous groundcover with cheerful yellow daisies in the spring. Will spread into a large patch in a few years. Average soil. Sun to shade. 18” tall

Epimedium sempervirens ‘Violet Queen’

I’ll let Karen tell you about this (here at the bottom of the page). I have purchased all my epimediums from Garden Vision. Ours are $10.

Epimedium ‘Heath’s Choice’

This is a grandiflorum seedling that I have selected for vigor and size. About 10″ tall at leaf out. Rose inner sepals; white spurs and cup.

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘White Queen’

Originally from Darrell Probst at Garden Vision. The correctly named cultivar is still rare in the U.S. Pure white flowers on 14″ tall stems. In large pots.

Eryngium yuccifolium

A denizen of tall grass prairies, this yucca-leaved sun lover  is easy to please. It is useful in the perennial border for its tight umbels of flowers on scapes to 4 feet tall. Flowers are tightly packed pin cushion fashion, greenish-white, and provide a coarse spiky counterpoint to the otherwise undulative nature of sunny borders.

Filipendula ulmeria ‘Aurea’

Filipendoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobiddi-boo….  A friend once pronounced this plant “philip-pen-doola”, and  whenever I see or imagine it, I hear this song in my head (and if you are of a certain age, now you will, too!) Lemon-bright, highly textured leaves emerge in the spring and reach 2 x 2 feet. Flowers are insignificant. Grown primarily for foliage-effect, cut to the ground to refresh. Sun.

Geranium maculatum album This version of our native cranesbill has bright silvery white 1 ½” blooms that flutter in the breeze. In the wild it grows along woodland edges, but it is very adaptable to sun and part shade. 1 ½ feet tall. Slowly spreads to make a nice patch. Late spring, early summer. Average soil.

Geranium nodosum

Lustrous maple-like leaves and inch-wide, light rose flowers with dark purple penciling on each petal. These bloom on-and-off through the summer. As useful in the garden for its foliage as for its fine blooms. About a foot tall and easy to please in sun or part shade.

Geranium sylvaticum ‘Amy Doncaster’

A rich violet-blue centered in white cultivar of a Scandinavian native cranesbill. This hard-to-find plant is covered in blooms in mid spring. 20” tall and wide. Average soil. Sun to part shade. Hands down my favorite hardy geranium.

Glaucidium palmatum

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

There are several cultivars of Hakone grass that have been introduced in recent years, but none of them, in my humble opinion, exceed the garden utility and grace of ‘Aureola’. Creamy yellow and green striped ribbon leaves cascade outward like water in a fountain. A foot tall and two across in time. Does well in part shade with composty soil.

Helionias bullata

Bubble gum pink flowers with blue pollen in dense clusters atop strong hollow stems. A threatened or endangered native in several eastern states. It likes organic, almost mucky soil in part shade, but is worth the effort to accommodate. Grows from spreading basal rosettes of leaves to 2 ½ feet tall. Spring.

Hepatica nobilis

A true harbinger of spring, this woodland gem is startlingly beautiful when its clear blue flowers open in April and May. The flowers emerge first followed by attractive lobed foliage. For composty soil (that doesn’t get soggy) in part shade. 8” by 8” Forms a strong clump.

Heuchera villosa var. macrorrhiza

We’ve grown H. villosa and H. villosa purpurea for years, but this variety is larger in all respects: leaf size, height, spread. It is useful for filling in blank spots in the woodland garden (it also will do OK in the sun.) Essentially: a nice textural component to frame other more showy plants. To 2 feet tall and slowly spreading.

Hydrastis canadensis

Just a few of our native goldenseal. 

Hypoxis hirsuta “Goldstar”

Closely related to Amaryllis, this native clump-former sports cheerful yellow flowers in May over strap-like leaves. For composty soil in full sun, these will reward you with a large clump in time. 10” tall x 12”

Incarvillea mairei

“Hardy Gloxinia” This Asian gloxinia-like perennial has very large deep rose flowers with yellow and white centers. Stops people in their tracks when it blooms in late spring. For full sun in average soil (just make sure soil isn’t soggy.) 12” tall and wide.

Iris cristata ‘Powder Blue Giant’

This selection of our native dwarf crested iris has larger flowers on taller stems than the species. Nice light blue with white and yellow in the crests and white signals bordered in dark blue. 8″ tall; forms a nice carpet over time. Part shade.

Iris lactea

We received this tough plant years ago from a plant sale at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. The seller, an iris society volunteer, waxed on about the beautiful, wild flower-looking flowers that appear en mass amid thin blue-green strap-like foliage. Sold. And, sold again and again over the years. Thin pale blue standards and white falls with blue veining. 20″ tall. Sun. Average soil.

Iris laevigata ‘Colchesterensis’

These are water irises that do well in wet soil, but we know a number of gardeners who grow these in compost amended soil (lots of compost) and keep them watered well. 2 feet tall. Striking large white flowers with deep blue edges on the falls. Sun.

Iris sibirica ‘Pennywhistle’ A Schafer/Sachs introduction and my favorite Siberian iris. Gentian blue standards; almost white falls with heavy blue etching. 24” tall. Easy to grow in average soil in full sun to part shade.

Iris tectorum ‘Jimmy Stewart’

“White Japanese Roof Iris”– Rarely available. Exquisite ethereal flowers in late spring. 18” tall. For sun to part shade. Average soil but well drained in summer.

Lamium orvala

“Dragon Flower” An uncommon plant for part shade with hooded and delicately-patterned orchid-like rosy flowers encircling strong stems. Central Europe. Spreads slowly. 18” tall and wide. Late spring. Average soil

.Lathyrus vernus

“Spring Vetchling” A charming cottage garden perennial with pea-like flowers that start purple and turn blue. Clumper for sun/pt. shade. 16” x 16”

Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus’

The sought-after pink and deep rose bicolor form.

Liatris ligulistylis

“Blazing Star” An amazing button-type liatris that attracts more monarch butterflies than any other species. Really. Bright red buds open to purplish-pink flowers in mid-summer. For full sun and average soil. Easy to grow. 30” tall x 18”

Lilium grayi

“Roan Lily” A very rare plant, and only available from Wake-Robin in the U.S. An absolutely stunning lily that grows 3-4 feet tall with tiers of crimson flowers. Flowers have a yellow throat heavily spotted with burgundy. For full sun to part shade in well-drained moist soil (we grow these in a sandy garden bed with some added compost.) Early summer.

 Lobelia cardinalis

“Cardinal Flower” Brilliant scarlet flowers in August. For average to moist soil in sun to part shade. To 3 feet tall. Allow self-sowing to spread: These will appear around your yard as if by magic. Hummingbird magnet.

Lobelia siphilitica

Related to our native Cardinal Flower, this blue version is a bit shorter (24-30”) but is much stouter, often producing a dozen flower spikes. For composty soil in sun to part shade.

Lychnis miqueliana

Vermilion is an uncommon color among perennials. This rarely available plant absolutely glows in the garden. Purple-tinged leaves contrast with the bright 2” flowers. 2 foot tall x 16” plants. Late spring. Sun, average soil.

Magnolia tripetala

The umbrella magnolia, a native that ranges from southern Connecticut southwards, was always thought to be a rather tender plant in Maine. Thanks to the Magnolia Society, seeds from successfully grown trees in Ontario have been made available. These are only a year old and are about 3-4″ tall- really, that’s all they grow in their first year- and they look like sticks in a pot. [I’d make a great car salesman.] However, they grow quickly and they are inexpensive. And, they have 2 foot long leaves, 6″ creamy white flowers on wonderfully arching branches. To 15 feet tall. Part shade or sun in composty soil.

Marshallia grandiflora

A common name for this native intricate beauty is Barbara’s Buttons and it is, for some reason, rather rare in perennial gardens. The light rose petals are fused into thin tubes giving the plant an etched quality. Easy to grow in composty soil. Full sun to part shade. Forms a nice clump. Stems to 18” tall in summer.

Meehania urticifolia

A fabulous Asian ground cover that will creep here and there in your woodland garden. It is not the least bit invasive (I’ve grown it for 15 years or so and it has spread about 6 feet.) Truly lovely hooded flowers are lavender with white lips and dark purple spotting. About 8″ tall and slowly spreading. Part shade. 

Mukdenia rossii

From Korea, where it grows by cool wooded streams. I find that it is easily accommodated in any garden with protection from mid day sun. Striking palmate leaves and showy white flowers that emerge before the leaves. Compost-amended soil, but not wet. Easy to accomodate, it will slowly spread to 3 feet across. A foot tall.

Nepeta ‘Joanna Reed’

This is consistently rated as one of the best catmints in plant trials for its long bloom period and its restrained habit (i.e., it doesn’t flop.) Pretty lavender flowers on 2 foot stems. For a sunny site and average soil.

Pachysandra procumbens

Pachysandra terminalis, an Asian species, has definitely become a cliche in landscapes. There is a native alternative that is less of a carpet-like groundcover. P. procumbens is a bit looser in habit (more wildflower-like) with long leaves that develop a fabulous silvery pattern in late summer/fall that persists through the spring when new leaves overtake the old. White bottlebrush flowers in the spring. Part shade. 

Parthenium integrifolium

“Wild Quinine” Another excellent native for attracting pollinators and butterflies. White flowers in large umbels (like a high class yarrow). Attractive foliage and form. We have been promoting this plant for a few years now. 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Sun and average soil. Also, a fantastic cut flower that dries well.

Phlomis tuberosa

Fabulous back-of-the-border perennial. 4 to 5 foot strong stems with whorls of lavender/pink blooms. Attracts butterflies. Blooms early to mid summer. For average soils in sun.

Phlox stolonifera ‘Variegata’

A native woodland phlox that grows well in sun or shade as long as it has constant soil moisture (it abhors dry soil and will decline quickly). There are a number of cultivars, in a range of colors; this one has rosy pink flowers. What makes this cultivar different is a nice cream and green variegation in the small leaves. 4″ tall and carpet-forming. More sun= more flowers.

Physoclaina orientalis

You will be thinking of the poor students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when you grow this. I promise, however, that cultivating this mandrake relative will not lead to hearing loss. In the family Solanaceae, this oddity has beautiful purple trumpet flowers in clusters, in spring. A foot tall. For sun and well-drained soil. Professor Sprout asks that I say no more.

Phyteuma scheuchzeri “Horned Rampion”

A lovely Campanula relative with an exquisite flower comprised of fused tubular petals that look like miniature horns. Light blue flowers on 12” stems. Spreads slowly into a nice patch in a couple of years. Sun. Average soil that drains well.

Podophyllum hexandrum

Himalayan mayapple emerges from the earth like a wakening leopard frog: dark greens, browns; at first looking like vegetal remains from the previous summer. No wait; there is a pattern of sorts, and leaves begin to unfurl between which a single flower bud aims skyward. Exotic and rare now in the wild (it is harvested for medicinal use.) To 2 feet tall. Part shade; not too dry.

Podophyllum peltatum

Our native mayapple creates knee high colonies of primeval umbrella foliage that looks like it belongs in a Cretaceous forest. Is that rustling you hear a microraptor perhaps? Hmm. Spreads 6″ per year outward from thick rhizomes. It is not invasive, but it may fit the bill if you need to cover some ground. Single 2″ white flowers and big green egg-like fruit.

Polemonium ‘Lambrook Mauve’

This is no “ho hum” jacob’s ladder. Large rich mauve flowers with yellow centers. I will never grow any other Jacob’s ladder again.

Polygonatum ‘Byakko’ (White Tiger)

A newly available version of the popular Solomon’s Seal. This particular cultivar was used in the cut flower trade in Japan half a century ago; it then vanished and was thought to be extinct. A few years ago it was rediscovered and was selling for $100-200 for a small division. Today, it sells for $28-38 on the internet. So, is it a good plant? It does have an unusual habit of first appearing 100% green and in May in turns white like the photo shows. Older plants will show more white, and are to die for. Red arching stems to 18″ tall. White bell flowers in spring. Composty soil. Part shade with morning sun is best.

Polygonatum hookeri

A very unusual solomon’s seal from the Himalayas that grows only about 4″ tall or so. Highly fragrant rich pink flowers in the spring resemble hyacinths. For the rock garden, or for a container. Creates a loose mat from rhizomes. This has been creeping around our gardens for years, and I always look forward to discovering it.

Polygonatum humile ‘Yellow Striped’

This selection of dwarf solomon’s seal originally came from a nursery in Japan. It has the typical oval leaves on upright stems with relatively large fragrant flowers. This variety has yellow streaks in the leaves. Only 6″ tall and slowly mat-forming.

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Chollipo’

There are many cultivars of P. odoratum in addition to the commonly grown variegated one that even Lowes sells. This is a natural variety that was collected for the Chollipo Arboretum in South Korea long ago. It was given a cultivar name to honor the arboretum. It has arching rich purple stems to nearly 2 feet, large oval pleated leaves and single flowers that dangle from leaf axils along the stem. Flowers in May. For part shade.

Polygonatum odoratum ‘Flore Pleno’

A P. odoratum cultivar from Japan that is like the straight species except for the flowers, which are jewels. Each bud along the gracefully arching stems opens to fully double, substantial white flowers with green tips. Quite a show! Nearly 2 feet tall and slowly spreading. Part shade and composty soil.

Polygonatum ‘Grace Barker’

Another solomon’s seal, but this has variegated cream and green leaves that have a curious twist to them. Arching stems to a foot tall. We have grown this in sun and shade.

Potentilla atrosanguinea v. argyrophylla  “Himalayan Cinquefoil”

A pretty little cinquefoil with orange/yellow flowers with an orange base. Beautiful silvery foliage shaped like strawberry leaves. 12”tall and wide. For a sunny spot in well drained soil.

Potentilla ‘Monarch’s Velvet’

Deep red flowers with heart-shaped petals. Flowers for a long period in mid summer. For full sun, average soil (dry when established). 24” tall x 16”

Primula elatior ssp. pallasii

Oxlip is a European native primrose with light “primrose” yellow flowers. Easy to grow in sun to part shade. Composty soil.

Primula ‘Perle Von Bottrop’

This little juliana has rich rose-purple flowers with yellow centers arising from crinkled foliage in the spring. 6″ tall, forming a nice clump in a year or two. Composty soil part shade.

Primula sieboldii ‘Dusky Blue’

Our selection of a…well…dusky blue sakurasoh primrose from Japan. At one time I selected sakurasoh colors to match the range of colors in sunsets and sunrises. Like all sakurasohs, it is an easy and rewarding plant to grow in composty soil in part shade. About a foot tall and slowly spreading. These benefit from being divided every 3 years or so.

Primula sieboldii ‘Confetti’

We received this plant years ago under the name ‘Confetti’ but we can find no reference to it on the web. Anyway, it is a little charmer. Slightly shorter than a lot of sakurasohs- to maybe 10″- it sports frilly white flowers with a magenta reverse.

Primula sieboldii ‘Nanki Koza Kura’

This is a cultivar of the Sakurasoh primrose which may be the best primrose to grow in Maine growing conditions. This particular cultivar has deep magenta bilobed flowers in spring, each with a white eye. The petals are also outlined in  white. 10” tall and slowly spreading to 16” Part shade and composty soil. May go dormant in late summer if too dry, only to return the following spring. Very rare!

Primula sieboldii ‘The Dawn Renews All Possibilities’

Our selection of a bold sakurasoh that is mostly white with a faded rose reverse. Everything will look better in the morning; you’ll see.

Ptelia trifoliata ‘Aurea’ (photo)

You will have to take my word on this one: this is a fantastic small tree! The golden hop tree is a rock hardy native citrus relative with trifoliate leaves and interesting hop-like winged seeds. What make this cultivar special is that the leaves are bright yellow in full sun. Tops out at 12 feet tall. It can also be stooled effectively; cut it to about 2 feet from the ground each spring before buds swell and it will send up 5 foot buttery shoots to provide a bright background in your perennial garden. These are small, but they are inexpensive, and they grow fairly quickly.

Pulsatilla ‘Pearl Bells’

May-blooming Pasque flower for well-drained soil in sun. Salmon pink blush on large upward-facing flowers with yellow centers. 12” tall x 16” wide.

Pulsatilla vulgaris “Red Bells”

Deep rich red upward-facing bell flowers 2 ½ inches across. Forms a large 16” x 16” plant in a couple of years with many, many flowering stems. Spring-bloomer for sun and average soil (not wet.)

Rogersia podophylla

Along with Diphylleia cymosa, this is our favorite foliage plant for part shade. Huge umbrella-like, coarsely toothed palmate leaves can be 16″ across on 2 1/2  foot stems.. A very bold statement in the garden. Full spikes of white flowers to 4 feet. Likes a moist, organic soil.

Sanguinaria canadensis

“Bloodroot” A charming spring-blooming native for part shade and composty soil. Crystalline white star flowers appear early from clasping gray-green leaves. Will form a colony in several years from seed and rhizome. 9” tall. Drought-tolerant when established.

Sanguisorba hakusanensis (photo)

Fuzzy pink/lilac flowers look like drooping squirrel tails. In fact, a Japanese name for this plant is “Lilac Squirrel.” Attractive compound foliage with little toothed leaflets. An altogether unusual perennial flower form. 18″ tall and wide. Sun. Soil not too dry.

Sanguisorba ‘Shiro Fukurin’ (photo)

Another ornamental burnet, but instead of an unusual flower color or form, this plant has a fine leaflets each with a white margin. To 30″ tall and clump-forming. Red flowers in fall. Sun and not too dry.

Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ (photo)

A dwarf, red-flowered ornamental relative of the salad herb burnet. Deep red bottlebrush flowers and interesting little toothed leaves. 16” x 16” For sun to part shade. Average to moist soil. Good cut flower.

Sempervivum ‘Royanum’ I prefer this semp. over all others because it is large: each rosette can get to 4 or 5 inches across which means it won’t get “lost” in the perennial garden like smaller cultivars. Wide leaves with burgundy tips. Sun and average soil with good drainage.


We have a few of these rarities on the “This-and-That” table including Shortia uniflora var. grandiflora and Shortia x ‘Leona’ ( a  hybrid between our native Shortia galacifolia and Shortia uniflora). These are exquisite plants but they have specific habitat requirements. We can talk.

Stachys macrantha robusta

This uncommon form is like regular Stachys macrantha on steroids. A strong growing plant for sun that is covered in rich blue-purple flowers in late spring/ early summer. 24” tall and wide. Average soil.

Syneilesis aconitifolia

An unusual Asian Ligularia relative that is grow for foliage effect. Somewhat like a mayapple in appearance except that the leaves are finely dissected, and they provide a textural counterpoint especially to large flowers like peonies. Texture as a design element in gardens is often overlooked.

Thalictrum kiusianum

Charming little starbursts of lavender, by the hundreds, on a plants barely half a foot tall. Attractive ferny foliage on a slowly spreading plant. Best in full sun. Not fussy about soil, but some organic matter is best to hold onto soil moisture.

Thalictrum petaloideum

A species that is new to me. I received seeds of this Asian native and have experimented with it for a couple of years. It has finely divided foliage and attractive full, starry flowers. Perfect for a bit of froth in the garden. A foot tall. For sun and soil that drains well.

Thalictrum uchiyamae

Rare in gardens. If you Google this meadow rue, you will get many pages that reference it, but 99% of them are talking about the wrong plant. This demure plant reaches 2 feet or so and is topped with the sweetest pink powder puff flowers in generous clusters. Sun to part shade in average soil.

Thymus longicaulis

“Roadrunner Thyme” This lemon-scented creeping thyme spreads quickly- these plants will cover 2 feet x 2 feet or more by autumn. Great in a warm, dry location in the sun (e.g., edge of a patio, around pavers.) Lavender flowers in summer only 2” tall. Rarely available.

Trillium catesbaei

Like Trillium grandiflorum in that its flowers open white and then turn pink, but the similarity ends there. Catesby’s trillium only reaches 10″ tall or so, with reflexed (back-bending) flowers that nod somewhat. Part shade and composty soil.

Trillium erectum

Our native Wake-Robin.

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

Another dwarf trillium: sparkling white flowers with yellow anthers. Tendency to form offsets quickly- this cultivar especially s0- and develop into a nice patch. 6″ tall

Trillium recurvatum

A sessile trillium with patterned leaves and red button flowers that sit in the whorl of leaves. Strong grower in part shade, though we have grown these in full sun with success. Rich moist soil in spring (isn’t all soil moist in spring?)

Trillium sessile

“Toadshade Trillium” Sessile (no stem on flower) red button flowers and a whorl of leaves with varying amounts of variegation. A native that is becoming rare in the eastern parts of its range (endangered in NY state.) 8” tall and wide. Multiple stems in a few years. Part shade (morning or late afternoon sun will yield more blooms.) Composty soil. Tolerates drought in summer when established.

Uvularia sessilifolia ‘Blizzard’

Straw Lily, Wild Oats, Sessile Bellwort. This native goes by many common names. While rather common in Maine, this selection has golden leaves speckled with green. Delicate dangling straw yellow flowers on arching stems to 8″. These will spread into a nice little patch in your woodland.

Viola canadensis

A great native to naturalize in a woodland garden. Upright plants with white flowers, purple-tinged on back giving a two-toned effect. Will spread extensively by seed, so not for a garden bed. Let them roam in your woods.

Viola rostrata ‘Rosea’

A rich rosy version of a wonderful native violet. It is not at all aggressive and clumps are long-lived. We always sell out of these when they flower. Nice. 8” tall x 12”. Sun to part shade and average soil

Waldsteinia fragarioides

One of the best groundcovers, period. A native relative of the strawberry, it spreads into a thick weed inhibiting patch. Very nice yellow flowers in the spring. Sun to part shade


  1. Sandy Carraher says:

    I can’t tell you how delighted I was to get your postcard today. Looking forward to seeing the entire Murphy family in May.

    Sandy Carraher, Cape Elizabeth

  2. Jane Donelon says:

    Yippee! I’ve been waiting for your re-opening, Mike! What a GREAT selection! I’d like one of each….well, almost.
    See you soon.
    Jane Donelon, Brunswick

  3. Andrea P says:

    I am hoping you might be interested in working out a trade with me. I live in Indiana and I have lots trillium nivale that grow on my property. The Indiana form is distinct for its superior flower size to other trillium nivale found in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast … it is very vigorous and multiples very fast. I was hoping you might be interested in trading for some of them. I can supply up to 200 of them for you and all will be blooming size or very near blooming size. I also have lots of seed and seed pods. Please let me know ..
    Thank you
    Andrea P

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