As we near the summer solstice, the gardens at Heritage are rapidly changing and new plants are coming into bloom every day. This month’s most striking blooms are the Mountain Laurels. They are known for their unique, cup-shaped flowers that bloom in clusters of white or pink. Before you reach the Flume Fountain, there is a particularly beautiful dark pink variety that stands out against the more common light pink. Beyond that, there are many throughout the gardens that are all peaking right now. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a native plant that is toxic to mammals, making them a good landscape plant because they are protected naturally from deer. The older wood has a gnarly, twisted look that makes it a great ornamental plant. The tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) are covered in their similarly unique flowers that have green petals and an orange color on the inside. There are two large specimens at Heritage, one across from the herb and vegetable garden, and one on the path to the Special Exhibitions Gallery. Take the time to observe the flowers because the ones we have at Heritage have branches low enough to walk up and inspect them. These are very large trees that don’t usually have branches low enough to do that!
The Kousa Dogwood trees (Cornus kousa) are also flowering, with the most notable specimens on the Promenade and to the left of the Visitor’s Center. There are a couple more sprinkled throughout the property, one in the Arbor Bowl and another on the path to the Special Exhibitions Gallery. Later on in the summer these trees will be covered in red fruits that feed birds and other wildlife. The McInnes garden has some beautiful Foxgloves and there are more in the Windmill garden. The Windmill garden also Geum chiloense, or Red Dragon, with bright red flowers. There are Anchusa azurea (Dropmore) there as well, with bright blue-purple flowers that are three to four feet tall. They are a beautiful perennial that have been going for a couple weeks now and are still going strong. The Astilbe is flowering along the promenade with delicate sprays of white flowers. Heuchera is another nice perennial with pale green leaves and pretty pink flowers that you can see in the island in front of the Auto museum, and there are some more in the Windmill garden.
There’s always something blooming at Heritage. Check out Heritage’s Bloom Calendar to see when your favorite flowers, trees and plants are in bloom.