It’s late-summer at Heritage and the Hydrangeas are STILL in full swing. The North American Hydrangea Test Garden is beautiful with its many cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla as well as Hydrangea paniculata. The Windmill Garden, filled with many cultivars of herbaceous plants is well into full flower as well.
Prairie Gentain, Eustoma grandiflorum (previously Lisianthus russellianus)
Enjoy glimpses of this lovely annual in the new Hydrangea garden and at the McInnis garden. While native to prairies from Mexico north to Nebraska, this annual to biennial flower takes its own sweet time growing here. Having started them in our greenhouse in winter, they take about 5 months to bloom!
Panicle Hydrange, Hydrangea Paniculata
Stars at this season are the Panicle Hydrangeas. Reliable and long bloomers in the sun, these tolerate drought, most soils, and require little maintenance. Fluffly triangular pillows of abundant flowers, you will see stunning varieties all over the grounds – ‘Limelight’ at our entry, ‘Pinky Winky’ at our admin building/Wing house, ‘Great Star’ at the Hydrangea Test Garden, as well as ‘Strawberry Vanilla’ trained as trees, and the petite variety Bobo in the Hydrangea display garden. See how many you can find!
There are many varieties of stunning Hibiscus to be found around the grounds. In the parking lot, and behind the ticket office are great spots to take in Hardy Hibiscus, in white, pink, and deep
brilliant red. Their seed pods will be remarkable as well! These are perennial and will die back to the ground, to reemerge next summer. The three pots at the entry have Tropical Hibiscus trees, (shrub trained into a tree), that will have to overwinter inside, but with proper care, can survive for many years. Another cousin, Rose of Sharon, a perennial tall shrub, can be found in both the Arbor Bowl and the Herb Garden. Their luminous abundant flowers of varied colors bring cheer to the end of summer. All attract and feed hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
Japanese Anemone, Anemone hupehensis
A bumblebee favorite, these pretty and graceful flowers meet you as you enter the gardens, in front of the gift shop. A lovely end of summer perennial in the buttercup family, it is deer tolerant, and low maintenance once established, but somewhat finicky in its needs to get started and survive the winters.
Hops vine, Humulus lupulus
If you like beer, or are just curious, seek out our fruiting hops vine in the Maze. A vigorous grower, this plant is easy to grow at home, but know that you need both a male and female plant to get fruit. Used in beer since the 9th century, come out to try some local brews and food trucks at our Hoppy Fall Festival on September 23rd, 12:00-5:00 pm! For those with trouble sleeping, a pillow stuffed with hops is said to help you to relax and rest.
Scarlet Runner Bean, Phaseolus coccineus
The vine climbing outside the gift shop is easy to grow, has stunning flowers that are great for pollinators, and produces large pods, shelled to provide large, delicious, and exquisitely patterned purple beans. What more could you ask for? All it requests of you is a sunny spot and heights to climb. And, as a nitrogen fixer, it will leave the soil richer for having been there.
Salvia – Sage
Many people are curious about the lovely sages that ring the carousel building. You may also witness some turf wars between hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies over them, as they are a superb nectar source. Sages come in all colors and sizes, and yes these are related to the culinary sage in our herb garden, and to white sage from the southwest. These particular sages – Salvia x armistad (purple) and Salvia vanhouttei (red) were grown from cuttings donated by Bok Tower Gardens in Florida, and are not hardy to our winters, however there are many varieties of salvias that can be grown as beautiful perennials in your garden. More examples can be found throughout the grounds and at the windmill garden.
Cosmos ‘Double Snow Puff’
These cheerful flowers at our vegetable garden area by the Wing house, are easily grown from seeds that originate in France. A member of the Aster family, it works great in the garden, like its neighboring marigolds, to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. They start blooming in July and keep blooming through the fall as long as you deadhead them to stimulate new buds.
McInnis Garden Highlights
On this page we already feature two of the plants you can find in this eclectic tropical themed garden near the flagpole. The tallest ones in the background of this photo are Castor bean plants, that can tower like small trees with palmate leaves. Their seed pods are spiny, warning you not to eat them, as they are poisonous, but have medicinal and industrial uses when extracted with expertise.
However there are some great examples of edible landscaping here.
Royal Millet are the tall purple grass-like plants with seed heads that are both ornamental and a potentially rich food source for birds or people.
And we feature here two kinds of Amaranth – ‘Oeschberg’ with deep burgundy twining seed heads and ‘Molten Fire’ with striking foliage and clustered seeds. Both varieties have edible and nutritous leaves and seeds.
The banana tree at the center is a great way to see and celebrate the tree that makes one of our favorite foods, though this one won’t produce fruit here in our northern climate.
Yellow Trumpetvine, Campsis radicans
Within the Maze, you will find the yellow trumpetvine. These flowers attract hummingbirds, and are excellent for walls and trellises—something you can observe as you walk through the maze and find yourself under a lovely green ceiling created by the plant. The vine is cultivated for its attractive flowers, but can often escape gardens and can be quite invasive in the Southern region of the U.S.
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
Take a look to your left while in the Parking Garden about to enter Heritage to see the scarlet red blooms of the cardinal flower in our rain garden. This perennial is capable of adding height to borders and full sun in Northern climates, and appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates of the Midwest and Southern U.S. The cardinal flower also adds some diversity to the garden by having a late summer bloom.
Russian Sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia “Little Spire”
On the brick path when entering the Windmill Garden, you can see a tall, elegant patch of Russian sage to your right. This lavender blue perennial tolerates a variety of ailments, from deer to bunnies to even air pollution. This is a full sun plant, tending to flop in shady locations. It also provides a long summer bloom for a perennial border and contrasts well with pink and yellow perennials.
Orange Coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida “Goldsturm”
If you find yourself towards the back of the parking garden, make sure to stop and take a minute to appreciate these summery perennials. With abundant flowers and a long bloom period, this is the perfect plant for almost any location! The orange coneflower is low maintenance and resistant to pests and any serious issues. This specific cultivar is known as one of the most popular perennials for the past 50 years and can be found worldwide, so chances are you’ve seen this before!
Described as having a sense of “volcanic enthusiasm”, by horticulture legend and Hydrangea Guru, Michael Dirr, who visited Heritage Museum and Gardens in late July, hydrangeas are carried in bunches of flowers at the end of stems. There are three main forms of hydrangeas, “Mophead”, the most commonly recognized form in a globe shaped cluster, “Panicle”, a long, cone-shaped cluster, like Oakleaf Hydrangeas, and “Lacecap”, a flattened cluster of what appears to be tiny, immature buds surrounded at the edges by four to five petals. This “mood ring” of plants, is apt to changing color depending on the soil pH. The default color of hydrangeas are red, due to a presence of molecules called anthocyanin, but when it binds to aluminum, found in acidic soils, it forms a blue molecule complex of aluminum and anthocyanin, yielding blue colored flowers!
Spider Flower, Cleome hassleriana
While you’re exploring the Windmill Garden, keep an eye out for the spider flower! With its white and purple tower-like flower structure, it’s truly a great native flower. This plant not only offers color for your garden, but is also deer-resistant and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies all season. At maturity the plant grows to around 3-4 feet tall, so it’s best used in the background of your garden.
Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena globosa
As you look for the Cleomoe in the Windmill Garden, check out the Globe Amaranth growing along the edge. This annual is a favorite among gardeners and florists. Not only does it look nice, but it can also be dried for home decorating. The small spherical flowers bloom with a wide array of colors, so they make a great addition to any garden! Globe Amaranth is also deer-resistant and can tolerate heat and low water, so it’s a great low- maintenance plant.
Climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris
If you get lost in the Maze, take some time to check out the climbing hydrangea! Able to grow up fences, walls, posts, and much more, this hydrangea definitely draws attention. While less showy than other hydrangeas, it can grow up to 80 feet tall (as long as it has something that tall to climb) and produce a pleasant fragrance.
Purple Angels trumpet, Datura sp.
Below the Flagpole at the Parade Field near the Special Exhibit Gallery, you’ll find a beautiful flower bed filled with many plants—but the Angels Trumpet is one of my favorites. The dark purple and white flower is one of a kind and a must-see for any plant lover. These big trumpet- shaped flowers bloom only in the hottest of summer months, but are an excellent specimen plant for any garden.
Sourwood tree, Oxydendrum arboreum
In the Arbor Bowl and the opposite side of the sundial in front of Flume Fountain, you’ll notice the Sourwood tree in bloom. These trees bloom later than most, so it makes a wonderful ornamental planting for your yard or garden. While it can be easily missed because the bloom is so high, from afar it is a truly a fantastic view. The nectar is so sweet that sourwood honey is highly sought after, and the fruit can also be used to make a jelly.
Moonbeam, Coreopsis verticillata
‘Moonbeam’ is a real standout, as it is a rhizomatous perennial that grows in open bushy clumps. Its pale yellow flowers are borne in great abundance above delicate, needlelike foliage and seem to blend well with practically every color that can be used in a garden. The plant produces a plethora of flowers when in bloom, which is great for a front-of-the-border area in your garden. It flourishes in full sun to partial sun and grows best in dry or mesic soiled areas. It blooms from the summer to early autumn, sporting 1” pale lemon yellow flowers. Ours can be seen as you enter the grounds of Heritage or amongst other plants all around the garden.
Water Lily, Nymphae
One of the earliest flowering plants recorded in history, the water lily generally has rounded, notched, waxy-coated leaves on a long stalk that contain many air spaces and flourishes in quiet freshwater habitats. The showy fragrant flowers are borne at the water’s surface and the tubers that bear roots are buried in the mud, deep under water. They are a great addition to any aquatic ecosystem as they provide shade in the hot summer months for fish, and absorb nutrients that would otherwise encourage the growth of unwanted green plants, allowing the water to remain pristine. While water lilies may look dainty, they are really anything but—they will grow in literally any USDA hardiness zone! So “water” you waiting for?! Go down to the flume pool and check them out!
Not far from the Astilbe, you’ll see our popular new plantings of Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’. These small beauties are heat and drought tolerant and flower all season. This low maintenance annual does best in full to part sun. While there is no need to deadhead, you can trim it back as desired and it will continue thriving. Euphorbia combines well with many kinds of plants and is deer resistant!
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.