Plants of Interest

Karl Foerster grass

Plants that Interest and Inspire

Gardens are never really finished, that’s why “gardening” describes a process, not a result. Plantings constantly change at Reiman Gardens. Here are some treasures in bloom:

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ (false indigo)

Family: Fabaceae  (pea family)

Nativity: Hybrid

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Garden Location: South Field

3-4’ tall, 3’ wide, full sun

Blooms mid May to early June – Pea-like foliage, smoky purple blooms, long-blooming cultivar, very tough and adaptable, difficult to move or transplant, a real crowd pleaser!

 

Amsonia tabernaemontana  (blue stars)

Family: Apocynaceae (dogbane family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 to 9

Garden Location: South Field

Willow shaped leaves turn a nice yellow color in the fall – 1’ to 3’ in height and 3’ wide

Small star-shaped blue flowers are on terminal panicles in spring and early summer

Can get floppy in the shade, prefers partial shade and moist, deep soil

 

Aesculus ×carnea (red horsechestnut)

Family: Hippcastanaceae (horsechestnut family)

Nativity: Hybrid

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 7

Garden Location: Campanile Garden

Cross between A. pavia and A. hippocastanum

Rose red flowers in 6” to 8” tall and 3” to 4” wide panicle – Not as susceptible to leaf blotch and mildew as other Aesculus – Leaves are palmately compound with five leaflets

 

Alchemilla mollis  (lady’s mantle)

Family: Rosaceae (rose family)

Nativity: Asia

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 7

Garden Location: South Field

Low growing and shade tolerant – Small yellow green flowers – Can be used as a ground cover – Tolerant of moist, shady areas

 

Syringa vulgaris  (common lilac)

Family: Oleaceae (olive family)

Nativity: Southern Europe

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 to 7

Garden Location: Events Plaza

Heart shaped leaves arranged oppositely on stems – Large shrub – 8’ to 15’ (20’) in height and 6’ to 12’ (15’) wide – Large panicles of very fragrant flowers in spring – hundreds of cultivars with wide color range – purple, violet, reddish purple, white , cream, and of course, lilac – Powdery mildew is a major disease problem

 

Brunnera macrophylla (heartleaf brunnera, false forget-me-not)

Family: Boraginaceae  (borage family)

Nativity: Caucasus

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 to 7

Garden Location: West Entry Garden

1-2’ tall, 2’ wide – full sun to partial shade – blooms mid-May to early June – sky blue flowers – great coarse leaves – variegated cultivars are available

 

Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood)

Family: Taxodiaceae  (redwood family)

Nativity: China

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones (4)5 to 8

Garden Location: Reflection Garden

Very narrow, pyramidal growth

Fast grower reaching 70’ to 100’ in height and 25’ wide

A deciduous needled conifer – needles turn a brownish orange color in the fall

Many cultivars are becoming available such as ‘Gold Rush’ and ‘Ogon’ with golden foliage

 

Picea glauca ‘Pendula’  (weeping white spruce)

Family: Pinaceae (pine family)

Nativity: Hybrid/Cultivated

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 2 to 6

Garden Location: Formal Lawn Garden

Stiff blue-green needle shaped leaves are crowded on the upper side of the branch

Pendulous cones are 1” to 2.5” long and brown

A very tolerant, easy to grown spruce especially for the upper Midwest

A very upright selection 20’ to 40’ tall 8’ wide

 

Cladrastis kentukea (American yellowwood)

Family: Fabaceae  (pea family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Garden Location: Reflection Garden

A wonderful small shade tree with pinnately compound leaves with golden fall color

30’ to 50’ tall and 40’ to 55’ wide

Large Beautiful panicles of white fragrant flowers in late spring

Freshly cut wood is yellow in color – hence the common name

 

Cercidiphyllum japonicum  (katsuratree)

Family: Cercidiphyllaceae (katsuratree family)

Nativity: Japan

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Garden Location: Outdoor Living Room

40’ to 60’ tall and 20’ to 30’ wide

Leaves are opposite (or subopposite) with a cordate base, similar to redbud (Cercis)

Leaves emerge purplish, are blue-ish green in summer and a great yellow fall color

Can be difficult to transplant – a great tree for most people’s yards

 

Paulownia tomentosa (princess tree)

Family: Scrophulariaceae (snapdragon family)

Nativity: China

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones (5)6 to 9

Garden Location: Walled court

Large heart-shaped leaves on long petioles – leaves on sucker growth reach 2.5’ wide

Grows 40’ to 60’ tall, but dies to the ground in zone 4 or 5 – grows quickly 8+’ a year

Beautiful violet flowers bloom in panicles in the late spring – produces copious seed!

Can be weedy in warmer climates

 

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Family: Oleaceae (olive family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 9

Garden Location: Maintenance Building, Formal Lawn Garden

Panicles of white flowers with strap-shaped long petals bloom in mid-May

Dark blue, egg-shaped fruit develop in late summer.  The birds love them

Becomes a large shrub or small tree, 12’ to 20’ tall and wide

Leaves are medium to dark green with nice yellow fall color

 

Wollemia nobilis (wollemi pine)

Family: Araucariaceae  (araucaria family)

Nativity: Australia

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 8

Garden Location: Greenhouses

This species was only known in the fossil record and discovered by a bushwalker in 1994

A very rare plant whose actual location in Wollemi National Park outside Sydney is a secret

Large swopping branches have dark green needles two-ranked down the stem

New foliage is a light apple green color

 

Ginkgo biloba  (maidenhair tree)

Family: Ginkgoaceae  (ginkgo family)

Nativity: Eastern China

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8(9)

Garden Location: Hardwood Forest

Unique bilobed leaves turn yellow in the fall

Yes, this is technically a conifer – I know, I know, it does not have needles, it also does not have flowers or fruit

Always select a named male cultivar

An excellent tree for urban settings

 

Taxodium distichum ‘Mickelson’  (Shawnee Brave® bald cypress)

Family: Taxodiaceae  (redwood family)

Nativity: Eastern North America

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 11

Garden Location: Formal Lawn Garden

A deciduous needled conifer – needles turn a brownish orange color in the fall

Plants are very adaptable but occur in wet areas naturally

This cultivar is more upright – 70’ in height and 18’ wide

 

Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘King’s Gold’  (Sawara falsecypress)

Family: Cupressaceae  (cypress family)

Nativity: Hybrid (Japan)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Garden Location: Sunny Side Garden

Four major foliage types: Normal, threadleaf (filifera), plume (plumosa), and moss (squarrosa)

Needles looks similar to juniper but are soft to the touch

Many are dwarf, smaller varieties but straight species is 50” to 70” tall, 10’ to 20’ wide

This cultivar is a threadleaf type with golden foliage

 

Picea omorika (Serbian spruce)

Family: Pinaceae  (pine family)

Nativity: Southeastern Europe

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 7

Garden Location: Naturalist Garden/Formal Lawn Garden

Nice foliage and narrow, pyramidal growth

50’ to 60’ tall and 20’ to 25’ wide

A very graceful looking spruce

Benefits from protection from winter winds

Many dwarf cultivars are on the market, they are sometimes easier to find than the straight species!

 

Aesculus parviflora  (bottlebrush buckeye)

Family: Hippocastanaceae  (horsechestnut family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8(9)

Garden Location: Outdoor Living Room

8’ to 12’ tall and up to 15’ wide

Flowers are white on long 8” to 12” panicles in summer

Palmately compound leaves are distinctive and have a nice yellow fall color

A great shrub for borders or mass and tolerates part shade to shade conditions very nicely

 

Itea virginica  (Virginia sweetspire)

Family: Saxifragaceae  (saxifrage family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9

Garden Location: South Patio

Arching suckering stems form a dense colony

3’ to 5’ tall

White flowers on panicles 2” to 6” long in summer

Prefers moist to wet soils and spreads faster in those conditions

‘Henry’s Garnet’ is an exceptional cultivar with wonderful red fall color

 

Tamarix ramosissima  (five-stamen tamarix)

Family: Tamaricaceae  (tamarix family)

Nativity: southeastern Europe and central Asia

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 2 to 8

Garden Location: South Patio

10’ to 15’ tall

Very fine textured foliage and rosy pink flowers in panicles

Can be weedy, especially in the west

Blooms on new wood and can be pruned to the ground each year

Does not do well in fertile soils – very salt tolerant

 

Spiraea betulifolia (birchleaf spirea)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Nativity: Japan

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 6

Garden Location: Formal Lawn

2’ to 3’ tall

Fall color is its most notable characteristic – yellows, golds, bronze, reds – it is beautiful!

White flowers in spring I flat topped clusters

A nice compact dense mounded shrub

‘Tor’ is a nice cultivar

 

Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea)

Family: Hydrangeaceae  (hydrangea family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9

Garden Location: Stafford Garden

Dark green oak-shaped leaves with changes to an amazing red color in the fall

Flowers are white and appear in erect panicles 4” to 12” long and 3” to 4” in summer

Stems have exfoliating bark

Prune after flowering or there will be no flowers next year

 

Calamagrostis xacutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’  (feather reed grass)

Family: Poaceae  (grass family)

Nativity: Europe

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 4

Garden Location: South Field, Campanile Garden, everywhere J

A very upright cool-season grass

A cross between C. epigejos and C. arundinaceae that sometimes occur naturally

Strongly clump forming with sterile seed

Identical to ‘Stricta’

Tan flowers grow to 6 feet and are some of the first ornamental grasses to bloom

 

Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’  (tall purple moor grass)

Family: Poaceae  (grass family)

Nativity: British Isles, Europe, Asia

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 4

Garden Location: South Field

This species is divided into two subspecies – they differ primarily in height

A cool season grass that reaches 8 ft when in flower

The flowers are very open and airy and the entire plant has a very architectural form

Plants turn golden yellow in fall

Tolerates a wide variety of environmental and site conditions, likes it best a little cool (think British Isles – where it’s native)

 

Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’  (switchgrass)

Family: Poaceae  (grass family)

Nativity: North America

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 4

Garden Location: Campanile Garden

Flowers appear in late summer and are loosely-branched panicles

Grows up to 8 feet tall and very upright

Plants rarely need staking (unlike other cultivars) and stand well all winter

Some cultivars have a nice blue color (‘Dallas Blues’) and many get a yellow to burgundy fall color

A warm season grass

 

Miscanthus ‘Giganteus’ (giant miscanthus)

Family: Poaceae  (grass family)

Nativity: Hybrid (Asia)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 4

Garden Location: Campanile Garden

This warm season grass is clump forming with only minor rhizomatous spreading

Plants get over 10 feet tall

Lower leaves often die by mid to late summer

Flowers are sterile and does not self-sow

Flowers may appear late in the season, but only when the season is long enough

Some list it as being M. floridulus, M. sacchariflorus, or M. sinensis  true origin is unknown

 

Sesleria autumnalis   (autumn moor grass)

Family: Poaceae  (grass family)

Nativity: Northern Italy, Albania

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zone 4

Garden Location: Maintenance Building

Clumps of lime green leaves are about 12” tall

Silvery white flowers appear in late summer

Plants are very tolerate of many conditions – especially ones established

This cool season grass makes a good ground cover

 

Washingtonia robusta  (Washington palm)

Family: Arecaceae  (palm family)

Nativity: Southwest United States

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 8 to 11

Garden Location: Conservatory

Grows 50’ to 100’ tall – a very popular street tree in warm climates

Old dead fronds cling to tree giving it the common name petticoat palm

Very drought and salt tolerant – making it a good street tree in warm climates

Very bold, broad fan shaped leaves are a dark green

Will not tolerate wet conditions

 

Brugmansia   (angel’s trumpet)

Family: Solanaceae  (nightshade family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 10b to 11

Nativity: South America

Garden Location: Conservatory

A fast growing tree that is great in containers

LARGE pink/salmon colored flowers hang from branches – fragrant

Plants benefit from regular fertilization – often considered “heavy feeders”

Used to be considered in the genus Datura

Easy to propagate from cuttings or air layering

 

Bulnesia arborea   (vera wood)

Family: Zygophyllaceae (caltrop family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 9 to 11

Nativity: Columbia, Venezuala

Garden Location: Conservatory

A slow growing tree that eventually reaches 40’ with a broad canopy

Beautiful buttery-yellow flowers have an unusual shape and bloom throughout the year – produces an interesting winged fruit

Valued for its heavy and hard wood.  Drought and salt tolerant

Has dark green, compound pinnate leaves with small leaflets

 

Monstera deliciosa  (Mexican breadfruit)

Family: Araceae  (arum family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 10 to 11

Nativity: Central America

Garden Location: Conservatory, Butterfly Wing

A climbing vine with long aerial roots that reaches 60 feet

Broad dark green leaves reach up to 30” wide with large lobes and holes

Fruit is edible when ripe and tastes similar to pineapple or jackfruit– unripe fruit causes swelling and irritation of the throat.

Flower is typical spathe and spadix for arum family – not attractive, not unattractive

A common houseplant that does best in part shade to shade outside

 

Cyathea cooperi  (Australian tree fern)

Family: Cyatheaceae  (tree fern family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 9 to 11

Nativity: Eastern Australia

Garden Location: Butterfly Wing

The most commonly planted tree fern in North America

Fast growing for tree ferns – invasive in Hawaii

Can reach 40’ in height with large fern fronds atop a brown scaly trunk

Light green fronds can reach 8’ in length

They prefer protected, shady moist conditions but can be grown in full sun with adequate moisture

One of the easiest and tolerate tree ferns to grow – because of this it is easy to find in the nursery

 

Aesculus glabra  (Ohio buckeye)

Family: Hippocastanaceae  (horsechestnut family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Garden Location: North Mixed Border

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 7

20’ to 40’ tall and wide with a nice rounded compact form

Flowers are greenish yello and quite attractive in spring

Palmately compound leaves are distinctive – seed is also distinctive and a mascot

Leaf blotch is a serious problem on this plant – powdery mildew also a problem

 

Maackia amurensis  (Amur maackia)

Family: Fabaceae  (pea family)

Nativity: China

Garden Location: North Lawn

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 7(8)

Panicles of upright flowers in late summer

20 to 30’ tall and wide with a nice rounded form with clean foliage

Not a vigourous grower in the north and hates warm night temperatures in the south

Similar to yellowwood

 

Carpinus caroliniana  (American hornbeam)

Family: Betulaceae  (birch family)

Nativity: Eastern United States

Garden Location: North Lawn

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3b to 9

20 to 30’ tall and wide with a variable habit, sometime multi-stemmed

Has decent fall color and it varies from yellow to orange to red

A forest understory tree – so that is its ideal habitat

This one has a lot of common names, pick your favorite: blue beech, ironwood, musclewood, and water beech among others

 

Acer triflorum  (three-flower mape)

Family: Aceraceae  (maple family)

Nativity: China, Korea

Garden Location: North Mixed Border

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones (4)5 to 7

20 to 30’ tall and wide with a more upright habit

Flowers are in clusters of three – hence the common name

Wonderful ornamental bark

Beautiful fall color – yellows and reds, giving an overall orange affect

 

Malus ‘Lollizam’ (Lollipop® crabapple)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Garden Location: Jones Rose Garden

10’ tall and wide

As with any crabapple look out for apple scab, rust, fireblight, canker, scale, borers, aphids, and Japanese beetles.

White flowers in spring

Yellow fruit in fall

Great for formal areas because of its habit

 

Pinus contorta ‘Taylor’s Sunburst’ (lodgepole pine)

Family: Pinaceae  (pine family)

Garden Location: South Patio

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 8

20’ tall

Needles in groups of two

New growth is a bright yellow color – second year is dark green

Upright habit – will get large it will just take forever to get there.

 

Syringa reticulata  (Japanese tree lilac)

Family: Oleaceae  (olive family)

Nativity: Japan

Garden Location: Children’s Garden

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 to 7

20’ to 30’ tall and 15’ to 25’ wide

Typically a nice compact shape

Has some concerns with common lilac disease problems, but generally disease free

Blooms with creamy white flower panicles in the summer

Some find the flowers to not smell the greatest.

 

Heptacodium miconioides  (seven-son flower)

Family: Caprifoliaceae  (olive family)

Nativity: China

Garden Location: South Patio

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 8

15’ to 20’ tall and 10’ to 15’ wide

Flowers do not open until August into September – great for mid to late season interest

Occasionally plants have tip die-back in winter this far north

Upright, loose, to irregular habit

Beautiful dark green leaves with little to no disease problems and little to no fall color

A crapemyrtle like plant for further north – but not a crapemyrtle replacement

 

Rosa ‘BUCbi’  (Carefree Beauty™ rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 9

Developed by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University

The most well known of the 90+ Buck varieties

Repeat blooming, disease resistant, winter hardy

Ornamental rose hips (fruit) when the flowers fade

 

Rosa ‘Distant Drums’   (Distant Drums rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 9

Mauve flowers that fade to golden colors

Wonderful intense myrrh fragrance

Repeat blooming

Shrub or landscape rose – good for low maintenance (relatively speaking) landscapes

 

Anemone multifida ‘Major’   (cutleaf windflower)

Family: Ranunculaceae  (buttercup family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 3 to 6

Plants grow 8 to 12” tall

Leaves are finely dissected

A higher elevation plant that suffers in hot weather

After bloom, seed heads have additional interest

This cultivar has nice cream colored flowers

 

Carex muskingumensis ‘Oehme’  (palm sedge)

Family: Cyperaceae  (sedge family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 8

Although it looks like one, it is not a true grass

Plants reach 1’ to 2’ tall and sometimes get a little floppy late in the year

This cultivar is named for Wolfgang Oehme, a landscape architect

Leaves have a clear yellow border

Plants look like small little palm trees – hence the common name

 

Eryngium yuccifolium  (rattlesnake master)

Family: Apiaceae  (carrot family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9

Nativity: Eastern United States

Plants are 3’ to 6’ tall and may get floppy, especially in fertile soils

Flowers are unique ball shaped clusters with bristly small white bracts

Common in the tall grass prairie

Blooms all summer

Interesting coarse texture linear leaves resemble yucca (thus yuccifolium!)

 

Rosa gallica ‘Charles de Mills’  (gallica rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 9

Bred in the 1700’s in the Netherlands – an old cultivar

Plants produce a sucker mass of stems 3’ to 4’ tall

Deep Mauve-y, lilac-y, magenta-y colored flowers bloom once in early summer

Can get some black spot and other common rose fungal diseases

 

Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’  (false aster)

Family: Asteraceae  (daisy family)

Nativity: Asia

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 8

Plants grow 2’ stems are form relatively compact mounds of foliage

Small blue/lavender daisy flowers with yellow centers measure ~1” apart

It can be very difficult to tell the difference between Aster, Boltonia, and Kalimeris.

 

Rosa ‘RADrazz’  (Knock Out® rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 4 to 10

Cherry red flowers bloom all summer

AARS winner in 2000

Grows 3’ to 4’ tall and wide

EarthKInd designated rose – a program out of Texas A&M University

 

Rosa ‘JAChal’  (Sun Sprinkles® rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 10

AARS winner in 2001

A bright yellow miniature rose

Plants get between 18” and 24” tall

Plants have decent disease resistance and good fragrance

 

Rosa ‘BAIcent’ (Centennial rose)

Family: Rosaceae  (rose family)

Hardy in USDA Hardiness zones 5 to 9

Part of the Easy Elegance® series developed at Bailey Nurseries

Apricot colored flowers occur all summer until frost

Good resistance to diseases like black spot which is very common on roses