Updated: Jul 17, 2022
July 11: So many good ones today!
Scientific Name: Alcea rosea
Common Name: Hollyhock
Family: Malvaceae (hibiscus/mallow family)
Hollyhocks are biannual or short-lived perennials that are self-seeding. Recognizable by their growth form, Alcea rosea boasts palmately compound leaves on rigid, fuzzy spikes sometimes up to 8 feet tall. The basal leaves typically are gone by the time it flowers. The flower is a hibiscus, with an inner stem covered in stamens (gynandrophore), meaning it has both male and female organs. It also has an epicalyx, aka a calyx atop a calyx. This species is fast and easy growing, especially given its ideal conditions (lots of sun and rich soil). The downside, however, is that over time it will develop pustules on the backs of the leaves, a fungus called hollyhock rust which is pretty unavoidable and fast spreading.
Scientific Name: Silene armeria ‘Royal Electra’
Common Name: Catchfly
Family: Caryophyllaceae (carnation family - recognizable by opposite leaves with bulges at nodes)
This species gets its name catchfly from its sticky stems that might catch small insects. Silene armeria ‘Royal Electra’ might be listed online as an annual, biennial, herbaceous perennial, or evergreen perennial, but in the Vancouver climate, it is best described as a hardy annual. This species typically grows and produces seeds in one season, but sometimes it seeds and flowers in the next season. The flowers show up in mid to late summer and last around four weeks if it doesn't get too hot, and I just think they are so cute! The little hot-pink, 5-petaled flowers grow in clusters. If given full sun and well-draining soil, it will be great in beds and borders, or containers.
Scientific Name: Ammi majus
Common Name: False Queen Anne's Lace, Bishop's Flower
Family: Apiaceae (carrot family)
This species is a lovely annual, but sometimes can behave like a biennial or perennial. It is often used in cut flower arrangements but also looks great in the landscape, in beds and borders. Ammi majus boats big, flat-topped inflorescences borne on tall, slender stems. I can see how this species would be a great choice as a graceful yet effective filler as the compound umbles take up some good horizontal space. Like many of the species in the mustard family, Ammi majus is very effective at attracting insects like small generalists that are critical in maintaining a healthy and diverse landscape.
Scientific Name: Impatiens omeiana
Common Name: Hardy impatiens
Family: Balsaminaceae (typ. fleshy, brittle stems and colourful, showy flowers)
This species is pretty unique but also a great option for a shady, drier area in the woodland or on slab. This perennial comes from China, and naturalizes by stolons if its given its optimum conditions. While the small yellow flowers aren't very showy, the foliage makes a statement on its own. The foliage is narrow-elliptic-shaped dark green leaves with a white stripe down the middle. The large patch looks great in the UBC Botanical Gardens and adds lovely interest to the shadier area its in.
Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia
Common Name: Harebell
Family: Campanulaceae (bellflower family)
Campanula rotundifolia is a long flowering herbaceous perennial that is native to the temperate northern hemisphere (Missouri Botanical Garden, n.d.). This is a rosette-forming, upright species that typically grows to around 20" tall. The flowers are nodding and bell-shaped, and the narrow leaves are alternately arranged. It flowers throughout the summer as long as it's not too hot. As such, it is a great choice for the north side of a building where it can stay cool and a little shadier. In general, it looks great in rock gardens, in mass, or in shaded woodland areas. They look so cute when they jitter in the wind!!
Scientific Name: Tanacetum macrophyllum
Common Name: Rayed Tansy, Bigleaf White Tansy
I wanted to add this plant to my blog so I'd be sure to remember how important it is to include those neutral perennials to balance out some of the more bold ones. This perennial is tall and showy, coming from central and Eastern Europe and southern Russia. It has long, bipinnate leaves that have soft hairs. The flowers are born in dense corymbs of ivory-white flowers with yellow stamens, in a head of composite heads. This is a good species to back snazzier plants or to put in transition areas between colour palettes or between woodland and open area.
Scientific Name: Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’
Common Name: Japanese Sedge
Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ was one of the first variegated sedges in this neck of the woods, and has since been awarded the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (Gardenia.net, n.d.). This popular sedge is one of the more popular sedges for its ornamental-grass appearance and its reliability. This species doesn't revert or die back, making it very tough and easy to grow. It has arching creamy-yellow leaves with dark green edges, providing nice contrast to other plants in the garden. It does well in full sun to part shade and prefers well-drained soils and some moisture. It forms a nice dense tuft, that shimmers in slight breezes, which is great for brightening up shady areas.
Scientific Name: Eryngium planum
Common Name: Blue Sea Holly, Star Thistle
Family: Apiaceae (carrot family)
We also looked at Eryngium bourgatii on this day, but this Eryngium is a better choice for edges of borders or places where children might be as it's less spiky and is easier to handle. This is an easy perennial to grow, reaching up to 3 feet tall with adequate moisture. However, the taller it gets, the more likely it is to flop over. The species name planum comes from the Greek word for flat, for its ornamental ring of spiky bracts. It does well in full sun with well-drained soils- given those contains it will be very durable. It is very attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Scientific Name: Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Common Name: Oak fern
This is a native deciduous fern, often found in large colonies in moist, rocky forests, or rocky ledges, formed by its creeping rhizomes (E-Flora BC, n,d.). This perennial has a fabulous texture, with its delicate pedate-patterned fronds. It's beautifully compact and works well when you need something to fill up a space. It would be great paired with Dicentra formosa, weak Epimediums, or other spring ephemerals so it can take over after they disappear. If you have a cool, shadier area with moist soils, this is your fern!
Scientific Name: Oxalis oregana
Common Name: Redwood sorrel
Oxalidaceae are recognizable plants because they typically have 3-lobed leaves with a mark down its centre. Oxalis oregana is no exception, forming a nice groundcover of 3-lobed leaves via creeping rhizomes. While some sources might call it evergreen, however, it is really only evergreen given perfectly temperate winter conditions (not too dry, not too cold). It has little whiteish-pink flowers that are not more than 3cm across. This perennial is somewhat aggressive, but that typically is not a problem in the woodland setting or in areas where we want to prevent aggressive weeds. I think it looks enchanting and I really just wanted to lay down in them.
"Alcea rosea." North Carolina State Plant Toolbox, https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/alcea-rosea/
"Ammi majus." Gardeners' World Magazine, https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/ammi-majus/
"Campanula rotundifolia." Missouri Botanical Garden, http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=278849
"Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' (Japanese Sedge)." Gardenia.net, https://www.gardenia.net/plant/carex-oshimensis-evergold-sedge
"Eryngium planum." North Carolina State Plant Toolbox, https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/eryngium-planum/
"Gymnocarpium dryopteris" E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia[eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Gymnocarpium%20dryopteris
"Impatiens omeiana (Hardy Impatiens)." Gardenia.net, https://www.gardenia.net/plant/impatiens-omeiana
"Impatiens omeiana." Missouri Botanical Garden,
"Silene armeria (Garden Catchfly)." Gardenia.net, https://www.gardenia.net/plant/silene-armeria-garden-catchfly
"Tanacetum macrophyllum - RAYED TANSY, BIG-LEAF WHITE TANSY." Hill Farm Nursery, April 19, 2014. https://hillfarmnursery.com/2014/04/19/tanacetum-macrophyllum-rayed-tansy-big-leaf-white-tansy/