A timeless panicle hydrangea variety, ‘Limelight’ is a solid performer in full sun and produces dozens of large, dense blooms throughout the summer and into the fall. These shrubs can reach 6-8’ tall and wide if left unpruned. They can also be pruned into single stem “trees” for a more dramatic and formal look. Prune these hydrangeas in late winter or early spring, as they will bloom on new wood. ‘Limelight’ hydrangea flowers begin as a creamy white, and as they mature, change to a chartreuse green, and finally to rose/dark pink. Blooms can be cut fresh for arrangements or drying or can be left to age on the stems where they will persist through the winter. As with most hydrangeas, ‘Limelight’ will be browsed by deer, but are otherwise relatively pest and disease free! These are great shrubs to use as specimen pieces, “hedges”, in mass plantings, or as part of a mixed shrub border.
Rubeckia, widely known as Black-eyed Susan, is a reliable summer bloomer that adds an abundance of orangey-yellow color to your garden. Over the years, black-eyed Susan has become increasingly popular because it is a native perennial to our area, making it ideal for meadows and naturalized planting beds. Breeders have also been working hard to grow new varieties with various flower colors and sizes, increasing the plant’s usage for home gardeners! The classic ‘Goldsturm’ variety reaches 2-3’ tall and 1-2’ wide, but will spread over time and can become somewhat of a nuisance. Other varieties include ‘Little Goldstar’, a wonderful dwarf of ‘Goldsturm’ that only gets to between 12-16” tall and wide; ‘Early Bird Gold’ which can get to 2’ tall and can start blooming earlier than ‘Goldsturm’; ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Autumn Colors’, and ‘Cherry Brandy’ are shorter-lived varieties with larger flowers and long (4-5 week!) bloom times. All Rudbeckia varieties flower best in full sun and are moderately drought tolerant once established. They also tolerate road salt and poor soil conditions.
A stunning perennial for the shade garden, Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ has many attractive
qualities. Dark purple foliage is shiny and retains its color throughout the season, growing to a mound approximately 2’ tall and wide. In mid-summer, the foliage is topped with towers of orange/yellow daisy-like flowers, bringing the overall height of the plant to 3-3.5’ tall. Ligularia prefers a moist environment and does not like if the soil dries out completely. Contrast the striking foliage with bright green Heuchera, Hakonechloa, or hay-scented fern for a show-stopping shade display!