Regional Picks: Best New Finds – Mid-Atlantic

Fine Gardening – Issue 174

1. ‘Morris Berd’ Smooth Phlox

Name: Phlox glaberrima ‘Morris Berd’

Usda Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 2 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist soil

If you are looking for a mildew-free phlox, ‘Morris Berd’ smooth phlox is the plant for you. This late-spring bloomer performs well in full sun to light shade and develops a nice clump of dark green basal foliage that persists through winter. It’s an unexpected evergreen element throughout the colder months, keeping the garden interesting. ‘Morris Berd’ smooth phlox may be familiar to home gardeners as a staple for the border garden, but using it as a ground cover produces a stunning effect. Blooming after most moss phlox (Phlox subulata and cvs., Zones 3–9) in spring but before garden phlox (Phlox paniculata and cvs., Zones 3–8) in summer, ‘Morris Berd’ smooth phlox will grace your garden with bright pink flowers for several weeks.


2. ‘Purple Mildew Resistant’ Bee Balm

Name: Monarda ‘Purple Mildew Resistant’

Zones: 6 to 10

Size: 32 to 39 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

While most bee balms are prone to foliar disease, ‘Purple Mildew Resistant’ has proven particularly resistant in our current plant trial. Reaching peak bloom in mid-June with cheerful purple flowers, this perennial will be a fast filler in your garden. Its medium size makes it great for the middle of the border and happily provides clean, attractive bright green foliage throughout the season.


3. Eastern Star Sedge

Name: Carex radiata

Zones: 4 to 8

Size:2 feet tall and 18 to 24 inches wide

Conditions:  Partial shade; moist soil

Currently gaining popularity though still underused, this native sedge deserves more attention. Eastern star is a relatively small sedge that grows to form a dense tuft of fine-textured foliage. Give it a haircut after blooming, and it looks great for the rest of the season. Highly versatile, it can be planted in a mass to form a striking ground cover or among other woodland plants as an accent. Small starlike flower clusters appear in late spring.


4. ‘Peachie’S Pick’ Stokes’ Aster

Name: Stokesia laevis ‘Peachie’s Pick’

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

The regal look of ‘Peachie’s Pick’ Stokes’ aster makes it a good fit for a formal border or a more wild native landscape. With a compact, upright habit, this perennial combines well with an array of other plants. Large blue flowers measuring 3 inches across appear in summer and give you a respectable rebloom if trimmed after the plant has finished blossoming. It also boasts clean, attractive foliage that persists through winter. These characteristics make it a “new” candidate for perennial container gardening.


Susan Boss is the entrance landscape horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center, a public garden located near Wilmington, Delaware.

Photos: #1, Jerry Pavia; #2, Steve Aitken; #3 and #4,

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