Regional Picks: Plant This With That – Midwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 152



Sunburst’ St. John’s wort

Name: Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

Long-blooming St. John’s wort, with its clear yellow flowers, fine-textured blue-green leaves, and cinnamon-colored bark, nicely extends the bloom season between early summer’s exuberance and the late-summer doldrums. ‘Sunburst’ is prized because its blossoms are larger and its habit is more compact than the straight species. Although not picky about soil and moisture once established, ‘Sunburst’ needs to be deeply watered the first year. An added bonus is that this shrub is deer and rabbit resistant. Peeling




‘Vivaldi’ Asiatic lily

Name: Lilium ‘Vivaldi’

Zones: 4 to 8

Size: 28 inches tall and 1 foot wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

The massive blooms of pink Asiatic lilies help highlight the subtle flowers of ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass because they bloom at the same time. My favorite cultivar is ‘Vivaldi’ because it is a beautiful clear blush color. I like to plant the lilies in groups of five to nine. Plant the bulbs in fall so that they get a head start in spring (with stalks too tall for rabbit grazing). The coppery bronze foliage in fall is a nice addition.


‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass

Name: Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

I love the architectural rigor of ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass—not too big or too small—with plumes that are boldly upright. This plant is considered a cool-season grass, so its dark green foliage and flowers appear earlier than most other grasses. The blooms emerge pale pink with a hint of purple, before turning gold and then tan in winter.


‘Catherine Woodbury’ daylily

Name: Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’

Zones: 3 to 10

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun; moist, well-drained soil

To tie this summer combination together, add ‘Catherine Woodbury’ daylily, which sports flowers that are pale pink (with lavender overtones) with a yellow-chartreuse throat. This daylily blooms early, and its fine-textured foliage stays nice looking all season. Like all good daylilies, ‘Catherine Woodbury’ is not a picky plant. Modest fragrance adds to its appeal.

Rosalind Reed is a landscape designer in Chicago, Illinois.

Photos: courtesy of Rosalind Reed; Jennifer Benner; Allison C. Mayer; Michelle Gervais; and Illustration: Elara Tanguy, colorized by Bill Godfrey

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