Regional Picks: Plant This With That – Northern Plains

Fine Gardening - Issue 152


‘Prairie Fire’ dogwood

Name: Cornus alba ‘Prairie Fire’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 7

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; average soil

‘Prairie Fire’ dogwood is a low-maintenance shrub with great visual interest. I love its gorgeous chartreuse foliage, which pops against darker greens in a garden. The large heart-shaped leaves fill out nicely on the branches, giving it a fullness that still feels airy. ‘Prairie Fire’ provides a nice backdrop for conifers and other featured plants. I often use it to bring freshness to an otherwise dark corner of the garden. In late spring, small white flowers appear on ‘Prairie Fire’, followed by white berries in midsummer. Fall brings crimson leaves and bright red stalks.



Snowdrop anemone

Name: Anemone sylvestris

Zones: 3 to 9

Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; average soil

This mountain flower is one of the first to bloom in spring, with its graceful blossom emerging from dense foliage on a single stem. In fall, the dark, glossy leaves turn burgundy, which often last beyond the first frost. I love the way snowdrop anemone fills in quickly to give an established feel to newly installed landscapes. In this combination, its green foliage allows its chartreuse companions to become a focal point.


‘Lime Rickey’ heuchera

Name: Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’

Zones: 4 to 9

Size: 8 inches tall and 1 foot wide

Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; fertile, moist, well-drained soil

‘Lime Rickey’ heuchera instantly creates a focal point. It can tie in with other bright greens to lighten up a densely planted area. If planted en masse, it can add a modern feel to a naturalized garden. It has a ruffled texture and becomes full after a season or two. It pairs nicely with conifers and plants with dark foliage or white flowers, like snowdrop anemone.


‘Slowmound’ mugo pine

Name: Pinus mugo ‘Slowmound’

Zones: 3 to 7

Size: 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

This tough, versatile, drought-tolerant little pine does well in a naturalized alpine garden or a Mediterranean xeriscape and most styles in between. It is also tall enough to be a winter focal point, even after a foot or two of snow, but be sure to remove any heavy snow from its branches. Dense and pretty, ‘Slowmound’ mugo pine is also low maintenance.

Katherine Kroeker is the principal designer at Prairie Ridge Landscapes in Edmonton, Alberta.

Photos: Jennifer Benner; courtesy of Katherine Kroeker; and Illustration: Elara Tanguy, colorized by Bill Godfrey

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