by David Salman

Callirhoe digitata in flower.
Fringed Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe digitata) has an extended summer bloom time. The plant is also sometimes known as Standing Winecups.

Always on the look-out for great plants, we are offering two new and two returning favorites to our offering for this fall. Fall is a great time for planting, especially in zones 7-10 where the intense summer heat makes late spring/summer planting more difficult.

Everblooming Beauties for Summer-Long Color

Fringed Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe digitata) I'm very enamored with this uncommon, long blooming Poppy Mallow species and am recommending it to all my friends and fellow gardeners. Native to the south-central mid-section of the US (from Illinois and Indiana down into Oklahoma and Arkansas), Fringed Poppy Mallow is very different from the more familiar groundcover Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata). It has a low growing rosette of fine textured foliage from which 3 ft. tall, wispy stems with sprays of magenta Winecups arise; the flowers seem to float enchantingly above the garden. Blooming all summer, it's a great plant to mix into the mid-section of the perennial border or into more naturalistic plantings with blue flax (Linum), orange milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), gay feather (Liatris) and native grasses like little bluestem (Schizachyrium) and blue grama (Bouteloua). USDA zones 4-8. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Engelmannia peristenia, Englemann's Daisy by Pat Hayward
Engelmann's Daisy (Englemannia peristenia) is a colorful native plant that blooms all summer. Photo by Pat Hayward
Engelmann's Daisy (Englemannia peristenia) Looking for a tough but colorful native plant that blooms all summer? Engelmann's Daisy fits the bill, blooming with bouquets of bright yellow daisies from late spring through the heat of summer. The nectar-rich flowers are especially attractive to butterflies and bees. Widely distributed across the western Great Plains into Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, this native wildflower is extremely adaptable and resilient, growing well in all types of soil including clay and seems to be indifferent to heat and cold. I include it in the "if you can't grow it, try another hobby" group of flowering plants; it's so easy-to-grow and will re-seed itself gently, like blue flax, when happy in its garden home. USDA zones 4-8. Deer and rabbit resistant, especially good for attracting butterflies and bees.

Groundcovers with Fabulous Foliage

Tradescantia sillamontana Cobweb Spiderwort in flower
Tradescantia sillamontana with flowers.
Cobweb Spiderwort (Tradescantia sillamontana) This Mexican native gem is only found at high elevations in the Sierra Madre Mountains near Monterey, MX. I love it for its cobwebbed grey-green foliage and mid-summer display of bright pink impatien-like flowers. It has demonstrated excellent cold hardiness and has graced my zone 6 Santa Fe garden for over a decade. I highly recommend it as an outstanding groundcover for sunny and dry shade beds where it will become a long-lived resident of your landscape. Once established after its first growing season, grow it on the dry side to accentuate the cobwebs on the handsome foliage. USDA zones 6-10. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Tradescantia sillamontana.
A close up of Cobweb Spiderwort (Tradescantia sillamontana) foliage.
Partridge Feather (Tanacetum densum ssp. amani) One of the very best sun and heat tolerant groundcovers for the Great Plains and western US, Partridge Feather grows to form large, flat mats of stunning fuzzy silver-white evergreen foliage. In early summer, the plant flowers with numerous scapes of yarrow-like yellow flowers. The key to successful culture of this durable native of southwestern Turkey is "tough love" gardening; easy on the water, plant only in a poor, fast draining soil, use minimal fertilizer (a light side dressing of compost and Yum Yum Mix in the fall) and only use a coarse textured mulch like crushed gravel. This plant resents hot, humid weather as well as moist, fertile soil and bark or other mulch materials that stay wet over the winter months. 2010 Plant Select winner. USDA zones 4-9, deer and rabbit resistant.
Tanacetum densum.
Close-up of Partridge Feather (Tanacetum densum).
  1. FlowerKisser™ Citrus Surprise Penstemon

    Penstemon pinifolius ‚FlowerKisser® Citrus Surprise‚ WWGPIN (Beardtongue) is a unique light-orange-flowering cultivar of this favorite native perennial. Pineleaf Penstem...

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    FlowerKisser® Citrus Surprise Penstemon 'FlowerKisser® Citrus Surprise' Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius 'WWGPIN'
    $10.99
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Penstemon pinifolius 'FlowerKisser® Citrus Surprise' WWGPIN (Beardtongue) is a unique light-orange-flowering cultivar of this favorite native perennial. Pineleaf Penstemon features handsome evergreen foliage that grows in a tidy mound. Hummingbirds love to pollinate the nectar-rich flowers. It's easy-to-grow, requiring only plentiful sun, a lean well drained soil. This resilient, drought-tolerant perennial needs only occasional deep soakings in dry weather. A High Country Gardens Introduction. Exclusive.
  2. Blue Whiskers Fescue Grass

    Eye-catching Festuca glauca ‚Blue Whiskers‚ PP#29,200 (Fescue Grass) is a colorful standout you will want in your garden. Taller, brighter blue, and with striking long le...

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    Blue Whiskers Fescue Grass Blue Whiskers Fescue Grass Festuca glauca 'Blue Whiskers' PP#29,200
    $13.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Eye-catching Festuca glauca 'Blue Whiskers' PP#29,200 (Fescue Grass) is a colorful standout you will want in your garden. Taller, brighter blue, and with striking long leaves, its silvery hue gives your garden textural contrast. In early to mid-summer yellow-green flowers emerge just above the foliage and will turn tan as they age. This lovely evergreen grass will provide beautiful winter interest. It is low-maintenance, waterwise, and deer resistant for easy gardening.
  3. Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™ Hens and Chicks Credit: ChickCharms.net

    Sempervivum hybrid ‚Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™‚ (Hens and Chicks) displays rosettes of spiky, mint-green leaves tipped with burgundy red. This striking succulent is ev...

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    Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™ Hens and Chicks Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™ Hens and Chicks Sempervivum hybrid Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™
    $14.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot

    Sempervivum hybrid 'Chick Charms® Mint Marvel™' (Hens and Chicks) displays rosettes of spiky, mint-green leaves tipped with burgundy red. This striking succulent is evergreen and hardy from zones 3 to 8. Mint Marvel™ is easy to grow and will tolerate drought and cold temperatures. Cute but tough, it is ideal for a low-maintenance container, rock garden, path edge, or rock wall. The low-growing form makes a good groundcover, too. This collectable succulent will produce many ‘chicks’ for spreading or sharing.

  4. Woolly Ironweed (Vernonia), in meadow

    Vernonia lindheimeri (Woolly Ironweed) is a showy perennial that thrives where conditions are tough. This resilient plant can handle low fertility soil, dry climates, and resists dee...

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    Woolly Ironweed (Vernonia) Woolly Ironweed Vernonia lindheimeri
    $12.99
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Vernonia lindheimeri (Woolly Ironweed) is a showy perennial that thrives where conditions are tough. This resilient plant can handle low fertility soil, dry climates, and resists deer and rabbits. Woolly Ironweed has a gentle upright habit, sturdy stems, and fine fuzzy foliage with an airy texture. Silvery buds open to clusters of bright magenta disc flowers in mid-to-late summer. Blooming for 6 weeks or more, the flowers nourish native bees and other pollinators. A North American native perennial from Texas and Northern Mexico, its common name comes from its iron-like qualities – both durability and seed clusters the color of rust.