Category Archives: Plant Profiles

All about specific plants.

Persistent Perennials

We had our first hard freeze over a month ago. Most of the deciduous plants and perennials in my yard are now dormant—some with dry brown leaves still attached, others with bare stems. But remarkably, not everything looks dead. In … Continue reading

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Poisonous Leaves

I was happily photographing wildflowers along the edge of a park in Ohio when our friend, a local, warned me, “Don’t touch that!” I looked down. That plant looked familiar—a sprawling, low-growing shrub with reddish stems and shiny green leaves, … Continue reading

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Rhus trilobata: A Winner by Any Name

All summer, the shrub sat in the back corner of our yard, quietly filling the space between the fence and a dry creek bed. The olive-green leaves were a bit drab, but provided a nice, neutral backdrop for an adjacent … Continue reading

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(Not Just) Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) used to be purple. You can still buy the purple-flowered version of this perennial (actually more of a pink, at least to my eye), but purple is only the beginning. Consider passionate hues such as raspberry … Continue reading

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Impressive Pineleaf Penstemon

  Looking for a small perennial with a big impact? Consider Pineleaf Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius). True to its common name, this low-growing plant has long, narrow leaves similar to pine needles. They hang on well into winter, and may be evergreen … Continue reading

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Charming Saponaria

It’s such a pretty plant, petite and delicate, only a few inches high and covered with quarter-inch flowers of the softest pink. It’s the kind of groundcover perfectly suited for small spaces, rock gardens, and fairy bowers. It can even … Continue reading

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Bearded Irises

If you’re looking for an indestructible perennial to grow along Colorado’s Front Range, you can’t beat bearded irises. They’re tough, hardy to zone 3. They’re drought tolerant. They aren’t fussy about soil. Deer and rabbits leave them alone (for the … Continue reading

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