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Gardening -- Plants that once were in my garden.

This is a list of perennials which once graced the various garden beds on my property. Some are no longer present because they were not suitable or because they did not survive for one reason or another. They are listed in alphabetical order by their common name.

  • Balsam ragwort – Packera paupercula.
    • Description: Grows 18 inches tall with a 12 inch spread. Bright yellow daisy-like flowers come out in June to August. This native Ontario plant grows naturally along ledges, in rocky ground and the woodlands.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to half shade, sandy or loamy soil.
    • Observations: I had this plant for several years in a couple of spots, but it was not a very good performer and did not add much to the gardens. I gave away the plants I had.
    • Zone:
    • Year added: 2005
    • Plant source: Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant exchange.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):Balsam ragwort in bloom.

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  • Balloon flower – Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Fuji Blue'.
    • Description: Seed strain from Japan with balloon-like buds that open to deep blue flowers. Late to emerge in spring. Excellent cut flower. Height 20" (50cm) with 24" (60cm) spacing. Flowers July-August.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to partial shade.
    • Observations: I really liked this plant. The blooms are very attractive and interesting to watch as they develop and open. It is late to appear in spring to the point of thinking the plant may have died over the winter. Each year the plant produces more stalks of flowers. The stalks are so tall some staking is required to provide required support. In 2008, due to the amount of rain in June, the plant grew taller than usual with several new bloom spikes. It was transplanted in 2008 to the far west back garden with the taller plants and continued to thrive for a couple of years. Then, in the fall of 2011, the rhizome went mushy and it died. I obtained a transplant from a neighbour two doors away and planted it in the same garden, but in a different spot. Unfortunately, it suffered the same fate. I should have planted it far away from the original. I hope to obtain another transplant sometime in the future.
    • Zone: Hardy 3-8.
    • Year added: Original 2005; latest 2012.
    • Plant source: From another's garden.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s): Flower close-upBalloon flower bloom closeup.Balloon flower blooms.Balloon flower plant.
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  • Blanket flower – Gaillardia.
    • Description: Brightly colored daisy-like flowers up to 4 inches across bloom profusely from early summer through fall above mounds of narrow downy leaves. Plants may need staking. For greater vigor, cut back after flowering. Propagate by seed or by division in spring. Set plants 18 inches apart.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun in well-drained to dry, average to poor soil. They tolerate drought and seaside conditions and tend to be short-lived in fertile, moist soils.
    • Observations:
    • Zone: 3-8.
    • Year added: 2005.
    • Plant source: Central Park community plant exchange.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
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  • Blue Flag Iris – Iris versicolor.
    • Description: Grows to 36 inches tall with an eight inch spread. Purple flowers in early summer. Looks great at pond edges. This species is native to Ontario wetlands and is potentially threatened by the spread of Yellow Flag from Asia.
    • Growing preferences: Part to full sun in moist to wet soil.
    • Observations: This little plant did not do well in the spot where I first placed it -- under the lilac bush in the back. There was very little growth in 2006 and 2007. Moved it in 2008 to the front garden where it is more moist and shady and it bloomed. There was no bloom in 2009 despite a very wet spring and summer, perhaps due to it being crowded by surrounding plants. The drought of 2012 proved too severe for this plant and it disappeared over the winter.
    • Zone:
    • Year added: 2006 (June).
    • Plant source: Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant sale.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
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  • Columbine Red and White – Aquilegia origami ‘Red and White'.
    • Description: "Compact classic with rich red outer petals and crisp white inner petals with a red eye. Makes an enchanting addition to spring window boxes and borders. Mature size 35cm x 30cm. Prune faded flowers." (Plant tag.)
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to part shade.
    • Observations: Red and white bicoloured flowers. Very attractive. Grew well in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In spring of 2008 the plant was very tiny, possibly due to growth of neighbouring plants. It was moved to the front garden where it produced a single, small bloom and then withered to nothing. Not sure why it died.
    • Zone: 4
    • Year added: 2005
    • Plant source: Given to Linda by Eric who purchased it at a garden centre.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s): Red and white bloom.Red and white blooms.
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  • Common Pearly Everlasting – Anaphalis margaritacea.
    • Description: Slender pointed leaves that are green on top, gray and downy underneath on 24 - 30 inch erect stems holding small flat clusters of fluffy 1/4 inch white flowers in summer. Plants live for years with little attention. Spreads readily through underground runners. Start new plants by division in the spring. The foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season. The flowers can be gathered and dried for winter bouquets.
    • Growing preferences: Plant in full sun in ordinary well-drained soil. Tolerates dry conditions.
    • Observations: Both of my plantings were in sunken containers to control the spread of the plant. The original had been in the same spot (patio west garden) for many years. In 2008, a section of the plant was transploanted to the front garden and the source plant given away in 2011. It has such a fine flower it does not show well. I finally decided to just purge it from the garden so gave the plant away.
    • Zone: 4-9.
    • Year removed: 2015.
    • Plant source: Unknown.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
  • Hairy Beardtongue - Penstemon hirsutus.
    • Description: Clusters of violet to pale rose, snapdragon like flowers in late spring. Grows up to 18 inches tall with a 12 inch spread. This native Ontario species is found naturally in open fields and woodland edges. The plant was removed from the garden in 2009.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to part shade in almost any kind of soil.
    • Observations:
    • Zone:
    • Year added: June 2006.
    • Plant source: Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant sale.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
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  • Phalaris arundinacea – Ribbon grass.
    • Description: Height: 3-4 feet. Ribbon Grass is an old ornamental grass that has the reputation for being very invasive. This grass has a place in the garden as a ground cover in tough sites or where nothing else seems to want to grow. It needs to be used with caution as it does spread. The variegated forms form attractive clumps. Two cultivars of ribbon grass are preferred. They are 'Picata' and 'Feesey's Form'. Both of these tend to be less invasive and easier to control. Flowers are white and occur from June-October. When planted in the shade the plants tend not to be as aggressive and are better behaved.
    • Growing preferences: Ribbon grass is tolerant of a wide range of soils from dry, to moist, to wet and of sites from sun to shade.
    • Observations: This grass does indeed grow and spread rapidly. I started with a very small piece and within a year it was a sizeable clump. I dug around it and inserted a collar of plastic to try to keep it under control. Frequently tilling the soil around the planting helps to keep it in check. Finally, I decided it was too invasive and I disposed of it in 2011.
    • Zone: 4-8.
    • Year added: 2005.
    • Plant source: Central Park plant exchange.
    • Links to further info: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/grasses/ribbon_grass.html.
    • Photo(s): July 2007Ribbon grass.
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  • Yellow Mexican hat – Ratibida columnifera var. pulcherrima.
    • Description: Classic prairie plant with tall, central cone surrounded by dropping yellow petals. Height 28" (70cm) with 18" (45cm) spacing. Flowers July-October.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun.
    • Observations: This was a replacement for a red Mexican hat I had purchased the preceding year. A fellow gardener who was getting some plants from me brought this yellow variety as a replacement. Over the winter in 2006-2007 the original plant died. However, a seed had made its way across the patio and sprouted in 2007. A large, healthy specimen resulted. This plant survived the 2007-2008 winter (there was lots of snow) and was doing nicely. Surprisingly, in the area where the original plant grew, two new plants have grown from seed. Unfortunately, their lives were cut short and they did not survive.
    • Zone: Hardy 3-7.
    • Year added: 2006.
    • Plant source: Loblaws garden centre.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
      • Yellow Mexican Hat in bloom.Yellow Mexican hat in bloom.
      • Red mexican hat bloom.Red Mexican hat bloom.
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  • Three-toothed Cinquefoil – Potentilla tridentata.
    • Description: This is an excellent, well-behaved, three foot tall ground cover plant with glossy leaves that turn dark red in autumn. Small white flowers bloom in summer. This species is native to Ontario woodland edges.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to half shade in well-drained soil, preferably acidic.
    • Observations: I have not had much success with my specimen. It was first planted in the west patio garden amongst the phlox and lilies. I planted it in some acidic soil from under the cedar hedge. In 2008, I moved it to a spot under the cedar hedge beside the azaleas where it gets sun from mid-morning to early afternoon. It did produce a couple of tiny white flowers on thin, long stalks. The plant was very spindly and more like a ground cover. It eventually died off.
    • Zone:
    • Year added: June 2006.
    • Plant source: Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant sale.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):
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  • Mossy saxifrage - Saxifraga ‘Schneeteppich' (Snow carpet).
    • Description: Produces a mounding carpet of mossy foliage from which thin stems arise carrying white flowers. Add a little sand to centres that ‘melt out' in summer. Height 6" (15cm) with 12" (30cm) spacing. Flowers April-June.
    • Growing preferences: Full sun to partial shade. Requires moist but well-drained soil.
    • Observations: The delicate white flowers are adorable as they tower over the soft, low foliage of this unobtrusive plant. The sample was moved to the front garden in April 2008 and did well until 2011 when it started its characteristic dieing off in the centre. In 2013, there was only a small piece left. By 2014, it had disappeared completely.
    • Zone: Hardy 5-7.
    • Year added: June 2005.
    • Plant source: Fletcher Wildlife Garden plant sale.
    • Links to further info:
    • Photo(s):

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    Date of last revision: 2019-12-16.
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