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Bloom Highlights

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Sources for "What's in Bloom: Bloom Highlights" listings include the Chicago Botanic Garden's staff and database, as well as the publications and records of other botanic gardens, institutions, and the scientific community.


Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus), also commonly known as bride's feathers, is a showy perennial native to woodlands and ravines in the eastern United States. In Illinois, it is only found in the wild along the Illinois River. At the Chicago Botanic Garden, you can find it in June blooming in dappled sunlight along the woodland walk in the Sensory Garden, and also in the Helen and Richard Thomas English Walled Garden. A bold plant with large fronds of divided foliage, it will grow 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, with foot-tall plumes of showy, cream-colored flowers that resemble those of Astilbe. Easy-to-grow goatsbeard needs partial sun; moist, organically rich soil; and lots of space!

Goldflame Honeysuckle

Goldflame honeysuckle is a deciduous twining vine with simple, untoothed, opposite leaves. It is grown for its slightly fragrant, very colorful flowers. The circular whorls of tubular flowers, which are rosy-red in bud, open into yellow trumpets before fading to white. The unusual terminal leaves are connate, which means they are fused together, looking as if the stem is piercing through them. This vine, which can grow to 20 feet, has a fairly long bloom period and attracts hummingbirds. It is most floriferous in June and continues to bloom sporadically until September. Goldflame honeysuckle is believed to be a hybrid of the American Lonicera sempervirens and a European hybrid incorrectly called Lonicera × americana. The fruit is a red berry, but this vine rarely fruits.

Kudos Ambrosia Hummingbird Mint

The flowers on this nonhardy perennial vary in color as they age from cream to orange to a bright rose pink, providing for an ever-changing color palette in the garden. Bred from the hardiest of the species, it still is not able to survive Chicago's winters. Plant 'Kudos Ambrosia' in full sun and in well-drained soil, wherever hummingbird, bee, and moth pollinators are desired. Compounds in the foliage deter rabbits and deer—until they are really hungry.


Clear blue flowers are produced atop this tall, non-hardy perennial from July up to frost. Plant this salvia in full sun and water to establish the root system—thereafter, it will be drought tolerant. It provides a blue-flowered height component to containers and in the landscape. This is also a great annual for attracting pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden from summer through to frost.

Shrub Rose

This beautiful shrub rose produces crimson-red single blooms surrounding a golden boss of stamens. Glossy green, disease-resistant foliage holds well throughout the season, turning golden yellow in fall. This plant matures at 5 feet in size when grown in full sun and moderately fertile, well-drained soil.


Soltice™ Orange Tricolor snapdragon grows to 20 inches in height, and features orange-yellow flowers with a white tube and spicy fragrance. It blooms earlier than other snapdragon varieties and performs well in cool weather, in full sun, and with adequate moisture. Deadhead to encourage repeat bloom throughout the summer and into fall.

Spreading Petunia

Intensely colored flowers ranging from magenta to pinkish purple cover this mounding annual from June through the onset of cold weather in late fall. Plant this petunia in full sun and well-drained soil, and provide room in a container, hanging basket, or the landscape for it to spread up to 3 feet. It's a favorite of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds searching for a reliable source of nectar and pollen throughout the growing season.

Star Cluster

Continuous clusters of vibrant, fuchsia-colored flowers cover this naturally compact selection that thrives in the bright light and warmth of summer. Average, well-drained garden soils with good air movement are ideal planting locations. Great selection for containers, hanging baskets, or a spot of color in the landscape. This is a pollinator magnet of the first order, providing nectar and pollen to an array of insects and hummingbirds throughout summer and into fall.