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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.

Country Dancer Shrub Rose

Country Dancer Buck shrub rose (Rosa 'Country Dancer') is another of the very hardy, repeat-flowering roses hybridized in Iowa by Griffith Buck, Ph.D. (1915–91), a professor of horticulture at Iowa State University. Its rose-red buds open to reveal rose-pink double flowers on a plant that will repeat-bloom from mid-June until the first frost. This cultivar tops out at 3 to 4 feet in height; sports dark green, leathery leaves; and is covered with large rose hips from late fall through winter. This cultivar became commercially available in 1973.

Fiesta Del Sol Mexican Sunflower

Fiesta del Sol Mexican sunflower is the first true dwarf cultivar (maturing at 2 to 3 feet). Like the species, it features bright orange, sunflower-like blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The hairy leaves deter pests, even deer. Plant this annual in full sun, in fertile soil, after all danger of frost has passed. The native range of this cultivar extends from Mexico down to Panama.

The genus Tithonia celebrates Tithonus, companion of Aurora, goddess of the dawn, and contains ten species native to Mexico and Central America.

Korean Feather Reed Grass

Korean feather reed grass prefers full sun but adapts to shady conditions and slowly produces clumps over time. Its 2-foot-high green foliage is topped by pinkish-tan flower spikes in fall that mature to cream. This grass needs consistently moist soil.

Primrose Beauty Shrubby Cinquefoil

Primrose-yellow single flowers are produced from June to mid-October on this deciduous shrub to about 3 feet in size. Plant 'Primrose Beauty' in full sun and in moderately to well- drained soil, and prune back the older woody stems every couple of years to encourage greater flower production. This shrub is butterfly and hummingbird friendly, but deer don't care for the taste of the leaves. It is not long-lived in heavy clay soils.

White Snakeroot

White, fluffy clumps of flowers virtually cover the top of white snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) for much of the fall. Growing to 5 feet in height and 3 feet in width, Chicago-area gardeners should take care to deadhead this plant before the seeds are dispersed (toward the end of October) to prevent reseeding in their gardens. This native perennial grows well in full sun, tolerates some shade, and can thrive in moderate to slightly dry soils.

Butterflies, bees, wasps and moths all cover this plant when it is in full bloom—it is truly a pollinator magnet! A toxin (tremetol) found in this plant is responsible for "milk fever," a disease that was widespread across much of eastern and central North America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cattle can pass this toxin to humans through meat and milk, and it has been found to be deadly in all mammals.