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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.

Butterfly Red Egyptian Star Cluster

Masses of red star shaped flower clusters are formed just above the green foliage on this non-hardy perennial. Thrives in heat but does not like drought; indifferent to soils. Great pollinator plant in the garden attracting both insects and hummingbirds.

Fern Valley Pink Summersweet

Fern Valley Pink summersweet is a cultivar of a deciduous shrub native to the eastern United States. Its name is derived from the prolific, fragrant light pink flowers that appear at the height of summer and which attract butterflies and birds. The flowers are produced on vertical flower spikes up to 12 inches long, which are a striking feature of the plant, along with its lustrous dark green leaves.

The shrub grows to 5 feet high and wide, depending on the location and growing conditions. Summersweet is tolerant of a range of garden conditions, including shade, damp soils, and clay; however, it prefers acidic pH. Summersweet flowers on new wood so prune it in late winter. It is a versatile plant, suitable for borders, screens, or as a specimen plant or an understory.

Groundcover Rose

Flower Carpet® Pink groundcover rose (Rosa 'Noatraum') produces double pink flowers surrounded by glossy green, disease-resistant foliage. This cultivar is described as "self cleaning," which means gardeners don't need to spend time deadheading old flower heads.

This cultivar, like many other disease-resistant landscape roses, comes to us from the breeding work of Dr. Werner Noak of Noak Rosen in Germany. Dr. Noak has dedicated more than 35 years to breeding landscape roses that are disease free. This cultivar has won three prestigious international awards including the very challenging All Deutsche Rose Trials, in which no pesticide spray treatments are allowed during the three-year evaluation period.

Herbstsonne Cutleaf Coneflower

Herbstsonne cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’) produces clear yellow daisy-like flowers throughout summer and fall on a hardy perennial plant that tops out at 6 feet in height. The large glossy leaves are irregularly divided into three or more lobes. It's a great plant for the back of flower beds in full sun. Water it well the first year to get the root system established, and thereafter only during periods of extreme drought. This plant can spread over time to make a sizeable clump. Goldfinches love this plant!

Tardiva Panicle Hydrangea

Throughout early and late fall, the branch tips of Tardiva panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva') are graced with masses of small, white, fertile flowers, surrounded by sterile, large, showy white petals that age to pink. One of the larger panicle hydrangeas, this cultivar can grow to 6 to 8 feet tall, and can be trained to a tree form. It requires regular watering in extreme heat.

Hydrangeas are best grown in full sun to partial shade and in moist soil. They bloom on the current season's wood—thus, pruning can be a good way to control growth. They are insect- and disease-resistant, but young plants need protection from rabbits.