Native plant advocate Caroline Stevens shares her 12 favorite perennials from her own garden.
1 of 5Ralph Anderson
'Max Frei' soapwort
(Saponaria x lempergii 'Max Frei') PICTURED
Soapwort is not native but is a wonderful edging plant. Its small pink blossoms will greet you from late June until frost, if you cut them back hard after each bloom.
(Rudbeckia maxima) Rudbeckia maxima is a compact plant that bursts into bloom in late August. It looks like a yellow firecracker going off in the sky! No care. Easy to keep the size you want.
(Liatris aspera and L. spicata 'Alba')
Gayfeather is deep pink, and L. spicata 'Alba' is white. I love how their straight, stiff spikes come up through the clumps of other flowers.
2 of 5Ralph Anderson
(Phlox paniculata) PICTURED
I love the round shape of the compound bloom and how it sits atop tall stems. The strong magenta color is a standout.
Royal catchfly is yellow-red― its raceme (flower) stays in bloom from late June into July. About 3 feet tall, it contrasts well with lilies.
(Penstemon smallii) P. smallii has rich green foliage and flowers that complement the colors in peonies. The white speck on its purple bloom gives this plant visual wow. Well-behaved, it doesn't migrate to my peony patch.
3 of 5Ralph Anderson
(Echinacea purpurea) PICTURED This plant has a long blooming period and needs no care. The seed heads are interesting. If you break out the seeds and leave the bract, snow will catch in the bowl. Very pretty.'Rubinstern' purple coneflower
(Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinstern') I actually find this coneflower much more interesting. The color is really vivid.
White and pink turtlehead
(Chelone glabra) and (Chelone lyonii) White and pink turtlehead give color in late summer when most blooms are yellow. No staking required. Insect-free and can take some shade.
4 of 5Ralph Anderson
(Veronicastrum virginicum) PICTURED Culver's root has tall, willowy, white spikes that you can see through the rest of the border.Rattlesnake master
(Eryngium yuccifolium) Rattlesnake master is prized for its seed heads and stately gray-green, 5-foot stalks. This type of structure adds strength to a garden.
(Silphium perfoliatum) I think every garden needs this plant to peep up around the end of August and first of September.