Native To Know: Cardinal Flower, Lobelia Cardinalis

Cardinal Flower1 Native To Know: Cardinal Flower, Lobelia Cardinalis

Photo Courtesy of: BigDan

The Cardinal Flower is a bright, brassy North American native plant that grows up to 3 or 4 feet tall, and sports spiked torches of blood red blossoms!  In the last several years this Lobelia has gained popularity in garden centers, and home landscaping, but it’s use around the house can go much farther than just as the back row of a wildflower bed.

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Red Horse Chestnut, Aesculus carnea ‘Fort McNair’

IMG 2577 1024x768 Red Horse Chestnut, Aesculus carnea ‘Fort McNair’

This Red Horse Chestnut is a tree that would not necessarily have occurred in nature, but this gorgeous cultivar brings together the best of both of it’s parents, the Buckeye, and the Horse Chestnut.

Buckeye and Horse Chestnut trees are in the same family, and they both share a similar leaf pattern and flower type, but with the cross from the Buckeye Asculus pavia, and the Horse Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum, a bright 5-8 inch pink or red flower is produced with trademark yellow throats.  I particularly like this flowering variety because the flowers have such a tropical look to them, and because the ‘Fort McNair’ variety was created nearby in DC!

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Native To Know: Penstemon ‘Beard Tongue’

img 1629 225x300 Native To Know: Penstemon ‘Beard Tongue’

Native plants are notoriously tolerant of both the wet spring weather, and the droughts that stretch through the North American summer months, and Beard Tongue (Penstemon) is an airy example of drought tolerance that has the appearance of an English garden staple.

Penstemon comes in hundred of cultivars, but the original native varieties generally are sold under the name “Beard Tongue.” A full or partial sun perennial, this plant is easily grown from seed, or as a live plant.  It does well in naturalized areas near woodlines, or in meadow since it doesn’t need too much water to thrive, and fits in well with other formal garden plants like Lavender, Roses, Daisies, and Purple Coneflowers.

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