Tag Archives: izel plants

Carex ‘Grayi’ and Packera aurea

As I wander through my decaying garden these days, it’s like a brown-out. All of the ornamental grasses have resorted to their buff winter color and almost all of the perennials are a mess of brown/black.

But there are two perennials that stand out in their still staying green color. Two native perennials that are not so well known and not so flashy but can be a welcome addition to the garden. That is assuming  your garden is like mine: moisture-filled (aka poorly draining) and critter-filled (aka herds of visiting deer).

Let’s take a closer look at both of these plants.

 

Carex ‘grayi’

Common name: Gray sedge

Zone: 5-9

Size: 3′ x 2′

Bloom time: May – October

Exposure: Full to partial sun (performs best in full sun)

Soil: Wet, bog garden plant.

Native: Eastern U.S.

Deer resistant: Yes

Origin of name: Named after famed botanist Asa Gray from the 1800’s

I purchased these in bulk a few years back and sited them in a known wet spot, in full sun.

They’ve thrived here and have quickly doubled in size in only 2 years time.

The seed heads have a club-like shape and start out yellow/green before transforming to brown as fall/winter arrives.

I welcome the semi-evergreen nature of this grass-like perennial. The green stands out in a sea of deadness this time of year.

And when the light hits them just right in winter, the seed heads are reflected in the snow in a cool and funky way. I have no photos to prove this so you’ll just have to trust me until I can prove it to you.

 

Packera aurea

Common name: Golden Ragwort

Zone: 3-8

Size: 2.5′ x 1.5′

Bloom time: April

Exposure: Full to partial sun (thrives in partial shade)

Soil: Wet, bog garden plant.

Native: Eastern U.S.

Deer resistant: Nibbled a bit but never fully destroyed (fingers crossed)

Origin of name: Named after famed botanist John Packer

I went nuts and ordered 50+ plugs of this native perennial two years ago from the native plant purveyor, Izel. To date, I have zero regrets.

While they were small when first planted, they have rocketed in growth ever since.

And they bloomed like mad that first spring with the buds first appearing in early April. A time when I welcome any blooms in my garden.

And do they ever bloom their little heads off. Endless yellow daisy-like flowers completely inundate the plant.

 

I made sure to snip off the spent blooms immediately to prevent seeding as this is a potentially heavy seeder. We’ll see if I was successful or not this spring, although I would welcome some reseeding.

After cutting them all down to their basal foliage, they remain bright green in color and thrive all spring/summer and even into late fall as seen in the photo below.

That is assuming they remain consistently moist as they do not dig the dry soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden ragwort

During the winter of 2015-2016, I ordered 25 tiny plugs of Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) from my favorite online native plant nursery, Izel Plants. I knew nothing of this perennial before I found it there, but if the terms “likes moist”, “deer resistant” and “native to the northeast U.S” are part of any plant description, I’m in.

The Golden Ragwort were planted last April and a year later, well, wow.

Golden Ragwort

That didn’t take long.

An insane amount of blooms on almost all of the plants. I had been seeking a big time early spring bloomer and this appears to fit the bill perfectly.

To date they are thriving in wet locations in both full and partial sun. No creatures have as much as looked at them funny, let alone nibble them, and the blooms have looked divine for over a week now.

Ding, ding, we have a winner.

But I couldn’t leave it at that. Not this over-analytical gardener.

In bloom, the Golden Ragwort is about 2 feet tall. Once the blooms are spent and showing signs of wear, I plan on diligently cutting off all of the flowers to prevent any reseeding (they are known to be aggressive re-seeders). Once the stems are cut down to the low-lying basal foliage, they’ll be closer to 6 to 12 inches tall.

Golden Ragwort

With that in mind, I question my best use of these “groundcovers” from a design perspective. Right now in flower, they’re taller than all of the slow growing perennials and shrubs behind them. It looks a bit off and I can’t stop analyzing it.

But once the stems and flowers are removed, the appropriate “ascending in size order” look will be there.

Do I bite the bullet, enjoy the fine flowers and chill the f out?

Golden Ragwort

Or are you unfortunately like me, and subscribe to the school of over-tinkering and over-thinking?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.