Getting to know…perennials and shrubs

Walking around the property yesterday, I again felt grateful for the hard work of former residents in this house who beautified the landscape with ornamental plantings. Some of them are old friends by now; others are just beginning to thrive after the jungle of weeds and invasive vines has been cleared away. As I did some internet research to learn more about the plants in blossom now, I couldn’t help but hum Getting to know you from “The King and I.”

Hypericum ‘Hidcote’


Hypericum ‘Hidcote.’ Also known as St. John’s Wort.

This massive shrub, which is tucked behind our raised garden beds, has very pretty, almost bluish foliage and bright yellow flowers. Little did I know it’s in the same genus as St. John’s Wort, which has medicinal uses such as treating depression. I have some St. John’s Wort herbal teabags in the pantry to use as a pick-me-up! According to a favorite book, The Book of Field and Roadside, “The plant’s namesake is St. John the Baptist….the exact origin of its association with the saint remains shrouded in mythology and the use of symbols–including the red hypericin representing his shed blood and the translucent leaf dots depciting the tears of his followers.” It has been used to ward off evil demons and poltergeists.

This particular species is frequently used in borders, edges or as an informal hedge, and can even be trained as a ground cover!

Lysimachia ciliata (“Firecracker”)


“Firecracker” – Lysimachia ciliata. Can you spot the “firefly” on the “firecracker”? Must be almost 4th of July!

Another perennial that I hadn’t taken much notice of in past years is this lovely burst of color! The patch has grown larger this year, probably due to a lot of weeding I’ve done in the area.

According to, it can get a little too aggressive (it’s in the same family as the aggressive invasive Purple Loosestrife!). I’ll have to watch it closely. The website says, “This is a colourful selection of a native North American wildflower, forming an upright mound of rich burgundy-purple leaves, studded with starry yellow flowers in the summer. Will spread to form a sizeable patch, sometimes too vigorous for the border but terrific in containers or among shrubs.”

Purple Coneflower (Echinachea) and Beebalm

Coneflower and beebalm

Coneflower and beebalm

These have been favorites for several years…So cheery! Purple coneflower (Echinachea) is a native perennial, and has been used as an herbal remedy by the Plains Indians and up until the present day. Modern research has confirmed that it’s effective as a salve and an immune system booster. Beebalm, another native plant, also has medicinal and culinary uses!

I hope you’re enjoying summer so far. More photos to come of the veggie garden.


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