This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.
This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.
Apples are ideally planted in multiples of different varieties for optimal fruit production, and many also benefit from pollinators to increase the effectiveness of cross-pollination. Most apple trees are grown from scionwood grafted to rootstock, and the kind of rootstock will determine the ultimate…
This underappreciated stone fruit has lovely blossoms early in the spring. Because of their early bloom time, the flowers are susceptible to freezing.
All parts of this bold shrub are fragrant. It particularly deserves its name for the profusion of amethyst purple berries borne on its long branches.
Beets are a popular root crop used for pickling, roasting, and salads. They come in an array of colors, including red, yellow, and red and white striped.
A cottage garden favorite, black-eyed susan features masses of ferociously yellow flowers that attract butterflies. They are incredibly hardy and tolerate a wide variety of conditions, making them ideal for naturalizing.
Blackberry lilies are named for their glossy black seeds which look nearly identical to an actual blackberry. They have beautiful orange flowers with darker spots on long graceful stems above strappy green foliage.
These large spring blooming shrubs with edible berries do best in natural areas where they can achieve their full size.
Boston Marrows are large, bright orange squashes that can weigh anywhere between 10 and 50 lbs., although 25 lbs. is more common. They are an excellent eating squash and can be turned into soups or pies.
Boxwood are the quintessential southern garden hedge plant. They are popular for use in knot gardens, parterres, edging, and as topiaries. While the historic English boxwood (Buxus suffruiticosa) are especially susceptible to a devastating and widespread blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola…
Broccoli is a cool season vegetable which has been cultivated since the Roman Empire. It is grown for its tender florets which can be eaten raw or cooked.
This large plant is used to make brooms. However, it is not a true corn.
Airy blue flowers form a stunning mass mid-border late in the season when many other flowers are fading. In southern climates, this plant self-sows with vigor.
Brown-eyed Susans form masses of bright gold flowers above dark green foliage. It will flop without a midseason trim to keep it from getting too tall. It is ideal for naturalizing because it reseeds readily.
Cabbage is a cool season annual that was a staple crop in the colonial period and continues to be so today.
Calendulas are an old fashioned herb with bright yellow or orange flowers. They are profuse bloomers in the spring and fall, but will stop blooming during the hot part of the summer. Their flowers can be used in salads and soaps.
Carrots are a root crop which comes in a wide variety of colors. They can be yellow, orange, or purple. While the purple colored varieties are some of the oldest types, orange varieties of carrots were popular by the mid-1700s. They can be served fresh in salads, or cooked.
This blue-flowered perennial is common as a roadside weed, but has a long history of being used as an edible or fodder.
Chives are a small clump-forming onion relative. The stems are frequently used as a culinary herb, and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.
This elegant climbing rose sports large pink flowers from spring until nearly Christmas. It is lightly fragrant and easily trained to a graceful climbing habit against walls or over trellises.
A sturdy long-blooming annual, this impressive plant is ideal for the back of the border. Its bright flowers come in many colors, including hot pink, peach, deep rose, yellow, and red.
This crop is grown for the fibers it produces, although ornamental varieties do exist.
Dipper gourds are sprawling plants that produce enormous quantities of fruit over the course of the season. The gourds they produce can be used to make drinking vessels, birdhouses, and other decorative items.
Egyptian walking onions are a unique plant which produces the next generation in a crown of bulblets atop their stalks in lieu of flowers. As the bulblets grow, their weight pulls them to the ground, where they take root to grow new plants. While the young bulbs are mild and can be used as scallions…
This plant's large leaves add a unique texture to the back of the border, while its yellow flowers provide late season interest. Elecampane is used in France and Switzerland to make absinthe.
Endive has broad, bright green leaves and looks somewhat like a rougher-textured lettuce. It has a sharp, bitter flavor.
This crocus-like lemon yellow bulb is a surprising and unusual find in the fall garden. They perform best in sunny, protected locations.
Fava beans, a cool season plant, performs best in either the spring or the fall. They are quite robust and can grow to three feet high, producing many large pods which are best eaten shelled.
The fig tree dates back to ancient times and is an important source of food for many cultures. Flowers are borne inside the fig structure (syconium), and the fig is ripe and at its sweetest when it softens and turns dark late in the season. Coarse-textured leaves, which are large and deeply lobed, are…
The aromatic flowers on this dwarf shrub are redolent of honey. It is a plant of multi-season interest with its brilliant fall foliage and unique branching.
Named for the time of day the bloom opens, four o'clocks will attract hummingbirds and nocturnal pollinators to your garden. This bushy plant reseeds readily, producing hundreds of large black seeds that resemble hand grenades.
French marigolds are iconic garden plants with distinctly fragrant leaves. The flowers are single, semi-double, double, or crested in shades of yellow, orange, or red, and can also be bi-colored. When planted in the vegetable garden, marigolds can repel certain pests, such as white flies on tomatoes…
This dazzling plant blooms in masses of yellow flowers with deep burgundy stripes and is the star of the fall garden.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in many types of cooking. This bulbous plant is an onion relative with fleshy green leaves and umbels of pinkish white flowers.
Germander is a small, shrubby herb with bright flowers and a distinctive fragrance. It works well as a short, clipped hedge.
This magenta gem is well suited to the front of the border. Its lush blooms are attractive to butterflies, and they hold their color well when cut for use in dried arrangements.
Soft silvery foliage, which somewhat resembles French lavender, gives this plant its common name of lavender cotton. It is a good edging plant in sunny, well-drained spots. Santolina was commonly used medicinally and can be used to ward off insects.
A fragrant addition to your summer border, this sturdy plant prefers well-drained soil and afternoon shade in the southern garden.
A woody, twining vine, honeysuckle needs some structure to support itself. It blooms nearly all summer and is attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators. It is well-suited for arbors, pergolas, and fences.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial sunflower relative that produces a profusion of bright yellow flowers atop ten foot stalks. It is valued for its edible tubers, which resemble the flavor of water chestnuts.
This delightful little flower is a harbinger of spring in many gardens, but also adds charm to a fall or winter garden depending on your region. The flowers are edible and can be used to wonderful effect on cakes and in salads.
This voluptuous annual is grown for its showy multicolored foliage in shades of green, yellow, and red.
Kale is a popular leafy green that can be used cooked or in salads. It is also used as an ornamental plant in fall gardens. Historically, coarser types have been used as animal fodder.
Lantana is a colorful, shrubby annual with masses of flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and pink. Its leaves give off a distinctive smell and it produces bluish-black seeds. Lantana is commonly used as a bedding plant because of its long bloom season.
Lettuce is a cool season leafy vegetable that is most frequently used in salads. Its leaves come in a variety of colors, from green to red to splotchy.
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is an excellent eating pumpkin and is well-suited for making pies. It is a beautiful tan pumpkin with deep lobes that grows on huge, sprawling vines.
Love-lies-bleeding is an elegant cottage garden plant with cascading crimson flowers that are excellent for the summer border and as a cut flower.
This southern grape must be harshly pruned to keep it in check and producing vigorously. They are best used as table grapes, or for jams and jellies. If left unattended, it will rapidly take over your garden.
Mustard produces a leafy green that can be used for fresh eating, or as a cooked vegetable. It produces pretty yellow flowers that are attractive to pollinators.
A sprawling annual herb, nasturtiums have long been a charming kitchen garden plant. Their flowers, leaves, and seeds are all edible, and add a peppery bite to salads.
The pink and purple flowers of asters add color and height to the late summer garden. Due to their spreading habit they will naturalize when planted in the garden. A mid-spring trim will delay bloom time and help keep them restrained.
This towering perennial is crowned with clusters of brilliant purple flowers. The size can be kept in check by a mid-spring pruning.
This tall Virginia native has spires of bright pink flowers and can be seen growing along waterways and woodland trails. It makes an excellent addition the back of the border, but be prepared for some spreading. It does not earn its name by staying in one place, but due to the ability to manipulate…
Old Blush is lightly fragrant with semi-double pink flowers. It blooms throughout the season and can bloom at Mount Vernon well into December.
Oregano is a compact slow-spreading herb that is popularly used in cooking. It is very fragrant and attractive to bees and butterflies.
Parsnips are a large root vegetable which somewhat resemble white carrots. They can be used in similar ways. Handling the plants should be done with care, as they can cause severe skin irritation. Gloves and long sleeves are recommended while harvesting.
This small, colonizing tree produces the largest edible fruit indigenous to the United States. It has dark maroon flowers in the early spring which are pollinated by flies.
Peas are tender spring vegetable on short vines. They often have large showy flowers in colors like pink and white. The pods can range in color from purple to green. Peas are best direct sown outdoors in the early months of spring, and if you have a long, cool fall, a second crop can be grown.
Persimmons are an unusual American fruit that can colonize in abandoned fields and open woods. Female trees bear astringent orange fruits that become fully ripe after a frost.
Potatoes are a tomato relative and are often mistaken for them, as their foliage is somewhat similar in appearance. They are an agricultural staple that ranks with wheat and rice as among the most important in the world. Their South American origin is often obscured by their fame as a mainstay crop…
Radishes are a root vegetable that add a pleasant bite (if you like that kind of thing) to salads. They come in a variety of colors including black, purple, red, and white. They are useful as a winter cover or forage crop. Radishes are incredibly easy to grow, with high germination rates and a fast…
Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub which is frequently used in cooking. Its pale blue flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Rutabagas are a cool season root vegetable which can also be used as a fall cover crop. The large root is purple and white and the leaves are usually bluish-green. It can be boiled, baked, roasted, or mashed, as well as eaten raw in salads.
Sage is a woody subshrub with silvery green leaves and pale purple flowers that are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. It does best in well-drained, sunny locations. For centuries, sage has been a popular herb for cooking, and is also used as an essential oil.
Salsify is a unique biennial root vegetable with grass-like leaves. In the spring it produces masses of daisy-like purple flowers followed by large seedheads that resemble those of dandelions. The root is said to taste somewhat like oysters and looks like a white carrot.
Seminole squash are spherical to pear-shaped and lightly ribbed with a tan skin. With its sweet, deep orange flesh, this squash is excellent when baked or roasted, and keeps for months (over a year in one MV gardener's pantry!). Named for the native Americans growing it in Florida when the Spaniards…
This colorful cool season annual is a charmer in the middle of the flower border during the spring and fall.
Spinach is a low-growing leafy green which is ideal in salads, but can also be prepared in soups, stews, or as a cooked green. It is a cool season crop, prone to bolting when summer temperatures get too high.
This clove-scented flower flourishes in cool weather and makes an excellent cut flower.
This airy woodland shrub looks unassuming until it sets its brilliant red fruit in the fall, when it earns its many common names.
This stately tree is well-known for its fall color and production of maple syrup. It is a tree of northern forests and does not tolerate the heat or humidity of the south.
Sweet potatoes are vigorous, running plants that will easily exceed their allotted space in the garden if not kept under control. They should be grown in mounds, much the way one would grow potatoes. They are extremely cold sensitive and should be planted after the soil has warmed in the spring and harvested…
Swiss chard is a leafy green that can be harvested continually to be used in salads or cooked. Its leaves may be plain green or have red midribs.
Peanuts are small leguminous plants with many bright yellow flowers. They form their fruits underground and they should be harvested in the fall when the plant begins to yellow.
A small, woody sub-shrub, thyme has aromatic leaves and whorls of pink flowers in early summer. It is popularly used as an edging and between stones in walkways. It is also an excellent culinary herb.
One of the largest native trees in North America, the tulip poplar can reach heights of 150 feet in nature. It is actually a member of the magnolia family, and named for its distinct tulip-shaped leaves and flowers. These showy, goblet-shaped, orange-yellow-green flowers appear in late spring after the…
Turnips are a cool season root vegetable. They produce a large purple and white bulbous taproot which have historically been a winter staple. They can be roasted, mashed, or eaten raw.
Virginia pines add a distinctive profile to the landscape, particularly in winter, when they are a bright spot among all the grays and browns. This medium sized pine tree provides habitat for birds, and were used for pine tar, as well as lumber.
This semi-evergreen shrub is native to wetland areas and has an arching habit. Fragrant white flowers appear in summer followed by beautiful maroon foliage in autumn.
Bird peppers are large plants, easily growing to 6 feet over the course of a season. They thrive in the heat of the year and produce masses of tiny red peppers with a lot of heat and excellent flavor.
Winterberry is a relatively insignificant woodland plant until its brilliant red berries light up the winter landscape. It is a native shrub of eastern wetlands and provides excellent habitat for songbirds.