This unique plant looks more suited to a desert climate, but it is found wild up and down the east coast. Its strappy leaves are crowned by huge spikes of creamy white flowers every other year.
This unique plant looks more suited to a desert climate, but it is found wild up and down the east coast. Its strappy leaves are crowned by huge spikes of creamy white flowers every other year.
This plant is used as a perennial fodder crop for livestock.
This native plum has a sprawling habit, which showcases the beautiful white flowers in spring and the unique pink plums in midsummer. The plants become scaly with age and are somewhat disease prone.
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.
This plant is ideally used in the front of the flower border and is prone to reseeding. It was a common garden plant in the 18th century.
These sweet-smelling golden flowers are ideal for the front of the border in spring when bulbs are blooming.
Bee Balm is a tall summer-blooming perennial with brilliant red flowers subtended by a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. The aromatic leaves can be used for tea, but are susceptible to mildew, so this plant needs good air circulation. A member of the mint family, bee balm spreads readily by rhizomes…
Black locust trees are fast-growing with an open habit, prominent thorns when young, and deeply furrowed bark when mature. Their fragrant white pea-like flowers attract honey bees, who make an aromatic honey from the pollen.
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.
These large spring blooming shrubs with edible berries do best in natural areas where they can achieve their full size.
This unique plant features bright blue-purple flowers on tall green stalks followed by interesting black seedpods. It forms a deep taproot and does not transplant well, so be certain of its location before planting.
Blue sky vine is a large, twining vine that boasts beautiful pale blue flowers. It is a rapid grower and becomes quite large over the course of a season.
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.
This elegant annual forms an attractive seedhead after blooming and is ideal for the middle of the border in the spring garden. It self-sows reliably, but does not transplant well.
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.
Bush beans are compact, low growing plants that produce large crops of beans. They can be used for fresh eating or as dry beans.
Butterfly peas are short lived tropical perennials with striking blue flowers. They have a twining habit and prefer rich, moist, well-drained soils. They make attractive container plants in Virginia.
This plant features brilliant orange flowers that light up the garden and are attractive to pollinators, including monarchs and honeybees.
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.
Canterbury bells are a common sight in cottage gardens. Their bright purple flowers add a richness of color to the pastels of late spring and early summer. They are a short-lived perennial and often need to be replanted.
The vibrant red blooms of the cardinal flower makes it an ideal plant for the shady summer garden. It reseeds readily and is ideal for naturalizing and sharing with friends.
This Gallica class rose is full-flowered with luscious petals of a deep crimson. It has fragrant flowers in the spring.
High Mallow is an upright, bushy plant with magenta flowers and darker purple stripes. It reseeds readily and naturalizes quickly in the garden.
Chives are a small clump-forming onion relative. The stems are frequently used as a culinary herb, and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.
Spires of pink and white bracts crown this large-leafed salvia. It has been used as an herb since the Middle Ages and is currently used as flavoring for wines, vermouth, and liqueurs.
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.
The name "cowpea" was probably coined for their use as a fodder crop for cows, and while grown for their edible bean, the leaves and pods can also be consumed. Black-eyed peas can be harvested as a snap bean, or dried, and are the main ingredient in Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern dish ritually…
This clover is used primarily as a cover crop and fodder, but it is also a good nectar source for bees.
Crocuses cheerfully herald the coming spring with bright yellow flowers. They naturalize easily in gardens, offering clumps which grow larger year by year.
Cucumbers are a vining plant with yellow flowers and slightly prickly stems. There are many varieties which produce cucumbers of different sizes and shapes.
The highly fragrant damask rose offers a profusion of pink flowers in the spring. Flowers from this large and mostly upright shrub have been used for centuries in perfume making, as well as for rose oil, rose water, and for cooking.
A fragrant spring bloomer, this perennial naturalizes readily. Its white flowers are refreshing among all the pink and blue spring blooms. This flower cuts nicely for pleasant smelling bouquets.
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.
This unique late-blooming bulb sports maroon flower-heads, for which it earns its common of drumstick allium.
This small, spreading native tree offers a profusion of purplish-pink flowers lining the dark branches in April, followed by large heart-shaped leaves. The redbud evolved in the understory and wood edges of forests, where it is sheltered from intense sunlight, and is prettiest planted among dogwoods…
Eglantine roses are large and sprawling, with single pale pink flowers in late spring and early summer. They are strongly apple-scented and their hips are popular for use in tea. This rose may be restrained by growing on posts or trellises to control its long, thorny canes.
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.
Fragrant spires of dark purple flowers above silvery foliage light up the garden border in summer. If trimmed after blooming, they will flower again. Their flowers may be used in sachets or as flavoring in baking and drinks.
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.
Wands of bell-shaped flowers ascend from a broad, woolly basal rosette. This common cottage garden flower has an important role in the manufacture of heart medicine.
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.
Garden phlox has long been a staple of the perennial border, providing height and bright blooms at the back of the bed. The pink flowers are fragrant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Germander is a small, shrubby herb with bright flowers and a distinctive fragrance. It works well as a short, clipped hedge.
Artichokes have large silvery green leaves that make them a striking addition to the garden. Their flower buds are traditionally used for culinary purposes, but if allowed to open offer large, brilliant purple flowers.
An unusual flower for the summer garden, these blue thistle-like blooms add a unique texture. If cut back after blooming, they will send up new flowers. They make excellent dried and cut flowers.
This tall, late blooming perennial adds a pleasant blue to shady glades in the summer. Native to Virginia, it is often found along stream banks and in wetland areas. It self seeds enthusiastically.
One of the most cold tolerant hibiscuses, this plant has pale pink flowers with a red eye. It adds an interesting texture to the summer border.
Hollyhocks are old-fashioned cottage garden favorites for their height and cheerful flowers in a wide range of colors. Most require staking to support their heavy stems.
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 tall plant is crowned with purple-pink flowers in the late summer. It is an American native and tolerates a wide variety of environmental conditions. Its height and bloom time can be controlled by by pruning it back by half when it reaches about two to three feet.
Key limes are small citrus trees with highly fragrant white blossoms. They produce many delightful fruits which are excellent for cooking. In this region, they are best grown in pots so that they can be moved in and out as the temperatures dictate.
This silver-leafed groundcover does best in well-drained soil, but tolerates adverse conditions. Its purple flowers are attractive to honeybees and bumblebees.
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.
As with the other tropicals grown at Mount Vernon, the lemons are grown in pots so that they can be moved into a greenhouse for the winter.
Lemon balm is a spreading herb with a strong citrusy fragrance. It can be used for teas and cooking and is frequently used for essential oil. Gardeners should be aware that it can be aggressive and should be carefully contained.
Large fragrant bouquets of purple flowers make this shrub the queen of spring in the northern garden.
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.
This late blooming perennial adds height and colorful spires to the end of summer shade garden. It prefers afternoon shade in the southern garden, but will tolerate sun further north.
Muskmelons are a trailing, vining plant with small yellow flowers which often performs better when grown on a trellis. They produce fruit in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Their fruits are frequently fragrant.
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.
Okra is a tall plant with cheerful yellow flowers that are reminiscent of hibiscus blossoms. They produce green seedpods that are best harvested when they are 2 to 3 inches long.
Old Blush is lightly fragrant with semi-double pink flowers. It blooms throughout the season and can bloom at Mount Vernon well into December.
Onions are commonly planted in the fall for a spring harvest. Red and yellow types are available to grow.
Seville oranges are a small to medium citrus tree which produce bitter, unpleasant tasting oranges.
Oregano is a compact slow-spreading herb that is popularly used in cooking. It is very fragrant and attractive to bees and butterflies.
Cheerful red flowers make this late spring to early summer perennial a showstopper. It can be difficult to get started, but once established,poppies are a reliable old-fashioned favorite.
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.
Peaches are wide fast growing trees that require careful pruning and maintenance in order to produce good quality fruit. Their vibrant pink flowers in spring are charming and attractive to pollinators.
Like other fruit trees, pears require a good deal of maintenance in order to perform well. Many require a chilling period to fully ripen and are good for use in baking and cidermaking.
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.
The Persian lilac is much more delicate and heat resistant than the common lilac, with a lighter fragrance and smaller flowers.
These airy, colorful flowers are mildly fragrant and a pleasant addition to the flower border.
Plums have a sprawling, suckering growth habit and therefore require judicious pruning.
Pole beans, such as kidney and butter or lima beans, produce long vines that do best when supported on some type of trellis. They are prolific growers and can easily cover a trellis in the course of a season while producing many beans which can be eaten fresh or dried.
This citrus tree produces fragrant flowers followed by large fruits which are larger and sweeter than a grapefruit.
This native perennial has vibrant magenta flowers which add contrast to the overwhelming yellows and reds of the summer garden. The showy daisy-like flowers borne on stiff stems attract goldfinches if left to go to seed.
Raspberries are a sprawling thorny plant which benefit from a large growing area and the removal of older canes. They produce their first crop of fruit in May and June, and a later crop in August.
The rhododendron is an evergreen plant with large, lush pinkish purple blossoms in the spring.
Rosa Mundi is a compact rose which features a profusion of bright striped flowers in the spring. The flowers are fragrant, and this old hardy rose shrugs off most pest problems, making them an easy favorite in the garden.
Shining white flowers are attractive to pollinators and light up the garden. This type of hibiscus is fairly hardy in northern regions.
Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub which is frequently used in cooking. Its pale blue flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.
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.
Sainfoin is a fodder crop that is highly nutritious for livestock and also provides nectar for bees.
This plant is the largest hibiscus grown at Mount Vernon, as well as the longest flowering. Its brilliant red blooms are a bold statement in the summer border. It is native to the swamps and marshes of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
Scotch rose is aggressively thorny but makes up for it with a profusion of white blooms. We recommend a thorn-proof hat when working in the vicinity of this rose! It offers a second show in the fall with showy maroon hips.
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…
A tall, brash plant with chrome yellow flowers brightens the summer border. Easy to grow, it tolerates a wide variety of conditions, although a haircut in the spring will prevent flopping later.
Sweet white flowers naturalize easily in lawns or garden beds. This early bloomer is known for poking through the snow as early as February.
This native plant is a medium deciduous tree with large white flowers in the spring and striking cigar-like seedpods in the fall. It features large heart-shaped leaves.
An iconic tree of the south, magnolias are beautiful in both form, leaf, and flower. Widely for their fragrant blooms, they also provide winter interest with both their seedpods and shiny evergreen leaves which are often used in wreaths.
These easy to grow and delicious fruits are hardy and vigorous producers.
This dense suckering shrub tolerates wet soils and shade. In late summer it bursts into bloom, with long panicles of fragrant white flowers, followed by attractive yellow fall color.
These gorgeous native plants bloom in a variety of colors and sizes, including pale yellow, oranges, and golds. Some are grown merely for their beauty while others, such as the Mammoth sunflower, are grown for their seeds.
Cherry tree species grown primarily for fruit production bloom later than the ornamental varieties. Tart cherries perform best in the humid climate of Virginia's coastal region.
Featuring airy foliage and golden flowers, this native plant is an attractive addition to the front of the border. It spreads by runners and is easily divided to share with your friends and neighbors. It is native to Fairfax County, Virginia.
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.
This summer blooming perennial has strap-like leaves and large orange flowers. Because it naturalizes easily, this daylily can be commonly seen in roadside ditches and marking the sites of old outhouses.
This plant is used for the production of its leaves, which provide the tobacco which goes into cigarettes, cigars and other forms. It can also be used as an ornamental, with its dramatic height and delicate pink flowers
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…
This umbelliferous perennial is attractive to bees and other pollinators. It is mildly fragrant. Valerian is an excellent addition to the back of the garden and it reseeds readily.
A harbinger of spring, emerging foliage is deep purple but quickly turns green, and is followed by terminal clusters of pendulous, trumpet-shaped blue flowers. Virginia bluebells will rapidly colonize in moist shady areas. They are herbaceous perennials, which means that foliage dies to the ground as…
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.
Watermelon plants are vigorous, vining plants which need to be given quite a bit of space to ramble in. They produce large melons of varying sizes and colors, depending on the variety.
Mulberry trees can be found throughout North America in fencerows, abandoned fields, and urban areas, due to the propensity for their seeds to be spread by birds who ravenously feed on the fruit. The glossy, serrated leaves take different forms on the same tree, generally undivided or distinctly lobed…
The White Rose of York is a large rose with elegant white flowers in the late spring and early summer. It is prone to sprawling and can be tied to posts or trellises to help keep it in check. This rose's beautiful white flowers are followed by rose hips which take on a gorgeous color in the fall.
A more delicate species than its red-flowered cousin, bergamot has lovely lavender flowers and a more graceful look. It is attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
This unusual early bulb offers small sunny yellow flowers in March when little else is blooming. In southern zones they benefit from light shade.
The yellow buckeye is a large deciduous shade tree. Susceptible to leaf scorch in full sun, it is best planted in an area with afternoon shade. Despite their showy flowers produced in upright clusters measuring up to 6 inches tall, they are most commonly known for their large mahogany-colored nuts, which…