Top Plant Picks May 2021

Top Plant Picks May 2021

We’re gearing up for summer, and so are our gardens! Cheekwood’s Plant Collections Manager, Shanna Jones, shares her top plant picks for May.

Mexican Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica)

Bloom Time: May – July

Sun Requirement: Full Sun

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Bees, Butterflies & Hummingbirds

Tolerates: Deer

Native to North America: Yes, native to Mexico

Other:  Attractive element for flower arrangements. Wear gloves when handling as the milky sap can be toxic to skin.

Zones: 9 – 11

Location: Wills Perennial Garden

Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis 'Visions in Purple')

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Part shade – full shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Bees, Butterflies & Moths

Tolerates: Deer & Rabbits

Native to North America: No

Other:  This cultivar is a compact form of the species. Seed heads also provide interest after the flowers have faded.

Zones: 4 – 8

Location: Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Golden Torch')

Bloom Time: April – May

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Dry – medium

Wildlife: Birds

Tolerates: Deer & drought

Native to North America: No

Other:  Vibrant chartreuse foliage. Berries appear in late fall, giving winter color in the garden.

Zones: 4 – 8

Location: Turner Seasons Garden

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa 'Miss Satomi')

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Bees & butterflies

Tolerates: Deer

Native to North America: No

Other:  Small tree, reaching only 12 – 15 feet tall. Resistant to dogwood anthracnose.

Zones: 5 – 8

Location: Carell Dogwood Garden

Fuzzy Deutzia (Deutzia scabra 'Plena')

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Full sun -part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Bees & butterflies

Tolerates: Alkaline soil

Native to North America: No

Other:  Fragrant blooms. Excellent use as an informal hedge or woodland edge component.

Zones: 5 – 8

Location: Carell Dogwood Garden

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Full sun – part shade

Water Requirement: Medium – wet

Wildlife: Bees & butterflies

Tolerates: Heavy shade

Native to North America: Yes

Other:  Showy, fragrant blooms. Excellent and extended fall color.

Zones: 5 – 9

Location: The Carell Trail, Weaver Walk, Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden

Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)

Bloom Time: April – June

Sun Requirement: Part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Bees & hummingbirds

Tolerates: Shade

Native to North America: Yes

Other:  Evergreen shrub. Performs best growing in acidic soil with afternoon shade.

Zones: 4 – 8

Location: Carell Dogwood Garden

American Ipecac (Gillenia stipulate)

Bloom Time: May – June

Sun Requirement: Part shade

Water Requirement: Medium

Wildlife: Small native bees & butterflies

Tolerates: Tree root competition

Native to North America: Yes

Other:  Delicate flower. The powdered roots were used as a laxative by Native Americans.

Zones:  4 – 8

Location: Howe Garden


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