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Hardiness Zone Map


Aconitum

Monkshood

First cultivated in the mid-1500s, Aconitum derivatives were used as both a medicine and a poison, and an unwanted husband might have easily met his end while drinking his dear wife’s tonic. Simply Medieval! Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous, but the stately Aconitum still deserves a place in our gardens because of the unusual blooms it hoists in abundance on stalwart stems. An excellent cut flower, unique for its large draped sepal, Aconitum loves cool summer nights, moist, but not wet soil and protection from the heat of the day. Perfect in the border or at woodland’s edge, their bold presence makes an engaging companion to Anemone, Helenium and late-blooming Persicaria.

<i>Aconitum</i> x <i>cammarum</i> ‘Bressingham Spire’

A stockier, dignified cultivar that doesn't need staking, this Aconitum's deep blue-violet spires are narrow and tapered. Helmetlike flowers line the straight, sturdy stems, each central shaft first showing color, than the side spikes following suit. Anchored by a compact, bushy mass of polished and narrowly fingered, dark forest greenery, ‘Bressingham Spire’s cool-colored floral display soothes Centaurea macrocephala’s sun-struck blooms.

Blooms June–August

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

A captivating departure from our solid-hued Monkshood selections, 'Eleonora' offers pretty bicolored creamy white helmet-style blooms ornamented with delicate violet-blue edges on openly branched terminal panicles. The intensely segmented, deep green leaves are smooth and shiny, and tend to be lax at the base before climbing steadfast straight-backed stems, while the light-colored flowers look their best when showcased against a dark foil.

Blooms June–August

Size: 3-1/4' high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aconitum</i> x <i>cammarum</i> ‘Stainless Steel’

Lavish steel-blue towers are the great reward of this easy-to-cultivate perennial. Cloaking firm stems, the glossy grayish green foliage is deeply divided into slender fingers. Thalictrum ‘Elin’s delicate leaves and lavender flowers are a satisfying touch next to smoky-hued ‘Stainless Steel’.

Blooms mid-June–August

Size: 3-1/2' high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aconitum carmichaelii</i> ‘Arendsii’

For this choice cut flower’s plentiful show of large, vividly violet-hued blooms embellishing tall spikes, and its vigorous stature, many gardeners consider ‘Arendsii’ to be among the best of the late-flowering Aconitums. Broadly segmented, deep green leaves have a lustrous, leathery quality. Plant Kniphofia ‘Incandesce’ nearby and enjoy a late summer splash of color.

Blooms July–early October

Size: 3-1/2' high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Aconitum fischeri</i>

This compelling Chinese denizen has a lot to offer: unyielding medium-sized stature that never needs staking, gleaming verdant foliage and crystal clear late season bloom. Populating stiff dark blue-violet spires, the hood-shaped flowers surmount ramrod straight stems wrapped in triclefted green leaves, each further carved by stylish lobes and toothed edges. Aconitum fischeri’s dignified persona is ideal, either for a midborder position flanked with Phlox ‘David’ or a more naturalized setting surrounded by Muhlenbergia reverchonii 'Undaunted™'.

Blooms August–early October

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 12" – 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

Intense dark indigo-blue hooded blooms densely garnish a unique presentation of lovely large and wide-branching panicles, without the distraction of a dominant central leader. Strong, lean tapered stalks and deeply cut, varnished forest-green foliage bolster a flowery spectacle that tantalizes the floral trade and keeps our attention sparked through late summer with its architectural seed pod-studded stems. Steeped in grandeur since 1898, when legendary plantsman Maurice Prichard first introduced it, this AGM winning Aconitum can be mingled amongst dusky colored blossoms or the bright yellows of Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’.

Blooms August–September

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 18" – 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 3.

Strong steeplelike stalks elegantly showcase hooded, close-set ivory white flowers on branching stems. A cool classic look is achieved when illuminated blossoms unfurl above an urbane bushy clump of gleaming deeply lobed, dark green leaves.

One of the first Aconitums to bloom, this 1958 Alan Bloom selection can be affiliated with other beauties such as Phlomis ‘Amazone’ and Heuchera ‘Wendy’.

Zone 3/4.

Blooms May–June

Size: 2' 0" – 3' 0" high x 12" – 15" wide.

Zone 3/4.

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A study in Paleolithic proportions and high drama, this Cruciferous family member is a sturdy long-lived perennial. Large, coarsely toothed crisp green leaves launch a hefty multi-branched pale green stem, which bolsters an enormous Gypsophila-style cloud of tiny 4-petaled white flowers. Crambe can be utilized as a backdrop or a bold specimen mid-border, plus makes a stunning addition to cut arrangements, fresh or dried. It craves a sunny spot with well-drained average garden soil.

Usher in Summer with June Blooms!


June is an exciting month in the garden. It is a time of transition, a changing of the guard, so to speak, as many early flowering perennials are beginning to fade, while the summer bloomers are taking center stage. I’ve included a handful of perennials, whose beckoning floral or foliar effects usher in summer! 

Happy digging and happy summer from all us Digging Dog Plant Wranglers!

 

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