An Introduction To ‘Woodie’s Garden Picks’

An Introduction To ‘Woodie’s Garden Picks’

Jun 6, 2024

Welcome to our exciting new weekly feature at Garden Goods Direct, where we’ll bring you "Woodie's Garden Picks"! Every week, our passionate gardener, Woodie, will personally select four standout plants from his own garden and introduce them to you. These selections are based on their exceptional performance, unique characteristics, and the ecological benefits they bring to any landscape.

woodie landscape specialist and horticultutalist smiling with one of his favorite evergreen trees

With his extensive gardening experience and love for all things green, Woodie has a keen eye for plants that thrive and enhance the environment. In "Woodie's Garden Picks," you can look forward to detailed insights into each plant's growing habits, preferred conditions, and standout features. From vibrant perennials to resilient shrubs and captivating grasses, Woodie's weekly selections will inspire you to create a beautiful and sustainable garden.

Each plant featured will be accompanied by comprehensive information about its characteristics and ecological benefits. Woodie will highlight how these plants attract beneficial pollinators, provide habitat for wildlife, and contribute to soil health and biodiversity.

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting your gardening journey, "Woodie's Garden Picks" is your go-to resource for discovering plants that will flourish in your garden while supporting a healthy ecosystem. Stay tuned every week for Woodie's top picks, and get ready to transform your garden with plants that have been tried, tested, and loved by our very own gardening expert.

Woodie’s Garden Picks For The Early Summer Landscape

June is a remarkable month for color and beauty in the garden. Given that it is National Perennial Month, we thought, what better timing than to highlight a few standout perennial options for the early summer landscape! Keep reading to explore these perennial favorites and learn why I, Woodie, think they are a must-have in any garden!

Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' tall stems and delicate summer blooms

1. Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink'

Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' is a stunning addition to any garden, known for its delicate and airy appearance. This native perennial is highly prized for its long blooming period, showcasing beautiful pink flowers from late spring through early autumn.

The flowers, resembling tiny butterflies, dance gracefully in the breeze, adding a whimsical touch to garden borders, containers, and mixed beds. It is ideal for cottage gardens and wildflower meadows. Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, making it a versatile, low-maintenance choice for novice and experienced gardeners.

One of Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink's most important benefits is its drought tolerance, which, once established, makes it a perfect choice for water-wise landscapes. This hardy perennial can withstand heat and humidity, making it particularly well-suited for regions with hot summers.

Beyond its hardiness to the elements, the gaura's ability to attract pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies also ensures a lively and vibrant garden. With its graceful arching stems and abundant blooms, Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' provides aesthetic appeal and supports a healthy ecosystem, promoting biodiversity in your outdoor space.

Gaura' Siskiyou Pink' offers an elegant solution for those looking to add year-round interest to their garden. Its foliage is attractive even when the plant is not in bloom, providing a soft, textural contrast to other plants. The fine, lance-shaped leaves add a touch of greenery that complements a wide range of garden styles, from modern to traditional.

Plant Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' in groups for a massed effect, or mix it with other perennials for a dynamic and colorful display. Easy to grow and maintain, this deer-resistant perennial is a must-have for gardeners seeking beauty and practicality in their plant choices.

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A Word From Woodie:

“Be careful with this one, as many hours have slipped away from me while watching gaura flowers move about like butterflies on lazy summer days”.

Stokesia Honeysong Purple close up summer blooms

2. Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple'

Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple', commonly known as Stokes' Aster, is a remarkable perennial that brings vibrant color and unique texture to any garden. This stunning native perennial is renowned for its large, purple flowers that bloom from early summer to fall, providing a continuous display of color.

The fringed, daisy-like blooms of Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple' are visually striking and attract various pollinators, including butterflies and honey bees. This perennial is an excellent choice for garden borders, containers, and mixed perennial beds, adding a splash of purple to your landscape.

One of the standout features of Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple' is its ability to thrive in various growing conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil, making it a versatile addition to different garden settings.

This hardy perennial is also tolerant of heat and humidity, which makes it particularly suitable for warmer climates. With its low maintenance requirements and long blooming period, Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple' is a favorite among novice and experienced gardeners. Its compact, clumping growth habit ensures it fits well in small spaces, making it ideal for urban gardens and patios.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple' offers practical benefits for gardeners seeking to create a sustainable landscape. Its deep green foliage provides an attractive backdrop for its vivid purple flowers, maintaining visual interest even when not blooming. This perennial is also deer-resistant, reducing the risk of damage from wildlife and ensuring a thriving garden.

Plant Stokesia 'Honeysong Purple' with other perennials for a harmonious and colorful garden display, or use it as a focal point in a mixed border. Easy to grow and resilient, this perennial is a valuable addition to any garden, offering beauty and ecological benefits year after year.

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A Word From Woodie:

“Honey bees seem to love to use stokesia flowers as rest stops during the day. I've seen bees seemingly rest for 30 minutes on the huge flowers before taking off and continuing their pollen-gathering duties”.

close up view of colorful fronds on autumn brilliance fern

3. Autumn Brilliance Fern

Autumn Brilliance Fern, also known as Dryopteris erythrosora 'Brilliance,' has stood out in my garden this year. Gardeners seeking to add a touch of elegance and vibrant color to their shaded garden areas need to look no further.

The Autumn Brilliance Fern is renowned for its stunning coppery-red fronds that emerge in the spring, gradually maturing to a deep, glossy green as the season progresses. The new fronds display an array of warm hues, creating a beautiful contrast against the older green foliage. Perfect for woodland gardens, shady borders, and container plantings, the Autumn Brilliance fern brings a dynamic and eye-catching element to any landscape.

One of the enduring characteristics of the Autumn Brilliance fern that seemed to draw me to it is its adaptability and ease of care. This hardy fern has thrived in both partial and fully shaded areas, making it an ideal choice for those challenging shady spots in my garden. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to clay.

Once established, Autumn Brilliance fern is relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal attention to flourish. Its robust nature and resistance to pests and diseases make it a reliable and resilient addition to any garden, providing year-round interest and texture.

In addition to its aesthetic and practical benefits, Autumn Brilliance fern offers ecological advantages for gardeners looking to create a sustainable landscape. Its dense foliage provides excellent ground cover, helping to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture.

This fern also contributes to the overall health of the garden ecosystem by providing habitat and shelter for beneficial insects and small wildlife. Plant Autumn Brilliance fern in masses for a lush, tropical effect, or pair it with other shade-loving perennials for a harmonious and diverse garden display. Whether used as a focal point or a complementary plant, the Autumn Brilliance fern adds timeless, deer-resistant beauty to any garden setting.

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A Word From Woodie:

“I'm glad I added this plant to my landscape. It's often difficult to find just the right plant that can tolerate different soil conditions within the same garden, and the color effects help to bring out the beauty of everything around it.”

blue dune grass in a sunny summer landscape

4. Leymus 'Blue Dune'

Leymus 'Blue Dune,' also known as Blue Lyme Grass, is a captivating ornamental grass that brings striking color and texture to any garden landscape. Known for its stunning steel-blue foliage, this perennial grass stands out with its upright, arching leaves that create a dynamic visual effect. Leymus 'Blue Dune' is particularly valued for its ability to thrive in challenging conditions, making it an excellent choice for coastal gardens, xeriscaping, and erosion control. The grass produces tall, slender flower spikes in late summer, adding an additional layer of interest and movement to garden borders and naturalistic plantings.

Leymus 'Blue Dune' has remarkable tolerance to various growing conditions. This resilient grass thrives in full sun and can adapt to a wide range of soil types, including sandy, rocky, and poor soils. It is highly drought-tolerant once established, making it a perfect choice for low-maintenance and water-wise gardens. Leymus 'Blue Dune' is also salt-tolerant, making it an ideal plant for coastal areas prone to salt spray. Its robust nature ensures it can withstand harsh conditions while maintaining its vibrant blue color throughout the growing season.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal and hardiness, Leymus 'Blue Dune' offers several ecological benefits, making it a valuable addition to sustainable landscapes. Its dense root system helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion, making it particularly useful for slopes, dunes, and other areas susceptible to soil loss.

This grass also provides habitat and food for various wildlife, contributing to the biodiversity of your garden. Leymus 'Blue Dune' is an excellent companion plant for other drought-tolerant perennials and ornamental grasses, creating a cohesive and visually striking landscape. Easy to grow and maintain, this ornamental grass is a must-have for gardeners seeking both beauty and practicality in their plant selections.

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A Word From Woodie:

"I had this garden area where nothing would grow; the soil was heavily compacted, and it almost seemed to lack any organic matter whatsoever. I planted Leymus Blue Dune, and it thrived; not only did it thrive, but the root system seems to have broken up the hardpan soil, and now rain actually soaks in instead of running off.”


If you're torn on what to grow in your garden, Woodie has the knowledge and experience to help guide you on your garden journey, no matter the destination! Tune in every week to learn all about various plants in the landscape and how they can benefit you and your local ecosystem! Together, we will make the world a happier, healthier, more beautiful place with the power of plants!