BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Blossoms for the Homestretch

Although the sweltering heat of this weekend may keep us from thinking about our late summer/early fall borders, Annie brings you an often underused perennial in this neck of the woods. The Willow-leaved Sunflower, Helianthus salicifolius is a staple in European gardens; very common in Germany and Switzerland. Its unique feathery texture and splashy yellow flowers can get upwards to 6 feet. A native to the Midwest, this is a great choice for the New England garden.

Here are some convincing reasons to consider this plant for your perennial border:

Hardy to zone 4 (-34.4 °C) (-30 °F)
Attracts birds and butterflies
Deer resistant
Stays in a nice clump
Will self-sow if you allow it to go to seed (Deadhead if you don’t want volunteers)
It has exceptional feathery silver-gray foliage throughout the growing season; a similar texture to Amsonia hubrichtii. These two perennials offer a great backdrop to showcase other plants.

The place we find the Willow-leaved Sunflower happiest in our yard is planted in rich composted soil with blazing full sun. We tried it in a few drier spots and it wasn’t quite as happy.

So if this weather is wearing you down, plan for the last few innings of the growing season. Our inspirational quote for the weekend is brought to you by Casey Stengel. “Oldtimers weekends and airplane landings are alike. If you can walk away from them, they're successful.” Keep your gardens healthy and take care of yourself in this heat.

Above images of Willow-leaved Sunflower from the Internet
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)