Welcome to this site in celebration of a beautiful new public garden in historic Old New Castle, Delaware. It is located behind The Dutch House at 32 East Third St, Old New Castle, DE 19720. Directions

The garden is home to over 200 different species of trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns and grasses. They are all North American native plants and almost every one is native to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Many are native to Delaware.

If you would like to schedule a guided tour, please contact The New Castle Historical Society at 302-322-2794.

Click on any of the photos for an enlarged view

Friday, December 16, 2011

native plant material swag

Happy Holidays to all!

native plant material swag

What could be prettier? These natural materials from the garden provide such elegant and effortless beauty for holiday decorating. Included here are cuttings from the following plants.
Juniperus virginiana 'Emerald Sentinal' (eastern red cedar)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Eupatorium hyssopifolium (thoroughwort)
Vernonia noveboracensis (New York ironweed)
Monarda fistulosa 'Claire Grace' (wild bergamot or bee balm)
Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks' (goldenrod)

In addition to providing beauty in the winter landscape, these berries and seedheads provide a great deal of food for wildlife. Knowing this makes eschewing a fall garden cutback even easier.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler'

Honeysuckle still blooming on November 29 starts blooming in early spring and is sure to attract hummingbirds to the garden in the summer. The plant has red berries in the fall.

Viola walteri 'Silver Gem'

This charming little viola was purchased from the excellent Octoraro Farm and Gardens nursery. It is also available via mail order from Wayside Gardens.

Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride'

This coral bell cultivar is blooming heavily in late November in this zone 7 garden. This plant is one of a group of nine that is sited in the shade of a Magnolia virginiana (sweet bay magnolia). It tends to remain evergreen in this region.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Forest Pansy redbud

The heartwarming heartshaped leaves of Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' often show a yellow fall color. The deep pink spring flowers appear before the leaves emerge, the newly emerging foliage is a gorgeous deep and glossy burgundy and the dark grey bark is attractive all year. The tree is best sited with protection from full afternoon sun.

Fothergilla gardenii

Dwarf fothergilla is an elegant small flowering shrub with ornamental value throughout the year. White flowers in spring before the leaves emerge, pretty foliage all summer, fiery fall color and lovely branching architecture all contribute to the beauty of this plant.

Sporobolis heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

The beautiful fall color of Prairie dropseed is one good reason to use this finely textured and relatively small (up to 2-3' high and wide) grass.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

You can count on Aronia(red chokeberry) for fantastic fall color along with red berries. The shrub is graced with small white flowers in late spring/early summer, has healthy glossy green foliage all summer then looks like this photograph in autumn. Aronia is easy to grow and tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Here is more information about this small flowering shrub.

There is a deep purple fruiting Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) that is quite beautiful. The fruit of black chokeberry is rich in phytochemicals that contribute to its antioxidant properties. There are several named cultivars selected for plant size, fruit size and quality of foliage.

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

Here is a closeup of this lovely plant.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas fern

Polystichum acrostichoides or Christmas fern is a lovely evergreen ground cover for your shade garden. It is normally ignored by deer. I like it combined with white wood aster and the native Pachysandra procumbens.

Mt Cuba is offering an exciting new class online for the study of ferns.
It is a very high quality production that is easy to navigate, loaded with beautiful photos and videos of the ferns in the gardens at Mt Cuba and offers printable documents with cultural information about the ferns. There are also valuable suggestions for companion planting arrangements.

Here is a link to an article on the National Parks Conservation Association website regarding native plant gardening.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Juniperus virginiana 'Emerald Sentinel'

This profusion of beautiful blue berries is typical of the eastern red cedar cultivar named 'Emerald Sentinel'. Like most conifers, this plant looks great every day of the year. Cuttings are very long lasting in winter holiday arrangements or wreaths. The shape is a neat, narrow pyramid and current knowledge says that the mature size of this cultivar reaches 6-8 ft wide and 15-20 ft tall making it useful where space is limited. Full sun exposure is best but it is tolerant of sites receiving a little less than that. It is drought tolerant as well as tolerant of moist soils.
The following was copied from the very valuable native plant database created by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
The most widely distributed eastern conifer, native in 37 states, Eastern Red Cedar is resistant to extremes of drought, heat, and cold. Red Cedar can be injurious to apple orchards because it is an alternate host for cedar-apple rust, a fungal disease. First observed at Roanoke Island, Virginia, in 1564, it was prized by the colonists for building furniture, rail fences, and log cabins.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chionanthus virginicus (fringe tree)


The lovely and fragrant flowers of the native fringe tree in bloom on May 11. This is a rather small flowering tree that would be a fine specimen in a small garden. Here is a link to more information about this plant.

Medicinal uses (copied from Wikipedia page)
The dried roots and bark were used by Native Americans to treat skin inflammations. It has also been used to treat liver problems and gall-bladder inflammation. There is some evidence that it reduces sugar levels in urine. The crushed bark can be used in treatment of sores and wounds.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Zizea aurea (Golden Alexander)


This is a lovely perennial for the home garden. It blooms from early May into June and is a very nice long lasting cut flower. The plant pictured is in a site which receives a few hours of morning sun. It looks nice planted with Virginia bluebells as they are still in bloom when the Zizea begins blooming.

Deciduous azalea 'My Mary'


One of the many beautiful native plants that deserve more widespread use in our gardens. My Mary is flowering during the first two weeks of May in Old New Castle DE.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)


Yellow trout lily and spring beauty in bloom on April 14th. Take a walk through the woods now to delight in the fleeting beauty of the spring wildflowers in their native habitat.
Delaware Nature Society will be having their native plant sale the end of this month.

Partridge berry(Mitchella repens)


Partridge berry and trout lily on a stream bank.

Snake posing with christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)


This little snake - garter I think - seemed more curious than afraid and posed for me with the chrismas fern and the trout lily.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)



While walking through the woods yesterday I was delighted to see this beautiful native wildflower in bloom. Here is a link to a page with discussion of the plants biology, traditional use and purported medicinal value. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a site rich with information on native plants. There are searchable databases that can be queried by state, bloom color, bloom time along with other parameters. So, if you see a wildflower growing in the woods, you can query this database to identify the plant and find links there to plant growers offering it for sale. Or if you are planning a native plant garden, you can access recommended plant lists for your region.
During this same walk I saw spicebush in bloom, communities of trout lily, mayapple and spring beauty on the higher elevations and impressive stands of the beautiful skunk cabbage on the moist lower elevations.

Lindera benzoin (spicebush)



Spicebush

Spring beauty, mayapple and trout lily




Spring beauty

Trout lily
Mayapple

Skunk cabbage




Skunk cabbage

Spring beauty



Spring beauty

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hepatica acutiloba (liverwort)




This is a very beautiful little native wildflower blooming in the middle of March here in Delaware. The flower colors can range from white to pink. Part shade is required. Here is a site with more information about this charmer.
Hepatica americana bloom colors can range from white to pink to violet or blue.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Salix discolor (pussy willow)


What's not to love about pussy willow? Well maybe the foliage later in the season. So, careful siting is called for. It is a good choice for a poorly drained site and shows off well in front of evergreen plants like American arborvitae which is also tolerant of moist soil.
American Beauties website provides more information about this well known and worthy plant.
Note - you can click on any of the photos in this blog to zoom in.