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Stoke's aster is pretty in the garden, but it's so wonderful for attracting butterflies and as a cut flower, you could grow it for those two purposes alone. As a bonus, its evergreen foliage shows off the lavender blue (or pink, white, or yellow) cornflower flowerheads well. Excellent at the front of sunny or lightly shaded borders, or in cutting gardens, Stoke's aster prefers light well-drained sol that does not dry out. Deadhead to prolong bloom time.
Part Sun, Sun
1 to 3 feet
1.5 feet wide
more varieties for Stoke's aster
Wyoming Stoke's aster
(Stokesia laevis 'Wyoming') has fluffy lavender heads of flowers in 18-inch stems. The deep green leaves have a conspicuous pale midrib. This long-blooming perennial is excellent for cutting and attracts butterflies in the garden. It is hardy in Zones 5-9.
plant Stoke's aster with
Lamb's-ears is a top pick for a groundcover in a hot, baked spot. Its silver felted foliage quickly forms a dense, delightful mat. It also contrasts nicely with other foliage and most flowers. enhances almost everything. Depending on the type and your growing conditions, it may self-sow freely to the point of becoming a bother. In hot humid climates, lamb's ears may "melt down" in summer, becoming brown and limp.A quite different but related plant, big betony is worth growing for its shade tolerance, dark green crumpled leaves, and bright purple spikes of whorled 1-inch flowers in late spring. Wood betony is similar but not as shade-tolerant.
Romantic, usually bobbing, often blue bellflowers are classic cottage garden plants. Tall types look like something straight out of a fairy tale garden, while ground-hugging types are good in rock gardens, more formal gardens, and many other situations. Most are perennial, but a notable exception is Canterbury bells, a stately biennial (it takes two years to bloom). Flowers come in blue, purple, white, or pink. Shown above: Campanula carpatica
One of the longest bloomers in the garden, coreopsis produces (usually) sunny yellow daisylike flowers that attract butterflies. Coreopsis, depending on the variety, also bears golden-yellow, pale yellow, pink, or bicolor flowers. It will bloom from early to midsummer or longer as long as it's deadheaded.