Plants of the Week – June 18

Plants of the Week – June 18

Many species of Hypericum have been used since ancient days as a treatment for wounds.  It is said that Hypericum used to be collected on St. John’s day and burned to ward off evil spirits, hence its common name, creeping St. John’s wort.  Today, however, you would not see as many people using Hypericum calycinum to repel evil spirits as you would see it used as a ground cover.  It is a dense creeping groundcover, which can reach a foot tall and will spread indefinitely.  It has been awarded a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal award for garden merit due to its rich leathery foliage and striking saucer-like yellow blooms in the summer.  It can also do well as a groundcover under trees where it competes well with shallow tree roots. Photo Credit: J. Ahrweiler


Acanthus caroli-alexandri, also known as bear’s breeches, is currently blooming in the Harry Wood Courtyard, catching the eye with its unique tall stalks.  These stalks support unique, two-lobed pink and pale lavender flowers hooded with colorful purple bracts.  At its base, the plant also has attractive finely cut, glossy dark green foliage.  Acanthus caroli-alexandri grows well in sun to part shade, is a great architectural plant, and can be used in flower arrangements.  Photo Credit: J. Ahrweiler


Astilbes are great plants for shaded areas.  Here, Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’ stands out in the Harry Wood courtyard as it appears to glow in the evening sunlight.  The soft pink plumes are a pleasing contrast to its fern-like dark blue-green foliage.  Astilbes are one of the few flowers which give plenty of color to shaded areas.  Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’ comes in a soft pink, but many colors can be found throughout the genus.  Photo Credit: J. Ahrweiler


A native plant to Pennsylvania, Spigelia marilandica, is currently in full bloom.  It can be found in multiple places around campus including the entrance to the Amphitheatre  (below) and along our Entrance Garden gateway. This herbaceous perennial displays showy trumpet-like red flowers, each yellow on the inside.  For those who love wildlife, try planting Spigelia because these flowers tend to attract hummingbirds. Photo Credit: J. Ahrweiler

Jessica Ahrweiler
  • Flower Pot
    Posted at 11:35h, 21 June Reply

    Nice to hear some of the history behind St. John’s wort…thanks.

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