Mt. Cuba launches native plant collection

Betsy Price Culture, Headlines

Mt. Cuba Center has launched the Mt. Cuba Collection, a branded selection of native plants that the Hockessin botanic garden has introduced to commercial production.

The first five plants are available at Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin and other garden retailers through early fall.      

These plants “support healthy habitats by providing homes and food for wildlife,” Jeff Downing, Mt. Cuba’s executive director, said in a statement. “By adding native plants to your garden, you can contribute to a healthier ecosystem.”

5 featured plants

Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Iris versicolor ‘Purple Flame’ is a perennial that thrived near Mt. Cuba’s ponds for decades before being introduced to trade in 2020. Purple Flame blue flag emerges with eggplant-purple foliage, eventually turning green, but bringing back the purple with its flowers.

Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Coreopsis tripteris ‘Gold Standard’ gets its name from its bright color and its superior performance when compared to the straight species in Mt. Cuba’s 2015 trial. The perennial, derived from seeds collected in Alabama, was introduced in 2016 and is commonly called Gold Standard tall tickseed.

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve ‘Bluebird’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve ‘Bluebird’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve ‘Bluebird’ (Aster laevis ‘Bluebird’) was ranked as the No. 1 aster in an evaluation study at Mt. Cuba. Bluebird smooth aster is a perennial discovered in 1988 in Connecticut and introduced to the trade in 1994.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’ (Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’) “evokes feelings of garden mums, but it’s native, and that alone is reason enough to grow them,” said Sam Hoadley, Mt. Cuba’s trial garden manager.

Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ (Mt. Cuba Center)

Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ was introduced by Mt. Cuba in 1985. Golden Fleece autumn goldenrod is a compact and adaptable perennial.

Upcoming events

The next Twilight on the Terrace is 5-8 p.m. June 18. Tickets are free-$15. The music will be by Stacia LaChole & the Blac Soul Band, with food by Uncle John’s BBQ and Burgers by Wildwich.

Birds in Action, running 3-4 p.m. June 19, is a free-flight show. It’s included in admission.

Christina in the Gardens, running 6-7:30 p.m. June 25, features student performers from the Christina Cultural Arts Center. Tickets are free-$15.

Nature as Therapy, running 12:30-3:30 p.m. June 26, is a $49 garden walk and take-home planting.  

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