Cerastium tomentosum ‘Yo Yo’



I bought this in april 2017 at the University of Illinois Plant Sale (RIP, as the event is no more) as a gallon pot for $2.50. Actually, I bought two, but the other one didn’t have nearly enough sun or drainage and ended up being fertilizer for some dwarf yellow irises.

‘Yo Yo’ is supposed to be 6-12″x15″ (a ‘more restrained variety’, they say), but I think this one has spread to at least 36″. There are some lovely sedum underneath that I probably need to rescue.

It’s a reliable bloomer, starting in mid-May here and continuing for a month or so, then sporadically blooming throughout the summer. The gray-green foliage is a great foil for other plants in summer.


Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Album’


This was another Walmart special about 23 years ago. It was a little one-gallon pot, and I swear it called out to me from across the store.

23 years later it’s about eight feet tall, ten feet wide, and covered in gorgeous (dare I say sexy?) pink-tinged buds that open white with yellow spots every spring. They stand out nicely against the evergreen foliage, which in and of itself is a treat on our gray winter days.

Over the past few years it started rooting some of its branches in the soil, so I’ll have to cut them off and plant them elsewhere in the yard. That is, if there’s any room left.

It’s in the back corner of the yard which is fairly protected from wind, towering over trillium and wild ginger.


Allium schoenoprasum




A kitchen staple, chives are always found in our yard. This pot overwintered in front of our house, then stayed there for the cheerful blooms and ease of access.

Once the flowers are done I’ll move it to the vegetable garden and put something showier in its stead.

I love a quick egg scramble with chives and a dash of black pepper. 🙂


Asarum canadense



Wild ginger is another pretty common native groundcover. I have a lot of it in my yard, and if it ever grows where I don’t want it I just dig it up and tuck in a dark corner somewhere.

It’s great because it tolerates drought and shade pretty well, and it’s always nice to have something green in an otherwise muddy or dusty corner. The flowers aren’t easily seen (you have to lift them out from under the leaves), but they’re interesting when you find them.