Richie Steffen

Great Plant Pick: Stipa gigantea, giant feather or needle grass

Plant the grass next to the lawn so that a viewer may appreciate its dangling seeds on close inspection.


Great Plant Pick: Rhodiola pachyclados, Afghani sedum

What: Rhodiola pachyclados, also known as Afghani sedum, is an excellent groundcover…


Great Plant Pick: Sciadopitys verticillata, Japanese umbrella pine

Despite its common name, this pyramidal conifer is not a true pine. Meaning, it’s not of genus Pinus.


Great Plant Pick: Quercus rubra, red oak or Northern red oak

This tree has a beautiful structure that is impressive year-round. In fall, the leaves turn a rich red.

Great Plant Pick: Molinia caerulea ssp. caerulea ‘Variegata’

This variegated purple moor grass works well in mass plantings or as a specimen in your garden.

Great Plant Pick: Acer circinatum ‘Monroe,’ cutleaf vine maple

This tree was named by Brian Mulligan, former director of the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.

Great Plant Pick: Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa,’ edging boxwood

This round shrub has long been cultivated for its superior performance as a hedge or screen.

Great Plant Pick: Ceratostigma willmottianum, Chinese plumbago

Electric-blue flowers sparkle among the late summer foliage of this bushy perennial.

Great Plant Pick: Eleutherococcus sieboldianus ‘Variegatus’

Variegated five-leaf aralia features a creamy white variegation that sparkles in the garden.

Great Plant Pick: Hosta ‘Patriot’ one of the most popular

The variegated foliage of the “Patriot” hosta is striking from late spring through early fall.

Great Plant Pick: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yaku Jima,’ dwarf maiden grass

This clumping grass can be planted with annuals to provide stature and variety of texture.

Great Plant Pick: Sequoia sempervirens, coast redwood

This tree is a specimen valued for its size — it grows nearly 3 feet or more in height every year.

Great Plant Pick: Chilean potato vine

What: Solanum crispum “Glasnevin,” or Chilean potato vine, is hardy and blooms abundantly. The plethora of small star-shaped flowers, which are an intense lilac color… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Persicaria amplexicaulis “Taurus,” mountain fleece

“Taurus” mountain fleece has bold foliage and flowers that look great from summer through mid-fall.

Great Plant Pick: Eupatorium maculatum “Gateway”

What: Eupatorium maculatum “Gateway,” commonly called Joe Pye weed, is a tall, bold perennial that’s native to the East Coast. The strong upright stems are… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Glowing Embers’

The flowers of this hydrangea are a deep rose-red to a rich purple-blue depending on soil acidity.

Great Plant Pick: Campanula lactiflora, milky bellflower

This tall bell flower produces clusters of star-shaped blooms that vary from white to deep sky blue.

Great Plant Pick: Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Lutea’

Golden dwarf Hinoki cypress is a perfect small specimen for the garden or as a container plant.

Great Plant Pick: Rosa ‘Hansa,’ double pink old-fashioned rose

This shrub rose will shine in a garden bed also planted with pink, blue or orange perennials.

Great Plant Pick: Lonicera crassifolia, creeping honeysuckle

The shrub’s tiny flowers open from rosy-red buds tipped in chartreuse and turn orange as they mature.