Zone-5-Chicago-perfect-plantsHere at Nature’s Perspective, we love plants so much that we could live by the famous quote of Nelson Henderson: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit”.

Spring will come and bring your garden back to life once again. With that in mind, we share with you some wonderful plants worth knowing and growing at home.

White Fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus, has fragrant, white flowers that appear in June and give the tree the ethereal appearance of being covered in a white, lacy fringe. Olive-like, blue-black fruits ripen in late summer and provide an abundance of food for birds. 18’ H x 12’ W, full sun.

Vitex, Vitex agnus-castus, has beautiful, bluish purple flowers on large panicles in summer, making it a veritable butterfly magnet! It leafs out very late, with pleasant, aromatic gray green foliage. We recommend cutting it back to about 2-3’ in the spring, as it will grow to 4-6’ by August and then be covered in flowers late August to early September. 6-12’ H X 10’ W, full sun.

Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’, is as delectable as its name. A newer hydrangea variety, it produces large flower panicles that emerge a creamy white in mid-summer, change to pink and finally to strawberry red. Blossoms are held upright on red stems. The red flower color persists for 3-4 weeks, and if you cut the flowers when they have just started to dry on the plant, the blooms will hold their color and shape for months inside your home. 5’ H X 4’ W, full sun to part shade.

Rufa Clumping Bamboo, Fargesia rufa, is not only unusual and exotic in appearance, it’s a non-invasive bamboo that makes an attractive specimen in an Oriental garden. It also performs well as a hedge. Its orange-red canes add interest to this vigorous, cold hardy, evergreen bamboo. 6’ H X 6’ W, full sun to part shade.