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On the Down the Garden Path Radio Show and Podcast, landscape designers Joanne Shaw and Matthew Dressing discuss down-to-earth tips and advice for your plants, gardens, and landscapes.

Joanne and Matthew believe it's important and possible to have great gardens that are low maintenance.

Each week, they educate their listeners on how to seasonally manage their gardens and landscapes. Joanne and Matt learn right along with their listeners, from each other, from their research, and from the many guests who join them on their show. 

Listen live at on Monday’s at 7 pm ET or subscribe to download this show and past episodes from your favourite podcast app. 

Check out the website for even more garden tips and tricks.

Jun 27, 2022

This week on the Down the Garden Path podcast, landscape designers Joanne Shaw and Matthew Dressing wrap up their look at perennials with an episode dedicated to some of their favourites. These hidden gems of the perennial garden work hard but are often overlooked.

Join Joanne and Matt as they reveal their top five perennial favourites.

Joanne's hidden gems:

  • Geum: Geum Triflorum
    • Zone 4
    • Part to full sun
    • Green foliage with small red-orange flowers on tall stems
  • Bergenia: Bergenia Cordifolia aka Pig Squeak
    • Zone 4
    • Part shade
    • A clumping perennial with unique evergreen foliage
    • Flower spike in Spring
  • Epimedium: Epimedium grandiflorum also known as Barrenwort or Bishop's Hat
    • A perennial groundcover, good for dry shade.
    • Inconspicuous flower but interesting leaf with nice fall colour.
  • Ligularia: aka Leopard plant
    • Zone 4
    • Big interesting foliage with yellow flower spike
    • Grows in part to full shade
    • loves moisture and clay soil
  • Amsonia x Blue Ice
    • Zone 3
    • An upright clump-forming perennial with pretty clusters of periwinkle blue flowers.
    • The truest blue flower
    • Full sun to part shade

Matt's hidden gems:

  • Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium
    • North American native
    • Zones 3 – 7
    • Full sun to partial shade
    • Blue-green foliage gives way to fall colours lasting through the winter
  • Beardtongue, Bearded-tongue, or Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis
    • North American native
    • Zones 3 – 7
    • Full sun to partial shade
    • Tall spikes of white, pinks and deep pinks over sturdy, upright, dark green foliage
  • Turtlehead, Chelone obliqua & C. lyonia
    • North American native
    • Zones 3 – 9
    • Full sun to partial shade
    • Good for moist soils and bogs
    • Blooming late summer to mid-fall with hooded flowers which look like a turtle’s head in deep pinks and white.
  • Lungwort, Pulmonaria hybrids
    • Native to Europe and western Asia
    • Zones 3 – 9
    • Full shade to partial shade
    • Tall clusters of flowers in late spring to early summer with pink buds turning bluish-pink, blue, purple
  • Spigelia, Spigelia marilandica 'Little Redhead'
    • Native to eastern North America in along woodlands and streambanks
    • Zones 5 – 9
    • Full sun to partial shade, with very good shade tolerance
    • Blooms in late spring to mid-summer with upright, arching stems of upward-facing red trumpet flowers with yellow throats

Each week on Down The Garden Path, professional landscape designers Joanne Shaw and Matthew Dressing discuss down-to-earth tips and advice for your plants, gardens and landscapes.

As the owner of Down2Earth Landscape Design, Joanne Shaw has been designing beautiful gardens for homeowners east of Toronto for over a decade. A horticulturist and landscape designer, Matthew Dressing owns Natural Affinity Garden Design, a landscape design and garden maintenance firm servicing Toronto and the Eastern GTA. Together, they do their best to bring you interesting, relevant and useful topics to help you keep your garden as low maintenance as possible. In their new book, Down the Garden Path: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Ontario Garden, Joanne and Matthew distill their horticultural and design expertise and their combined experiences in helping others create and maintain thriving gardens into one easy-to-read monthly reference guide. It's now available on Amazon.