Scott Arboretum in November



I visited the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College yesterday and will have a longer report soon.   I just couldn’t resist sharing this shot of a courtyard garden, with Amsonia hubrichtii in all its glory.


  1. Stunning! And blue flowers in season too. Me want.

    But I’m in zone 10a. Does anyone know how this performs in dry heat and no winter chill?

  2. Matilija,

    Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas blue star) is native to Arkansas and Missouri. The stated growing range is USDA 4-9. Both the small native range and the southern limits of its tolerance range indicate that this plant at least requires some killing frosts during the winter. The other problem of trying to grow non-native plants in Florida is that our wet and dry seasons are inhospitable to many temperate plants that need relatively even precipitation. But this plant is described as heat and drought tolerant, so who knows??

    On the other hand, if you plant Florida natives, you’ll help the butterflies. So much of our native flora has been replaced by a standard group of non-native plants, that the butterflies are left wanting. Particularly when looking for host plants for their larvae. As a bonus, Florida natives thrive in our weird climate.

  3. What makes this so successful (at least for me) is not just the color but the contrast of the softness of the feathery plant with the small textured gravel and the large smooth slates jutting in. Also the gravel is about 1/3 of the visual width of the amsonia which is what makes it pop so.

    This image really made my day and made me re-think a sunny spot that needs replanting next spring. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the scoop, Ginny. Though my zone 10a is in Southern California, I’m sure your comments about Amsonia hubrichtii’s need for moisture and cold still apply. We just had our first rain since May or June, a whole 0.15″ so far! I believe we freeze far less often than Florida’s zone 10a.

    You mentioned feeding butterflies– oh snap! Some years ago I got an Asclepias, the tag is long gone and all I remember is that it is native to Florida. It looks like A. tuberosa, except the flowers are yellow and the stems and leaves hairless. The yellow color comes true from seed. I started six seedlings this summer just for the Monarchs, and they all have plenty of caterpillers of various sizes. Here’s hoping the plants can keep ahead of the larvae.

  5. Oh, this makes me miss autumn in the Midwest. I don’t care what the natives say, there’s no such thing as “fall color” in Austin.

Comments are closed.