A Handfull of Water Loving Shrubs

  • Post published:07/20/2022
  • Post comments:2 Comments
Cardinal Flowers

In this dry summer, I’m thinking about the wet, swampy flowers, like the Cardinal Plant. Early on I read that Cardinal flowers love the wetlands, next to streams, ponds, swamps, and anywhere that will stay moist – which includes my garden.

I specifically chose the cardinal flowers because of it’s flower structure, a slender tube with a pool of sweet nectar at the base. Don’t look for honey bees around these flowers. These flowers prefer long-tongued hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths.  They also proliferate. You will be able to give lots of baby cardinal flowers to friends next spring. They are vigorous flowers!

Red Winterberries

These red winterberries are showing off in November, but they have a long season starting in the late summer and continuing through the winter.  I only have to see how long it takes for the birds to eat it all. They are known as a swamp plant.

Sara-Evelyn and me

Sara-Evelyn, now a great woodswoman, is trimming two of our large shrubs, a red twig dogwood and a green twig dogwood. Here we are trimming the red twig dogwood and I’m having a good time, but you can see Sara-Evelyn is working really hard. She said at least 25 percent of these shrubs should be cut out every year.  However, she also said that cutting out should NOT be started until after the summer solstice.  We began on June 28.  She also did a little trimming on our redbud tree because two of the low branches were getting caught. These trees welcome wet ground. They also welcome the white berries that feed many birds.

Buttonball bush

The buttonball bush has its blooming ‘flowers’ beginning in the beginning of July. The  name of the bush is Cephalanthos,  Cephal for ‘head’ and flower for anthos. I first saw these ‘flowers’ at the  Intervale Center in Burlington, Vermont where my cousin, Travis Marcotte, is the head of this great organization. Among other things Travis sees that groups go out in the spring (I think) to reforest areas in needy places.  The buttonballs are happy to keep their feet  in the water at the edge of a river.  In addition other young buttonballs are planted in other spots.  The flowers of this shrub welcome the bees, and the bees are glad to  have good sweets.


This viburnam is about 12 feet has been growing in our garden almost 6 years. When we bought it  we  tucked into the back of our little FIT. It lives right at the end of the wettest part of the garden, but it does welcome heavy rains. You cannot see the foliage very well, but it does  include red berries that appeal to the birds.  We had another viburnam of slightly different type, but it grew  in a similar way. We just removed it because so much shade was created by the viburnam, china tree and yellow twig dogwood that the space for flowers was not working! We need some shade!

How wet – or dry is your garden – and how do you manage it?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thom Chiofalo

    Enjoying your articles here Pat and thanks.
    We greatly appreciate our Butterball we discovered in your garden.

  2. Pat

    Thom – Thanks for visiting. We are glad you enjoy the BUTTONBALL shrub. You and I got a little confused. My apologies.

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