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Red, White, and Blue in the Gardens Too!

Red, White, and Blue in the Gardens Too!

Fri, July 2, 2021 by Lucy Contreras, Assistant Manager of Plant Collections | in Botanical Gardens

The American flag is one most of us know quite well. We can't help but think of the red, white, and blue that symbolize our country and our freedom. Of course, as with most things, my mind makes a garden connection with almost anything, and our country’s flag is no exception. In honor of the Fourth of July, I bring you a sampling of red, white, and blue plants we have at Brookgreen Gardens!

Pledge Allegiance by Glenna Goodacre (1939-2020)

Red Plants

1. Rose (Rosa 'MACdub' (Dublin Bay®))

Maybe I'm biased, as roses are my go-to, but I would be remiss if I did not include a rose! Dublin Bay® is a climbing rose with deep, red flowers. We especially love this plant because of its ability to be trained onto different structures, like fences, or obelisks.

Rosa 'MACdub' (Dublin Bay®) flowering habit
You can see ours growing in Anne's Garden and the Poetry Garden.

2. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'PAS2028' (Wizard® Scarlet))

Coleus are a neat plant that we grow mostly for their foliage, as opposed to their flowers. While the flowers aren't half bad, the foliage is what really wows you! With so many different colors, patterns, and leaf forms, it is a plant that keeps you on your toes and never fails to make a space both colorful and beautiful! Wizard® Scarlet displays red coloration, sandwhiched between a vibrant yellow margin.

Plectranthus scutellarioides 'PAS2028' (Wizard® Scarlet) habit
You can find Wizard® Scarlet outside of Harvest Restaurant and in the Poetry Garden.

3. Scarlet Rose Mallow (Hibiscus coccineus)

Also known as Texas star hibiscus, this vibrant red-flowered hibiscus can often fly under people's radars, as it doesn't necessarily look like the classic hibiscus many have come to know. However, this native mallow is indeed a Hibiscus and one with flowers that are a perfect match for our red, white, and blue list! So perfect, in fact, that the flowers are even star shaped - all the better to go with our theme!

Hibiscus coccineus flower

Make sure to see these in all of their glory in the Heron, Grouse, and Loon area, the Upper Right and Upper Left Wing bogs, and the Fountain Gardens, to name a few hot spots.

White Plants

1. Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'SMHPFL' (Fire Light®))

Being in the South, how could we not have a hydrangea on the list? Panicle hydrangeas don large, gorgeous, conical flowers. Fire Light® starts off with white at the beginning of the summer, as seen below, and then amazingly turns to a vibrant pink as the summer progresses. Seeing they are white now, they are a perfect fit for our line up!

Hydrangea paniculata 'SMHPFL' (Fire Light®)

If you pass by the new Leonard Pavilion, you can see these beautiful shrubs around the border.

2. Spider Flower (Cleome ‘Queen Mix’)

We recently took a look at these spectacular flowers in our last blog, when we admired our wildflower fields, but they are a perfect addition for our white flowering plants too! As I mentioned previously, spider flowers look like a glorious eruption of fireworks – perfect for the Fourth of July! The ‘Queen Mix’, as you can imagine, comes in a variety of colors, but among those is a hard to miss white.

The pollinator-haven in Brookgreen Gardens’ new wildflower fields, in the Arboretum, will turn up a ton of these – plus many happy bees, moths, and dragonflies.

3. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'PAS702918' (PowWow® White))

This is definitely one of our favorite coneflowers! This tough perennial has done quite well for us and has long-lasting flower power that is hard to beat. The white flowers are also a favorite of butterflies and moths, adding even more whimsy to the garden.

Echinacea purpurea 'PAS702918' (PowWow® White) habit
Since we can’t get enough of these, you can find them throughout the gardens, including at the Welcome Center Plaza, White Garden, Upper Right Wing, and the Gullah Gaardin, to name a few spots.

Blue Plants

Before we dive into blue plants, it is important to point out that finding truly blue plants, especially flowers, is uncommon in the botanical world. That being said, I took a note out of many the plant breeders’ book and am throwing in a few plants that may be seen as more purple than blue, but are otherwise thought to be in the blue category.

1. Anise-Scented Sage (Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue')

Sages come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, including in (or very close to!) true blues. 'Black and Blue' is an attractive plant that boasts very dark, nearly black calyxes and smooth, blue flowers. The contrast between the black and blue, as well as with the lighter green foliage, is highly effective in drawing you in to this awesome garden plant.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' flower
Make sure to visit Anne's Garden, the Old Kitchen, and the Upper Right Wing to see it!

2. Wishbone Flower (Torenia fournieri 'PAS786690' (Kauai™ Deep Blue))

Wishbone flower is among some of our favorite shade-flowering annuals that we include in the gardens. It is low maintenance and has unique flowers in a variety of colors. This year we honed in on one color in particular and planted some of our shady sites with Kauai™ Deep Blue wishbone flower. While this color may be dipping its toe into the purple realm, it still pushes the limit to secure its place in the "blue" category!

Torenia fournieri (Kauai™ Mixture) flower
You can find these planted in the Lower Left Wing, Upper Left Wing, and the Poetry Garden.

3. Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

I can’t help but love groundcovers, and one with true-blue flowers is definitely a homerun! Every time I pass by these little plumbagos, I am always so shocked by how the flowers pop in contrast to everything else around them. These little blue gems are a garden masterpiece!

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides flower
You can catch these at the Lowcountry Center and in the Leonard Pavilion.


Common Hop (Humulus lupulus)

In honor of the Fourth and the cookouts that come with it, one last plant has been added to the list - even though it does not fall into our color categories. This is one that many people will probably be enjoying in an adult beverage: hops! Not only do hops play a critical role in the creation of beer, the Hop plant also is an ornamental vine.

Humulus lupulus fruit
You can see our specimen climbing the fence in Bethea’s Garden.

On your next trip to Brookgreen Gardens, perhaps even on this Fourth of July weekend, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these, and other red, white, and blue plants!

See you in the Gardens!

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During Nights of a Thousand Candles, Brookgreen Gardens is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday - Wednesday only. During the evening event, the Gardens open at 4 p.m. for the event.
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1931 Brookgreen Drive

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Off US Highway 17 Bypass, between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island

on South Carolina's Hammock Coast