Graycliff in bloom: fragrance & color with (kind of) native plants

mock orange at Graycliff in Derby NY
This mock orange or Philadelphus has beautiful white flowers that are wonderfully fragrant. Photo courtesy Graycliff

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Choosing native plants for our gardens seems like a recent trend, but native plants were used in landscaping about a hundred years ago.

Ellen Biddle Shipman, the pioneering landscape architect who worked on the gardens at historic Graycliff from 1929 to 1931, chose native plants for the picking garden. The plants she used were native somewhere in North or South America, but not necessarily native to Western New York.

For example, she chose lantana, which is native to tropical areas of the Americas. While lantana is popular in local gardens, it’s now used as an ornamental annual rather than a native plant; it can’t survive our winters. (You can try to overwinter lantana inside; see more here.)

lantana at Graycliff in Derby NY
Lantana camara or common lantana is a beautiful plant that is now used in Western New York as an ornamental annual. Photo courtesy Graycliff

If you’re looking for plants that are blooming now, get inspiration from the gardens at Graycliff through these photos.

Better yet, visit the Graycliff landscape in person. Tours are held at 10:30 a.m. every other Sunday. Dates are July 3, 17 & 31 and Aug. 14 & 28. Book a landscape tour now.

Graycliff is located at 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby. The summer home of Darwin and Isabelle Martin, Graycliff was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

See early June views of the Graycliff landscape.

coreopsis at Graycliff in Derby NY
Coreopsis makes a wonderful show in the garden, but it can also be picked and used in arrangements. Photo courtesy Graycliff

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