Button Bush

This native wetland plant (Cephalanthus occidentalis) can be found growing in most of the state along shorelines, streambanks, and in freshwater wetlands. Its most distinctive feature is its ivory-white flowers, looking like so many little Sputnik satellites.

Located – Frog Bog, and Lake Whitehurst


This familiar garden perennial prefers shady locations, especially in Southern climates. Grown primarily for their diverse foliage textures and colors, there are several thousand different varieties to choose from. While NBG does not have quite that many, it does have enough to qualify as designated hosta garden, so says the American Hosta Society.

Located – Statuary Vista, Admin Welcome Garden, and Garden Wide

Pitcher Plants

Looking as if they are from another planet, these carnivorous plants (Sarracenia species and hybrids) have a sinister architecture. Insects looking for an easy meal are lured into the pitcher-like structure of the plant. Once inside they find the sides are lined with downward facing hairs that make it nearly impossible for the insects to leave the plant. Eventually they fall into a pool of digestive juices at the bottom of tube where the plant will make a meal of them.

Located – Va. Native Plant Garden, and WOW


Even if pomegranates (Punica granatum) never provided deliciously tart fruit, high in anti-oxidants, it would be worth growing for its orangiest of orange flowers. So rich and bright that sun glasses are recommended.

Located – Japanese Garden


While May to mid-June was peak bloom time in our rose garden, there is still a remarkable amount of color and fragrance.

Located – Bicentennial Rose Garden

Southern Magnolia

This is one of the classic trees (Magnolia grandiflora) of Southern gardens. Large white flowers are open right now, and they have an intoxicating fragrance. Evergreen, native, wind-resistant, they are easy to grow in full sun to partial shade. However, they can be very messy. Even though they are evergreen, the leaves will drop, just not all at once, and they take a very long time to decompose. If the branches are allowed to remain low to the ground this will hide many of those fallen leaves.

Located – Flowering Arboretum