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Planting Information for:

Love's Labour's Lost


CARNATION (Gillyvors/Gillyflowers) – Dianthus, Dianthus caryophyllus

Annual. Plants need full sun, but protection from direct heat, in Zones 3 – 4 to 8 ­– 9, depending on the variety. Soil should be rich & loamy, prepared a few weeks before planting, well drained & never over-watered.

Small plant usually reaching 18–24” high, bearing countless varieties of flowers, single or multi – petaled, in shades of reds, pink, yellow, white, and striped/striated.


CEDAR (of LEBANON) – Cedrus libani

Zones 6 – 9 at elevations of about 4,000 ft. in full sun, variable soils with plenty of water but good drainage. Native to the mountains of the eastern Mediterranean basin, an evergreen conifer usu. 40–70 ft. tall & 30 – 60 ft. wide (can reach 40m/130 ft.). Long lived; max. life span >1,000 yrs.


CLOVESSyzygium aromaticum

The aromatic dried flower buds of a tree native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. It needs a hot, humid climate in Zones 9b – 12 in sun to part shade and variable soil from acid to saline with good drainage.


COCKLE/COCKLEBUR Xanthium strumarium

An annual, invasive weed, tolerant of a variety of soil conditions ranging from moist clay to dry sand, but best on compact sandy soil that is slightly moist below the soil surface and contains a small amount of organic matter. Zones 2 – 14 throughout the world, especially in disturbed areas, open habitats, cultivated fields, vacant lots, sandpits, and dry washes; on beaches and sand dunes; and along the shores of ponds and rivers, especially riverbeds left barren by receding floodwaters.

The seeds and seedlings contain significant concentrations of the extremely toxic chemical carboxyatratyloside. The mature plant also contains at least four other toxins.


COLUMBINE  –  Aquilegia

Perennial; does well in most soil types and pH levels in Zones 4 – 8

as long as there is sufficient moisture that drains well—tolerant of drought, deer resistant. Blooms in a wide variety of color combinations & some double forms from mid – spring to early summer.


Seeds & roots highly poisonous if eaten.


CORN Zea mays (of course Shakespeare means all grains, so see OATS here; Wheat, Barley, &c., in other plays…)

An annual grass reaching 3m (10 ft.) in height, producing a starchy vegetable and cereal grain. First grown as maize, native to and domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Zones 4 – 8, when temperatures are above 60°F (16°C) in full sun in neutral loamy soil, moist & well drained.



COSTARD (APPLE)  –  An archaic humorous description of several large English cooking apples. Also known as the eating apple, cooking apple, or culinary apple; slang for “head” & a character in Shakespeare.

(APPLE) – Malus pumila, M. pumila syn. M. domestica)

Zones 4 – 7 in full sun, spaced for good air circulation in well-drained soil slightly acidic to neutral. Requires cross – pollination from insects, typically bees. Apple trees require at least 2 different varieties that flower at the same time. Pollen from a crabapple tree will pollinate most apple trees.


(POMEWATER) – British, a large sweet juicy apple.


CRABS/CRABAPPLE Malus domesticus

Any of the wild species of apple tree which generally yield small, bitter fruit. Cultural requirements are generally the same as the common apple. Lovely as a decorative.

Zones 4 – 7 in full sun, spaced for good air circulation in well – drained soil slightly acidic to neutral. Pollen from a crabapple tree will pollinate most apple trees provided that they blossom at the same time.


CUCKOO BUDS/BUTTERCUP – Ranunculus bulbosus

An Old World word for St. Anthony’s turnip, perennial member of the buttercup family. Found in lawns, pastures and grasslands, and fields where the soil is nutrient-poor & well drained. Small, shiny yellow flowers bloom from April to July. Temperate Zones 3 – 9 in Western Europe to the Northern Mediterranean coast and the eastern and western parts of North America.


 Like all buttercups, the plant is toxic, especially when fresh.



A hardy perennial in Zones 4 – 9. Full sun in rich well-drained partly sandy soil in a site protected from strong winds.


SHASTA DAISY – Leucanthemum x superbum.shasta

The commonly recognized flower, white petals & yellow stamen


OXEYE DAISY – Leucanthemum vulgare

A short-lived herbaceous perennial from the British Isles, Europe & northern Asia, invasive, often becoming a lawn weed that tolerates mowing.



EBONYDiospyros ebenum

An evergreen, slow – growing tree reaching 20 – 30m (about 65 ft.) high with its straight, buttressed trunk reaching about 90 cm (3 ft.) in diameter. Noted for attracting wildlife.

Requires full sun in Zones 9 – 11, in humid coastal & lowland forests; moist well-draining soil that contains some clay.


ELDER/ELDERBERRY – Eurasion: Sambucus nigra, North American native: S. canadensis

Zones 3 – 8 in cool, moist, partly shaded neutral forested areas of the Northern & Southern hemispheres. Readily naturalize, and some are outside their native range. They have been domesticated into several tamer species.  Requires cross-pollination; plant in pairs in spring, no more than 60 ft. apart.

Small red, blue-black, black, or yellow berries provide food for wildlife & for people as wines, jellies, pies & medicines. A native species often growing in old fields & meadows, rapidly up 10–12 ft. tall; 6–12 ft. wide.


LADY-SMOCKS/ CUCKOO-FLOWERS (commonly: bitter cress) – Cardamine pratensis

Herbaceous perennial growing 1 – 2 ft. tall. The flowers are produced on a spike with four pale violet-pink petals, or silver-white (see Botanical Shakespeare book). Commonly found throughout the British Isles in full to part shade in Zones 3a – 9b. They are tolerant of moist, even wet, soil that is acidic; does well along streambeds.


LEMONCitrus x. limon

Perennial trees native to Southeast Asia, but introduced to Europe & the Mediterranean during Roman times. Zones 9 – 11, full sun, sheltered from drafts & frost, in slightly acid soil that will drain well after weekly watering.

Will not tolerate temperatures below freezing.


LILY OF THE VALLEY – Convallaria majalis

Also known as May bells, May lily, Muguet, Mary’s tears, and Our Lady’s Tears

Flowering evergreen herbaceous perennial with sweetly scented, pendent, bell-shaped white, occasionally pink, flowers in spring. Zones 2 – 9 with morning sun, then shade in rich woodland slightly acidic well-watered soil with good drainage.


All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous.


MINTGenus Mentha

A hardy perennial of about 25 species in the larger Lamiaciea family that is one of the first to arrive each spring in cool climates, and grows year-round in warmer areas.

It thrives in full sun, but can tolerate part shade. It requires consistently moist, rich soil with a near-neutral pH slightly

on the acidic side.

Zones 4 – 9. Native to Eurasia, North America, southern Africa, & Australia, mints grow widely throughout the temperate areas of the world & have naturalized in many places. Mint is assertive, even invasive, depending on where it is planted and how it is controlled. It sends out “runners” & spreads vigorously.


NUTMEG/ MACEMyristica fragrans

Nutmeg is the dried seed of an evergreen tree; mace is the seed covering.

Zones 10 & 11. The tree originates in Banda, the largest of the Molucca spice islands of Indonesia; it requires a hot, mostly sunny site protected from wind, in rich, organic medium-textured soil, moist, but well drained, with its roots planted

at least 4 ft. deep.



Zones 2 – 10. Oak trees grow in temperate & tropical climates around the world. More than 600 species; can live for hundreds of years, slowly growing to reach 70 ft. tall with 9 ft. wide trunks. Soils & conditions vary according to species, which include deciduous & evergreen, in fairly dry sites on ridges, slopes & plateaus in. They do not produce acorns for their first 25 – 30
years or more.


OATSAvena sativa

An annual cereal grain grown throughout temperate cool regions for its seed in average and variable soil well supplied with nitrogen. Native to much of the United States, spring oats usually are seeded in late summer or early fall in Zone 7 or colder. Tolerates light frost.



Mostly herbaceous perennials, some evergreen, growing in Zones 1 – 14, depending on general climate and species, in a wide variety of soil conditions, but mostly light and moist, well draining, low nitrogen. Full sun, open areas.


PEASPisum sativum

Full sun in cool weather in Zones 2 – 9. Annual vine reaching up to 6 ft. in well-drained, slightly acid, moderately moist, loamy soil well supplied with organic matter, producing pods that contain the edible seed; botanically, a fruit. Plant in very early spring, even while snow still threatens, & again in fall.


PLANTAINPlantago major, Plantago lanceolata

A healthy, hardy herb/weed found in lawns, parks, verges, virtually everywhere esp. Zones 3 – 9 (all U.S. zones,); perennial, full sun or partial shade, in whatever soil it finds itself. Medicinal (as an astringent) & nutritional, loaded with iron & other important vitamins & minerals. The leaves are tastiest when small and tender, usually in the spring but whenever new shoots appear after being cut back by a lawnmower.

  • More information can be found here.


ROSES/DAMASKRosa × damascena

A deciduous shrub growing to about 7 ft. tall, bearing multi-petaled fragrant flowers in colors from light pink to light red; important type of Old Rose. Full sun, with part shade in the hottest months, in variable chalk-free rich soil, well drained in Zones 7 – 9.


SUGARSaccharum officinarum

Several species of tall perennial tropical true grasses 6 to 20 ft. tall. Grows in full, plentiful sunshine in many types of very fertile soil, well drained, but with a minimum of 24" annual moisture. Tropical or subtropical; Zones 8b & warmer.


SYCAMOREPlatanus occidentalis/LONDON PLANE – Platanus × acerifolia*

A deciduous tree growing 20–30 m (66–98 ft.) tall, with a trunk up to 3 m (10 ft.) or more in circumference. Accepts full sun to partial shade in Zones 4 – 9 in variable soil of almost any type; some drought tolerance.

*often planted in cities bc great carbon eater (sequestration)

  • More information can be found here.


VIOLETSViola odorata

Low-growing 10 cm (4 inches) tall and 15 cm (6 inches) wide herbaceous, mostly perennial, with hundreds of varieties found though Zones 3 – 9. Well-drained neutral, rich soil in shade or dappled shade but often found self-sown in lawns and open areas. Flowers and leaves of most varieties are edible.


WILLOWSalix spp. Common name(s): Weeping Willow, Babylon Weeping Willow*

(OSIER) – Salix viminalis, a species of willow

Very large decorative fast-growing tree found throughout Zones 2 – 9a in consistently moist soil, often near ponds, lakes & stream banks, in conditions that include mountaintops & salty areas. They grow 45 – 70 ft. high with equal spread, so best planted about 50 ft. apart.

*Willows in Shakespeare’s day were not weeping; see Botanical Shakespeare book.


WORMWOODArtemisia absinthium

Ornamental plant in Zones 4 – 8.

Native to temperate regions of Eurasia & Northern Africa & widely naturalized in Canada and the northern U.S.


Grows to 3– 4 ft. on uncultivated arid ground, on rocky slopes & at the edge of footpaths & fields with full sun in fertile, mid-weight soil rich in nitrogen.

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