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Attracting Birds and Butterflies 144 Ideabooks

Landscapes sustain us by giving us food to eat, air to breathe and space to live in — let's repay the favor. When choosing what we plant, it's important to respect our natural landscapes and the wildlife they support. Sustainable garden practices teach us that biodiversity, wildlife habitats and native plants are essential...
3 Ways Native Plants Make Gardening So Much Better
Six years ago my wife and I married (on 7/7/'07, like so many others), and we immediately moved into our first home together. I told her I wanted a garden, and when she said, "Go for it," I'm not sure we knew what that would mean. Neither of us had any...
Butterfly Gardening: Delight the Eyes With Living Sculptures
Once we've laid out a landscape — installed the pavers and edging and mulch, placed the plants — we can sit back in deck chairs and admire the splendor of a beautiful vista. But there's another element just below the surface — a fourth dimension...
Great Design Plant: Dwarf Blue Indigo Offers Carefree Beauty
I’m a big fan of Baptisia. There are many species, most underutilized, but the most common one you’ll see for sale — as either a hybrid or straight species — is Baptisia...
What Monarch Butterflies Taught Me About Garden Design
The monarchs are beginning their migration south this month and will be in full tilt into September, ending up in central Mexico around the end of October. Over their thousands of miles, both in fall and again next spring, they will inspire gardeners...
Great Design Plant: Snowberry Pleases Year-Round
Wander along nearly any stretch of Pacific Northwest roadside or through a forest clearing, and you will soon encounter vast thickets of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Most commonly seen in roadside ditches in farming areas, growing with steeplebush...
Great Design Plant: Anise Hyssop Delights Licorice Lovers
If you love black licorice, as I do, then you will want to include anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) in your landscape; crushing the foliage releases an anise (licorice) scent that smells wonderful to a licorice lover but helps keep deer and...
Autumn Joy: How to Get 3 Months of Fall Flowers
I’ve become a bit of an aster hound. There are just so many asters out there that we never hear of or that nurseries don’t sell. And I’m talking native species asters...
Great Design Plant: Parry Manzanita Stands Out in Low-Water Gardens
The magnificent stature, sculptural branching and sensual, deep cinnamon bark of Parry manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita) make a bold architectural statement. The smooth, dark red bark and sinuous branching are...
Great Design Plant: Verbena Stricta Tolerates Tough Spots
Thriving in unimproved places such as pastures, railway edges and compacted hiking trails, hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) is a fantastic native perennial to try where “nothing else will grow.” This medium-size, upright perennial has long-lasting...
Great Design Plant: Hibiscus Syriacus ‘Sugar Tip’
I’ve never been especially fond of hibiscus. The flowers are impressive, but when it’s not in bloom, hibiscus is just another green-leaved shrub that contributes little to the garden and certainly doesn’t merit a place in my containers. Hibiscus...
Great Design Plant: Spotted Beebalm (Monarda punctata)
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a magnet for pollinators, particularly bees and wasps, and can be an integral part of a native planting around a vegetable garden. This Eastern native...
Great Design Plant: Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris Ligulistylis)
One morning several years ago, before the monarch butterfly populations crashed in 2012 and 2013, I was looking out of my window at the garden, admiring the splendor I’d created. Suddenly a far corner lifted off in a splash of orange, then another splash,...
Great Design Plant: Butterfly Milkweed, a Beacon in the Prairie
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a magnet for bees and butterflies in early spring — often providing an important source of nectar when other sources are scarce. What other perennial can rival its bright orange flowers,...
Great Design Plant: Canadian Milkvetch Draws Bees and Birds
I’ve been walking my local prairies and meadows looking for plants that seem to be thriving in various conditions. My hope is that if they do well out in diverse natural settings, they ought to do fine in my garden. Of course, I’m also looking for...
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