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Attracting Birds and Butterflies 140 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: 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...
Great Design Plant: Evergreen Huckleberry Appeals All Year
Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is surely one of the most versatile, attractive and wildlife friendly of all the Pacific Northwest natives. Factor in the delicious berries that are adored by wildlife and humans alike, and you have a plant...
Great Design Plant: Try Penstemon Digitalis for Showy White Blooms
If you are new to gardening with native plants and are looking for a good introductory plant to try, smooth beardtongue is an excellent choice. This Penstemon species will rival any cultivated ornamental with its large, white flowers; upright form; and...
Great Design Plant: Try California Wild Grape for Interest All Year
California wild grape is known best for its sensational fall colors, but it is much more than a one-season plant. In spring its silvery leaves and tiny buds emerge from bare vines. In summer the lush foliage with ripening fruit will conceal that...
Lawn Gives Way to a More Natural Lakeside Garden
With an uncommon sense of possibility, award-winning landscape designer Paul Broadhurst transformed a suburban expanse of lawn into a pebbly beach and a naturalistic meadow, reconnecting the landscape with the spirit of its lakefront setting. Broadhurst...
Great Design Plant: Texas Ranger Explodes With Color
Residents in the Southwest who are fortunate enough to have Texas ranger (Leucophyllum frutescens) growing in their gardens are familiar with the eager anticipation of the year’s first flush of purple that covers this attractive yet tough...
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