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Attracting Birds and Butterflies 167 Stories

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 and nature lovers all across the country. Many years ago I started...
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: Geum Triflorum
If you like troll dolls, I have a similar-looking plant for you. While prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) is nothing like a troll — it doesn’t keep asking you out when you clearly aren’t interested — ...
Great Design Plant: Staphylea Trifolia Shines in the Shade
The delicate branches of American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia) are covered with clusters of nodding white flowers in spring. This underutilized, shade-tolerant, native shrub (small tree) is ideal...
Great Design Plant: Dicentra Eximia Brightens Shady Gardens
Wild bleedingheart (Dicentra eximia) was the first plant that I put in when I began using native plants in my home landscape. Breaking soil in early April, it is one of the longest-blooming eastern North American native plants. After an...
Celebrate Eastern Oaks for Wildlife, Longevity, and Seasonal Interest
Surely no tree captures our imagination more than an oak. Often living for hundreds of years, oaks support a diversity of life above and below the ground, a rhizosphere community, where a symbiotic relationship exists between diverse species. Native oaks...
Great Design Plant: Eupatorium Maculatum
I don’t remember how I got hooked on Spotted Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum) — maybe a friend hustled it to me at a bar or I gave in to peer pressure at some party. I know I’m not the only one who’s found this plant and...
Great Design Plant: Hibiscus Moscheutos
Crimsoneyed rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) has a large native range in the southern and eastern United States and parts of the Midwest. It’s a prolific bloomer throughout the summer, with large, sugar-white petals and a crimson center....
Great Design Plant: Eurybia Macrophylla Fills a Void
Large-leaved aster (Eurybia macrophylla) is an extremely adaptable and reliable native plant that thrives in partial shade and average soil. Common throughout the deciduous woods around the Great Lakes, it can form substantial stands of large,...
12 Entertaining ‘Bee-haviors’ of Native Bees
What I relish most about my pollinator garden is the three-ring circus of clowns, acrobats, contortionists and other performers. While nurturing a garden habitat that gives native bees a place in which to live, eat and raise their young, we also...
Great Design Plant: Silphium Perfoliatum Pleases Wildlife
Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is not for the faint of heart, especially gardeners who usually shy away from large plants. But use its size to your advantage. What perennial native plant grows to a height of 10 feet or more in as little as two...
Great Design Plant: Low-Maintenance Allium Cernuum
When the weather cools in fall, it’s time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Most of the familiar ones are from faraway places: tulips have their origins in the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor (Turkey), and daffodils originate from southwestern Europe....
Great Design Plant: Encelia Californica
California brittlebush (Encelia californica) is a must for low-water habitat gardens. This vigorous and dependable subshrub shows off its exuberant mass of large daisy-like flowers in spring and fall. Its long, bountiful bloom periods,...
Great Design Plant: Rhododendron Canescens
The Southern garden wouldn’t be complete without azaleas. Every spring they make a big statement in every color you can imagine. The Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is a native woodland shrub with a pale pink color that will offset the...
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