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Central Plains Gardening 81 Stories

I bet you’re starting to miss the garden just a little bit. You’d give anything to feel dirt under your nails. Even a fresh scratch from a maple branch would be somehow sweet. Just as in love, it’s about the anticipation, and winter is the time to plan your spring and summer moves.
Great Design Plant: Lobelia Siphilitica Keeps Its Cool
You’re probably quite familiar with red cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), but there’s another version you might not know that’s easier to care for and tends to have a longer perennial lifespan. Great blue lobelia (Lobelia...
Great Design Plant: Ratibida Pinnata Flutters in the Breeze
You cannot have a prairie garden without including gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata). A staple in Midwest prairies, this tall, upright perennial is a reliable and carefree plant that thrives in most locations in full sun. The...
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: Symphyotrichum Novae-Angliae Ushers in Fall
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is one of the showiest North American native plants in the fall garden. Vibrant purple petals and contrasting yellow to orange centers are visually attractive to both gardeners and pollinators. With...
Great Design Plant: Solidago Rigida Brightens Fall Gardens
Gardeners want fall blooms. Insects want fall blooms. I want fall blooms. The goldenrod genus (Solidago spp) is one that will appeal to everyone, and unlike ragweed it won’t cause hay fever (the pollen is sticky and is not windborne)....
Great Design Plant: Northern Maidenhair Fern Softens Shade Gardens
A successful shade garden relies more on textures and shapes than perhaps any other type of garden. In shady nooks, where a profusion of blossoms is rare and almost an unwelcome intrusion into serenity, ferns rule the roost. While some fern species have...
8 Perennials for Great Fall Color
Out here on the prairie, trees are relegated to towns, cities and river bottoms. Stand upon a bluff overlooking the Missouri River valley in eastern Nebraska, and the tree color is stunning well into late October and early November. If you squint just...
Great Design Plant: Sensitive Fern Shows Its Strengths
Ferns elicit primal human emotions, which is why many gardeners, including myself, are drawn to them. They mentally transport us to another place and time. Just five minutes in my fern garden can be the antidote to one of my busy and stressful days, and...
Great Design Plant: Wild Bergamot, Friend of Foragers
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is one of the most resilient North American native plants and is a delight for bumble bees and butterflies. It can be used in a variety of situations, including butterfly...
Be Your Own Wildflower Nursery
My garden just turned 6 years old. For years, I kept buying new plants to fill in the gaps — even after I had no gaps left. It got to the point where if I was near a nursery while running errands, I’d poke my head in and nab a few things — especially...
6 Overlooked Asters for Tough Spots
Asters are one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants out there, and how I love planting underutilized native asters. With shrinking pollinator numbers and habitat loss, it’s more important than ever to plant natives. And the late summer-fall...
Great Design Plant: Pale Indian Plantain Stands Tall and Proud
Pale Indian plantain is the most asked about plant in my Minnesota landscape whenever I host an open house. Visitors are enthralled with its size, large flower heads, pale purple flower stalks, blue-gray leaves and overall presence in the landscape. There...
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...
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...
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