Rethinking Lawns — Part 2: Variations on a Theme

Posted by & filed under design process, Garden Design, Gardens, Landscaping, Lawns, Outdoor Living, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

After almost two years of fighting a lost cause, we are truly ready to take the plunge. Once the heat of the summer dissipates, we are going to kill off the sorry patch of existing “lawn” we have and start over with an entirely new look.     So far, I’ve had an interesting reaction …

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Plant A Patch: Small Skullcap (Scutellaria parvula missouriensis)

Posted by & filed under Native Plants, Small Skullcap, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

    At home in shallow dry, rocky soil, sandy soil or clay soil, this tiny plant (3 – 9″) deserves big recognition for its ability to thrive in adverse conditions that would stress other species. It prefers full sun but also grows and blooms well in partial shade. Small skullcap sports blue blossoms from …

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Plant A Patch: Copper Iris (Iris fulva)

Posted by & filed under Clay Soil, Copper iris, Gardens, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, PerenniaLs, Rain Garden Plants, Rain Gardens, Rainscaping, Sustainable Landscaping

  A perfect plant for use in a rain garden or as a water plant , the copper iris takes its name from its unique reddish-copper color blooms which appear in May and June.Small plants, they typically reach about 2 feet in height. They love full sun, but will tolerate part shade if planted in …

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Plant A Patch – Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia caespitosa)

Posted by & filed under Barbara's Buttons, Butterfly Gardens, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Nectar Plants, PerenniaLs, Sandy Soil, Silty Soil, Uncategorized

    This diminutive native perennial features fragrant pinkish white blooms, somewhat reminiscent of pincushion flowers, on leafless, upright stems in late spring. A small plant, rarely more than 6 – 8 inches, it is perfect for rock gardens or the front of beds. Barbara’s buttons are drought tolerant, prefer full sun and dry, sandy …

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Plant A Patch: Fame Flower/ Rock Pink — ( Phemeranthus calycinus )

Posted by & filed under Fame Flower, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

    An incredibly tough native perennial succulent, Rock Pink or Fame Flower is an excellent choice for both rock gardens or container gardens. Being part of the purslanes family (related to portulaca or moss rose), it prefers full sun and dry, rocky soil in areas where it does not have to compete with larger, …

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Plant A Patch: Hollowstem Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium fistulosum)

Posted by & filed under Butterfly Gardens, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Nectar Plants, Sustainable Landscaping

        Joe Pye Weed, long thought of as just a roadside weed, is finally coming into its own! This tall (4 – 7 feet) native thrives in moist to wet soil and full sun to partial shade. Fragrant pinkish-purple blooms which attract dozens of species of butterflies appear in July and continue …

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Plant A Patch: Purple Poppy Mallow (callirhoe Involucrata)

Posted by & filed under Gardens, Native Plants, Naturalizing, PerenniaLs, Purple Poppy Mallow, Sustainable Landscaping

        One of a handful of plants that doesn’t just tolerate, but absolutely loves shallow, dry and rocky soil, purple poppy mallow features a low, mounded foliage and cup-shaped bright magenta flowers on upright stems. Once established, it blooms profusely in late spring and early summer (May and June) and then intermittently …

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“Frenemies “ — Bugs, Your Garden and You : Part 2: Designing for Bugs

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Garden Design, Gardens, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping

If anyone had told me, even ten years ago, that I would be designing my yard to accommodate bugs, I would have called them crazy. Back then any and all bugs were the ENEMY and needed to be immediately eradicated — with powerful insecticides so that death would be almost instantaneous. Today the shelf that …

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Plant A Patch: Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum)

Posted by & filed under Butterfly Gardens, Gardens, Mountain mint, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, PerenniaLs, Sustainability, Uncategorized

  Offering pinkish-white late summer blooms and winter structural interest, this fragrant native perennial prefers full sun and fertile, medium moist soil. Mountain mint grows in a clump form, often reaching 3 feet in both width and height. It spreads more slowly than other mints and is excellent for naturalizing. When crushed, the dense, dark …

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“Frenemies “ — Bugs, Your Garden and You

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, ecosystems, landscape management, Parasitic Insects, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Uncategorized

When I started my gardening career, and I hate to admit how many decades ago that was, dealing with bugs in the garden was easy. See a bug?  Kill it — preferably with a strong, extremely toxic chemical.            Today my relationship with bugs in the garden is much more complicated. …

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