Daylilies: A Must Have For Your Garden

Posted by & filed under Daylilies, Designing with Daylilies, Drought tolerant plants, Dry gardens, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson       Daylilies         An almost perfect perennial for the Midwestern garden.   Don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance; daylilies are truly tough plants. They tolerate a variety of soil conditions from dry to wet and rich to rocky. They grow in full sun, partial sun and …

Read More »

Low Maintenance Landscaping

Posted by & filed under Design, Drought tolerant plants, Grounds Maintenance, landscape management, No-mow yards, Turfgrass Alternatives, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   As much as I love gardening, I absolutely HATE the mindless, time-consuming and oftentimes expensive routine maintenance chores involved in taking care of a traditionally landscaped yard.  Rather than a place to relax and unwind, the idealized suburban landscape of perfectly manicured turf, neatly edged walkways and precisely pruned shrubs can easily …

Read More »

Great Companions

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Birds, Butterfly Gardens, Designing for Butterflies, Drought tolerant plants, Dry gardens, ecosystems, Full sun, Gardens, Groundcovers, Insects, Native Grasses, Native groundcovers, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Rock gardens, Shade Gardens, Shade-loving plants, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   My daughter FaceTimed me the other day. She wanted me to see a plant and tell her what would look good with it in her garden. I gave her a few suggestions, but the conversation really got me thinking. I don’t know how many times I have stood in a garden …

Read More »

Establish A Community —    Part 2: Design Principles –  The Site

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, landscape management, Landscape mistakes, Landscaping, Native Plants, Planting Communities, Uncategorized, Wild Plant Communities

For the past week my study of plant communities for shade gardens has led me into rereading Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s book Planting In A Post-Wild World. It’s an interesting read, a satisfying mix of philosophy and how-to advice for the novice as well as the professional who is looking for a way to …

Read More »

The Mid-Summer Garden

Posted by & filed under Benefits of Nature, Deadheading, Gardens, Grounds Maintenance, Mid-summer gardens, Pruning, Uncategorized

My flower gardens are at their peak. They’ve had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and now the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms are as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas are the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies are flocking to …

Read More »

“Bee-Friending” Insect Populations

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Insects, landscape management, Native Grasses, Native Groundcover, Native Plants, Native Shrubs, Native Trees, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, Predatory Insects, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

  Insect populations around the world are rapidly declining. Within the next 20 years, 40% of the earth’s insect species may be extinct and within 100 years insects could disappear completely.   Insects are the foundation of the planet’s ecosystems. When just one type of insect disappears, dozens of other species, including humans, are directly …

Read More »

Rethinking Lawns – Part 1:  History of Lawns in the United States

Posted by & filed under History of Lawns, Turf, Turf Management, Water Management

My water bill came yesterday. I know that compared to some peoples’, mine isn’t enormous, but it still is taking a bite out of my summer budget. I’d much rather spend that money on some new patio furniture or specimen plants I’ve had my eyes on all season, but paying the bill has priority. I’m …

Read More »

“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 …

Read More »