Who’s Showing Off Today?

Posted by & filed under Bird Friendly Trees, Native Trees, Naturalizing, serviceberry, Uncategorized

  Serviceberry trees are putting on quite a show right now.     These easy to grow native trees are show stoppers in all four seasons! In early spring —  March and April  —  they feature gorgeous white blooms that add  soft, pleasant fragrance to the air. Summer means delicate green leaves and a crop …

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Right Plant, Right Place

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, ecoregions, ecosystems, Landscaping, Native Plants, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

  We went from a yard that had rich, loamy soil and the perfect amount of gentle morning sun to living on top of a defunct rock quarry that sits in deep shade for most of the day until it roasts  in the worst hours of the midwest afternoon sun. Finding plants that survive in …

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 Establish A Community – Part 4: Ecological Function, Aesthetic Form

Posted by & filed under Design, design process, Designed Plant Communities, ecosystems, Landscaping, Plant Communities, Planting Communities, Uncategorized

  Our modern perceptions of what a beautiful landscape looks like are not really our own ideas. They were in large part shaped by English landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their highly romanticized works interpreted for the public what landscape designers were providing for the wealthy upper class. Their paintings, like the …

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Establish A Community —    Part 3: Design Principles –  The Layered Look

Posted by & filed under Designed Plant Communities, Landscaping, Layers, Native groundcovers, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Plant Communities, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized, Vertical layers

  The technique of planting in layers is neither new or revolutionary. For years, designers have considered the front, middle and back as layers in residential bed design, making sure that the three layers work together harmoniously. Rainer and West, co-authors of the book Planting in a Post Wild World, add an additional dimension to …

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What Is A “Sense of Place”?

Posted by & filed under Nature and Stress Reduction, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Uncategorized, Urban Landscaping

  Last week I promised that we would explore the principles of designing a shade garden using the concept of a designed plant community. And we will be doing that — just not today. Today I want to answer a question that was posed to me after last week’s blog.  A reader contacted me and …

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Remembering Grandma’s Garden

Posted by & filed under Drought tolerant plants, Grandma's garden, Heirloom gardens, Heirloom plants, Night blooming plants, Old-fashioned flowers, Shade-loving plants, Spring blooming plants, Uncategorized

  My husband and I just returned from a ten day vacation in Virginia. The weather was perfect the whole time we traveled; spring was emerging and everywhere we visited the surroundings were bursting with color.     Since we both love American history almost as much as we love gardening, both Monticello and Colonial …

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Invite An Insect: Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Butterfly Gardens, Host Plants, Insects, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Nectar Plants, Pollinator Gardens, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Whether you are planting to attract butterflies, bees or a host of other native pollinators, finding out which specific plants are the best to include can be complicated. In order to help you design your pollinator garden, I have pulled together a list of some beneficial insects and their related plants. Look for “INVITE AN …

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The Not So Secret Lives of Bees

Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Benefits of Nature, Causes of Insect Decline, Native Plants, Pollinator Gardens, Uncategorized

Originally published in September 2018, our two part series on native and non-native bees adds important information to our current discussion of native pollinators.        Two years ago, when we moved into this house, I planted the beginnings of a butterfly garden. Last summer it didn’t amount to much — the perennials were small and it …

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Preparing for Pollinators

Posted by & filed under Beneficial insects, Butterfly Gardens, Design, Insects, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Pollinator Gardens, Sustainability, Sustainable Landscaping, Uncategorized

  With all the Buzz about pollinators in the news lately (sorry, just couldn’t resist it), I thought that this might be a good time to think about adding a pollinator garden to the landscape.         For the past few years, flower and gardening magazines, websites and even home improvement television shows …

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Plant A Patch: Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)

Posted by & filed under Clay Soil, Fall gardens, Fall planting, Native Grasses, Native Plants, Naturalizing, Rain Garden Plants, Rain Gardens, Rainscaping, Switch grass, Uncategorized, Winter Landscaping

  Reminiscent of the days of the tallgrass prairie, switch grass, with its upright, columnar shape can be a striking stand alone focal point, a massed anchor for a border, or a backdrop for a rain garden. Reaching up to 6 feet in height when in bloom, switch grass is easily grown in moist, sandy …

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