Tiny spring-flowering bulbs are cheap, quick and easy to plant and addictive - there's always room for more. Check out online and catalog offerings (you won't find all that many in garden centers) during fall bulb-planting season and try something new. Thumb or scroll through and buy whatever stirs your heart and suits your conditions.
Nancy DuBrule-Clemente and Karen Bussolini have a conversation about our mutual struggle between planting as many native plants as possible to support the entire life cycle of diverse co-evolved wildlife, versus planting ornamental plants that just give us joy, even if they're not native. We discovered that the two are not mutually exclusive. In September, a time of year when many gardens are limping along, Nancy's are as exuberant as she is, She has enough flowers to feed wildlife and cut for arrangements too.
I’ve always loved staghorn sumac’s tropical-looking leaves, young stems resembling velvety antlers (hence its common name), plumy cream-colored flowers, spectacular fall color and fuzzy red berry clusters (only on female plants - they’re dioecious). But I had no idea how much interrelated life, drama, trickery, sex, life and death went on in its embrace until the show was right under my nose.
Favorite pollinator plants bloom for a long time and attract all manner of beneficial insects. Learn what to plant for July and August flowers for pollinators.
Showy Star of Persia (Allium christophii, aka A. albopilosum) is a garden star. It's a Goldilocks plant - not too tall, not too short, with easy-to-hide foliage, just the right-sized flowering globes - and pizzazz to spare.
Ripening daffodil foliage is not a pretty picture. But knotting, braiding,bunching, wrapping with rubber bands, bending leaves or cutting them down too soon is detrimental to the health of the plant. Look for good companions to hide and support bulb foliage.
After such a mild winter, my 'Brandywine' strain hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus 'Brandywine' ™) are especially lovely. Time to give these Lenten roses, aka Oriental hellebores, center stage. Even my cut-leafed stinking hellebores (Helleborus foetidus) look pretty good this spring.
A garden coaching client's bed of Physostegia virginiana totally changed my perspective about this aggressive native plant. Now this stalwart perennial tops my list of plants that are beautiful, support wildlife and solve problems. Read about how this plant solved a big erosion problem with style.
How do we support resilient local food webs? Entomologist Doug Tallamy notes that caterpillars transfer energy into the food web better than anything else, so we need to increase their numbers. Dr. Tallamy's research shows that some native plants are more ecologically productive too, that 5% of our native plants make 75% of the food that drives food webs.
As a young gardener getting a whole lot of hands-on experience wrestling out rocks, poison ivy, invasive shrubs and vines, I began doubting the wisdom of traditional garden books - especially regarding double-digging. I could see that plants grew over, around and between rocks in natural areas. Why not find a better way to prepare beds on my rocky mountainside, quit pulling out stones and put plants in the right niches?