Birds and Butterflies 173 Stories

Great Design Plant: Eurybia Macrophylla Fills a Void
Large-leaved aster (Eurybia macrophylla) is an extremely adaptable and reliable native plant that thrives in partial shade and average soil. Common throughout the deciduous woods around the Great Lakes, it can form substantial stands of large,...
12 Entertaining ‘Bee-haviors’ of Native Bees
What I relish most about my pollinator garden is the three-ring circus of clowns, acrobats, contortionists and other performers. While nurturing a garden habitat that gives native bees a place in which to live, eat and raise their young, we also...
Great Design Plant: Silphium Perfoliatum Pleases Wildlife
Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is not for the faint of heart, especially gardeners who usually shy away from large plants. But use its size to your advantage. What perennial native plant grows to a height of 10 feet or more in as little as two...
Great Design Plant: Low-Maintenance Allium Cernuum
When the weather cools in fall, it’s time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. Most of the familiar ones are from faraway places: tulips have their origins in the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor (Turkey), and daffodils originate from southwestern Europe....
Great Design Plant: Encelia Californica
California brittlebush (Encelia californica) is a must for low-water habitat gardens. This vigorous and dependable subshrub shows off its exuberant mass of large daisy-like flowers in spring and fall. Its long, bountiful bloom periods,...
Great Design Plant: Rhododendron Canescens
The Southern garden wouldn’t be complete without azaleas. Every spring they make a big statement in every color you can imagine. The Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is a native woodland shrub with a pale pink color that will offset the...
Great Design Plant: Helianthus Maximiliani Attracts Beneficial Insects
Prairies really begin to shine in the fall as the native grasses turn copper, bronze or gold. The tall flower stalks of Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) rise above this golden grass palette, unveiling clusters of large yellow flowers....
How to Design a Garden for Native Bees
Most people are aware of the honeybee crisis, but honeybees aren’t the only ones in trouble. Other pollinators are also in decline. Since becoming aware of the honeybee crisis, researchers...
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: Lindera Benzoin Offers 3-Season Interest
The bold yellow flowers of forsythia, a shrub introduced from Asia, are a sure sign of spring in the temperate U.S. (zones 5 to 8), but that is a one-act show. Other than offering cover for some birds, forsythia has little...
Great Design Plant: Nourish Wildlife With American Beautyberry
The American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a large Southeast native shrub that not only looks its best in fall, but also offers habitat and food to native birds. Its bright purple berries bring unique seasonal color and provide...
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: 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...
Great Design Plant: Arctostaphylos Glauca Nourishes and Delights
As with many manzanitas, big berry (Arctostaphylos glauca) has an architectural structure with dark red seasonally peeling bark and sinuous branches that add a sculptural sensibility to a rugged or natural garden. Its extra-large...
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