Birds and Butterflies 177 Stories

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...
Be Your Own Wildflower Nursery
My garden just turned 6 years old. For years, I kept buying new plants to fill in the gaps — even after I had no gaps left. It got to the point where if I was near a nursery while running errands, I’d poke my head in and nab a few things — especially...
6 Overlooked Asters for Tough Spots
Asters are one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants out there, and how I love planting underutilized native asters. With shrinking pollinator numbers and habitat loss, it’s more important than ever to plant natives. And the late summer-fall...
Great Design Plant: Passiflora Incarnata
Passiflora incarnata (also known as maypop, wild passion vine and purple passion flower), is a wonderful vine to add to your landscape for its summertime beauty and its habitat values for butterflies and other pollinators. The flowers are beautiful...
Great Design Plant: Pale Indian Plantain Stands Tall and Proud
Pale Indian plantain is the most asked about plant in my Minnesota landscape whenever I host an open house. Visitors are enthralled with its size, large flower heads, pale purple flower stalks, blue-gray leaves and overall presence in the landscape. There...
Great Design Plant: Dwarf Blue Indigo Offers Carefree Beauty
I’m a big fan of Baptisia. There are many species, most underutilized, but the most common one you’ll see for sale — as either a hybrid or straight species — is Baptisia...
Great Design Plant: Snowberry Pleases Year-Round
Wander along nearly any stretch of Pacific Northwest roadside or through a forest clearing, and you will soon encounter vast thickets of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus). Most commonly seen in roadside ditches in farming areas, growing with steeplebush...
Great Design Plant: Anise Hyssop Delights Licorice Lovers
If you love black licorice, as I do, then you will want to include anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) in your landscape; crushing the foliage releases an anise (licorice) scent that smells wonderful to a licorice lover but helps keep deer and...
Autumn Joy: How to Get 3 Months of Fall Flowers
I’ve become a bit of an aster hound. There are just so many asters out there that we never hear of or that nurseries don’t sell. And I’m talking native species asters...
Great Design Plant: Parry Manzanita Stands Out in Low-Water Gardens
The magnificent stature, sculptural branching and sensual, deep cinnamon bark of Parry manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita) make a bold architectural statement. The smooth, dark red bark and sinuous branching are...
Great Design Plant: Verbena Stricta Tolerates Tough Spots
Thriving in unimproved places such as pastures, railway edges and compacted hiking trails, hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) is a fantastic native perennial to try where “nothing else will grow.” This medium-size, upright perennial has long-lasting...
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