Rocky Mountains Native Plants 16 Stories

Many native grasses are now available for sale in local nurseries. If you have not tried any in your landscape, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is an excellent choice. This charming grass does not lack admirable attributes; beyond the fantastic foliage color and compact, upright form, it also provides food...
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: Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris Ligulistylis)
One morning several years ago, before the monarch butterfly populations crashed in 2012 and 2013, I was looking out of my window at the garden, admiring the splendor I’d created. Suddenly a far corner lifted off in a splash of orange, then another splash,...
Great Design Plant: Butterfly Milkweed, a Beacon in the Prairie
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a magnet for bees and butterflies in early spring — often providing an important source of nectar when other sources are scarce. What other perennial can rival its bright orange flowers,...
Great Design Plant: Canadian Milkvetch Draws Bees and Birds
I’ve been walking my local prairies and meadows looking for plants that seem to be thriving in various conditions. My hope is that if they do well out in diverse natural settings, they ought to do fine in my garden. Of course, I’m also looking for...
Great Design Plant: Color Outside the Lines With Harebell
There are seemingly endless choices of plants available in the Campanula genus, but few have the resiliency and native range to compete with harebell. Harebell is found in so many unique places; go hiking in the mountains in southern Colorado or...
Great Design Plant: Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany, an Easy Evergreen
This native of the U.S. West has a strong presence in the landscape. Evergreen foliage cloaks a large, upright to loosely rounded form that’s perfect as a winter accent, screen or hedge in dry, cold climates. It’s a nice alternative — especially...
Great Design Plant: Quaking Aspen for 3-Season Beauty — on Its Own Turf
If you've seen groves of quaking aspen in the wild in full fall glory, your likely question is, "Can I grow them at home?" The quick answer is yes, if you live where the trees grow naturally. If not, growing an aspen in a home garden is almost as difficult...
Great Design Plant: Aromatic Aster Keeps on Blooming
I have at least a dozen species of aster in my garden, from shade lovers to sun lovers, drought tolerators and rain garden mainstays. But in my top three is aromatic aster, because it grows in even the worst soil and blooms and blooms and blooms — even...
Great Design Plant: Rocky Mountain Zinnia Brightens Hot, Dry Spots
If you're struggling with a hot and dry area that needs a big dose of color, Rocky Mountain zinnia can come to the rescue! This long-blooming perennial is a hardy native found on the dry slopes and mesas of the southwestern U.S., but is sorely underused...
Great Design Plant: Retreat to the Shade of Hardy Catalpa
Bold and beautiful, hardy catalpa takes a big commitment of space and energy to maintain, but the payoff is worth it. Large, fragrant flowers cover the tree in early summer, and the big heart-shaped leaves provide dense, cooling shade. Winter interest?...
Great Design Plant: Veronica
Veronica is a large genus of herbacious perennials that has something for everyone — multiple flower colors, multiple foliage textures and a variety of forms. Whether you need an upright accent in cool white or a durable, evergreen ground cover, Veronica,...
Great Native Plant: Pasque Flower
Folks are always lamenting that they have few flowers both late in the growing season and early. Well, I can solve the latter with pasque flower, a clumping, slowly expanding native flower that's ahead of the game every April.
Great Design Plant: Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine
Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine, Pinus aristata, is a slow-growing evergreen tree from the windswept ridges of the southern Rocky Mountains. It's native to Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, and specimens up to 2,500 years old have been documented....
Great Design Plant: Pinyon Pine
Pinyon pines, also known as pinion or piñon, are a group of small evergreens native to the dry, upland plains and foothills of the American Southwest, the intermountain regions of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and northern Mexico. Pinyons...
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