Aster novi belgii angliae ‘Alert’
Aster novi belgii angliae ‘Alert’

Offering masses of daisy-like blooms, use plants from this large, diverse group for formal borders, and rock and natural gardens. The low-growing Alpine Aster blooms in spring. More common types are hybrids of New York Aster, which bloom in late summer and fall when many perennials are finished. Best in full sun, but partial shade in hot southern climates. Feed sparingly to avoid lush growth susceptible to mildew and diseases. All Aster frikartii varieties are somewhat resistant to mildew. Plant in well-drained soil to avoid root rot. For bushier plants with more flowers where growing season is long, pinch back in spring when shoots are 6 inches and later in early summer. Divide plants at least every other year before flowering decreases and inner shoots of clumps lose vigor. Replant only healthy outer divisions.

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Aster tongolensis –  ‘Wartburg Star’ Aster
Aster tongolensis – ‘Wartburg Star’ Aster

Aster Wartbur Star flower seed often produces flowers the first year after sowing. The 2 1/4 inch blooms come in varying shades of light violet-blue, with tufted gold centers. They bloom mid-summer to late fall. This is an extraordinary Aster, easy to grow, long-lived, very showy, and it makes great cut flowers! Aster Tongolensis is good for rock gardens, landscaping, edging and is suitable for containers. The dark green foliage forms dense, tufted mats in full to partial shade, and moist but well-drained soil. Sow Aster Wartburg Star seeds indoors in early spring using starter mix. Press the flower seed into soil and barely cover. Keep the flower seed damp and transplant plants into the garden 20 inches apart. For areas with long growing season, the Aster seeds can be directly started outside after frost danger has passed.

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Baptisia australis – Blue False Indigo
Baptisia australis – Blue False Indigo

Wild Indigo Duskywing / Eastern Tailed-Blue / Orange Sulphur / Clouded Sulphur / Frosted Elfin / Hoary Edge

Blue spikes of pea-shaped flowers resemble the tall racemes of lupines in May and early June. A slow to mature, but very rewarding native garden perennial. Found in open woods, river banks and sandy floodplains, New York to Nebraska to Georgia.

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Betula papyrifera – Paper Birch
Betula papyrifera – Paper Birch

Paper birch is best grown in medium to wet, well-drained sandy or rocky loams in part shade. It is best sited in a northern or eastern exposure that receives some afternoon shade. It needs consistently moist soils. Consider using soaker hoses and bark mulches to keep the root zones cool and moist. It needs little pruning, but if necessary, prune during the dormant season. Avoid pruning in spring when the sap is running. Performs best in cool northern climates where summer temperatures rarely exceed 75 degrees F. and where root zones are generally covered with snow throughout the winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Paper birch or canoe birch is primarily native to the cold climates of Canada and Alaska (USDA Zones 1-3), with its range dipping down into a few of the northern U.S. states (USDA Zones 4-5A) and further south in the mountains (to Colorado in the Rockies and to North Carolina in the Appalachians). This tree is noted for its white bark, which exfoliates in papery strips to reveal an orange-brown inner bark. Mature trees develop black markings on the white bark. Single trunk trees grow to 50-70’ tall with an oval rounded crown. Multi-trunked trees grow shorter with a more irregular crown. Ovate, irregularly toothed, dark green leaves (to 4” long). Quality clear yellow fall color. Tiny monoecious flowers appear in early spring in separate catkins on the same tree: yellowish-brown male flowers in drooping catkins (to 4” long) and greenish female flowers in smaller, upright catkins (to 1 1/4” long). Female flowers are followed by drooping cone-like fruits containing numerous small winged seeds that typically mature in late summer. The use of the bark for making birch bark canoes is well known.

Problems

It thrives in cool northern summers, but does poorly in the heat and humidity summers. Weakened birches become vulnerable to the bronze birch borer which, typically infects and kills trees that are stressed by summer heat and humidity. Although paper birches have some susceptibility to aphids, leaf miner, birch skeletonizer and dieback, these problems are somewhat minor in comparison to the borer.

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Boehmeria cylindrica- False Nettle
Boehmeria cylindrica- False Nettle

Host Plant – Red Admiral, Eastern Comma, Question Mark

Preferring wet-mesic and semi-shady sites, Boehmeria cylindrica lacks the stinging hairs of some of its nettle cousins. Stringy heads of tiny yellow-green flowers form between leaf stems in summer. Moths and butterflies are attracted to this modest plant.

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Ceanothus americanus – New Jersey Tea
Ceanothus americanus – New Jersey Tea

Host Plant – Eastern Tailed Blue / Spring Azure / Summer Azure

A deciduous shrub that grows just 3′ tall, the dried leaves of New Jersey Tea make a flavorful tea that was popular during the Revolutionary War. This extremely adaptable species can withstand inhospitable conditions because of massive, deep roots.

The white flower poms are attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators.

New Jersey Tea is excellent as a shrub border and a is a fabulous addition for native plant gardens. It is also effective as a shrubby ground cover for hard-to-grow areas such as dry rocky slopes and banks. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in sandy loams or rocky soils with good drainage. Thick, woody, red roots go deep and help plant withstand droughty conditions, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant.

Grown in one quart pot with approximately 6” of top growth.

Plants grown without harmful pesticides and are safe for butterfly gardens.

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Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead
Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead

Host Plant – Baltimore Checkerspot

Spikes of elegant white flowers top shiny green foliage in late summer and early fall. Grows best in moist meadows, stream banks, and swamps. Favorite breeding site for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.

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Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead – 1 gallon pot
Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead – 1 gallon pot

Host Plant – Baltimore Checkerspot

Spikes of elegant white flowers top shiny green foliage in late summer and early fall. Grows best in moist meadows, stream banks, and swamps. Favorite breeding site for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.

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Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead – 4″ pot
Chelone glabra – White Turtlehead – 4″ pot

Host Plant – Baltimore Checkerspot

Spikes of elegant white flowers top shiny green foliage in late summer and early fall. Grows best in moist meadows, stream banks, and swamps. Favorite breeding site for the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly.

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Coreopsis Desert Coral
Coreopsis – ‘Desert Coral’ Tickseed

A desert sunset on a stem! Exquisite peach and coral flowers blanket the garden with warm sunny colors. These beauties bloom continuously from June through October. Coreopsis ‘Desert Coral’ spent flowers are replaced with fresh flowers so quickly, the plant doesn’t have a rest period. Carefree.

This new variety combines the best traits of several Coreopsis for superb appearance and long blooming performance.

Features to Note:

Good For Cut Flowers
Deer Resistant
Blooms For 4 Weeks Or More
OK In Containers
Attracts Butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Attracts Birds

Coreopsis General Information:

Bright and cheery selections will attract butterflies and birds to your garden. Coreopsis are great cut flowers that last up to 2 weeks after being harvested. Superb in the border-reliable. Just give them some sun and enjoy the show. Coreopsis naturalize with ease. Cold hardy, floriferous and easy to grow.

Coreopsis Plant Care:

Likes a hot dry spot. Leave new fall growth at the base for overwintering. Benefits from division every 2-3 years inspring.

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Dalea purpurea – Purple Prairie Clover
Dalea purpurea – Purple Prairie Clover

Host Plant – Sulphurs

Tiny rose-purple flowers in cylindrical, head-like masses at ends of upright wiry stems.

This is one of the most widespread of the perennial Prairie Clovers, identifiable by their cone-like flower heads. An excellent range species, with high protein content, Purple Prairie Clover decreases in abundance with overgrazing. A midwestern white-flowering species, White Prairie Clover has elongated flower heads and is only 2 (60 cm) tall. A white-flowering southeastern coastal plain species, D. carnea var. albida, has conspicuous green bracts within the heads.

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Desmodium canadense – Showy Tick Trefoil
Desmodium canadense – Showy Tick Trefoil

Desmodium canadense is aptly named Showy Tick Trefoil for its numerous pink flowers that bloom along the plant’s upper stems for about three weeks in mid-summer. The effect is more attractive in colonies than isolated plants and tight plantings can help counter a tendency to sprawl. Like other tick trefoils (legume), Desmodium canadense adds soil nitrogen and has tiny hairs along its stems, leaves and seedpods, facilitating seed distribution by passing mammals and humans. The nectar, pollen, seeds and foliage of this species appeal to a number of insects, birds and mammals.

Characteristics that distinguish Showy Tick Trefoil from Desmodium illinoense (Illinois Tick Trefoil) are its shorter seedpods, much-shorter leaf-stem connecting the compound leaf to the stem and smaller, more deciduous leafy bracts at the base of the leaf-stem.

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