Columbine-Overlooked Cottage Garden Gem

The sheer variety of shapes and colors of Columbine flowers has always amazed me. Coming in one color or contrasting colors, there are miniature ones just a few inches high, and towering ones up to 3 feet high or more. Dangling, nodding, upright; The blossoms run the gamut of presentations. One thing they all have …

Clethra: Deer Resistant, Fragrant, and Pollinator Catnip

One summer day working at a client’s garden doing routine maintenance, I caught a whiff of wonderful fragrance on the breeze. After searching for the source, I came upon a mid-sized shrub full of narrow, spike-like creamy white flowers with an extremely sweet fragrance. Alive with insects darting in and out, the shrub swayed in …

Grow Native – Indian Pink Should Be On Your Radar

Flying under the radar for many people, Indian Pink, or Spigelia marilandica is coming into its own. A long-lived perennial that brings stunning colors to the summer garden, hummingbirds flock to these red and yellow tubular flowers arranged in clusters. Similar to firecrackers exploding in the garden, this unique native plant stops people in their …

Fringetree – Native Tree That Nobody Grows

Are you looking for a small beautiful spring flowering tree to plant this spring with great fall color and beautiful blue black fruit? Look no further than the native Fringetree. Fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus, is rarely planted in a home landscape. Seen mostly at arboretums and botanical gardens, their staff know a good thing when they …

Witch Hazel – An Underused Winter Blooming Shrub

Surprisingly, many gardeners and non-gardeners alike don't know about one of the best early flowering shrubs around - Witch Hazel, Hammamelis x intermedia. Fragrant, long blooming, maintenance free and deer resistant, I am always surprised that it isn't more widely planted.  The winter flowering Hazels -  Hamamelis x intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch …

Hairy Balls & Pollinators

Visitors looking over my garden in the fall, always ask what the strange-looking plant is that is forming large spiny pods. Growing in my veggie garden, because of the amount of space the plants take, my Gymnocarpus physocarpa, or "Hairy Balls" are a conversation starter. A Milkweed family member, another common name is Balloon Plant. …

Turf Alternatives

As a landscape designer, a frequent request from clients is getting rid of their lawn and replacing with more natural alternatives. Water hogging and pesticide laden lawns are being replaced nowadays with different varieties of grasses, meadows, and other perennials that form a low growing mat, like thyme or mazus. Ubiquitous American Lawns  Today lawns …

Delaware Botanic Gardens Unveiling

Walking into the Delaware Botanic Garden on a sizzling hot morning in August, the first thing that I spotted was a a bright orange-painted box turtle scurrying down the pathway into the shelter of a nearby log. Being greeted by wildlife is typical at the soon-to-be-opened  37-acre Botanic Gardens that is located on the shores …

Milkweed Chronicles

One of the most beautiful flowers, both in flower and seed pod, as well as great importance to wildlife, has been relegated to the roadside for years and virtually ignored. Asclepias syriaca, or common milkweed, is struggling and harder to find because wild areas are disappearing and roadsides are  regularly mown. "Familiarity breeds contempt" is a common saying and …