Monthly Archives: May 2016
With the arid environment that characterizes the Southwestern United States, plants must develop to withstand the brutal summer heat. These plants have developed to seek out and thrive in environments that would otherwise be inhospitable. Native plants are defined as plants that have been established in a given area for hundreds of years. This definition is often paired with a geographic location, like the Southwestern US. It is challenging to pinpoint an exact geographical boundary, as plants do not follow the same boundaries people do, so we will just limit it to the Southwest in general - zones 6 through 11, west of the Rocky Mountains.
Evergreen Tree - Arizona Cypress The soft grey-green foliage of Arizona cypress provides a subtle backdrop to colorful landscape plantings in the foreground, or can stand alone as a centerpiece. As it ages, the bark begins to exfoliate, revealing red-brown bark. Reaching 50 feet high at maturity, Arizona cypress has adapted to the arid Southwest, requiring less maintenance and upkeep compared to other evergreen species.
Deciduous Tree - American Elm Even though many of these trees were lost to Dutch Elm Disease in the mid-1900s, cultivars today have been developed to resist it. It starts in spring with subtle green flowers providing pollinators with a fabulous buffet. As the green leaves emerge, American elm offers shade that rivals other shade trees before turning bright yellow in the fall.
Shrub - Yucca Though it's spiky foliage makes yucca seem intimidating, it's deep roots and succulent qualities make it ideal to thrive in the Southwest. Bright white flowers in the summer attract pollinators and add a touch of whimsy to any garden. Variegated varieties often have a yellow border that becomes more yellow in the summer. Be sure to plant it with plenty of room to grow, it can reach up to 20 feet tall in ideal conditions.
Flowering perennial - Hyssop Crushing the foliage of hyssop releases a smell similar to black licorice. It's flowers, ranging in color from light blue to purple to pink, bloom from mid-summer through fall, providing bright and cheery color to the landscape. Even though it is not very tall, reaching only 18 inches in height, it provides a punch unlike any other plant in your landscape.
Grass - Prairie Dropseed Grass Prairie dropseed grass has thin, green arching blades that turn a golden yellow in the fall. The seed heads, which appear in late summer, have a very faint sweet smell to them and dip lower as the seeds ripen. Use it in a mass planting or in a small cluster for best results.
Each of these plants has developed to withstand the harsher climates of the southwest. Be sure to include them for drought tolerance and lower maintenance overall. To see our favorite native plants for other regions, check out these articles: Native Plants for the Northeast Native Plants for the Southeast Native Plants for the Upper Midwest Native Plants for the Southern Midwest Native Plants for the Northwest
Like the stunning landscapes found in the Northwest United States, the native plants found in that region of the country are unique and intriguing. Native plants are defined as plants that have been established in a given area for hundreds of years. This definition is often paired with a geographic location, like the Northwestern US. It is challenging to pinpoint an exact geographical boundary, as plants do not follow the same boundaries people do, so we will just limit it to the Northwest in general - zones 5 through 8, west of the Rocky Mountains.
Deciduous tree - Ginkgo As a tree known to be as old as the dinosaurs, ginkgo makes an interesting statement in the landscape. With its unique fan-shaped leaves, it has no known living relative in the country. Its bright yellow fall color is a delight to see, and is easy to identify in the winter with its unique knobby branches. Use it as a statement piece, and have a plant that walked with dinosaurs in your yard.
Shrub - Potentilla Also known as shrubby cinquefoil, potentilla is a little powerhouse in full sun. Delicate flowers bloom in the summer, ranging in color from white to yellow to pink. As a low maintenance plant, it is perfect for your shrub border and is also deer resistant. With its small rounded form, potentilla does not grow too large but provides a pop of color that can't be missed.
Evergreen - Christmas Fern Christmas Fern provides green foliage year-round when planted in the shade. Growing about two feet tall, the Christmas fern's long fronds provide a soft, feathery backdrop to other plants during their growing seasons and stand out in the bleak winter months. Fiddleheads in the spring are tightly curled and can be edible with proper preparation.
Flowering Perennial - Columbine Columbine flowers nod their brightly colored flowers in the spring breezes, with colors in almost every color imaginable. The origami series features blue and red flowers with white centers, looking like they were folded from incredibly thin paper. Later in the season, they die back, allowing for other flowers to take center stage. But while they are blooming, they are not to be missed!
Grass - Soft Rush Grass While not an actual grass, soft rush grass appears to be one at first sight. With soft, round stems, oft rush grass thrives in moist environments. Often used by birds for nest material, and by people for weaving material, soft rush grass provides an upright aspect to wet and boggy landscapes.
Each of these plants represents the diversity available within the Northwestern United States. These plants have adapted to the environmental conditions of the Northwest and are ready to provide you with unique and exciting features within your landscape.To see our favorite native plants for other regions, check out these articles: Native Plants for the Northeast Native Plants for the Southeast Native Plants for the Upper Midwest Native Plants for the Southern Midwest Native Plants for the Southwest
The Southeast United States is home to some beautiful places to visit. These locations are home some incredible native plants thriving with little recognition.
Today, we'll talk about five native plants from the Southeast United States. Native plants are defined as plants that have been established in a given area for hundreds of years. This definition is often paired with a geographic location, like the Southeast US. It is challenging to pinpoint an exact geographical boundary, as plants do not follow the same boundaries people do, so we will just limit it to the Southeast in general - zones 7 through 10.
Evergreen - American Holly
American Holly is relatively easy to distinguish in a landscape, especially in the winter. With its evergreen leaves and bright red fruits, American holly provides a food source for birds in the winter. It can reach up to 50 feet in height in ideal conditions, but will also thrive in shady conditions, making it an excellent multi-use plant.
Deciduous Tree - Sourwood
Reaching over 30 feet tall, delicate white flowers in mid-summer similar to lily-of-the-valley flowers, and dramatic red foliage in the fall, sourwood trees are sure to captivate your interest all year round. Bees favor sourwood trees, and high-end gourmet chefs desire the honey for it's unique and tasty characteristics. It is best used as an ornamental shade tree, as its dense foliage provides incredible shade in the summer.
Shrub - Sweetshrub
In May, sweetshrub's red flowers smell incredibly sweet and delicate, reminiscent of pineapple and strawberries. As the seasons progress, the flowers give way to brown, urn-shaped pods before the plant turns yellow in the fall. Sweetshrub can be expected to grow from six to nine feet in both height and width, and is often used as a specimen or in native plantings. It is also known as Carolina allspice.
Flowering perennial - Bee Balm
If flower's that echo fireworks in the sky are something you're hoping to have in your landscape, look no further than bee balm. With colors ranging from light pinks to purples to deep reds, bee balms summer-blooming flowers are sure to provide that pop of color your yard has been missing. Beyond that, it is a coveted pollinator plant, but resistant to deer and rabbit feedings.
Grass - Big Bluestem
With seed heads reminiscent of turkey feet, big bluestem provides a punch to any landscape, standing anywhere from four to seven feet tall. Blue stems in the spring and summer make it an attractive contrast to any landscape and looks fantastic within a massed planting or in a pot.
Using these plants in your landscapes not only provide beauty to your space but also enrich the habitat available to native and adapted creatures by providing them shelter and food opportunities. They are already adapted to the soils and climate of the area, increasing their chances of success. Be amazed at how they thrive and watch the wildlife around you thrive as well.
To see our favorite native plants for other regions, check out these articles: Native Plants for the Northeast Native Plants for the Upper Midwest Native Plants for the Southern Midwest Native Plants for the Southwest Native Plants for the Northwest
The Northeast US is home to many amazing places and sights. It's also home to some amazing native plants. Today, we'll talk about five native plants suitable for the Northeast US. For this article, we are defining native plants as plants that have been established in a given area for hundreds of years. This definition is often paired with a geographic location, like the Northeast US. The Northeast US contains USDA zones 3-6, and all of these plants are suitable for planting within these zones. There may be other environmental conditions to take into account when choosing plants.
Evergreen - Canadian Hemlock Arching 60 to 70 feet tall at full maturity, Canadian hemlock is a gorgeous evergreen tree to include in your landscapes. The strong pyramidal shape, dipping lower branches and dark foliage provides an excellent backdrop year-round while providing habitat for some birds and mammals.
Deciduous Tree - Sassafras Tree With bright yellow flowers in the spring, and red-orange leaves in the fall, sassafras provides seasonal interest year-round. Reaching anywhere from 40 to 60 feet tall, sassafras has been used for ages for a wide variety of culinary, herbal, medicinal and artistic uses. It also provides habitat for the spicebush swallowtail butterfly.
Shrub - Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Standing about 15-20 feet tall when fully mature, Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry has something for everyone. In the spring, small white flowers appear in a very short window, followed by small, blueberry-like fruits loved by both people and animals. In the fall, Autumn Brilliance lives up to its name, turning a vibrant red. Plant it as a hedge or as a specimen plant for seasonal appeal year-round.
Flowering perennial - Coreopsis With petite yellow flowers in the summer, coreopsis flowers contrast beautifully against the thin, dark green foliage from June through August. Because it is drought tolerant, including it in a low-water landscape will provide just that pop of color you were looking for. Planting it in masses results in a vibrant, colorful mass approximately 2 feet tall that will bring a smile to your face all summer long.
Grass - Little Bluestem Starting with a blue-ish hue in the spring and turning to orange tint in the fall, no landscape is complete without little bluestem. Topped with small white seed heads in the fall that last until spring, little bluestem seed heads provides winter interest and can be used in floral arrangements. Standing about three feet tall, it is ideally suited for landscape use.
Using each of these plants in your landscape will not only echo the beauty of the native Northeast US, but these plants are already adapted to the soils and climate of the area, increasing their chances of success. Try seeing if you can find a place for each of these plants in your landscapes, and be amazed at how, with the right care and placing, they thrive. To see our favorite native plants for other regions, check out these articles: Native Plants for the Southeast Native Plants for the Upper Midwest Native Plants for the Southern Midwest Native Plants for the Southwest Native Plants for the Northwest
Nature Hills Nursery, King Green Landscaping, and Sienna Francis House Team Picture
Last year, the Sienna Francis House reached out to us to see if we were willing to help them redo their entrance to the women's shelter. The entrance didn't look the greatest and they felt it needed to be redone. They have a lot of ladies living there that liked to garden and were interested in doing more. We thought that this would be a great way to give back to the community, so we reached out to our friends at King Green Landscaping to see if they would be interested in helping. They thought this would be a great project to do with us, and offered to help. We provided the plants and they provided the expertise and manpower to get this project done the right way. When talking to Stephanie at the Sienna Francis House, we decided that an edible landscape would be nice to have for the residents, as they do not typically get much fresh fruit donated. We also determined that planting a butterfly pollinating garden would be good for the environment. King Green came up with a plan on how we could combine both.It was a very busy day as there were others out putting on a new roof! First, we cleared out the grass that was there.
Removing the grass Next, we had to put the plants where they needed to go and applied mulch around them:
Planting and applying mulch. Then we watered thoroughly:
Here are a few images of how it turned out. In all, we planted five blueberry bushes, five raspberry bushes, five blackberry bushes, three currant bushes, three compact cranberry plants, three sand cherry shrubs, three standing ovation serviceberries, and nine strawberry plants. In addition to those edible plants, we planted seventeen butterfly milkweed plants, twelve salvia, nine goldenrod, nine rudbeckia, and four Joe Pye weed plants. We will provide a follow-up post to this next year when the plants are hopefully starting to produce some fruit!
Raspberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries
Here is a list of plants we used in case you would like to learn more about them: Duke Blueberry Autumn Bliss Raspberry Black Satin Blackberry Butterfly Weed Plant May Night Salvia Goldsturm Black Eyed Susan Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry Alpine Currant American Cranberry Standing Ovation Service Berry Little Joe Pye Weed, and Ozark Beauty Strawberry