Breadseed or opium poppy, Papaver somniferum

Breadseed poppy is a cool season annual whose small grey or black seeds are often used in baked goods, but technically is illegal to grow in the US since the plant contains narcotic alkaloids which are the active compounds of opium. This typically is not enforced for poppies grown as ornamentals, and there are a great variety of poppies in pink, red and purple, as well as white and bicolors. Learn more about Papaver somniferum in this article…

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Amazing Flowers

Everyone has a vision of what a “flower” looks like, but plant flowers are extremely variable and come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. Take a virtual tour of a dozen weird and wonderful flowers, each from a different plant family, and learn about some of their interesting characteristics, pollinators, or uses. No daisies here…

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Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum

With attractive flowers and foliage, Virginia waterleaf is an herbaceous perennial of moist deciduous forests that blooms a little later than most spring-blooming wildflowers in woodlands. The common name comes from the variable markings on the leaves which resemble water spots. Learn more about this native plant in this article…

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Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa

The Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial of the Year 2017 is butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa.  This native milkweed offers brilliant orange flowers attractive to a wide range of butterflies and other insects and is a host for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Learn more about this tough, long-lived herbaceous perennial that makes a great addition to many types of gardens in this article…

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Mealycup sage, Salvia farinacea

Add some blue to any garden with the herbaceous perennial mealycup sage grown as an annual.  The shrubby upright clumps produce tall, sturdy flower stems above the foliage, with dense whorls of dark blue, light blue, purple, or white flowers. Learn more about these tough, heat-tolerant plants that bloom from early summer to frost…

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Garden Pyrotechnics

In the spirit of celebration of Independence Day, instead of going with fireworks filled with gunpowder, go with Mother Nature’s fireworks – plants with flowers or form that look like exploding fireworks. This fun post offers a selection of plants with cultivar names related to the season and some that just look like they’re exploding in air.

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Astrantia, Astrantia major

With small, unusual “pincushion” flowers in subtle shades of red, pink and white, astrantia or great masterwort, is a relatively uncommon perennial in American gardens. Growing in sun or partial shade it’s best suited to places where the flowers can be appreciated up close. To learn more about this perennial plant, read this article…

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Willowleaf bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana

With pale blue flowers in spring, a large mound of foliage that stays bright green throughout the summer until turning yellow in fall, willowleaf bluestar is a great addition to any sunny garden. This low-maintenance perennial, native to the central US, is easy to grow and has few pest problems. To learn more about Amsonia tabernaemontana, read this article…

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California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

Bright yellow to orange flowers floating above lacy, blue-green foliage makes California poppy a cheerful addition to most gardens. Eschscholzia californica is an easy-to-grow annual, even in Wisconsin. Learn more about this California native in this article…

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Forsythia, Forsythia spp.

As one of the first shrubs to flower, the showy yellow flowers of forsythia are the ultimate symbol of spring in many places. This tough, early-blooming, medium-sized shrub does well in the urban landscape, but does have some drawbacks. Learn more about forsythia in this article…

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