Hummingbirds in the Garden

Hummingbirds are a large group of tiny birds with iridescent feathers, looking like sparkling jewels zipping among the flowers. These nectar-feeding birds utilize a wide range of plants to supply their enormous metabolic needs. Learn more about this fascinating group of birds and how to encourage ruby-throated hummingbirds, the Midwest’s only hummingbird species, in your garden in this article…

Read More...

‘Husker Red‘ Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

With showy panicles of tubular white flowers and deep maroon foliage, ‘Husker Red’ foxglove beardtongue is a star in the garden in late spring into early summer. One of few Penstemon species to thrive in humid climates, P. digitalis is a nice addition to rain gardens, perennial borders and natural areas. Learn more about this selection of this eastern North American native in this article…

Read More...

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

With short-lived pure white flowers and curious-looking seedpods, this early spring bloomer named after a US President makes a great addition to native plantings or as a shady groundcover. Its common name of twinleaf comes from the interesting butterfly-shaped leaves. Learn more about Jeffersonia diphylla in this article…

Read More...

Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla

With attractive ferny foliage and eye-catching blooms, chamomile can be a nice addition to the ornamental garden or herb garden. This Eurasian annual is easily grown from seed for its yellow and white daisy flowers that are harvested to make chamomile tea. Learn more about Matricaria chamomilla in this article…

Read More...

Lenten Rose, Helleborus ×hybridus

Early in the spring when little else but spring bulbs are blooming, Lenten Rose is pushing up its flower spikes and deeply divided, leathery, umbrella-like leaves. The long-lasting sepals in an open, bell shape offer ornamental interest long after the seeds have developed. Learn more about this herbaceous perennial native to Asia and Europe in this article…

Read More...

Woodland Phlox, Phlox divaricata

For soft blue flowers in partly shady spots in spring, nothing beats woodland phlox. This North American native thrives in dappled shade and moist, well-drained soils. With an open, relaxed habit it fits well in informal shady beds, rock gardens and wild or naturalized areas.  Learn more about this pretty late spring to early summer bloomer in this article…

Read More...

Shade… and Light!

One in the Plants Plus Series – a remix of past training presentations, printed materials and other references focused on specific plants or topics to help you increase your knowledge so you can better answer homeowner questions. To get two hours of continuing education credit for watching and reading this package of information, just complete the short quiz! This Plants Plus package focuses on shade gardening and other aspects of how light affects plants.

Read More...

Heliconias

For most Midwesterners, if they recognize a heliconia at all, it’s as a brightly colored, long-lasting component of a bouquet of tropical flowers. The genus Heliconia is a large group of plants native to tropical areas of the Americas with banana-like leaves and conspicuous inflorescences. Learn more about these showy, interesting plants in this article…

Read More...

Bat-faced cuphea, Cuphea llavea

At this time of year Halloween-themes dominate, with pumpkins, ghosts and bats abounding, so in that spirit here’s a Halloween-themed flower: bat-faced cuphea. The name comes from the resemblance of the unique flowers to a little bat face when viewed from the right angle. Learn more about this Mexican native which is often offered as an annual in cool climates…

Read More...

Baneberry, Actaea spp.

With finely cut foliage that remains attractive through the growing season and conspicuous fruit which provide ornamental interest into the fall, red baneberry and white baneberry are two similar woodland plants that can be great additions to shady gardens. These species do have poisonous fruit, so need to be used with caution. Learn more about these native perennials …

Read More...