image of plant

Anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum

Anise hyssop is a great plant for attracting bees, butterflies and beetles. Easy to grow and often blooming from seed the first year, this short-lived perennial offers purple-blue flowers and fragrant foliage for ornamental or herb gardens, but is also at home in prairies and meadows. Learn more about this native species in this article…

Read More...
image of insect

Silver spotted skipper, Epargyreus clarus

Skippers are a group of small butterflies with quick, darting flights. The silver spotted skipper is one of the largest skippers. This chocolate-colored butterfly is easily identified by the conspicuous white or silver spot on the underside of its hind wing that gives it the common name. Read about this common, but often overlooked butterfly, in this article…

Read More...
image of plant

Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes

If you’ve seen a large, mostly black butterfly lately, chances are it was a black swallowtail, a very common butterfly of eastern North America.  The colorful caterpillars feed on many herb garden plants while the adults nectar at a variety of flowers. To learn more about this species and how to encourage it in your garden, read this article…

Read More...

Ramps, Allium tricoccum

There aren’t many native woodland plants that also double as vegetables, but the spring ephemeral Allium tricoccum is one. Commonly known as ramps or wild leek, this native onion species is frequently collected and sold at farmers markets or served in upscale restaurants. To find out more about this perennial plant, read this article…

Read More...
image of plant

Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum

Mayapple is a native wildflower with distinctive, deeply lobed, umbrella-shaped leaves. It forms dense colonies in open deciduous woodlands and other shaded sites.  It can be a wonderful groundcover, outcompeting most weeds in a woodland garden or naturalized setting. To learn more about this unique herbaceous perennial, read this article…

Read More...
image of plant

Blanket flower, Gaillardia spp.

Every year, the National Garden Bureau selects one ornamental flower to feature in their “Year of the” program.  2015 is the Year of the Gaillardia. This native North American plant is both a common wildflower in places and a colorful garden ornamental, with new cultivars being developed all the time. Learn more about blanket flower in this article…

Read More...
image of insect

Trichopoda pennipes, Parasitoid of Squash Bug

There are all kinds of flies in the Midwest. One interesting species is a medium-sized black and orange tachinid fly that develops in a number of true bugs, including squash bug. Although not really common, you may have this in your garden and not even know it! To learn more about this parasitoid, read this article…

Read More...
image of insect

Cucumber Beetles

In late summer and fall, cucumber beetles – and similar corn rootworms – are common visitors to squash and cucumber flowers. They are not pollinators, but actually eat the petals, and sometimes the plant foliage. The cucumber beetles are important pests because they also can tramsit diseases. To learn more about all of these beetles, read this article…

Read More...
image of plant

False Solomon’s Seal, Maianthemum racemosum

Solomon’s seals are great native woodland plants to add to any shade garden. False Solomon’s seal looks very similar to the “true” Solomon’s seal, but the two are easily distinguished by the shape and location of the flowers and berries. Learn more about Maianthemum racemosum (false Solomon’s seal)  in this article…

Read More...
image of plant

Eastern Red Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

A favorite of returning ruby throated hummingbirds and gardeners alike, Aquilegia canadensis is at its best when it shows off its dangling blooms of red and yellow for several weeks in the spring. This native species is equally at home in naturalized settings and ornamental gardens. To learn more about eastern red columbine, read this article…

Read More...