Common milkweed insects

Almost everyone knows that monarch butterfly caterpillars live only on milkweeds, but did you know there are many other insects that feed exclusively on these plants? From other caterpillars to bugs and beetles, there are several types of insects that have developed ways to avoid being affected by the toxins in milkweeds and have become specialized feeders on these plants. Lean more about some of the most common insects found on milkweed in this article…

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Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia

With showy red flowers popular with pollinators, tithonia or Mexican sunflower is a warm season annual that thrives in the heat of summer. The species, which grows over 6 feet tall, makes a great backdrop or seasonal screen, but there are shorter cultivars better suited to small gardens. Learn more about this low maintenance Mexican native in this article…

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Articles on More Herbs

There are all kinds of herbs used for cooking, fragrance, medicinally, or in crafts. Read about a favorite of many people — basil — as well as some less common herbs you might want to try to grow, and how to dry herbs in these archived articles:

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Wheat Celosia, Celosia spicata

With soft, dense feathery spikes of bright pink, red or purple produced in profusion, wheat celosia adds eye-catching upright flower architecture in the ornamental garden. Easily grown from seed, the flowers are great for fresh and dried flower arrangements, too.  Learn more about this long-flowering annual plant in this article…

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Fancy Flowers

All plants have flowers, but not all are particularly interesting. Most plants that are pollinated by insects and birds have interesting, colorful flowers to attract their pollinators. Read about five species with unusual, fancy flowers – and several others with amazing flowers – in these archived articles:

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Cicadas

The buzzing of cicadas means it’s the height of summer. In Wisconsin there are only a few species of this group of insects that is mainly tropical in distribution. Feeding underground on roots for years as nymphs, the adults are only around for a few weeks, making their distinctive noise and laying eggs for the next generation. Learn more about these insects in this article…

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Articles on Biennial Weeds

Biennial plants grow leaves, stems, and roots (vegetative structures) in their first year, then enter a period of dormancy (usually winter) and then bloom the following season. There are a number of weeds that have this life cycle, which affects how we can manage them. Learn about five biennial weeds in these archived articles:

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Irish and Scotch Moss, Sagina subulata and Arenaria verna

With a lush, velvety appearance, Irish or Scotch moss forms a luxurious carpet of green or gold, respectively. Not a true moss but a flowering plant, these evergreen ground cover plants resemble moss until their small white star-shaped flowers begin to bloom. Learn more about these plants that make a great filler between flagstones or spilling over rocks…

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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…

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Big & Bold

A great way to make a visual impact in an ornamental garden is to use plants with dramatic, large leaves or flowers. Use these plants for their bold texture or flowers that will really stand out among other plants with fine or medium texture. Read about six plants that have bold foliage or flowers in these archived articles:

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