Great Grasses

Ornamental grasses offer contrast in texture and form in most gardens, and are often and easy, low-maintenance way to provide multi-season interest. Read about some annual and perennial ornamental grasses in these archived articles:

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Aphids

Aphids may be viewed as just another pest for gardeners to try to eliminate, but they’re really fascinating insects, with bizarre lifestyles and eating habits and they’re also dinner for lots of other insects. Forming colonies covering the leaves and stems of plants, these small sap-sucking creatures reproduce incredibly fast and a few also transmit plant diseases. Learn more about this large group of insects and how to manage them in the garden in this article…

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Basically Bugs

There are all kinds of insects inhabiting our gardens and natural areas. Some are pests of our crops and ornamental plants while others are beneficial insects. (And although we might want to call them all “bugs”, that term really only refers to those in the Order Hemiptera.) Learn about a few of these amazing animals in these archived articles:

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Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

With showy orange flowers, jewelweed comes into its own in late summer and fall. Growing in dense patches in moist, shady habitats, this native plant offers nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Usually grown just as a wild plant, it can be added to rain gardens or to suppress weeds in appropriate areas. Learn more about this self-seeding annual in this article…

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Articles on Fall Flowers

Now that the crisp days of autumn are here and summer flowers start to fade, focus on those herbaceous plants that shine at this time of year, whether for their flowers or foliage. Read about some plants that put on their colorful show late in the growing season in these archived articles:

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Painted Lady Butterfly, Vanessa cardui

The painted lady butterfly is a common visitor in Wisconsin, especially in the fall. These colorful insects prefer open areas, including prairies, old fields, vacant lots, and gardens where they feed preferentially on the nectar from relatively tall herbaceous perennials. The spiny caterpillars feed on a large number of different plants. To learn more about this butterfly, read this article …

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Articles on Plants with Purple Flowers

Purple flowers can range from range from plum to lavender, with various shades in between, giving options that mix nicely with almost any other bright or pastel colors in the garden. Read about a small selection of plants that have flowers predominantly in various shades of purple in these archived articles:

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Helenium, Helenium autumnale

For a burst of late-season color, heleniums offer something different than most other daisy-type flowers with short petals in warm, fall colors and a high, architectural center. A few of these robust perennials bloom as early as June, but most wait until August or September when the rest of the garden is waning. Learn more about the garden hybrids developed from these North American natives in this article…

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Articles on Some Prairie Plants

By mid summer many prairie plants are really coming into their own, dotting a sea of grass with splashes of color, or adding interest in planted gardens. Read about some of these native plants…

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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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