Mukdenia, Mukdenia rossii

Grown for its showy foliage and airy flowers, mukdenia is an uncommon herbaceous perennial for the shade garden. The glossy green, fan-shaped leaves are attractive throughout summer, but when they transform to bright red starting at the tips they become a stunning statement in the garden. Learn more about this introduced ornamental plant in this article…

Sea thrift, Armeria maritima

Sea thrift is a profuse spring and early summer bloomer, with pink or white flowers on low mounds of dense foliage. Coming from mountainous and coastal areas, it needs excellent drainage and lean soils to thrive so can be a challenge to grow in wet Midwestern climates. Learn more about this clump-forming evergreen perennial in this article…

Datura

With coarse foliage and big, dramatic funnel-shaped flowers on large, mound-shaped plants, datura makes a bold statement in the garden. These fast-growing annual or tender perennial herbaceous plants are easily grown as seasonal plants in colder climates. Learn more about these plants that are not only ornamental, but have been used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes for millennia in this article…

Shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia

With delicate, nodding purple, pink or white flowers that resemble tiny “shooting stars”, Dodecatheon meadia is a charming spring wildflower of moist prairies and open woodlands that adapts well to home gardens. Learn more about this perennial native to the central and eastern US in this article…

American Hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

With attractive trifoliate leaves and the ability to fix nitrogen, American hog-peanut is a vigorous annual vine that twines around neighboring plants – making it welcome in some places, but usually considered a weed in ornamental landscapes. It is a somewhat unusual plant because it produces two types of flowers and seeds. Learn more about this North American native in the pea family in this article…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

‘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…

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