Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Although a bit weedy because it self-seeds readily, if you have a feline friend, catnip is must-have.  This mint family member native to Eurasia contains a compound that is very attractive to most cats. The plant itself can be an attractive addition to the garden, especially when in bloom. Learn more about catnip in this article…

Astrantia, Astrantia major

With small, unusual “pincushion” flowers in subtle shades of red, pink and white, astrantia or great masterwort, is a relatively uncommon perennial in American gardens. Growing in sun or partial shade it’s best suited to places where the flowers can be appreciated up close. To learn more about this perennial plant, read this article…

Willowleaf bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana

With pale blue flowers in spring, a large mound of foliage that stays bright green throughout the summer until turning yellow in fall, willowleaf bluestar is a great addition to any sunny garden. This low-maintenance perennial, native to the central US, is easy to grow and has few pest problems. To learn more about Amsonia tabernaemontana, read this article…

Common Columbine Pests: Columbine Leafminer and Columbine Sawfly

If you have columbines in your garden, you likely have seen squiggly white trails or blotches on the leaves or had the entire leaf devoured at one time. These are significant as cosmetic problems, but generally have little impact on the plant’s health. Learn more about the life cycle of the two insects that cause these problems and how to deal with them in this article…

Forsythia, Forsythia spp.

As one of the first shrubs to flower, the showy yellow flowers of forsythia are the ultimate symbol of spring in many places. This tough, early-blooming, medium-sized shrub does well in the urban landscape, but does have some drawbacks. Learn more about forsythia in this article…

Guinea Hen Flower, Fritillaria meleagris

Looking for an unusual spring flowering bulb? Guinea hen flower sports a variable, checkered pattern on the nodding, bell-shaped flowers that are only about 2 inches long.  The dark colored flowers (shades of red, pink or purple) are best sited where they can be appreciated up close. Learn more about Fritillaria meleagris by reading this article…

Cutleaf Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata

Cutleaf toothwort is one several woodland plants that are harbingers of spring with their early flowers. Although small, this charming spring ephemeral is eye-catching with its distinctive leaves and soft white flowers. Easy to grow, it’s a great addition to any woodland garden, or to just appreciate the colonies that fill many natural areas. Learn more about this native species by reading this article…

Skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, with odd flowers like something from a science-fiction movie. The plant can bloom when there is still snow on the ground. The bizarre flowers are followed by huge rosettes of broad leaves that disappear by summer. Read this article to learn more about this interesting native plant…

Kahili Ginger, Hedychium gardnerianum

If you want a glamorous and spectacular plant to bring an exotic look to your garden, and sweetly fragrant flowers, try growing kahili ginger. This showy subtropical plant is an attractive foliage plant even when it doesn’t have its terminal spikes of striking yellow and red fragrant flowers. To learn more about Hedychium gardnerianum, read this article…

Honeybush, Melianthus major

With bold-textured, silvery blue foliage, honeybush (Melianthus major) makes a spectacular specimen plant in containers or in the border. This South African native is evergreen only in zones 9 and 10, but its rapid growth means it can be used as a seasonal ornamental to provide a lush, exotic look in cooler climates. Learn more about honeybush in this article…

Flowering Maple, Abutilon spp.

Flowering maples aren’t real maples, but they have palmate leaves that look similar to that tree’s leaves, and much more spectacular flowers than true maples have. Also commonly referred to by just the genus name Abutilon, these tender sub-shrubs can be used as seasonal accent plants or grown indoors to bloom year-round. For more about flowering maples read this article…

Balloon Plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus

Balloon plant is one of many common names for an African milkweed that develops showy, hairy, inflated seed pods that are a real conversation piece. Grown as an annual in our climate, this tender perennial can be a showpiece in the garden or interesting addition to floral arrangements. To learn more about Gomphocarpus physocarpus, read this article…

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