Wanting to try something a bit “outside the box” for a Christmas tree this year? Or just some plants to add interest to the garden in fall and winter? Take a look at my Holiday Plants board on Pinterest for some ideas (and feel free to poke around my other gardening-related boards there as well!).
Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Another excellent post on why Butterfly Bush is, well, as Brittany Spears put it, “not so innocent” and the author offers up six native plants that are far more effective at attracting wildlife.
Sorry to burst the feel-good bubble on this popular plant, but it’s becoming a real problem across the country as seed from Buddleia is distributed by birds. The seed sprouts, new plants grow and push out native plants that wildlife depend on. It’s unfortunate that big plant growers/breeders aren’t putting more effort into raising awareness of native plants that perform so much better and do so much for our threatened wildlife.
In my last post, I told you I was working on that “island” in the front yard and soliciting ideas for what to plant there. Well, I can show the finished product, after a visit to the nursery where I hemmed and hawed for a bit. I settled on a sasanqua Camellia (cultivar name I can’t pronounce) and three Heuchera’s (Coral bells). This particular Camellia blooms in fall, as well as these coral bells I planted, though the foliage is pretty eye-catching too.
Finally got around to fixing up a few things in the yard, namely, this “island” in the front. It had previously been filled with ajuga and Mondo grass, both of which eventually died. Grass had been gradually encroaching on it, so I took my trusty shovel edger and made a sharp cutoff edge around it.
The plan is to put down some type of edging in the line, then mulch the island and plant a mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and perennials. Using the software I bought to put together landscape renderings for clients, I’ve started working on some ideas.
Most of the island is covered by the canopy of a red oak, so my choices are mostly shade-tolerant plants like Camellias, Japanese maple, Boxwood, and the like. As you can see, I’m a big fan of Boxwoods. But the possibilities of different combinations of plants is almost limitless, so the challenge will be to narrow down the ideas and pick one…preferably before winter sets in.
Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife: Is Butterfly Bush Invasive? Should we plant it in urban areas?.
I strongly urge my fellow gardeners to read this article on why Butterfly Bush should be avoided. It sounds crazy, I know, because it is a beautiful shrub and very durable. But its ability to produce copious amounts of tiny seeds easily distributed far and wide by the wind is reeking serious havoc on ecosystems, displacing important native plants crucial to the survival of wildlife. Yes, there are new cultivars that boast of being sterile and non-invasive, but the same claims were made about the Callary pear tree and new varieties of Purple loosestrife that still managed to produce some seed that escaped and spread those plants like wildfire.
When I was still doing landscaping (and even to some extend after I closed down my business), I got a lot of questions from clients about how to rejuvenate tired lawns. I would always offer my best advice and do what I could, of course, through aeration and reseeding, liming and fertilizing. But it was always with a degree of internal reluctance and hesitancy, as I’m not a big believer in spending a lot of time, money, and effort into preserving big patches of green. I’d much rather see garden beds expanded, or use interesting groundcovers to reduce the amount of water used, and cut down on fertilizer runoff. The cliché is that every manly man takes pride in having the greenest, thickest, most lush lawn in the neighborhood. But I never felt that way. My pride and joy is my garden of shrubs, perennials, and ornamental trees.
Whenever friends are over, I always hope they’ll inquire about the garden and ask me about the different plants I have out there. Certainly much more interesting than grass. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy some color in the landscape?