Native Plants for All Gardens

The use of native plants is becoming more and more prevalent in our landscapes. It is hard to argue against the use of these plants when many have such desirable attributes as drought tolerance, low maintenance and the ability to attract birds and other forms of wildlife. Now with local suppliers the ability to obtain plants for the garden is much easier. An added benefit is the fact that some native plant nurseries, such as Sweet Grass Gardens, in Ontario Canada will harvest seed from the local area to produce their plants. This strengthens the indigenous plant colony and does not introduce competing foreign diversity.

Many native plants have the ability to tolerate adverse weather and poor soil conditions because they naturally have genetic characteristics to withstand this environment. Many native plants have a very extensive root system to search out moisture and soil nutrients. Some plants have 2/3 of

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Garden Plants for the Overlooked Fourth Season

Perennials in the Garden for Fall and Winter Interest

Looking for ideas on how to design an attractive garden for the overlooked winter season usually means wading through lists of trees and shrubs for the most attractive fall foliage colour and winter form. With a little luck, there might even be a few days of colourful berries to peak interest before birds or cold temperatures change the view. After a few minutes the lists become quite monotonous with two key plants; winterberry holly and red twig dogwood. When many gardeners are faced with staring out the window for what could be months at the frozen landscape, it is important to broaden our list of winter interest landscape plants.

Snowy winter scene in upstate New York

There are many more plants that can add interest to the picture than Ilex and Cornus. Very little attention is paid to the

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Efficient Perennial Maintenance

Plan First to Efficiently Maintain Perennials

The following are a few tips on developing a strategy plan to maintain your perennial plants more efficiently.

Graceful drifts of perennials greet visitors at the entrance garden to the Niagara Parks Botanical Garden and School of Horticulture in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada.

• Draw a sketch or plan of each perennial bed or border. Indicate each plant on a scaled drawing. The time that it takes to create this valuable plan will be well spent when garden revisions are being done. Use this plan to record your ideas while they are still fresh. • Take pictures of the garden during each season. Although this is often the lowest priority item on your “to do” list, pictures are essential to help recreate the ideas noted on your plan. This is particularly helpful if you are redesigning your perennial garden in the winter. •

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Perennials for Attracting Wildlife

Selecting the Right Perennials can Easily Attract Butterflies, Hummingbirds and other Wildlife to the Garden.

Bringing birds, hummingbirds, and butterflies to the garden is a natural reward for creating a well-designed landscape. A garden that attracts and helps sustain wildlife is one that has benefits beyond just being a visually pretty display.

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Planning a garden to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, birds, or other wildlife need not have to be done on a large scale or involve exotic plants. A wildlife garden can even be created from any existing perennial garden. Extensive garden renovation need not be necessary to make a garden into a wildlife-friendly one. Chances are good that some existing plants already attract wildlife (in a good way) and the addition of some more key attracting plants will strengthen this. Once a garden is created for a specific type of wildlife other visitors may soon follow.

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