Blue Heron landscape Design | 2012 August
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August 2012

30 Aug Designing with Native Plants Follow Up – So now what?

This past Tuesday, on my Garden Designers Roundtable post, I discussed “Designing with Native Plants” by showing

"Scott Hokunson " "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) on Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

you a few examples of native plants that you most likely already know, but might not know are native. I hope I have stimulated you enough to want to learn more about native plants, but you might be thinking; “Yeah those were great examples, but now what do I do?” Fear not gentle reader, for through this post and moving forward, I will attempt to guide you into the wonderful world of native plants, using them to make your landsape come alive, and maybe even establish a sense of place (genius loci). Let’s get started!

The first place you should turn, obviously, is to the posts of my fellow Roundtable designers. You will find a great deal of insight in their sharings.

Next, read my review of Doug Tallamy’s wonderful book “Bringing Nature Home” (then buy and read the book).

Finally, when you have finished with these, try visiting the following links for more examples (and sources!) of native plants. In future posts we’ll be looking at a few more books on this subject, as well as further uses of native plants, and a few design tips. For now, enjoy these sources, and please feel free to leave questions or comments below, or even better, continue the discussion over at our Facebook page!

All the best, Scott!

Connecticut Botanical Society – Learn about, and what’s in your CT backyard!

Project Native – Non-profit native plant nursery in Housatonic, MA

Native Plants & Wildflower Gardens – Carole Sevilla Brown’s excellent blog on ecosystem gardening!

Wildflower.org – Native plant database.

Plant Native – Directory, database, and tips.

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27 Aug Garden Designers Roundtable: Designing with Native Plants!

Ask a dozen homeowners, or 20 or even 50, if they would like a garden of native plants, and you get a vast array of answers; “Yes I love having pollinators visit!” “Oh, I don’t have the right setting for that…” “My neighbors would never approve.” “What do you mean, like weeds?” It seems that when talking native, plants are automatically relegated to certain predispositions, too bad, because there’s more to native plants than meets the stereotype!

Here to shatter the myth that native plants are just a bunch of weeds loved only by tree huggers and liberal fruitcakes, are some beautiful stars of the garden. Plants that work well in many settings, doing the double duty of feeding the native pollinators, and winning over even the primmest of taste buds.

You may recognize many of these, but did you know they are native plants?

Very few trees can rival the amazing bark of Heritage River Birch. Able to tolerate wet soils, but widely adaptable, this moderate tree will garner many stares when placed near a walk or patio. Fall brings a wonderful yellow glow to the foliage, and the winter silhouette it very striking.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Heritage River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Cully’)

Does anybody not like the cheery aura of Black-eyed Susan. One of the most recognizable flowers of late summer, this native works well in both formal and informal settings, and is a long bloomer!

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Black-eyed Susan (Rubeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’)

Another very recognizable native, is White Flowering Dogwood. It’s clean white bracts will brighten up a shadowy woodland edge, or star in the frame created by window pane. Later in the season bright red berries appear, enticing robins to bring their rhythmic call to the garden.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

White Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Can you imagine a lovelier face staring at you from the middle of the perennial border? Rose Mallow, standing near five feet tall, does just that. At five inches across, the blossoms are visible from great distances in the garden, and are often filled with pollinators.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)

There isn’t much color in the garden as autumn turns to winter, unless of course you have a plant that berries like Winterberry Holly. As leaves fall from tree and shrub, it’s just beginning it colorful display. Prized by both birds and floral arrangers alike, Winterberry Holly will put a smile on your face, when the rest of the garden has turned brown.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

The next three photos, are from the parking lot of Cabella’s Outfitters in East Hartford, Connecticut. Outdoor stores, have long been the place to find native plants. Seems natural to use native plants to recreate the atmosphere their customers prize most, the wild back country.  I wonder how many explorers see the great beauty in these plants and include them in their gardens.

Little Bluestem is a grass found throughout the country. It’s upright habit and bluish-green blades add a wonderful architectural element to the garden. In fall the foliage turns red-orange, echoing the color high in the canopy.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Little Bluestem Grass (Schyizachyrium sscoparium cv.)

You might recognize Eastern Redcedar, from the highway median, or from a hike through a meadow transitioning to forest, but have you ever considered it as a specimen in the garden. These cultivars rival the most handsome specimens of Hinoki Cypress, but will tolerate a wider range of conditions. Not bad for a plant whose berries are used to make Gin!

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana cv.)

Here you can see three of our plants in the same shot.

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Little Bluestem Grass (foreground), Eastern Redcedar and Heritage River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Cully”), in the background.

The picture was taken at “The Holy Land”… Dunkin Doughnuts. Switch Grass is another species found throughout the U.S., and lately has been rising in popularity thanks to new cultivars that produce beautiful foliage. This specimen, which I think is ‘Ruby Ribbons’, is the reddest of the Panicums. It seems to pull the red right from the ordering kiosk, doesn’t it?

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

Red Switchgrass (Panicum virginianum cv.)

So, there you have it. Several examples of native plants, and not a weedy sot in the whole bunch. It’s time to consider native pants in your garden, yes for their value to pollinators, yes to preserve native species as global economies bring in more and more exotics, but perhaps more importantly, because they are beautiful!

What do you think, have I convinced you to try more native plants in your garden?

After leaving a comment to tell me your thoughts on native plants, please visit my fellow Roundtable members, to see what they think of “Designing with Native Plants”.

Thomas Rainer : Grounded Design : Washington, D.C.

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

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22 Aug Worthy of Words Wednesday 8.22.12 – Coneheads!

An acceptable pruning technique for White Pine, or a clever disguise for visitors from the planet Remulak? If you notice strange beings “consuming mass quantities”, and shouting Mepps! Mepps!, better alert the authorities!

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

White Pine (Pinus strobus) pruned like “Coneheads”…

 

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

White Pine (Pinus strobus) pruned like “Coneheads”…

 

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

White Pine (Pinus strobus) pruned like “Coneheads”…

 

"Scott Hokunson" "Blue Heron Landscape Design"

White Pine (Pinus strobus) pruned like “Coneheads”…

 

Notice any similarities?

 

 

 

 

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