Category Archives: Native Plants

Plants We Love: Heuchera

I admit it: I’ve got a hankering for heuchera. There’s something about this member of the Saxifrage family that gives me joy. Maybe it’s the dainty flowers, the earth-toned foliage or the adorable cultivar names like ‘Purple Petticoat,’ ‘Southern Comfort,’ ‘Tiramisu’ and ‘Cinnabar Silver,’ to name a few. Continue reading

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Mark Your Calendar for These Spring Plant Sales and Giveaways

Some of us soon might be gazing wistfully at snow out our windows, but the truth is spring is not far away. What better way is there to beat the winter doldrums than to gear up for spring planting?  Continue reading

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Plants We Love: River Birch

A recent stroll along the James River reminded me of my love for the river birch. As I neared the end of my walk in downtown Richmond, I happened upon a few stately specimens, their bark in full peeling splendor. 

You?ll know the river birch, or Betula nigra, when you see it. The bark peels up from the trunk in layers, revealing a rainbow of tans, reds and browns (?cinnamon? is a good description). These colors are more vivid in older trees. Oval or triangular leaves have double-toothed edges, and the trunk is typically divided into two or three trunks. 
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Plight of the Pollinator


I cannot live without coffee and chocolate. Therefore, I cannot live without pollinators.

This week is National Pollinator Week, and Facebook is full of beautiful, up-close photos of our pollinating friends at work. I look at them while enjoying my morning coffee (and contemplating chocolate for breakfast).
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Plants We Love: Turtleheads -- Snap Them Up!


Chelone, (it rhymes with phony and baloney) is a native member of the figwort family. It is more commonly known as turtlehead. It's not hard to figure out how it got its common name; those blooms shaped like turtleheads are so adorable that even someone who is not a fan of turtles can?t resist them. They remind me of kids running around in the rain with their tongues sticking out to catch the droplets. Chelone was a nymph in Greek mythology that offended the gods by not attending the wedding of Zeus to Hera. To punish her, they turned her into a turtle. Continue reading

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Native Plants for Every Environment


Natives are great for many reasons. But to give them a great start, they need to be planted in the proper environment. Whether you have shade, part shade to sun, moisture or a dry landscape, there is a group of plants that would be perfect for that site. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Bloodroot

Warning: Bloodroot can be extremely toxic, even fatal.

I'm not going to discuss the medical uses for bloodroot. There is plenty of information on the web (and from professional herbalists, which I certainly am not) explaining its benefits and dangers. Just let me say do your research very well. Also, consider pets and children before planting it in your landscape. As beautiful as this plant is, it is not worth risking loved ones? health or possibly even lives. Continue reading

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Care To Make A Trade? Check Out Seed Swaps

The idea couldn?t be simpler. You have seeds left over from last year?s garden but, this year, would like to try some new plants. Somewhere nearby, a fellow gardener is in the same boat. The two of you attend a neighborhood seed swap organized by one very ambitious person or group and ? voil? ? you both have new seeds to plant. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Iris Cristata

Iris is one of my favorite perennial genera consisting of over 300 species. When growing iris it is important to determine the species. Some like sun others like shade and some want wet. Others can't tolerate wet feet at all. They can be 4 inches or they can grow to be over 3 feet tall. Continue reading

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Plants We Love: Buttonbush

A few years ago my husband and I moved to a lakefront property that had lawn growing down to the water's edge. I immediately started researching putting in a riparian buffer (I always think of Hyacinth from the britcom "Keeping Up Appearances" touting her "riparian buffet" when I hear that phrase). Continue reading

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