We wanted to create a buffet for local butterflies by our patio, and a mass planting of Eupatorium purpureum ‘Little Red’ did just the trick. Not bad for a highway ditch native.
Baptisias, commonly known as false indigo, are North American native members of the pea family and quite drought tolerant once established. They provide amazing architectural form in a sunny garden or perennial border, and are deer-resistant and a butterfly magnet (See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.).
Not only do baptisia come in blue, which many people are familiar with in the most common species, B. australis, but they are also available in a wide array of colors such as white, yellow, purple, and pink, and new breeding efforts are producing bicolor flowers such as those of Lunar Eclipse.
Baptisias have long been one of our favorite groups of sun perennials here at PDN. Through our trials of new varieties introduced to the market, as well as our own breeding program, we continue to select for improved structure and habit as well as flower color. In 2017, we have introduced 2 new varieties in our Tower Series, Yellow Towers and Ivory Towers. These join our previous introduction, Blue Towers, all having a vigorous upright habit to 4.5-5′, terminating in 18-20″ spikes of flowers, true show-stoppers in the garden.
Due to high demand, we quickly sold out of finished stock of Ivory Towers, but don’t fret, we have another crop coming along and they should be ready just in time for our Spring Open Nursery & Garden Days April 28-30 and May 5-7. And be sure to join us on Sunday May 7 at 2pm for our Gardening Unplugged garden chat series, where Tony will be talking about baptisias. You can also read Tony’s more in depth article about baptisias, here.
There are few times of year more exciting for us than lycoris (surprise lily) season, and we are right in the midst of that now. We’re also enjoying peak butterfly season at the same time, which is really great since butterflies love to drink surprise lily nectar. It’s hard to put the camera down with so many great photo opportunities, so we thought we’d share one of our favorites from this week…an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Lycoris x rosea. (See more flowers that attract butterflies). See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.
Looking especially great in the garden today is Buddleia ‘Blue Heaven’. This amazing butterfly bush was hybridized to have a perfectly rounded, compact shape throughout the growing season without any clipping. Here’s our amazing plant in the garden this week.
We know it’s hard for some folks to wrap their mind around being excited when insects eat your plants, but that’s how nature works. In the best scenario, the insect eating the plant is as beautiful or more so than the plant their eating. I just snapped this photo of the larvae of the Pipevine Swallowtail devouring all of our aristolochia (pipevines) in the garden. This actually doesn’t harm the plants, and before long, your garden will be filled with these beautiful butterflies below. No spraying, please. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.
I just snapped this photo yesterday in the garden of the native (Illinois south to Florida) Centrosema virginianum (butterfly pea) vine. We don’t currently offer this, but if we did, would you buy it? See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.
One of my favorite foliage perennials is unquestionably Aristolochia fimbriata. While the flowers are insanely cool and produced all summer, the foliage is just so hard to beat. Even where it isn’t winter hardy, Aristolochia fimbriata makes a great summer container spiller, sprawling to about 2′ in width. Here’s how it looks in the garden today. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.
I just snapped this photo of the lovely Salvia ‘Madeline‘…a very cool bicolor-flowered salvia. Salvia ‘Madeline’ is very easy to grow in a sunny, well-drained site.