Tag Archives: butterfly garden

Clippings: Allium ‘Milleniunm’ 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year

Who would have thought an onion would be a standout in your landscape instead of your salad? That’s before the ornamental onion — Allium “Millenium” – was named the Perennial Plant of the Year 2018 by the Perennial Plant Association.

The genus Allium covers a dozen or so species of onion, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives, as well as several dozen ornamentals that grow from bulbs and can make outstanding ornamentals.

Photo Credit: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Photo Credit: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Can you find a place in your garden for these beauties?

Botanical name: Allium “Millenium”

Exposure: Grows best in full sun. In very hot summer climates requires afternoon shade.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 or 4 to 9

Soil: Grows best in well-drained soils

Uses: Full-sun gardens where its sleek structure can complement many other growth habits. Cut flowers retain a blush of their summer color. Pair with shorter goldenrods (Solidago sp.) such as ‘Little Lemon’ that reaches 1½ feet tall.
Habit: Each plant typically produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, glossy deep green leaves reaching 10-15” tall in spring. In midsummer, two to three flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch spherical umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. The flower umbels are completely round (spherical), not domed or hemispherical as they are in some Allium species.  They dry to a light tan often holding a blush of their former rose-purple color.

Pollinator friendly: A butterfly magnet, it’s interesting through multiple seasons for both foliage and large, gorgeous blooms. Reseeding is much less a problem than in other alliums.

Photo Credit: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.

Photo Credit: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.

Maintenance: No serious insect or disease problems. Deer and rabbits usually avoid Millenium. Propagate by division in either spring or fall.  Cut back foliage in late fall.

Origins: Bred by Mark McDonough, plant breeder/horticulture researcher, Massachusetts; ‘Millenium’ was introduced through Plant Delights Nursery in 2000.

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Clippings: #Perennial #Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

Perennial Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

Perennial Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

What’s a garden without butterflies? As gardeners focus more on native plants that support pollinators, the Perennial Plant Association made a brilliant choice and named Asclepias tuberosa — butterfly weed — as its 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Native to the continental United States, butterfly weed’s orange/red/yellow flowers are a show-stopper for people and magnet for pollinators in sunny flower beds with average to dry soils.

Here’s some information from the Perennial Plant Association:

Pollinators – Many bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, beetles and hummingbirds. Butterfly weed is a member of Apocynaceae, or milkweed family. All members of the milkweed family serve as larval food for the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) and the Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle).

Hardiness — USDA Zones 4 to 9

Light – Butterfly weed grows best in full sun.

Soil – Grows best in well-drained soils and it is drought tolerant.

Uses – Butterfly weed is a perfect selection for full-sun meadow or prairie gardens as well as formal to semi-formal urban gardens. Flower arrangers and the plants make long-lasting cut flowers.

Monarch butterfly on butterfly weed

Unique Qualities – Asclepias tuberosa are butterfly magnets. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Maintenance –  Plant in masses. Butterfly weed pairs well with summer blooming Phlox, Hemerocallis, Liatris, Echinacea, Salvia, and most of June/July sun loving perennials. Reaches 2-3’ high with a 2’ spread. Cut back in early spring. Mulch young plants to prevent frost heaving. Be patient since butterfly weed is slow to emerge in the spring. Cutting back once, early in growth cycle, will promote compact growth.

Butterfly weed has no serious insect or disease problems. Deer usually avoid it. Deadheading Asclepias tuberosa should prevent reseeding and promoting a second push of color later in the season.

The Perennial Plant of the Year program showcases a standout perennial.  For other recommended perennials to add to your garden, be sure to search the Plant Database.

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Garden lovers and history buffs alike will enjoy a road trip searching out the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens. Dedicated at historic sites in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens commemorate the more than two hundred years of peace and friendship between two countries that share the world’s longest undefended boarder.

The garden trail covers more than 600 miles including the United States and Canada, and blooms May through October. Gardens are located throughout the Greater Niagara, Finger Lakes, 1000 Islands/Seaway and Adirondack Coast regions of New York State.

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Peace Garden

Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Peace Garden



For suggested itineraries, special events, nearby attractions, accommodations, and more, contact each  garden individually or call 1-800-622-2686 ext 23 (M-F 8 am – 4 pm EST)

About the International Peace Garden Foundation

Established in 1992, the nonprofit International Peace Garden Foundation is a nonprofit organization advocates global friendship through the creation of peace gardens and cultural programs around the world.

“Let the seeds of peace begin here and spread throughout the world.”

Invite Butterflies into Your Garden

Photo: courtesy of Biltmore, Asheville, N.C.

Photo: courtesy of Biltmore, Asheville, N.C.

What’s a garden without butterflies? Creating a butterfly garden isn’t difficult; after all, you can simply plant a butterfly bush or include a few butterfly-magnet flowers in a window box or planter. But why not create a welcoming habitat and enjoy a parade of these loveliest of Garden Travelers?

A butterfly garden that we can all aspire to is the Biltmore Butterfly Garden at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC. The Biltmore staff suggests: “Pick a sunny spot for your butterfly garden, preferably one protected from wind by a wall, fence, trees or other tall plants or shrubs. Ideally select a spot that will be undisturbed but will provide opportunities for viewing the butterflies.”

What else do you need? Butterflies love (and need) sun. Most of us don’t have room for an undisturbed meadow on our property, but try to pick somewhere that you won’t need to mow until the end of the butterfly season, which can last until October or November, depending on your location.

While your location dictates which plants and butterflies are native to your area, keep in mind the basic rules for attracting wildlife to your garden by providing food, water, and shelter.

Plants for a butterfly garden

Choose nectar-producing plants for adult butterflies indigenous to your region, and if you select plants that bloom at different times, there will be a steady supply of food. According to Monarch Watch, large splashes of color – especially red, pink orange, yellow, and purple– are more easily seen by butterflies.

Butterfly yummies. The three plants most commonly recommended for butterfly gardens are pentas, lantana and butterfly bush (Buddleia). Your region’s cooperative extension will have recommendations for nectar plants that do well in your area, but here are a few suggestions from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension:

  • Shrubs:  Butterfly bush (Buddleia), azalea, blueberry, raspberry, hawthorne, viburnum,
  • Wildflowers and Perennials: Milkweed, lantana, Queen Anne’s lace, purple coneflower, coreopsis, sunflowers, phlox, Joe-Pye weed, phlox, bee balm, and coreopsis
  • Annuals: Pentas, salvia, petunia, verbena, zinnia, black-eyed Susan, aster, cosmos

Remember the nursery – food for the caterpillars

Where do butterflies come from? Larvae or caterpillars! Feed those baby butterflies! The landscaping staff at the Biltmore suggests adding a few host plants, such as parsley, dill or butterfly weed to encourage butterflies to lay their eggs. (And don’t become alarmed when the larvae begin eating the plants, that’s why you planted them.)

Water, because flying is thirsty work

Butterflies like shallow water sources, such as a mud puddle, but a saucer from your pots works. And if there’s a handy rock nearby, butterflies can rest while you admire them.

And remember, if beauty is not enough, butterflies are also natural plant pollinators. If you’re ambitious, consider having your butterfly habitat certified by the North American butterfly Association. Or, simply enjoy these beauties.

“A power of Butterfly must be –
The Aptitude to fly
Meadows of Majesty concedes
And easy Sweeps of Sky -” 

― Emily Dickinson

Austin: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

LBJ Wildflower_wfc_demostration

Austin, Texas

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lady Bird Johnson, our former first lady, was known for her tireless campaign to beautify America. In recognition of her efforts, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and on it was inscribed this tribute: “Her leadership transformed the American landscape and preserved its natural beauty as a national treasure.”

Part of her legacy is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin that introduces visitors to the incredible beauty of native plants.

In 1982, Mrs. Johnson and actress Helen Hayes founded the National Wildflower Research Center to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes. Later renamed as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the 279-acre site is now an Organized Research Unit of the University of Texas at Austin dedicated to increasing the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.

The Center’s gardens display the native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country, South and West Texas, while the Plant Conservation Program protects the ecological heritage of Texas by conserving its rare and endangered flora. The Native Plant Information Network is a database of more than 7,200 native species available online.

The cultivated wildflower meadows and gardens feature 12 acres with about 650 species of native Texas plants. The center is one of only three gardens nationally emphasizing native plants.

Other points of interest: A rooftop rainwater harvesting system, aqueduct, and observation tower.

The Little House Courtyard is designed to help young children ages two to six learn about shapes, smells, textures and colors through nature. There’s also a wikiup (a framed hut used by nomadic Native Americans), tree stump stools and large pots in which children can dig for plastic insects and lizards.

What’s Special

Working gardens such as the Hill Country Stream, Homeowner Inspiration Gardens, and the Ann and O.J. Weber Butterfly Garden serve as models for homeowners as they restore their own property to a more natural state.


Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

4801 La Crosse Ave.
Austin, Texas 78739
Phone: 512.232.0100

Photo credit: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

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East Lansing: Michigan State University 4-H Childrens Garden

Michigan State 4H Childrens Garden butterfly_habitat

East Lansing, Michigan

Michigan State University 4-H Childrens Garden

The 4-H Children’s Gardens at Michigan State University is recognized as a model for children’s gardens everywhere. 4-H is the youth component of Michigan State University Extension. Children were asked what they want to see when they visit a garden and this delightful half-acre site with more than 60 theme gardens grew.

In the Butterfly Garden, children walk on the butterfly’s body, shaped by unique brick formations and surrounded by plants that butterflies love.

The Outdoor Garden area is a wonderland for children with an amphitheater for programs and specialty areas such as Creation Station, Tree House, Pizza Garden, Monet Bridge, Spitting Frog Fountains, Alice in Wonderland Maze, dance chimes, Sense-Sational Herb Garden, Jack & the Giant’s Garden, the Cereal Bowl, Rock Garden, Garden of Delight, Pharmacy Garden and the Science Discovery Garden.

Harry’s Herbology Garden

Harry’s Herbology Garden

The indoor garden features a butterfly habitat, container gardens, honey bee exhibit, and – for Harry Potter fans — Harry’ Herbology Garden where you’ll find many  of the plants from the Harry Potter books.

There’s also a G-gague model train (part of the ABC KinderGarden) that runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays during June, July and August (weather permitting).


Outdoor gardens open daily, from sunup to sundown.

Indoor garden open 8am to 5pm daily. Enter the building through the doors on the south side (under the teal colored awning). Once inside, follow the green vine on the floor.

1066 Bogue Street
East Lansing, MI 48824

Call (517-355-5191 ext. 1-349

“In a child’s garden, imagination grows.” [ info ]

Clinton: Bickehaupt Arboretum


Clinton, Iowa

Bickehaupt Arboretum

Alarmed when local trees were being devastated by Dutch elm disease in early 1980s, Frances and Bob Bickelhaupt felt that an educational arboretum would be a valuable asset to the community. Today, the fourteen-acre site features a heartland collection of more than 600 garden conifers as well as specialty gardens, including a Butterfly Garden.

What’s Special

The Bickelhaupt Arboretum is designated by the University of Kansas Entomology Program as an official waystation for monarch butterflies. One of only four such sites in Iowa and the only public garden so named in the state, it is committed to monarch butterfly conservation to assure migration continues. Butterflies need plants that provide food for the caterpillars, as well provide nectar for mature butterflies. Desirable plants include butterfly bush, milk weed, hollyhock, phlox, coneflowers, zinnias and asters.


Open daily, dawn to dusk. Free admission.

340 South 14th St.
Clinton, Iowa 52732

Telephone: (563) 242-4771

[ info ]

Rockford: Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden


Rockford, Illinois

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is beautiful throughout the year. Features around the 155-acres include the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden and a Prehistoric Garden, as well as other specialty gardens including Hosta, Grass, Butterfly, Daylily, Peony, Rhododendron and Azalea and, Wildflowers.

In addition, a bur oak grove covers 12 acre, with the largest bur oak trees estimated at over 300 years old. Impressive native trees among the grove include an enormous basswood, giant black cherries, white oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut and hackberry. Plus, over fifty species and cultivars of coniferous evergreens on site represent nine groups from North America, Europe and Asia.

Woodland trails include 1.5 miles of paved paths in two loops and 2.5 miles of unpaved trails through the heart of the Arboretum. In the winter, the trails are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

What’s Special

During your visit, see if you can spot the Klehm Arboretum mascots (pictured): Cow-li-flower, Klehmentine and Flora Fauna.


Open Daily: 9am – 4pm

2715 S. Main St | Rockford, IL

(815) 965-8146

Email Klehm

[ info ]

Coral Gables: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden


Coral Gables, Florida

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has what’s been called the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads found in its 83-acres.

The Garden itself was named after the famous plant explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954) who retired to Miami in 1935. There, he teamed with Col. Robert H. Montgomery, a retired accountant, along with other horticulturists and plant enthusiasts and landscape architect William Lyman Phillips. Phillips, who was a member of the Frederick Law Olmsted partnership and a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s, provided the original design.

Today, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden showcases its extensive collections of rare tropical plants with Phillips’ classic landscape design.

Selby_Cattleya_luddenmanniana_smThe Fairchild rainforest is a two-acre, outdoor exhibit of tropical rainforest plants from around the world, especially plants of the American tropics. The adjacent conservatory contains rainforest plants that will not survive outdoors in subtropical south Florida.

What’s Special

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s DiMare Science Village covers more than 25,000 square feet and featuring five buildings including the Clinton Family Conservatory’s Wings of the Tropics Butterfly exhibit – with 3,000 butterflies.

Fairchild’s homeschool guided programs are especially designed for children between the ages of 5-12 and include hands-on lessons.

Fairchild also enjoys a global reputation as a conservation and education-based garden, with field programs in over 20 countries, including support to protected areas in Madagascar and Africa and botanic garden development and renovation projects in South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.


Located in metro Miami, just south of Coral Gables.

10901 Old Cutler Road

Coral Gables, FL 33156