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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.”

Save these Dates: April/May 2017 Flower Shows and Garden Festivals

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April and May bring hard choices for gardeners — spend time in your own garden or visit others? It’s tough, but you know you can manage to do both. For some suggestions, here’s a look at some of the top flower shows and garden festivals around the country.

Northeast

March 20 – April 17, 2017. Washington, DC: National Cherry Blossom Festival 

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the city of Washington, DC.  Festival activities take place throughout the city, but of course the highlight is the magnificent blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.

Exactly when the buds will open is not easy to predict, but the 2017 Peak Bloom Period — when 70% of the blossoms are open—is predicted to be March 14 – 17. Visit the National Park Service‘s website with links to the Blossom Cam, cherry blossom photos for updates.

Southeast

March 16 – April 27, 2017. Charleston, SC.: Charleston’s Festival of Houses and GardensThe South’s premiere garden festival is a month-long celebration of the “City set in a Garden.” There are walking tours of the City’s magnificent private gardens, with docents stationed at each gate in the Old & Historic District. 

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March 20 – May 25, 2017. Biltmore S.C. Biltmore Blooms, Biltmore’s magnificent gardens were the final project of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.  Weekend “Ask a Gardener” stations in the Walled Garden allow guests to talk with Biltmore’s horticulture experts. Free, daily seminars are held in A Gardener’s Place at the Conservatory on a variety of topics. For an up to date report on what’s currently blooming, check out   Biltmore.com/bloomreport.

March 24 – April 9, 2017. Tyler, TX: Tyler Azalea & Spring Flower Trails 

April 22 – 29, 2017. Virginia: Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, Statewide. 250 of Virginia’s most picturesque gardens and private homes are showcased in 30 tours during “America’s Largest Open House.” Proceeds go toward the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens, with beneficiaries such as Mount Vernon, Monticello and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

May 13 – 14, 2017. Atlanta: Gardens for Connoisseurs 2017. Celebrate Mother’s Day and visit beautiful private home gardens in metro Atlanta.

Midwest

 

May 4-6, 2017, Pella, IA: Pella Tulip Time Festival

May 6 – 14, 2017, Holland, MI: Tulip Time

June 1 – 11, 2017, Nebraska: Nebraska Wildflower Week. Nebraska’s prairies and gardens are at their best.

Northwest

 

May 21, 2016, Sandwich, Mass: Heritage Rhododendron Festival

May 17-21, 2017 Port Townsend, WA:  Rockin’ Rhody Rhododendron Festival

May 19-21, 2016, Florence OR:  Rhododendron Festival

 Southwest

May 6 – 7, 2017  Texas: Becker Vineyards Lavender Fest, Stonewall, Texas

Ball Ground: Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Display

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Ball Ground, GA

Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Display

February 18- April 15. Gibbs Gardens Daffodil Gardens is is the largest daffodil display in the country, with more than 20 million daffodil blossoms covering 50 acres of hillsides and valley. Did you think daffodils only come in yellow? There are 60 varieties with colors ranging from primrose-yellow, yellow, gold, saffron, orange, shades of yellow and orange, to blush pinks, creamy whites and white.

There’s more to see in this brilliant spring display, with forsythia and spirea plantings and cherry and flowering dogwood trees.

There are also more than a thousand azaleas, including hundreds of fragrant early-, mid- and late-blooming  native azaleas. During June, ancient Viscosum (Swamp Azalea) are in bloom.

Gibbs Gardens is a pleasure garden created by the Atlanta area landscape designer Jim Gibbs, founder of Gibbs Landscape Co., one of the largest landscaping firms in Atlanta.

Daffodil-slider

 

 

 

And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.”

—William Wordsworth

Visiting

Less than an hour’s drive from Atlanta, the gardens are open from February 28 through Dec. 15.

Located at 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107

Phone 770-893-1880 or 770-893-1881

Save These Gardening Dates:February/March 2017 Flower Shows & Garden Festivals

What’s not to love about flower shows?

Horticultural societies around the country are getting ready to kick off gardening season 2017 by transforming local convention centers into stunning display gardens and mini-landscapes. Gardening enthusiasts can venture to these wells of inspiration and get a peek at the latest gardening trends without braving rain, sleet or snow. And really, there’s no need for green thumbs — just make sure you’re wearing your walking shoes when you go. Prepared to be dazzled and inspired by fabulous gardens and displays, plus there’s typically demonstrations, lectures and great shopping.

 

Here’s a look at some of the top flower shows and garden festivals around the country.

Tulips

 

The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. March 11 – 19, 2017. Holland: Flowering the World. This year’s show celebrates Holland’s floriculture at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Washington Post calls the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show a “perennial pleasure.” The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show, with 33 acres of inspiration for gardeners and non-gardeners alike. According to conference organizers, “walking the entire 33 indoor acres of the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show at a leisurely pace takes about 3 hours and covers approximately 2 miles.”

Northeast

Connecticut Flower and Garden Show. Feb. 23 -26, 2017. Connecticut Convention Center. One of the largest and most prestigious flower shows in New England, this year’s theme is “Woodland Enchantment,” with 20 gardens created by landscape professionals displayed over an acre. Twenty gardens fill more than an acre, created by professional landscape designers and nonprofit organizations, and include naturalistic, low maintenance and organic gardens.

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Southeast

Charleston

Midwest

Media courtesy of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Media courtesy of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Northwest

Southwest

Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville Opens

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May – October, 2015

A swallowtail butterfly with a 5-foot wingspan built with LEGOs.

A swallowtail butterfly with a 5-foot wingspan built with LEGOs.

Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks

September 19, 2015 – January 3, 2016

What more can you possibly build with LEGOs? If you love pollinators, how about a swallowtail butterfly with a 5-foot wingspan? There’s inspiration galore to be found when the Nature Connects LEGO exhibition comes to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville, September 19, 2015  – January 3, 2016.

The traveling exhibition made entirely of LEGO bricks was designed and built by New York artist Sean Kenney. Gainesville’s new woodland garden will feature 14 nature-themed installations comprised of 27 individual sculptures.

What’s Special? A 6-foot-tall praying mantis (built with more than 42,000 LEGO bricks) and a swallowtail butterfly with a 5-foot wingspan. There are also duck and ducklings next to the pond, and a hummingbird with a trumpet flower (more than 31,500 bricks) off the Woodland Promenade.

Atlanta Botanical Garden’s new Gainesville location opens

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s new Gainesville location is now open! Considered a second campus, it’s on land donated in 2002 by the late Charles Smithgall and his widow Lessie in 2002. Also known as the ‘Smithgall Woodland Legacy,’ there’s approximately 168 acres, with a five-acre garden as part of the first phase of development.

Located at 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville, Georgia 30501. The entrance is located on Cleveland Highway a 1/4 mile north of Limestone Parkway on what was formerly Lakehill Drive. Google Maps is the only accurate online map to find the new address. Do not rely on other GPS navigation.

 

Visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville  

The Gainesville Garden is located at 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville, 30501 and open from April through October, Tuesday – Sunday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and from November through March, Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $8 adults, $5 children 3-12, and free to children under 3 and Garden members. For information, visit www.atlantabg.org or call 404-888-4760.

 

Austin: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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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.

Visiting

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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Portland: Japanese Garden

Portland, Oregon

Japanese Garden

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Considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, Portland’s Japanese Garden has its own personality, reflected in five formal garden styles set on five and one-half acres: the Strolling Pond Garden, the Natural Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, the Flat Garden and the Tea Garden.

What’s Special?

There are a number of concepts at work in a Japanese garden. There’s the concept of using “borrowed scenery,” such as the remarkable vista across the city of Portland toward the Cascade Mountains and Mount Hood. The concept of “hide and reveal” is subtle and affords the visitor delightful surprises. Plantings, placement of stones, and the route of pathways all give the garden wanderer constantly changing views. The garden is meant to calm and soothe, and instead of gasping in awe, the visitor is encouraged to pause and reflect.

Traditional Japanese gardens emphasize natural, abstract beauty, and you won’t find  the typical signage labeling plants.

Visiting

Summer Public Hours (March 13 – September 30)

Winter Public Hours (October 1 – March 12)

The Garden is located in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park.

Street Address
611 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205

 

New maple leaves are bright green, as the Portland weather turns warm again. Photo Credit: David Cobb

Bronx: New York Botanical Garden

 

Bronx, New York

Bronx, NY: New York Botanical Garden

Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory, NYBG

Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory, NYBG

A National Historic Landmark, the New York Botanical Garden celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2016.

In 1888, Columbia University Professor of Botany and Geology Dr. Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife, Elizabeth Knight Britton, who had a keen interest in mosses, visited the London’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The Brittons were inspired to create “a public botanic garden of the highest class” on 250 acres of land in northernmost New York City.

NYBG is considered a classical botanical garden, in that plants are studied, exhibited and people of all ages are taught about plants and the environment. The institution operates one of the world’s largest plant research and conservation programs.

Today, the New York Botanical Garden supports more than one million living plants.  NYBG is considered The collections include dramatic rock outcroppings, wetlands, ponds, a cascading waterfall, and a 50-acre tract of the original forest that once covered New York City. Among the horticultural attractions are 48 gardens and plant collections, including the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, as well as outstanding collections of daylilies, orchids, hardy ferns, cherry and other flowering trees, and conifers. The Garden is also home to the nation’s largest Victorian glasshouse, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Visiting

The NYBG is located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is accessible by Metro-North Railroad or subway. The Garden is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, as well as certain federal holiday Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Winter hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., mid-January through February). For more information, please call 718.817.8700 or visit nybg.org

The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458

Photo: Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory. Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen