Perennial Plant of the Year: Geranium ‘Biokovo’

March 15, 2015 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The Perennial Plant Association has named Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2015. For starters, here is how it is pronounced: jer-AY-nee-um kan-tuh-brij-ee-EN-see bi-o-KO-vo. Notice that this is a perennial plant, not the potted annual geraniums that you buy by the dozen. ‘Biokovo’ has many wonderful qualities, and when I […]


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Edges of Another Color

July 6, 2014 lawanda Newspaper Columns

I’ve never been a fan of variegated foliage plants – those whose leaves sport streaks or speckles of white, yellow, purple, red or light green.  I also don’t care for unnatural looking streaks of color on flower petals.  But when the first fall nursery catalog arrived in the mail in mid-June, I fell in love […]


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Artemisia is 2014 Herb of the Year

February 16, 2014 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The International Herb Association makes an annual selection for Herb of the Year based on the herb being outstanding in at least two of three categories: culinary, medicinal, or ornamental.  IHA has selected Artemisia as its Herb of the Year for 2014.  This is a rather unusual selection, because there are about 400 different species […]


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Variegated Solomon's Seal

April 7, 2013 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The Perennial Plant Association has chosen Variegated Solomon’s Seal as its Perennial Plant of the Year for 2013.  It’s a plant for shady woodland gardens or for a border in part to full shade.  Morning sun is better than afternoon sun for this plant. Variegated Solomon’s Seal grows 18-24 inches tall and has long oval […]


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Native replacements for your favorite plants

January 20, 2013 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Native plants are those that were growing in a particular area when the first European settlers arrived. Many of these plants are still in existence and using them in our landscapes is a good idea for many reasons. Since native Wisconsin plants have been growing here for hundreds of years, they are uniquely adapted to […]


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Beyond mums for fall beauty

September 2, 2012 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Chrysanthemums are gorgeous and spectacular and an easy way to provide bright splashes of color in your fall landscape. There are other perennial plants, however, that will hold a place in flowerbeds all summer and bring forth their blooms in fall. Just when everything else in your perennial bed has petered out, chelone, pronounced chee-LOW-nee, […]


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July 1, 2012 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Isn’t it funny how you can have absolutely no interest in an entire group of plants and then you look at one of them one day and suddenly your interest is sparked? In my case, it happened with ferns.. There have been some ferns growing on the east side of my garage since we moved […]


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Anise, Hyssop and Anise Hyssop

June 16, 2012 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Well, this could get confusing. Anise, hyssop, and anise hyssop are three unrelated perennial plants, all having value in the garden, kitchen, or medicine chest. The overlap in common plant names is a lesson in the importance of using Latin names when you are looking for a specific plant. Anise – Pimpinella anisum – is […]


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The challenge of hellstrip gardening

April 1, 2012 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The three or four or seven-foot wide strip of grass or weeds between the street and sidewalk is mostly ignored by gardeners. But what an opportunity for gardeners to take on a new challenge! Typically this area, sometimes known as the “hellstrip,” is a hot, dry area subject to dogs doing their business, road salt, […]


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Amsonia is 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year

April 3, 2011 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The Perennial Plant Association has named Amsonia hubrichtii (pronounced am-SO-nee-ah hew-BRIK-tee-eye) the perennial plant of the year for 2011.  Its common names include Arkansas blue star, narrow leaf blue star and thread leaf blue star, giving a hint to its native range in Arkansas and Oklahoma and also a good description of its flowers and […]


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