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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Tulips are the third most popular flower in the world

March 2, 2011 lawanda Newspaper Columns

When children learn to draw flowers, they usually first draw a daisy-like flower, a circle surrounded by petals.  By second or third grade, they add the cup-shaped tulip to their drawing repertoire.  Most people, even those who don’t know a lily from a lilac, recognize the tulip.  It is the third most popular flower in […]


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Blue false indigo is 2010 Perennial Plant of the Year

February 3, 2010 lawanda Newspaper Columns

      The Perennial Plant Association has chosen blue false indigo, Baptisia australis, as its 2010 perennial plant of the year.  Other common names for the plant are wild indigo, baptisia, indigo weed, rattleweed and rattlebrush.       The Perennial Plant Association describes the plant as follows:  “Newly emerging shoots produce violet-blue, lupine-like flowers in erect 10- […]


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Attracting pollinators

October 21, 2009 lawanda Newspaper Columns

      One out of every three bites of food we eat is provided through the work of animal and insect pollinators.  The mysterious colony collapse disorder among commercial honeybees, disease and loss of habitat have severely affected pollinators that sustain our food crops and quality of life.       Other insects besides bees act as important […]


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My garden is moving!

October 7, 2009 lawanda Newspaper Columns

      My vegetable garden is a large rectangle running east–west along the northern boundary of our property.  Over the years, the open field north of our fence has grown up into a wooded area.  In mid-summer, even though the woods is north of the garden, it casts quite a bit of shade.  The garden once […]


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