Pink and Purple Asters in Autumn

Did you pinch back your asters this summer? If so, they are probably just beginning to bloom. (If not…like me…they may be almost done!)

Asters are amazing.¬†From Stokes’ Aster’s summer blooms to the late-summer-to-fall bloom of New England Asters, Wild Asters, etc., these little flowers put on quite the show in our perennial gardens. With […]

Rudbeckias in Bloom in Shenandoah

If there’s one flower I will never be without, it’s the black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia species). Many of its varieties are in bloom now and keeping our pollinators happy.

Rudbeckias come in many shapes and lifespans and go by many common names. Most are drought-tolerant perennials here, and all seem to self-seed readily, so it’s a […]

Perennial Sunflowers in Autumn

Want height, color, and pollinators in your late-season perennial bed? Add perennial sunflowers and their relatives, as well as false sunflowers.

Helianthus species and Heliopsis species are irresistible to butterflies. Elecampane (Inula helenium – upper right) is a summer bloomer that attracts a wide variety of pollinators, including bees and hover flies.¬†Often growing 6 to […]

Milkweed in Netting Bags

Milkweed bugs (nymphs upper left and adults middle left) literally suck the life out of milkweed pods and their seeds. The bug-eaten pods are already dried and split, ready to spread their fluff.

I’m trying small nylon-net bags this year over the pods to help prevent the milkweed-bug damage. Once the pods formed and before […]

Blackberry Lily Seeds Ripening

Some plants really live up to their names! The Blackberry lily, Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis), shows its ripening seed clusters when the pods split.

It likes full sun, is drought tolerant once established, and is attractive to native sweat bees and other pollinators. It’s also an easy and fun plant to start from seed! […]