Thursday, June 18, 2015

Win a Wildlife Waystation!

We're giving Away a Wildlife Waystation 
Valued at $7,500!

We are so excited to be working with 2 of Better Homes & Gardens’ best magazines Easy Garden Projects and Country Gardens Magazine to give away a $7,500 Wildlife Waystation! The winner will receive $7,500 worth of native plants plus a garden design and consultation with famed author and garden designer, Scott Calhoun of Zona Gardens, all compliments of American Beauties Native Plants.

Wildlife habitat is diminishing at an alarming rate. That means that your backyard is more important than ever to the wildlife we hold so dear. Here’s
how you can create a wildlife friendly yard.

Providing Food for Wildlife
Planting native trees, shrubs and perennials will provide wildlife with their natural diet that includes; nectar, pollen, seeds, nuts and berries. Adding birdfeeders is a great way to provide supplemental nutrition.

Provide a Clean Source of Water
Just like us, wildlife needs a fresh water source to drink and to bathe in. Try to incorporate ponds, rain gardens, birdbaths and puddling areas for butterflies. Water will bring so much life to your garden!

Provide Cover and a Place to Raise their Young 
Evergreen trees provide shelter all year. Leave brush and leaf piles in a quite corner of your garden. Meadows, shrub borders, even dead trees provide cover and nesting. You can also supplement with birdhouses, bee houses, bat houses, toad houses and more.

Avoiding pesticides and herbicides is an essential part of creating wildlife waystation.

Bringing Life to Your Garden!
Peggy Anne 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vivacious Viburnum

People often ask me what my favorite plant is but, I could never pick just one. However, if I could pick a whole genus, I think it might be viburnum. They are one of America’s most popular landscape plants, with good reason. Most viburnum have at least 3-season interest, attractive foliage and growth habits. White or pink flowers in spring, some quite fragrant, and they attract butterflies looking for nectar. In late summer the fruit begins to form often with fantastic colors attracting robins, bluebirds, thrushes, catbirds, cardinals, finches, waxwings, and more. They are the ultimate bird-scaping plant.

Many have outstanding fall color too. For gardeners looking for spring bloom and fall color, viburnum is a great substitute for invasive plants like callery pear and burning bush. Viburnum have a wide distribution range in the U.S. attesting to the fact that they are quite adaptable. They generally grow well when planted in moist, rich and slightly acidic soil. Light requirements vary a bit, but again they are pretty adaptable. For best fruit set it’s advisable to plant at least 2 different cultivars. Here is a look at some of my favorites.

Lovely white flowers attract butterflies and other beneficial insects
Dark blue berries attract birds
Beautiful fall color, three season interest

Flowers attract butterflies, blue berries feed game birds, songbirds
Stunning yellow to wine-red fall color
Most soil adaptable of all Viburnums

Huge nectar source for native insects
Important food source for wildlife in the winter
Perfect screen or specimen plant

Fragrant flowers provide nectar for butterflies and other pollinators
Compact plants with multi-colored berries, relished by birds and other wildlife
Grows well in most soils

Flowers attract butterflies, berries are a great source of food for birds
Red-purple foliage contrasts with blue-black fruit in the fall
Wine-colored fall foliage

Flowers provide nectar for butterflies and other pollinators
Red-purple foliage contrasts with blue-black fruit in the fall
Berries are a great source of winter food for birds and other wildlife

Bringing Life to Your Garden!

Have fun out there, Peggy Anne

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Trees are the Backbone of Every Great Garden Design

Large trees keep us cool in the summertime

A great garden that is full of biodiversity includes, herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees. Some refer to gardens planted this way as a layered garden. They are also the most visually pleasing as they mimic the way we see plants in nature. Think of trees as the backbone of your design. They give us shade to cool the air and they shelter us from winter winds. Their flowers, fruits and fall colors give us all-season beauty. Think of trees as an investment or like building a foundation. And, try to remember when you look at the price tag of your soon-to-be new tree that someone has been caring for it daily; watering, feeding, repotting and pruning, for many years before it arrived at you favorite garden center.

We use trees, shrubs and perennials to create a natural looking garden

The right trees can also provide food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife. Their flowers provide nectar and pollen for pollinators. Later, their fruits, nuts, berries and seeds are another important food source for wildlife. Trees are also a welcome nesting site for birds and other creatures, offering a sheltered place for them to raise their young. Consider planting evergreen trees too. They provide shelter for wildlife all year long! Native trees and their cultivars are the best choice to attract wildlife because they have evolved together. A white oak tree for example supports more than 500 kinds of butterflies and moths. While the invasive Bradford pear supports zero.

Here are a few of my favorites

Heavy nectar producer, drawing all kinds of pollinators
Insect eating birds visit the tree to feed on insects
Excellent fruit for a number of birds

A small graceful tree with fragrant flowers
Flowers attract butterflies
Mockingbirds, blue jays, pileated woodpeckers and cardinals love the fruit

Pollen and emerging leaves attract a long list of pollinators
Insect-eating migrating birds visit the tree looking for pollinating insects at work
Acorns are a major food source for a variety of wildlife

The fruits are a staple for 80 species of birds 
Including cedar waxwing named for this tree

Adapts to almost any growing condition and makes a good windbreak

Year-round beauty, flowers, berries and great fall color
Birds love the fruit and so will you!
Attracts early bees and butterflies

Many thanks to Bailey Nurseries for the images!

Bringing Life to Your Garden!
Have fun out there, Peggy Anne

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer Is Their Time To Shine!

Trillium just beginning to  fade in my backyard
All of my delicate, native spring ephemerals are beginning to fade, the trillium, Virginia bluebells and shooting star… While it’s sad to see them go, summer is when so many of our beautiful natives really shine. This is a perfect time for you to think about adding native perennials to your garden. Pollinators and other beneficial wildlife could really use your help and the lovely summer blooms and butterflies will brighten your day.

Start them young!
Your garden can be a place to share dinner with your friends and family, a quiet retreat at the end of the day and even a classroom. By inviting nature into your garden you will be able to discover the natural world with your children or in my case grandchildren, to teach them to be good stewards. What child wouldn’t be delighted by a hummingbird, a swallowtail butterfly or a cocoon?
Why not join the nation wide celebration of Pollinator Week by having your own Pollinator party? Our partner, The Pollinator Partnership celebrates Pollinator Week the June 15-21. During that time they highlight the importance of pollinators including bees, butterflies, birds and bats. On their website you’ll find planting guides for your specific ecoregion. You can also look up local Pollinator Week events or post your own. They even have fun stuff for kids.

Here are a few of my favorite perennials that really shine in summertime. These are all tough as nails, super easy to grow and will give you long-lasting color. Put them on your shopping list today.

Butterfly Weed
Butterfly weed produces loads of bright orange flower clusters from early summer into autumn. The bright flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It is a host plant for Grey Hairstreak, Monarch and  Queen butterflies. The dried seedpods are often used in dried flower arrangements. This is an essential plant if you want to attract a variety of butterflies to your property, especially Monarchs.

Jeana Garden Phlox
Erect, stiff stems are topped with sweetly scented, lavender-pink flowers from midsummer through early autumn. The flowers are small but there are up to one hundred in each cluster creating a unique tiered effect. Strongly mildew resistant, it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies in huge numbers.

Miss Manners Obedient Plant

'Miss Manners' is aptly named because, unlike many other kinds of obedient plant, this one is clump forming and doesn't spread throughout the garden. Stiff, square stems end in dense spikes of pure white, snapdragon-like flowers, which bloom throughout the summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the nectar. Deer tend not to eat this plant.

Iron Butterfly Narrow Leaf Ironweed
A butterfly magnet in late summer,  this vigorous perennial shows off masses of tiny, true purple flowers that attract beneficial insects for a nectar feast. Delicate green foliage gives it a fine texture that is enhanced by grouping. Very tolerant of rough, sandy, infertile, dry soils. 

Slender, upright form makes a vertical statement. Wands of tiny white flowers bloom over an extended period of time in mid to late summer attracting loads of butterflies. Despite the height it won’t need staking. 

Bringing Life to Your Garden!
Have fun out there, Peggy Anne

Many thanks to North Creek Nurseries for the images!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Garden Designs for the Southwest!

American Beauties Native Plants could not be more proud to have Civano Nursery as a partner. This family run business located in Tucson, Arizona excels in every way. I have been lucky enough to travel to Arizona to get a firsthand look at the operation.  The garden center is beautiful, filled with top quality plants and accessories, and a place where kids can pet the animals and get in a little golf.  Their growing facilities are some of the best I’ve seen anywhere, with plants properly spaced and not a weed in sight. These guys and gals are dedicated, the real deal.

That’s why we are so happy to announce that we now have a collection of native garden designs to help Southwest customers get inspired and get planting. We’ve teamed up with famed author and landscape designer, ScottCalhoun of Zona Gardens. Scott has designed 3 native gardens; a hummingbirdgarden, a songbird garden and a butterfly garden. There is something for everyone here. Thank you Scott and thank you Civano Nursery for making a difference for wildlife!

Scott Calhoun, Country Gardens magazine and American Beauties are teaming up to giveaway a Wildlife Waystation valued at $7,500. Enter to win! Look for us in these fine magazines.


Bringing Life to Your Garden!
Have fun out there,

Peggy Anne