Wednesday, March 20, 2013

American Beauties Native Plants

Bringing Life to your Garden

Welcome to our First Blog!

In this blog I want to start a conversation about caring for nature and enjoying all the beauty it has to offer. I hope to hear about your experiences and to learn from our collective successes and failures. I could never limit my love of plants to just one group. Ours is an equal opportunity backyard where natives and non-natives live peacefully side-by-side. Having said that, I do pay special attention to our native plants because they feed, house and protect all the creatures that make our garden come alive. 
Thank you for being here!

Love at First Sight

After a long, gray winter the first signs of spring are extraordinarily special and sharp leaved hepatica makes my heart beat faster. Out of a small bunch of brown leaves, tiny stems push up their lavender faces looking for the sun. They are so tiny they could be in a vase at Barbie’s house but I don’t mind getting my knees dirty to admire the perfect symmetry in each tiny bloom. Hepatica appreciate moist, humus rich soil that’s neutral to acidic. They need some shade, especially in warmer climates. Plant them in drifts near the house where you’re sure to notice pastel colors in a sea of crispy brown leaves. Nomenclature: Hepatica acutiloba, Anemone hepatica, Hepatica nobilis var. acuta? Who knows, the taxonomists are having a field day with this one. I just call it gorgeous.

Butterfly of the Month Club

Celastrina ladon - Spring Azure (male)
It won’t be long before our butterflies are back and one of the first to look for is the Spring Azure. Their range includes nearly all of the United States except for parts of Texas and Florida. The eggs are laid on flower buds of woody shrubs like dogwood (Cornus), New Jersey tea (Ceanothus) and blueberry (Vaccinium). The caterpillars are tended by ants in exchange for a sweet liquid supplied by their “honey glands”. Adults sip nectar from a variety of blossoms including, milkweeds (Asclepias), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) and American holly (Ilex) to name but a few. This image is from our friend Bill Johnson.
Check out his website here. Thanks Bill!

Every American Beauties Native Plant Purchased Benefits the
National Wildlife Federation