I’m Back!

I’m back!

My book Design Your Natural Midwest Garden sold out this Spring and the publisher, unfortunately, has declared bankruptcy.  I have no more books to sell but there are still copies available at Amazon.

I haven’t just been lolling around all summer, eating bon-bons–I have been working on my new book.  The working title is Gardening with Native Plants Through the Year; writing about plants in bloom each month of the year. and I will provide a few designs, as well.

But it’s more than that. 

In March, we get rid of most of our lawn;

In April, there’s an essay about keeping rain water here instead of sending it to New Orleans;

In June, what are the best plants to attract pollinators through the summer?

In summer,  it’s several ways to Beat the Heat;

On Thanksgiving Day, it’s about the 1st people;

We’ll review books by Wendell Berry and Richard Manning;

And, of course, there is the weekly story of what’s in bloom.

The End of August

August is the end of summer, filled mostly with Purple Cone Flower, Prairie Baby’s Breath, and yellow daisies of all sizes. 

Purple Giant Hyssop in a savanna, August 2013.  

But if we go into an oak savanna, woodland edge, or stream or riverbank, we will see the  dramatic presence of Purple Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariaefolia).  Growing up to 6’ tall, Its compact, 6-8” long spires, in bloom in August  and September, are attractive to pollinators, especially bees.   

Its name is not quite accurate– the flower spikes are not purple, but  creamy white.

They can be planted in partial shade in the home garden, as well. Grow it at the edge of a clearing, underplanting it with Carex pensylvanica and C. rosea.

Its stamens make the spikes resemble fuzzy caterpillars.

Burnidge Forest Preserve 9/27/14 

By the end of September, It’s spikes have turned to dark brown, a dramatic presence in the woods in fall and winter.

It has a stunning presence in the winter, as well.  (Bluff Spring Fen. Dec. 2008)

It’s a 3-season plant for savannas and woodland edges that is well-worth planting.

‘Blue Fortune’ is a popular cultivar of Agastache scrophulariaefolia with showier bright blue flower spikes that bloom in July and continue through September.  Its blossoms, too, are attractive to bees.  It grows in full sun; these are situated against the west wall of my house.  One could grow both in different situations in their yard, as I have done.

Midwest Groundcovers mixes ‘Blue Fortune’ with Rattlesnake Master; spikes and buttons always make a dynamic combination.

Would love feedback, not only on the blog, but on the new web site, as well.

7 Responses to I’m Back!

  1. Patty September 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    So glad you are back! I know many of us have missed your posts this summer and look forward to seeing more from your newly designed Webb site!

  2. Jean September 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    Good to hear from you! can’t wait to see the new book! I have started growing the rattlesnake plant and hysop. Slowly my prairie grows. Jean

    • pat hill September 2, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

      Haven’t heard from you all summer–I’ll have to swing by and see your prairie. The neighborhood still misses you.

  3. Julie Long September 3, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    Your info is always so great and I enjoy reading it so would you change my email to my aol account that I see much more often. Thanks julie

  4. Sue September 3, 2017 at 7:18 am #

    Welcome back. I’m looking forward to your new book. I saw this for the first time at Raceway Woods. It’s a striking back drop. I’m hoping for a long mellow Fall.

  5. Suzanne Massion September 3, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    Whew Pat! Got worried that something bad had happened, especially after hearing about Tom VanderPoel. So glad you’re busy writing and taking more beautiful images of your garden.I’ll post more comments when I have a longer look. July 12th wind and storm hit our property with a vengeance; twisted oak trees, snapped off Silver Maples. Not sorry to see the Silvers go but not right on top of Pagoda Dogwoods.

  6. Jason September 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    Hi Pat! That’s terrible about your publisher, but I’m excited about the new book. You must know I’m going to read it as soon as it comes out! By the way, we have a mutual friend – Anna Moeller. I work with her down in Springfield sometimes. I just learned that she is a gardener!

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