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.

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