Baptisias: Great American Natives!

Baptisias, commonly known as false indigo, are North American native members of the pea family and quite drought tolerant once established. They provide amazing architectural form in a sunny garden or perennial border, and are deer-resistant and a butterfly magnet (See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.). Not only do baptisia come in blue, which many people are familiar with in the most common species, B. australis, but they are also available in a wide array of colors such as white, yellow, purple, and pink, and new breeding efforts are producing bicolor flowers such as those of Lunar Eclipse. Baptisias have long been one of our favorite groups of sun perennials here at PDN. Through our trials of new varieties introduced  to the market, as well as our own breeding program, we continue to select for improved structure and habit as well as flower color. In 2017, we have introduced 2 new varieties in our Tower Series, Yellow Towers and Ivory Towers. These Read more [...]

Surprise Lily and Butterfly Season

There are few times of year more exciting for us than lycoris (surprise lily) season, and we are right in the midst of that now.  We're also enjoying peak butterfly season at the same time, which is really great since butterflies love to drink surprise lily nectar.  It's hard to put the camera down with so many great photo opportunities, so we thought we'd share one of our favorites from this week...an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Lycoris x rosea. (See more flowers that attract butterflies). See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here. Read more [...]

Cardinal Flowers – An Easy to Grow Native

Lobelia cardinalis is native to 41 out of the 50 states in North America. The cardinal flower is tolerant of many different soils from moist bogs to average garden soils, and is perfect for use in rain gardens. Cardinal flowers are also a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. Lobelia begins blooming in summer and will continue until fall with an array of flower and foliage colors to blend nicely in your garden, from the brilliant red flowers of the species, to the hot pink Monet Moment, or the burgundy foliage of Black Truffle. You can order cardinal flowers online or visit us at our fall open house September 9-11 & 16-18 to see the cardinal flowers blooming in the garden and pick out that perfect plant for a spot in your garden. Read more [...]

Unique Color Combinations in the Summer Garden are Hot!!

Canna lilies are a great addition to your sunny summer garden or rain garden. Their large bold leaves come in a variety of colors and variegation patterns, and provide the perfect foil for brightly colored flowers from orange, to brilliant reds, rose to white. Cannas add color to the garden from late spring to fall and are an excellent attractant for butterflies and hummingbirds. Read more [...]

Monarch butterflies have arrived

Monarch on Salvia Phyllis Fancy2

 

It’s been amazing to watch the arrival of Monarch butterflies here at Juniper Level over the last few weeks, where they seem particularly attracted to the array of perennial salvias in flower.  Here’s one of several I photographed that were spending several hours on our clump of Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’.  We hope you’ll all plant your gardens to attract more of these amazing butterflies.

Attracting Butterflies to the garden

We love plants that attract butterflies to the garden, and here at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, it's been a banner year for butterflies. Allium 'Millenium' is always a favorite of yellow swallowtails...here are images from this week. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here. Joe Pye weed...aka Eupatorium is always a butterfly favorite.  Here is a photo this week with yellow swallowtails taking a sip of Eupatorium dubium. The pipevine swallowtails were enjoying the same eupatorium together with the yellow swallowtails. You can find a link to all of our butterfly favorites here.  We hope you'll plant to bring nature into your garden.   Read more [...]

Butterflies have been busy

We know it's hard for some folks to wrap their mind around being excited when insects eat your plants, but that's how nature works.  In the best scenario, the insect eating the plant is as beautiful or more so than the plant their eating.  I just snapped this photo of the larvae of the Pipevine Swallowtail devouring all of our aristolochia (pipevines) in the garden.  This actually doesn't harm the plants, and before long, your garden will be filled with these beautiful butterflies below.  No spraying, please. See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here. A pipevine swallowtail enjoying a lantana nectar snack here at Juniper Level.   Read more [...]

Butterflies on Echinaceas

Echinacea purpurea kim's Knee High with yellow swallowtailThe butterflies are feasting on the echinaceas in the garden.  I just caught this Eastern tiger swallowtail sitting still this week.  You can bring amazing pollinators into your garden by planting lots of nectar-producing plants.

 

Allium ‘Millenium’

Allium Millenium2

Allium ‘Millenium’ is looking great now in our full sun rock garden.  As I travel around the country, it’s great to see this ornamental onion finally getting planted more.  Unlike many of the larger alliums that go summer dormant, this one doesn’t really start flowering until mid-July and continues until fall…a favorite of yellow swallowtail butterflies in our garden.

 

Centrosema vine

Centrosma virginiana flowers closeup

I just snapped this photo yesterday in the garden of the native (Illinois south to Florida) Centrosema virginianum (butterfly pea) vine.  We don’t currently offer this, but if we did, would you buy it? See the top 25 flowers that attract butterflies here.