• Northern Spicebush
    Scientific name: Lindera benzoin Crush a leaf. Smell it. Love it. Features: tolerant of dense shade grows well under black walnut, or beech trees (juglone tolerant) food and host plant for spicebush butterfly leaves can be used to repel mosquitoes (*yet to verify, but it still smells great*) early spring bloomers with yellow flowers that make a great replacement for invasive forsythia… Read more: Northern Spicebush
  • Silky Willow
    Scientific name: Salix sericea This plant has a very high wildlife value (similar in value to oak trees). I’ve only had it in the ground for about 3 years and it always provides me with something exciting to watch (even when it’s not being visited by wildlife). In the wind, the willow-shaped leaves shimmer as it waves to me from the back… Read more: Silky Willow
  • Pokeberry
    Scientific name: Phytolacca americana L. Growing up, I always thought of pokeberry as a weed because everyone told me it was just an ugly weed, and it is more commonly referred to as “Pokeweed”. When I saw it rising from the garden, I had to retrain my mind to appreciate its beauty. From its rose-colored stems to the bold shapes it makes as… Read more: Pokeberry
  • Pitch Pine
    Scientific name: Pinus rigida We planted this baby pitch pine, and then relocated it to a place where it will have more sun. I’m really excited about this one, though, I wasn’t expecting to see the magic happen until much later in (my) life. As a mature tree, its branches twist and bend, and it is suppose to look really great in… Read more: Pitch Pine
  • Prickly Pear Cactus
    Scientific name: Opuntia humifusa This prickly pear cactus was given to us by a neighbor, and freshly planted in the garden sometime in early September of 2021. We are very excited to see what it does and how well it grows. It’s native, and (bonus) edible! Planted in a dry location in full sun.
  • Shortleaf Spikesedge
    Scientific name: Kyllinga brevifolia Found some in the back yard. Seems to like part shade. It’s a native (according to the Seek app.) Also, according to the Seek app, the scientific name is Cyperus brevifolius, but according to Google, it also goes by Kyllinga brevifolia. You can also use it to crowd out non-native invasive lawn grasses. If you’re trying to get… Read more: Shortleaf Spikesedge
  • Small-Flowered Crowfoot
    Scientific name: Ranunculus micranthus It’s native and a prolific spreader. The deer occasionally eat it. I’ve been using it as stringy tall-ish ground cover. It only grows to about 16″ tall. Lately, I’ve been looking up the benefits of different plants, and I’ll need to get back to you on my observations for this one. So far, I can’t find anything about… Read more: Small-Flowered Crowfoot
  • Creeping Phlox
    Scientific name: Phlox stolonifera An early spring bloomer, this groundcover won’t tolerate a lot of foot traffic, but it’ll come back for your viewing pleasure year after year, and it spreads relatively quickly. It’s also very resistant to deer, and remains relatively green throughout most of the winter. You can divide it after it has spread too far, and replant in other… Read more: Creeping Phlox
  • Nimblewill
    Scientific name: Muhlenbergia schreberi A delicate and wispy native grass that is most hated by all lawn lovers. However, if you are interested in naturalizing your property, this grass can be your best friend. It’s a very prolific spreader, and not easy to kill by accident… Actually, you’ll have a hard time killing it on purpose. It will work to your advantage… Read more: Nimblewill
  • Common Blue Violet
    Scientific name: Viola sororia In searching for more information about this beautiful native plant, I found a lot of false information. Multiple websites call it “invasive”. People tend to falsely label plants as “invasive” because they don’t understand how it is used with respect to plant/animal life. By definition, an invasive plant or animal is one that is also non-native, and prolifically… Read more: Common Blue Violet
  • Wild Senna
    Scientific name: Senna marilandica We got this from a neighbor when it was just a few inches tall just a few months back. Now it’s about 3′ and with seed pods. The yellow flowers were nice, but I really like the almost fern-like leaves the best. While I’ve read it does well on wet-ish sites, it seems to be doing just fine… Read more: Wild Senna
  • Blanket Flower
    Scientific name: Gaillardia One of the most rewarding things about native plant gardening is watching what you planted come back every year (perennials), but much less attention is given to the annuals. This flower is an annual, but luckily, I hear it is a prolific re-seeder. It seems to do really well on very poor, clay soil in dry locations. They are… Read more: Blanket Flower
  • Common Milkweed
    Scientific name: Asclepias syriaca This stuff has been growing to almost 6 feet in height, and spreads readily. It has also attracted an entire apiary to our garden. There looks to be at least two bumble bees for every flower, and the perfume-like aroma is strong. Tip: you can let them grow to about 3 feet, and before they flower, cut them… Read more: Common Milkweed
  • Scarlet Bee Balm
    Scientific name: monarda didyma Ours grew to 4 feet tall before blooming. Very striking in the garden, and for the height, seems to remain erect while other plants of that height eventually flop over if not supported by other plants or fencing. We only have one plant, and it’s one of the “garden stars” shining brightly for the most attention. It likes… Read more: Scarlet Bee Balm
  • Mayapple
    Scientific name: Podophyllum peltatum Yes, people will think they grow into apple trees when you talk about them, but no, they do not grow into trees at all. Actually, they rarely grow beyond 11 inches tall. They hide a very handsome flower underneath their equally interesting umbrella-like leaves. They do really well in heavily shaded areas, and come up early in the… Read more: Mayapple
  • Blue-Eyed Grass
    Scientific name: Sisyrinchium  Blue-eyed grass is not a true grass. It has delicate little flowers, short stature, stays green for much of the year, clumping. Seems to be popping in places I didn’t put it, which is great because it’s one of my favorites. When the flowers go away it looks like grass, and doesn’t get much taller than 7 inches in… Read more: Blue-Eyed Grass
  • Wood Sorrel
    Scientific name: Oxalis stricta From what I’ve read, this one is native. I’ve found that it’s not nearly as aggressive as the non-native white clover, and is relatively easy to remove (so I had be careful when pulling non-natives around it). Once I better understood the difference between wood sorrel and the white clover, I pulled up as much white clover as… Read more: Wood Sorrel
  • Virginia Knotweed
    Scientific name: Persicaria virginiana Also known as “Jumpseed”, Virginia Knotweed benefits ducks, other birds and small animals (according to internet sources). We don’t typically have ducks passing through our back yard, and I’ve never seen any small animals eat it. In the fall when the seeds formed it attracted cardinal birds. For a few weeks they would visit daily and jump from… Read more: Virginia Knotweed
  • White Avens
    Scientific name: Geum canadense This is a volunteer. It’s growing happily in a semi-shaded spot in the back yard. I was almost sure it was another invasive or non-native that the previous homeowner planted (or was planted by the birds). Tip: You can identify it much better when the first leaves start growing in spring – it forms a rosette of striking… Read more: White Avens
  • Stonecrop
    Scientific name: Sedum ternatum This one is pretty quick to spread, and is easily transplanted from cuttings or separating plants. I use it for plantings between rocks in full sun areas. It doesn’t really tolerate a lot of shade, but is okay in part shade.
  • piedmont azalea
    Scientific name: Rhododendron canescens. We got this azalea in fall of 2019, and had no idea it would have such showy flowers. It’s a US native that seems to be enjoying it’s full-sun location, though my understanding is that they are happier in part-shade and occur in the wild at the edge of forests in swampy locations. That area of yard is… Read more: piedmont azalea
  • Jacob’s Ladder
    Scientific name: Polemonium This one is a cultivar. Seems to like moister soil than where we planted this, but it’s still alive and flowering in full sun.

Latest posts

  • Northern Spicebush

    Northern Spicebush

    Scientific name: Lindera benzoin Crush a leaf. Smell it. Love it. Features: tolerant of dense shade grows well under black walnut, or beech trees (juglone tolerant) food and host plant for spicebush butterfly leaves can be used to repel mosquitoes (*yet to verify, but it still smells great*) early spring bloomers with yellow flowers that…

  • Silky Willow

    Silky Willow

    Scientific name: Salix sericea This plant has a very high wildlife value (similar in value to oak trees). I’ve only had it in the ground for about 3 years and it always provides me with something exciting to watch (even when it’s not being visited by wildlife). In the wind, the willow-shaped leaves shimmer as…

  • Pokeberry

    Pokeberry

    Scientific name: Phytolacca americana L. Growing up, I always thought of pokeberry as a weed because everyone told me it was just an ugly weed, and it is more commonly referred to as “Pokeweed”. When I saw it rising from the garden, I had to retrain my mind to appreciate its beauty. From its rose-colored stems…

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