Forsythia: Plant This or That

As an early subscriber to Nuts for Natives, we value your interest and time dearly.  You likely received a random post this past Saturday about how much we want you to like native plants, which, of course, we do!  The post was inadvertently sent out as we tried to fix a technical issue.  Please accept … Continue reading Forsythia: Plant This or That

We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Pachysandra: Plant This or That

This is an easy one! As all gardeners know, the key to less work is to banish bare spots where weeds can emerge. Ground covers act like living mulch, preserving moisture and protecting soil.  When you get a ground cover that is happy and spreads, well, it’s pretty much gardening nirvana. Pachysandra is a very … Continue reading Pachysandra: Plant This or That

Cherry Laurel: Plant This or That

Winter is a great time to figure out if you need more evergreens in your garden. Without flashy flowers and foliage, any bare spaces really stand out. Evergreen cherry laurel, top left, is everywhere in the mid-Atlantic. It’s a vigorous grower, good for screening, hedges and foundations, and widely available. It flowers with white wands … Continue reading Cherry Laurel: Plant This or That

Cedar: Plant This or That

Cedars are seriously terrific trees — evergreen, stunning texture and usually fairly easy to grow. Blue atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica) native to north Africa are common in our area.  They can grow to be huge specimens, like the one to the right at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.  The Chesapeake Bay region has its own magnificent … Continue reading Cedar: Plant This or That

Liriope: Plant This or That

In the dead of winter, and in the throes of summer, you can tie a garden together with evergreen grasses by planting in clumps, defining with edging, or covering the ground.  Liriope (Liriope muscari), left, is one of those grasses that is seemingly everywhere. Sometimes called lilyturf, it is hardy and hardly needs any care. … Continue reading Liriope: Plant This or That

Magnolia: Plant This or That

Magnolias are, indeed, magnificent. Fragrant blooms are literally frisbee size on some. On others, beautiful yellow or magenta flowers unfurl on bare branches in early Spring.  With hundreds of magnolias, there are so many possibilities. The Missouri Botanical Garden provides a great overview. The magnolia at the top on the left, and to the right, is … Continue reading Magnolia: Plant This or That

Boxwoods: Plant This or That

Boxwood (Buxus sempivirens) is a widely used evergreen shrub, particularly in formal settings and traditional plantings.  Often placed in rows along walkways, foundations or bed edges, non-native boxwood can be shaped into hedges and other shapes as seen below. In the mid-Atlantic, it is possible to find boxwoods that are more than a century old.  Boxwoods … Continue reading Boxwoods: Plant This or That

Dogwoods: Plant This or That

Native dogwood (Cornus florida) trees have it all: graceful, yet architectural, flowers unfurling as temperatures warm, seen above, an ability to thrive beneath larger trees and in shady spots, bright red, late summer berries that birds love, beautiful, subtle fall color also seen above, and winter interest in their fabulous arching structure that improves with … Continue reading Dogwoods: Plant This or That

Hollies: Plant This or That

Autumn brings the evergreen unveiling. As leaves fall, it seems as if evergreens magically appear front and center in the landscape.  Trees and shrubs that were backgrounders during warmer months are now “bones” giving the garden structure. In our area, hollies are easy to care for evergreens offering lots in the habitat department. There are … Continue reading Hollies: Plant This or That

DayLilies: Plant This or That

Daylilies (Hemerocallis), above left, are common. Cheerful color, unflagging reliability and endless variety make for their popularity.  A number of native perennials can match most daylily colors and most have a longer bloom period. Looking for orange? What about butterfly weed (Asclepius tuberosa), above on the right? Looking for yellows like the daylily on the … Continue reading DayLilies: Plant This or That

Azaleas: Plant This or That

In the mid-Atlantic, azaleas amaze every spring. Did you know that in addition to bright fuchsias, above on the left, and the pinks and clear whites from Europe and Asia, there are a number of native azaleas like the pale orange above on the right?  The contrast can be stark.  The subtleties of the natives, … Continue reading Azaleas: Plant This or That

Wisteria: Plant This or That

Chinese and Japanese wisterias (Wisteria sinensis and floribunda) are long time mid-Atlantic favorites. While the drape of the lavender flowers is short lived, they often evoke strong spring memories. If your Asian wisteria has taken off, you also know the effort involved to contain it. Importantly, the non-native wisteria has become invasive — from time to … Continue reading Wisteria: Plant This or That

Hostas: Plant This or That

Once summer hits its stride, it is great to have a couple of “workhorse” plants in your garden. These are plants that don’t wilt if we hit a dry spell and provide much needed color and texture;  flowers are a bonus. Hostas have been planted far and wide and it’s easy to see why. They … Continue reading Hostas: Plant This or That