What does it all mean?

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Go Native!

If you don't already, consider growing native plants in your garden. Plants are considered native if they originated and are growing naturally in a given area; they have adapted to the soils, the regional climate and wildlife - and will continue to survive climate changes like floods, drought, blizzards and frost. The list of benefits, and plants is long - and worth it in the end. Here's a few reasons why we should all be going native...
Reduced Maintenance:
While there is no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, native plants offer a very low-maintenance alternative. Because they are resistant to pests, disease and drought, they don't required the same level of attention that many other tender plants need to survive. Well established natives have deep roots that support them through dry times, they rarely require fertilizer and they help deter weeds and invasive species from moving in and taking over the garden. 
Soil and Water Conservation:
The deep root system of native plants increases the soils' ability to store water and keeps that soil where it belongs. Natives also help reduce water runoff; their dense growth and large, lush foliage allow rainwater to drip into the soil rather than pooling around the plant or draining away. Native plants require far less watering than their non-native neighbours need, and they are strong, long-lived plants that rarely need replacing, providing overall good value for your gardening dollars. 
Native plants provide wildlife with the habitat they need to survive. If you grow them, they will come. And stay. Native plants naturally produce the seeds, berries, nuts and nectar that the local wildlife enjoys. Natives provide a protective cover for wildlife - provide seeds, nuts and berries for mammals - insects, seeds and fruit for birds - nectar for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and host plants for butterfly caterpillars. Plant a swamp or common milkweed; it's the only larval plant that the monarch caterpillar lays it's eggs on - bring monarchs back into your garden!
A Garden Full of Beautiful Plants:
There are native plants available for every garden location - sun, shade, water, rock gardens and woodlands. Wildflowers in bloom combined with native grasses and ferns provide a stunning visual in any setting. Many native plants provide impressive, showy flowers, colourful berries, unique nuts and seeds and stunning fall foliage. Plant big bluestem grass, Canada wild rye or sideoats grama. Consider perennials like black-eyed Susan, dense blazing star, wild lupine, showy goldenrod, evening primrose, blooming sedge, coneflower, bluebells or butterfly weed. Ferns include maidenhair, royal, hart's tongue, oak, ostrich and lady - the list is long. There is also an impressive lineup of shrubs, bushes and trees to complete your backyard native oasis.
Create a Wetland:
Add water features (or a pond) to your yard to encourage frogs, toads, dragon and damselflies to move in, and to provide a water source for birds and butterflies. These wetland creatures will thank you by working to keep the mosquito population down during the summer season. Use a variety of native plants in the pond, add large rocks and old logs to provide spots to soak up the sun and create mini-wetlands near a smaller water features by planting bog or pond plants in buried plastic containers to keep the roots wet. It won't take long before your wetland neighbourhood starts to fill up.
Adding even a few natives into your current landscape each year will help to encourage a healthy and sustainable ecosystem you can enjoy for years to come. Grow a native plant - and save a life!
Add Common Milkweed
To Your Garden
Common Milkweed produces a profusion of sweet-scented lavender flowers in mid-summer and is the only food source for the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies who feast on the leaves. Milkweed grows in any sunny spot with well-drained soil. It can spread rapidly by rhizomes so it is best planted in a large area with other wildflowers and native grasses. Milkweed  seeds are also spread by the wind, which catches the fluffy part and carries the seed for long distances. It’s an easy-to-grow plant from seed, and plants are usually available at most garden centres – certainly at native species garden centres. Keep the monarch’s alive – and bring a stunning native species into your landscape. 




Deer Resistant Plants
Looking out the window to see deer frolicking in the distance
is a magnificent sight. However, when the frolicking turns to
feasting on favorite plants and shrubs, the beauty of the view
turns to one of frustration, and the time and dollars needed to
repair, replace or replant the damaged bushes. Fortunately, for
avid gardeners and nature lovers, there are shrubs available
that deer do not put at the top of their favorite food list
and will tend to avoid in search of tastier treats.
Flowering Shrubs
There are flowering shrubs that deer avoid. Flowering varieties add color to the garden and many attract butterflies and birds to the area. Lilac (Syringa spp.) is a medium to large shrub that produces large, vibrant flower clusters each spring, changing to dark green leaves once the flowering is complete. Lilacs are available in a range of colors including pink, white, purple, blue and mixed. Lilacs are hardy to zones 1 through 12.
Butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) is a nonstop bloomer and a true butterfly magnet. Growing from 6 to 15 feet tall, depending on the variety, the butterfly bush produces an abundance of flowers all season long. Hardy to zones 3 through 9.
Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia spp.) grows into a large, mounding shrub, full of long trumpet-like flowers that grow up to 10 inches long. A fast-growing shrub, flower colors include yellow, apricot, pink and white. Hardy to zones 7 through 13.
Bluebeard (Caryopteris spp.) sprouts blue blossoms from midsummer until frost arrives. A smaller shrub, bluebeard grows to 4 feet high and wide, depending on the species. Bluebeard prefers full sun, and the other flowering shrubs listed above will grow in sun or part shade. Bluebeard is hardy to zones 4 through 9.
Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen shrubs add year-round color to the garden and some are distasteful to deer. Boxwood (Buxus spp.) is a breeze to care for and can be left alone to grow naturally, or pruned and kept at a specific height or shape. A dense evergreen, boxwood grows from 1 foot high for dwarf varieties to 7 feet high for other varieties. Hardy to zones 2 through 12.
Holly (Ilex spp.) varieties range in size from 1 foot high to up to 50 feet high. Smaller varieties create low hedges and the larger varieties work well for areas needing privacy or tall hedges. A dense shrub, prune any damaged or weak branches to promote new, healthy growth. Hardy to zones 4 to 9.
Mexican orange (Choisya ternata) quickly grows to 8 feet high and wide. Small flowers sprout during spring and summer, and shiny, dark green leaves fill in this shrub throughout the year. Hardy to zones 6 to 9.
Coprosma (Coprosma spp.) is a colorful evergreen shrub that spreads to 8 feet high and wide depending on the variety. Needing little water, the leaves on various types of this shrub are variegated with bright color. Hardy to zones 8 to 10.
Deciduous Shrubs
Various varieties of the Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.) shrub are deciduous and one of many shrubs avoided by deer. Cotoneaster can be a low-growing shrub, or sprout to 25 feet high depending on the variety. Simple white flowers develop in spring and small, glossy leaves cover the plant the balance of the year. Hardy to zones 3 to 12.
Spirea (Spiraea spp.) grows to 6 feet high and wide, is easy to grow and adapts to any soil condition. Bridal wreath varieties develop clusters of cascading, white flowers and the shrub types develop small pink or white flowers in the fall. Leaf color varies by cultivar. Hardy to zones 3 to 12.
Elaeagnus (Elaeagnus spp.) are fast-growing shrubs that require almost no care. Dense and tough, deciduous varieties have silver-gray leaves that appear to sparkle in the sunlight. This shrub is heat and wind resistant. All varieties listed will grow in full sun or partial shade. Hardy to zones 2 to 12.
Shrubs With Berries
Attract birds instead of deer to the garden with deer-resistant, berry-producing shrubs. Current (Ribes spp.) plants provide dense growth to 12 feet high and wide, depending on the variety, and drooping clusters of white flowers develop into masses of sweet dark berries. Hardy to zones 2 to 12.
Mahonia (Mahonia spp.) is an evergreen shrub, sprouting bright yellow flower clusters that develop into dark bluish berries. The spiny foliage of mahonia can snag and this shrub is best planted away from heavy traffic areas. Hardy to zones 2 to 12.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) grows to 6 feet high and wide and produces pink or lilac colored flowers that develop into round, purple fruit. The berries remain on this shrub well into the winter months. Each plant listed grows in full sun or partial shade. Hardy to  zones 3 to 9.

Plants that Work Well with Hostas

With thousands of cultivar varieties available in shades of blue, green, white and yellow, a hosta (Hosta spp.) garden can look impressive filled solely with this hardy shade-tolerant perennial. However, planting a variety of bright annuals, flowering perennials and unique foliage plants with the hostas adds interest, texture and vibrant color into the landscape.


Impatiens (Impatiens spp.) are non-stop summer bloomers. Hundreds of impatiens species are available in lavender, white, apricot, red, pink and variegated, requiring little care, but regular watering. Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) is a compact, bushy summer annual growing to 1 foot high and wide, fitting in well with larger hosta plants; small blossoms of white, purple or pink bloom all season long. Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides spp) plants offer a vast range of bright foliage color. Small flower spikes topped with blue buds develop and should be pinched back to keep the foliage bushy. Impatiens, wishbone flower and coleus each grow as annuals in all U. S. Department of Agricultural plant hardiness zones.

Flowering Perennials

Bergenia (Bergenia spp.) contrast well with hosta plants. Hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, they have large green rosette-shaped leaves and flower stalks of pink, white or red. Bergenia will tolerate dry conditions and should be cut back each year to avoid looking spindly. Cranesbill (Geranium spp.), also called hardy geraniums, are a mounding plant, with varieties growing from 8 inches to 2 feet high. Full of long-lasting bright flowers in purple, pink, magenta or white, cranesbill can be divided in the spring and planted throughout the garden.
Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.) sprout delicate heart-shaped pink, white or yellow flowers on arching stems; once the flowers fade in early summer, the light green fern-like foliage adds interest to the garden. Both cranesbill and bleeding heart thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 9.

Foliage Perennials

Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) produce compact foliage clumps 1 to 2 feet high and wide in a multitude of bright color with solid or variegated leaves, with thin stalks developing small pink or white flower clusters in late spring. Coral bells grow in USDA hardiness zones 1 through 10. Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) sprout large colorful leaves and develop into clumps 1 foot high and 2 feet wide with tiny light blue flowers developing on thin airy stems in the spring. Bugloss leaf colors include silver, blue, green white and a mix of each. Dead nettle (Lamium spp.) grows close to the ground with heart-shaped silver-green leaves and develops white, yellow or pink flower clusters. A quick grower, dead nettle will add a bright background to hosta gardens. Both bugloss and dead nettle grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 11.


Often seen planted with hostas, ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) grow 6 feet high and 3 feet wide under ideal conditions; this bright green fern grows in USDA hardiness zones 1 to 10. Wood fern (Dryopteris spp.) varieties grow to 5 feet high and 2 feet wide in bright shades of golden, light green and dark green; they thrive in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9. Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum pictum) grow to a 1-foot-high clump and the fronds unfurl in shades of lavender, sliver, green and gray. Similar to the Japanese painted fern, the English painted fern (Athyrium otophorum) sports dark green fronds with reddish or purple midsections. Both the Japanese and English painted ferns are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 1 to 9.



Daylily "Happy Returns"

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of different daylilies, but daylily "Happy Returns" (Hemerocallis "Happy Returns") is one of my favourites. A non-stop summer bloomer, Happy Returns presents 3-inch butter-yellow flowers similar in appearance to early spring daffodils. It's smaller size (2-feet high) makes it perfect for a garden border, a perennial bed or containers. It grows well in full sun, but does appreciate some morning or afternoon shade. 

Thriller, Filler, Spiller...Huh?

Thriller plants - Thrillers are teh large, often verticle, bold focus point of your container design. If you view your container from all sides, put your thriller in the centre. If you view it from one side, place the thriller in the backk. 
Filler plants - Fillers are mid-size mounding or rounded plants that surround and enhance the thriller and fill the space in the planter. What you plant will depend on the size of the pot and  your own design ideas. Multiple fillers are fine.
Spiller plants - Spillers are trailing plants that casade and tumble down the sides of the container. They can be as flashy or simple as you like.