flowers

5 Must-Have Prairie Plants

5 MUST HAVE PRAIRIE PLANTS

5 MUST HAVE PRAIRIE PLANTS

You may have noticed the colorful blooms along the highways and in many ditches around North Iowa right now. Native prairie plants are really putting on a show, each week adding more beautiful blooms to the mix. it’s easy to add these to your yard, so you can enjoy these showy blooms without leaving home.

Here are 5 Must Have prairie plants to add to your landscape.

  1. Blazing Star, Gayfeather or Liatris

    Blooms mid to late July, easy to care for, a bee and butterfly favorite, and makes an interesting cut flower

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2. Yarrow or Achillea

Commonly used in butterfly gardens, drought resistant, colors vary from pinks, reds, to yellow

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3. Coneflower or Echinacea

prolific bloomers from midsummer into fall, grow 2-4’ high and available in many colors

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4. Bee balm or Monarda

attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, blooms look like a firework, blooms around the 4th of July each year

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5. Black eyed Susan or Rudbeckia

attracts butterflies, bees, and other insects, great as cut flowers, blooms from June to fall

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These are just a few of the amazing native prairie plants that we see growing around North Iowa.

READ MORE

More about planting to attract butterflies HERE

More about planting to attract birds HERE

More on Summer Perennials HERE

Tips for Summer planting HERE

What's Blooming: 5/22/19

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I know the weather hasn’t been feeling like spring, but the blooms at the nursery and around town are telling us otherwise!

Here’s a round up of some of the things that are blooming at the nursery, in my yard, and around town!

First up, creeping phlox. The top left picture was taken on Main Street in Clear Lake. They are putting on quite the show right now!

First up, creeping phlox. The top left picture was taken on Main Street in Clear Lake. They are putting on quite the show right now!

I’m sure we’ve all noticed the Crab trees around town in all their glory. I just wish they would last longer!

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Lilacs are blooming! And they smell so good! Want to add some fragrance to your landscape? Here’s an article to get you started  HERE

Lilacs are blooming! And they smell so good! Want to add some fragrance to your landscape? Here’s an article to get you started HERE

Daffodils and irises make a lovely combination.

Daffodils and irises make a lovely combination.

And an old classic, the bleeding heart, pic taken from my yard.

And an old classic, the bleeding heart, pic taken from my yard.

So many beautiful blooms right now and we are just getting started!

What’s blooming in your yard?

The Beauty of Spring: Flowering Crabs

The beauty of spring: Flowering Crabs

For many gardeners the first couple weeks of May are their favorite time of the year.  Tulips, daffodils, bluebells, rhododendrons, creeping phlox and other flowers are in full bloom. To top off the spring glory, flowering crabs and other spring blooming trees are in full array.

Flowering crabs are a great addition to any yard.  They are hardy and easy to grow. Blooms range in color from white to pink to reds and sizes vary from 8’ to 30’.

Now is a good time to purchase and plant a flowering crab as you will be able to see bloom colors at the nursery.

New varieties of crabs have been chosen so that they have no berries or very small berries. In addition, they are resistant to a fungus (cedar apple rust) that would cause older varieties to lose their leaves by July.  New varieties also come in dwarf sizes for the homeowner with limited space.

Here are some of our favorite varieties of flowering crabs:

Prairie Fire: (probably our best seller) – blooms are deep pink/red, grow 15-20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Spring Snow: White blooms, no berries, grow 25-30’

Rejoice: Semi double rose pink blooms, grow upright 15-20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Royal Raindrops: Leaves are burgundy, flowers deep pink, grow to 20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Camelot:  Dwarf, grow 10’, Buds red changing to pink and then fade to white, blooms follow entire length of branches, small berries birds will mostly clean

Golden Raindrops: White blooms, tiny golden yellow fruit (1/4”), grows upright (20’), vase shaped

Showtime: Large bright fuschia pink showy flowers in the spring, dark green foliage with a red overlay, grows 15-20’

Read similar articles:

WHAT WE RECOMMEND: SPRING FLOWERING TREES

EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS

DON’T MISS A THING…. GET THE LATEST FROM YOUR FAVORITE BACKYARD NURSERY DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EVERY THURSDAY

What's New for Perennials

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WHAT’S NEW FOR PERENNIALS

The number of new varieties of perennials coming on the market is staggering! We carry about 200 varieties of different perennials in stock (and this is just a fraction of what is available!)  

We thought you might enjoy hearing a little bit about where we buy our perennials. We have 3 suppliers of perennials, but our main one, and one of the most outstanding, is Walter’s Gardens of Michigan. They are a family owned business of 70 years and grow thousands of perennials. They offer some of the highest quality perennials grown anywhere. Their staff has hybridized and grown hundreds of award winning perennials, and they have hundreds of new introductions.  Every year they offer more new introductions. So we have access to the “latest and best” in perennials!  The main problem we have is that there are too many to choose from, so many we would like to carry!

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Here are some of the newer varieties of perennials we are carrying this year:

Bee Balm (Monarda): Pardon My Cerise – A butterfly favorite, dwarf  variety (14”) with red blooms

Black Eyed Susan : Little Goldstar – A dwarf version of the old favorite Black Eyed Susan, grows 14” 

Butterfly Weed: All butterfly favorites.

  • Cinderella (pink)

  • Hello Yello (yellow)

  • the old fashioned Tuberosa (orange).

Clematis: In addition to the old favorite Jackmanni, we carry other colors including (but not limited to):

  • Julka ( burgundy red)

  • Sapphire Indigo (sapphire blue)

  • Sweet Autumn (a white fall favorite)

Coral Bells:  The number of new varieties is huge. This year look for a few of our new ones:

  • Electric Plum (bright purple with black veins)

  • Midnight Rose (Purple/black with pink accents)

  • Peach Parfait (Ruffled peach/orange)

  • Plum Pudding (plum purple with pewter)

Day lilies: So many to choose from including:

  • Big Time Happy (Ruffled, rebloomer, yellow)

  • Chicago Apache (Ruffled scarlet red)

  • Passionate Returns (Ruffled rosy red, rebloomer)

  • Rainbow Primal Scream (orange).

Hibiscus: These varieties are very north hardy, easy to grow, and have blooms the size of a dinner plate! :

  • Dave Fleming (Red foliage, pink variegated flowers)

  • Starry Night (Burgundy leaves, pink/white flowers)

  • Vintage Wine (Green leaves, scarlet red flowers)

Hostas – We carry about 20 varieties and get new varieties each year along with a few of the old favorites. They vary in size from Sun Mouse (6” with yellow leaves with green edge) to Empress Wu (thick green leaves growing 4’ tall and wide) and every size in between.  Colors vary from blues to whites to greens to yellows.

Lavender – Finally !!! A north hardy lavender Phenomenal – Zone 4.

Peonies- Always a favorite – Now in yellow! Sunshine – it is expensive but worth it!  This year we also have the very hard to get Fern Leaf Peony

Turtlehead- A shade tolerant perennial with the cutest pink “turtle heads” popping out of bright green foliage.

Sedums – A must have for fall gardens. They attract butterflies like magnets. We carry several varieties in both groundcovers and upright varieties. A favorite is Mr. Goodbud– Compact, upright, vibrant purple/red flowers in fall.

 FINAL DAYS OF OUR OPEN HOUSE SALE HAPPENING NOW!

ADDING FRAGRANT PLANTS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE

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Most of us are familiar with the wonderful sweet fragrance of an old fashioned lilac in the spring. A gentle breeze carries the fragrance through out a whole neighborhood.

 Would you like to add some other varieties of plants that add fragrance to your yard?

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Here are some Natural Plus favorites:

Trees:

All fruit trees (apples, pears, cherries, plums) have a wonderful fragrance in the spring when blooming. Plums are especially fragrant. 

Some other ornamental trees that give a sweet fragrance in spring when in bloom are flowering crabs, serviceberries, hawthorns, Japanese tree lilacs, fringe trees, and dwarf Korean tree lilacs.

Lindens are an upright pyramidal shaped shade tree with a heart shaped leaf. In June they produce very small yellow blooms that are barely visible unless you get up close to the tree. However, those blooms are very fragrant and you may be able to smell them from a half a block away.

 Shrubs:

Many shrubs are fragrant when in bloom. Some you may want to consider are: lilacs, (bloomerang lilacs rebloom to give a second set of fragrant blossoms mid-summer), mockorange (dwarf and standard size), snowberry, and elderberries.

Roses may or may not be fragrant. Newer hybridized varieties often have beautiful bloom colors and are more disease resistant, but have little fragrance. Older varieties such as rugosa roses bring back memories of fragrant rose gardens. One of our favorites is Purple Pavement.

 Perennials:

Most people are aware of the fragrance of peonies – a sturdy perennial that goes back generations. At Natural Plus we have a row of peonies that are over 50 years old and still produce hearty blooms every year.

Some other perennials that will add fragrance to your yard include:

Garden phlox (come in many colors), lavender (there is now a variety hardy for zone 4), iris, hyssop, astilbe, dianthus, most coneflowers, helleborus, bee balm, and sweet autumn clematis.  

Bulbs and Woodland Plants

Hyacinths (bulbs) and Lily of the Valley are spring bloomers that are particularly fragrant.