RVA Earth Day Festival was a success!

Thank you to everyone who came out and visited our booth at this years Earth Day Festival in Manchester.  The event was awesome and we appreciate all the hard work IMG_2707that went into making it happen.
Since our primary goal is to educate, we loved the chance to chat with hundreds of people on the importance of using native plants in their residential landscapes.  We also sold far more plants than anticipated which is fantastic.  The cumulative effect of choosing natives over non-natives can not be understated.  Every plant makes a difference!  Thanks to everyone for doing their part!

 

If you missed us this past weekend we will be at Maymont Herbs Galore this coming Saturday the 22nd.  Hope to see you there!

 

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Megan & Brian
Plant by Design LLC
Plant by Design Native Nursery

Native Landscape Design Richmond, VA       Plant by Design Native Nursery Richmond, VA

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It’s Official: Plant by Design Native Nursery Has Launched!

Hello to all our readers.  We have some exciting news to share.  Plant by Design Native Nursery has officially launched and will begin selling plants in early April.  Check out our website to learn more and keep up Plant by Design Native Nursery Richmond, VAwith our upcoming events!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and for helping us make this possible.

www.RVAnatives.com

 

GET WILD, GO NATIVE!

Native Landscape Design Richmond, VA

Evil Ground Covers!

Last post we discussed Invasive Ivythe removal of an invasive non-native known as Euphorbia amygdaloides.  We got several requests to name ground covers to stay away from and also native options to use instead.

 

 

So here’s a quick list:

DO NOT PLANT:  (No matter what your local nursery says!)

  • Vinca minor (Perrie winkle)
  • Vinca major
  • English ivy  (Shown in picture above)
  • Spicata liriope (Or any liriope for that matter)
  • Ajuga (Some varieties tend to be easier to keep in check so we aren’t totally against this one)
  • Houttuynia cordata (Chameleon plant) – You will hate yourself forever if you plant this one.  It is literally impossible to get rid of.  Why would anyone still sell this???
  • Clematis terniflora (Sweet Autumn Clematis) – We spent all day today removing this one from a residence on Grace St.  It will take several more years to eradicate it.
  • Euyonomus fortunei (Winter creeper)

GREAT NATIVE GROUND COVERS:  (Let us know if you need help locating any of these)
Native Plants Richmond, VA

  • Chrysogonum virginianum  (Green and Gold…shown above)
  • Meehania cordata (Meehans mint… a great substitute for ajuga)
  • Pachysandra procumbens (Don’t confuse this with the non-native pachysandra sold at most garden centers)
  • Lindernia grandiflora  (A great choice for planting between stepping stones)
  • Clematis virginiana (Similar to terniflora but native and less aggressive)
  • Callirhoe Involucrata (Wine cup)
  • Carex pensylvanica  (No need to plant liriope when we have this great native)
  • Phlox subulata
  • Phlox stolonifera
  • Phlox divaricata
  • Aster divaricatus

To sum things up, we at Plant by Design are not purists.  We do believe that planting some non-natives in your landscape is perfectly fine.  The issue comes when the non-natives are more aggressive and out compete our local flora.  The ground covers we have asked you not to plant are invasive.  While walking through the woods its hard not to find Vinca or Ivy choking out our native plants.  Do not be afraid to mention this next time you are shopping at your local garden center.  We never fault the home owner, we fault the garden centers that should be more responsible with the plants they sell.

 

Native Landscape Design Richmond, VA
Plant by Design LLC
http://www.plantbydesign.com

Attract Monarchs!: Plant Milk Weed & Joe Pye Weed

This month we chose to feature two plants because they have a special relationship when it comes to Monarch Butterflies.  Monarchs are the most well known butterfly as a result of all the work that has been done to combat their population decline.  Thanks to these efforts most people know that Monarchs need milkweed (Asclepias var.) in order to survive.  sn-migrationR2It is their host plant and must be present for the adult butterflies to lay eggs.  Due to herbicides being used in the crop industry, as well as land clearing, milkweed is not as abundant as it use to be.  Because of this it is very important for everybody to plant a patch or two of milkweed in their yards (Plant at least two different varieties).

Planting milkweed is well and good but it’s not enough.  What many don’t think about is that the adult Monarchs need a nectar source to build up the energy to lay eggs as well as to migrate later in the season.  If the only flowering native plants you have in your yard are milkweed than there is a good chance you won’t end up with monarch caterpillars.  Adults will be looking for a combination of nectar sources as well as varieties of asclepias.  So what’s the best perennial to serve this purpose?  Joe Pye Weed!

Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium var.) just might be our favorite perennial here at Plant by Design.  In early spring the leaves emerge and slowly grow until the summer heat hits.  Once this happens the purple stems explode to a height of 5 to 8′ tall!  Their purpleish pink clusters of flowers will often reach over a foot wide.  It would be hard to find a plant during the months of July and August that pollinators like more.  From dawn to dusk it is covered in different species of bees butterflies and moths. Eutrochium Joe pye Weed, Bumble bee, MothThis is why it’s so important to plant it alongside milkweed.  The Monarchs flock to the Joepye weed and then lay their eggs on nearby milkweed.  After the caterpillar forms its chrysalis and emerges it will have an immediate high quality source of nectar available.  This allows them to build up the energy needed to migrate back to Mexico and start the process all over.

COMMON TYPES OF MILKWEED:

  • Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) – Pink blooms, medium to wet soilAsclepias incarnata
  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed) – Orange blooms, medium to dry soilAsclepias tuberosa and Monarch Butterfly
  • Asclepias purpurascens (Purple Milkweed) – Purple blooms, medium to dry soilpurpurascens

COMMON TYPES OF JOE PYE WEED: 

  • Eutrochium maculatum – (Joe Pye Weed) Medium to wet soil – Cultivar: ‘Gateway’eutroch mac
  • Eutrochium dubium (Dwarf Joe Pye) – Medium to wet soil – Cultivar: ‘Baby Joe’eutroch dub

 

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Bee Balm – July’s Plant of the Month

Bee Balm (Monarda), which is a member of the mint family, is possibly the best perennial available when it comes to pollinators.  The flowers are quite showy and come in shades of pinks, reds, and purples.  The most common Bee Balm seen in gardens are cultivars of the species Monarda didyma.  I know we normally preach selecting straight natives when possible, but Monarda didyma is one of the exceptions.  The straight species will become covered with powdery mildew in our climate.  Some great cultivars have been developed with a resistance to this disease.  A couple of our favorites are Jacob Cline & Rasberry Wine.

Jacob ClineJacob Cline

Rasberry Wine
rasberry wine

 

The great thing about these cultivars is that they appear to benefit our native insects just as much as the straight species.  I have a large section of it in a meadow area of my yard and it is covered in many species of bees, butterflies, moths, and humming birds.  I’ve also noticed quit a few gold finches hanging out on the flowers as well.

Another species of Monarda we love is Monarda punctata.Monarda_punctata  It has a much different look from its relative didyma.  The flowers almost appear to be silvery extensions of the leaves.  While the smell is similar to all Monarda I feel it has a bit more of a minty aroma.  This one is great in mass plantings where the silvery purple flowers can really show off.  Planting the straight species is fine with this one.Monarda_punctata_10684_500

One word of caution:  All species of Monarda tend to spread rapidly from year to year. Make sure you plant it in an area that can handle its self sowing nature.  Fortunately the plant is easy to pull up if it does begin to make a nuisance of itself.

Check out Sandy’s Plants if you are interested in purchasing some Bee Balm.  They have many varieties including the ones mentioned here.

Thanks for reading!

Plant  by Design LLC
www.plantbydesign.com

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Native Hydrangeas – June’s Plant of the Month

More than likely when you think of hydrangeas an image of a large pink or blue puff ball comes to mind.  The ever so popular Endless Summer Hydrangea!  enldess summerThey do have their appeal.  They bloom for many months and provide excellent color even in the heat of the summer (as long as they are receiving afternoon shade).  However, the Endless Summer is not a native hydrangea.  Some of the prettiest hydrangeas are native and they often take a back seat to non-native varieties simply because of marketing.  Fortunately, the native varieties are readily available at most garden centers.

 

There are two main native hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia & Hydrangea arborescens) and both are fantastic.  For this post however, we are just going to focus on Hydrangea quericifolia also known as oakleaf hydrangea.  While this unique looking hydrangea can take a wide arrquercifoliaay of site conditions one of its best features is the ability to survive in dry shade.  It does really well in areas under trees where most plants suffer from lack of water and sun.  The leaves on this hydrangea look similar to an Oak leaf hence the name.  The flowers bloom in large conical masses and are most often a whitish color that fades to pink as the flower ages.  There are all types of cultivars that allow for planting of these great shrubs in just about any sized location.  Two of our favorites are ‘Snow Queen’ which gets about 4-5′ tall and wide and ‘Alice’ which can reach heights of 10′!  Dwarf varieties are also available though harder to come by.  A final draw to this plant is the incredible fall color.  Shades of oranges and deep reds will provide a truly breath taking site in your garden. quercifolia fall color

So we hope next time you are at your local garden center and thinking about purchasing some hydrangeas you will walk past the blue puff balls and instead give the underused oakleaf hydrangea a try.  We know you’ll love it as much as we do!

Thanks for reading!

Plant by Design LLC
www.plantbydesign.com

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Columbine – April’s Plant of the Month

Native Columbine (Aguilegia canadensis) is a wonderful woodland perennial for early spring.  Gorgeous red blooms begin to appear as early as mid to late March but more commonly by April 1st.Aquilegia_canadensis_'nana'

We love Columbine because it is a low maintenance burst of color in shady areas.  It also spreads pretty easy by seed which makes it a good choice for a ground cover in areas you want to stay a little more natural.  The typical size is around 1 to 2′ tall by 1′ wide.  If Aguilegia receives too much sun or dries out it will likely go dormant in the summer and reemerge once the temperatures cool down again; therefor, it’s definitely a plant best suited for moist part to full shade locations.

close upThe unique blooms are a real show stopper.  They are a favorite of hummingbirds and will surely attract these fascinating birds to your garden.  Another great quality is that they are deer resistant.  Over population of deer is a huge problem here in Richmond, VA and it can be frustrating finding plants that they will not devour.  Columbine is one of them!

Just remember there are many varieties of columbine, most of which are not native.  When you go to your local nursery be sure to specifically request Aguilegia canadensis to make sure you get all the benefits of this great native plant.

If you have any questions or need help locating native columbine just let us know!

Thanks for reading!

www.plantbydesign.com

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