Pollinators love verbena! Hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths are all frequent visitors. Bees of all types love verbena, too. Known for withstanding the pressure of hot, dry conditions, Verbena is a member of the Verbenaceae family, which is comprised of 800 species in 32 genera, many of them native to the Americas and Asia. This family is characterized by clumps or spikes of flowers on heat-loving herbs, shrubs, trees, or vines. There are many varied types and habits, including upright and tall, as well as mounded and trailing. Some verbena make great ground covers as well.
Hybrid varieties generally have larger flowers, brighter and more saturated colors, and larger, more weather-tolerant leaves than their species relatives. bred to be more heat, water-stress, and disease tolerant (especially powdery mildew).
Leaves and foliage are often dense and, in many species, “hairy.” Its flowers are small with five petals, arranged in dense clusters. Typical colors include shades of blue and purple, but they can also be found in white and pink shades. Others are bred to withstand heat and humidity with flowers and bulky growth non-stop through the growing season.
While verbena seed is available, many of the newer varieties that have the desirable traits are vegetatively propagated and can be found as young plants at your local garden retailer in the spring.
Verbena looks their best when their soil is kept moist, but not wet as they do not like soggy feet. If the growing medium dries down too much, it can cause flushing, commonly known as cycling-out-of-color where the plant loses blooms but remains green and leafy.
Verbena plants should be placed in sunny locations, aiming for 6+ hours of direct light. Most species perform well in the ground, landscape, hanging baskets and patio containers. For the compact-growing verbena, those work best in pots and do not have the root vigor for garden bed applications. For prolonged flowering, deadhead verbena by removing spent flower heads.
Powdery Mildew (PM) is an unfortunate occurrence on some verbena. The best practice is to look for newer varieties that have a built-in resistance. If PM does appear (it will present as white patches of fluffy fungus on leaves or stem) treat with a neem spray or your favorite fungicide. Catching PM early is the best solution, as this disease can spread quickly, and its fungus blocks sunlight to the plant’s nutrition system, making the plant unable to produce food, which will ultimately cause the plant to perish.
Gardening with verbenas can elevate your landscape design and add texture and color to your patio containers. You’ll appreciate their colorful branches and how well they play with other flowers in your garden.
Credit to https://ngb.org/year-of-the-verbena/
Contributed by: Vicki Gee-Treft, Master Gardener Volunteer
Asclepias tuberosa —Butterfly Weed, Rudbeckia hirta—Black-eyed Susan, Lupinus perennis —Wild Lupin,
If having a pollinator garden is something you’ve often thought about, maybe this is the year to give it a try! Not only do these gardens attract pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, they include flowers that provide nectar throughout the seasons. And, as the season ends, the reward is your own “living birdseed” feeders. So, how do you get started?
Although a pollinator garden can be any size – even as small as a balcony or a tiny yard, key to success is reviewing the preferences of pollinators. As a general rule, pollinators prefer gardens that:
When designing the garden, analyze the property for things such as water drainage, soil types, sun light exposure and wind patterns. Pollinator gardens can create their own microclimate—areas with good southeastern exposure and spaces that are protected from prevailing winds. If your garden is going to be a border or up against a structure, arrange the tallest plants in the back, mid-size in the middle and short plants in the front of the bed. If you are planting an island style, set your taller plants in the middle, medium heights around the center and shorter plants at the edges.
If not planting an informal, open field garden, consider plant placement. It is often best to use groupings of at least three of the same plant together. Odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc.) tend to look better than even numbers. In addition, bee pollinators prefer to collect nectar/pollen from a single species of flower during each outing, so planting in masses ensures pollinators can practice “flower constancy.” Consider designing and planting your garden so that over time it will consist of a grouping of 3 to 7 plants of the same species.
Now that the garden space has been designed, loosen the soil and amend with organic matter. Do not let your plants dry out! Water regularly until your bed becomes established. Other considerations for your Pollinator Garden include enhancing nesting opportunities for the pollinators and their families: preserve areas of bare or sparsely vegetated, well-drained soil; preserve dead or dying trees and shrubs; minimize mulch; consider nesting boxes; and maintain a nearby water source, such as a water garden or birdbath.
Curious about which plants have proven to be a good fit in northwest Wisconsin? Download this fact sheet for more information about Lupinus perennis—Wild Lupin, Asclepias tuberosa —Butterfly Weed, Asclepias incarnata —Swamp Milkweed, Liatris spicata—Blazing Star Liatris, Rudbeckia hirta—Black-eyed Susan and Aster novae-angliae —New England Asters and more!
Author: Kimberly Kayler
by Melinda Myers
For many of us, winter is the start of the gardening season. We are busy browsing catalogs, reading garden articles, and looking for sources of new plants. As the planning process continues, the plant wish list keeps expanding. Once your list is complete and before placing any order online, be sure to check your list for any invasive plants that are prohibited or restricted in Wisconsin.
According to the Invasive Species Rule NR40, prohibited plants are those that are not currently found or occur in isolated areas in the state. If introduced into the state, these plants are likely to cause significant economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Restricted plants according to NR40 are already established in the state causing harm or have the potential to cause significant harm.
The ability to spread and vigorous growth habit of the yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) make this invasive plant a threat to our waterways. Photo credit: photo courtesy of Zach Stewart
The pre-order form is available on our website at www.northcountrymgv.org/plant-sale and at the Spooner Memorial Library, Shell Lake Public Library, and other local organizations.
Tomatoes, Peppers, and our popular 6 Packs of Pollinators and Herbs
Further information about the sale is available at www.northcountrymgv.org/plant-sale or e-mail email@example.com.
Kevin Schoessow, Area Agricultural Development Agent with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, takes you through the Teaching & Display Garden at the Spooner Ag Research Station in July 2021.
This week I encountered two instances of name confusion. One was Goats beard and the other Loosestrife. I was reminded to pay attention to botanical names because common names can be misleading. That would be the case in both these instances. And the consequences of confusing an invasive for a native plant can be dramatic.
Goatsbeard - On the golf course this week near Hayward, Wisconsin I noticed a plant in the rough. I'm very familiar with what grows in the rough because I'm a frequent visitor. I took a few pictures and later researched the plant and identified it as Yellow goat's beard (Tragopogon dubius). This plant was introduced in the 1900's from Eurasia and likes disturbed ground but is not considered aggressive. And it looks nothing like our native Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) that is an attractive perennial plant suitable as a landscape plant.
For more on these two plants, go to the University of Wisconsin Horticulture website.
Yellow goat's beard (Tragopogon dubius)
Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)
Left: Yellow goat's beard (photo Sue Reinardy), right: Goatsbeard (photo from UW Extension website)
Loosestrife - Whenever I read or hear Loosestrife I think "INVASIVE"! But learned differently when I came across a Facebook post with a picture of a plant that I have in my garden that I was having a hard time identifying. It was identified by reliable sources as Fringed Yellow Loosestrife (Lysmachia ciliata). The landscape plan that I inherited with the house identified this plant as 'Husker Red' which is a Penstemon - not at all the plant I was finding in the garden. There is a host of conflicting information in researching the Fringed Yellow Loosestrife. Some sources indicate that it is not related at all to the invasive Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). The botanical name confirms that. There is an aggressive Garden Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) that is restricted in Wisconsin according to the DNR invasive species website. No such limits on the Fringed Yellow Loosestrife which is a North America native. It is fairly aggressive in my garden but easy to control.
(For more information on these plants go to the websites below.
Fringed Yellow Loosestrife (Lysmachia ciliata) (wildflower.org)
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) (UW Horticulture)
Garden Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) (DNR)
It took a bit of research to confirm the identification of these plants. As you can see they look different and the effect they can have on our landscape is important to understand to avoid invasive plants and support natives.
The annuals and vegetables are showing growth and the Monarch and Pollinator Sanctuary Garden (natives and perennials) is in full bloom. The gallery below shows what is in bloom as of July 1 and there were plenty of buds that will be blooming in the next few days. Please stop by when you are in the area for inspiration.
I’m usually frustrated when I find that something has eaten a plant in my garden. Not so this week when I discovered Parsleyworms on my parsley. Adults are known as Black Swallowtail, one of our larger butterflies.
According to Jeffrey Glassberg’s Butterflies of North America, you can recognize a swallowtail when you see a large butterfly that is not orange and has a tail. His book goes on to say that most butterflies are small to medium-sized and most large non-swallowtails are orange-colored with no tails.
Back to the Parsleyworms. As you can see in the above photo, they are munching away on my parsley. They have pretty much eaten most of the curly-leafed variety leaving the flat-leafed Italian variety for a later snack. There are currently about five caterpillars on my one curly and one flat-leafed parsleys. Not much left for me, but they appear to be in the final stage of their development given the coloration so I may get some later. Next up they will crawl away to a support of a limb or post and pupate to later become a butterfly.
That’s when they will hopefully find plenty of nectar in my nearby garden from zinnias, lilies, calendula, bachelor buttons and other annuals. It might be that my parsley will have recovered enough for a second generation to be fed.
Check out this UW Extension Horticulture article on Black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.
Author & Photo: Sue Reinardy, UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
If you like daisies, this variety of perennial Shasta Daisy will wow you. A 2021 All-American Selections winner, the Sweet Daisy Birdy with 5-inch blooms of feathery pure white petals and golden centers, blooms earlier that other varieties and is a pollinator favorite. Use this medium height (18-24 inches) plant in planter containers, or in the garden as tall background or a garden highlight. Sturdy stems and contrasting dark green foliage make for a great cut flower as well!
The Sweet Daisy Birdy is available only as plants as yet. It is low maintenance, zone 3 hearty and is cold and heat tolerant. Plant in full sun, in well drained soil. Water as needed.
Article by Pam Davies MGV
Photo Credit: All-America Selections
This year Monarda is one of the 2021 National Garden Bureau’s featured plants, and a great choice for your garden too!
A Native Species, Monarda has a long medicinal herbal history that Native tribes taught early settlers to utilize. Bee Balm, Monarda’s common name, I am certain came to be due to its ability soothe bee stings, other medicinal uses included treating chills and fever all information shared with early settlers from Native Americans.
|North Country MGV||