Wild lupine

Including native plants in our garden that appeal to butterflies, bugs, and birds is important to me and to my husband. Sterile suburban yards, with neatly trimmed grass and maybe a bed or two of petunias are such missed opportunities, both to provide habitat for a host of creatures and to enjoy lovely floral displays!

One native we’ve had luck growing? Lupinus perennis, also known as wild lupine, native lupine, perennial lupine, or sundial lupine. This beauty attracts a variety of bees and butterflies. It is also the ONLY host plant for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly caterpillars. Read more about the Karner Blue butterfly here: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/kbb/kbb_fact.html.


Aren’t they striking?!? They like kind of rough conditions: dry, slightly sandy, and very sunny spots are preferred. We started with a tiny seedling we picked up at the OSU Chadwick Arboretum plant sale years ago, from a booth run by the plant pathology grad students. Its seeds have spread a bit, which we love. Volunteer wild lupine plants? Yes, please!

If you’re in the right zone to grow them, I highly recommend walking on the wild side and making some room for wild lupine in your garden. Not only are they gorgeous, but they’ll help you attract beneficial bugs to your garden -and potentially provide crucial habitat to an endangered species of butterfly. Win win win.



Cherry Blossoms

imageimageWelcome back, cherry blossoms! The last 2 years, ill-timed freezes zapped our cherry trees right as they were preparing to bloom. My husband snapped these dreamy pictures of one of our cherry trees 2 days ago.

I’m a little afraid to investigate the garden today. Last night, freezing temperatures and wind with gusts of up to 50 mph moved into the area. I suspect the magnolia tree will be looking sad, who knows about the cherry trees.

The Best Bouquets…



aren’t found in a vase! Although I enjoy having flowers inside, I love to see them growing outside even more. I’m pretty tender-hearted and have a hard time cutting flowers from my yard to use indoors.

This summer, my husband and I are going to try something different with regards to growing flowers. Instead of growing even more vegetables in our community garden plot, this year we’re going to plant a cutting garden. We’ve already got a bunch of seeds. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. If the flowers are expressly grown to be harvested for bouquets and they aren’t part of my garden’s design, I’m hoping I’ll actually be able to cut some. 😊

Here are some more of the daffodils currently putting on a show in our garden:

Mock Orange

Our garden is looking rather magnificent. How lucky to have a spring with rain! One shrub that is currently in its full glory is our variegated mock orange. The petals on the flowers are so white they are nearly literally blinding and the bush is just bursting with them!025 007 012Mock oranges are known for their scent. I find ours interestingly elusive. If I stick my nose right in the blossoms to smell, I don’t smell much of anything. But when I’m standing nearby-ish I’ll suddenly be surrounded by the scent. It reminds me pleasingly of crushed sweet tarts. Ours is supposed to be a variegated variety. Some of the leaves show some variegation, but honestly not that much overall. But it is well worth the space in the garden when this old-fashioned beauty is blooming. Wonderful!

Beautiful Blooming Buckeyes

The Buckeye is a symbol of the state of Ohio. The nut from the Buckeye tree, also called a buckeye, is even the mascot for the Ohio State University. (I can’t imagine many other schools choosing to be represented by a toxic nut!) No surprise, then, that the Chadwick Arboretum has several spectacular Buckeye trees in their collection.

Dawes Arboretum also has an amazing collection of  Ohio Buckeyes (Aesculus glabra), Buckeyes (Aesculus pavia), Bottlebrush Buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) and Horse-Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees. The Buckeyes and Horse-Chestnuts look quite similar, but the Horse-Chestnut is a European native. The Buckeye is native to North America. Both are pretty spectacular when in bloom. The blooms persist for a few weeks…take a look at few!

Aesculus pavia ‘Ohio State Scarlet’, Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye in Chadwick Arboretum

Aesculus pavia ‘Ohio State Scarlet’, Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye in Chadwick Arboretum

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blossoms on the Ohio State Scarlet Buckeye

Blooming buckeyes and horse-chestnuts at Dawes Arboretum.

Blooming buckeyes and horse-chestnuts at Dawes Arboretum.


A ruby red horse-chestnut blooms in the foreground.


Close-up of the blooms on the ruby red horse-chestnut (Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’)

I find myself especially drawn to the ruby red horse-chestnut. The individual blossoms almost look orchid-like to me. Alas, they get much too large to have one in our garden. But Buckeyes tend to be smaller, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to squeeze one in somewhere! For now, I’ll have to content myself with visiting some of the spectacular specimens in our area.

Current Blooms Bouquet

008Threw together this little bouquet of flowers currently blooming in our garden yesterday morning. Ah, peonies! I love them so much. I actually got two more peony plants at the Dawes sale: one pink and extra fragrant, one a mystery plant that is not quite yet in bloom. The false indigo is also rather spectacular. Must run now and weed a bit before work!

Azalea Glen at Dawes Arboretum

It amazes me how wide a range there can be, year-to-year, in peak bloom time for plants. The Dawes Arboretum plant sale has been held, as far as I can remember, on the third Saturday of May for at least the last 7 years. Some years when we’re there for the sale, we’ve missed the azaleas entirely. Some years, we get to see them at the height of their glory. This year was an example of the latter!

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178175022036Because we’ve been blessed with plenty of rain this spring, things looked lush and wonderful. It was actually raining while we walked around the glen, appreciating the wide sweeps of color and the close-up beauty of individual blossoms. The colors were so intense on some of the plants that they practically seemed to vibrate! The rain ended up giving some of our pictures a weird texture or blur. Small price to pay to see such a spectacular floral display.

If you get out to Dawes you can’t miss the azalea glen. It’s located off of the larger parking lot near the visitor center, and you can see much of it if you drive the auto loop. But to really appreciate all the glen has to offer, I highly recommend parking and walking around. There is just so much beauty to drink in, it’s too much to take in while just driving past.065