American Black Elderberry is a spreading, deciduous shrub with clusters of white flowers from June-July. It provides an attractve nectar source for butterflies and bees. Berries ripen in late summer and provide a food source for birds. The fruit can be used in jellies, pies, juice, and wine. Use American Black Elderberry in shrub borders, moist roadside plantings, or as a privacy screen around your yard.
Chinkapin Oak is a medium-sized, deciduous tree of the white oak group. It is monoecious; greenish-yellow flowers bloom on separate male and female catkins in April as leaves emerge. It has narrow, oblong, toothed leaves. Fall leaf color is variable, usually yellow-brown. It may take 30 years for this tree to mature to bear acorns, which provide food for birds and wildlife. Oaks are host to numerous beneficial insects, which in turn provide food for birds. Chinkapin Oak is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus). It provides nesting space, cover, and shelter for wildlife. Chinkapin Oak is a low-maintenance, long-lived tree. This attractive tree is worth saving if it is already growing in your yard. Use it as a shade tree in large yards and parks, or in natural areas.
Chokecherry is a small, wildlife-friendly, deciduous tree. It features white flowers, which bloom April-May, providing an early nectar source for butterflies and bees. Flowers are followed by edible fruit. The astringent berry changes from red to purple as it ripens. The berries can be used for jams, jellies, pies, sauces, and wine. The fruits are a valued food source for birds. Fall foliage is golden-yellow to orange. Chokecherry is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including California Hairstreak (Satyrium californica), Sequoia Sphinx (Sphinx sequoiae), Small-eyed Sphinx (Paonias myops), and Columbia Silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia). Use Chokecherry as a specimen in your yard and along foundations, plant in a mass and prune as a shrub border, or use in natural areas to attract wildlife to your yard.
Quaking Aspen is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It is dioecious; inconspicuous flowers bloom in April on separate male or female trees. It features beautiful, white bark, and deep-green “quaking” leaves, which tremble in the wind. Fall foliage is a rich golden-yellow. Quaking Aspen prefers cooler climates, and is intolerant of heat and humidity. Quaking Aspen provides birds with nesting material and food. It is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Great Ash Sphinx (Sphinx chersis), Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), and Viceroy (Limenitis archippus). Plant Quaking Aspen as a specimen tree or in woodlands and natural areas of your yard.
Phlox features fragrant, pink flowers May-July; the flowers decline in the summer heat. It prefers consistently moist soil, but can tolerate short periods of dryness. Many cultivars offer a variety of colors to choose from. Phlox will re-seed itself and spread. It offers a valued nectar source for butterflies. Use Phlox as edging for your borders and beds, in your rock garden, and in containers. Plant in masses to offer maximum appeal in your yard.
Wild Blue Phlox offers slightly fragrant, loose clusters of blue-violet flowers April-May. This wildlife-friendly flower offers nectar to visiting pollinators, including butterflies and bees. It is susceptible to powdery mildew; maintain good air circulation between plants to prevent this fungal disease. Use Wild Blue Phlox in mixed borders, wildflower gardens, shade gardens, and for woodland groundcover around your yard.
Canby’s Mountain-lover is a broadleaf evergreen groundcover. Its glossy, leathery, dark green leaves turn bronze-purple in winter. This low-maintenance plant is drought-tolerant once established. Use Canby’s Mountain-lover in your shade garden, as a groundcover, along woodland edges, in rock gardens, and in naturalized areas of your yard.
Switchgrass is a clumping ornamental grass, which may naturalize by rhizomes and through self-seeding. Pink-tinged flowers display from July through February, turning beige in mid- to late summer. The seeds are a good food source for birds. Switchgrass is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan) and Dotted Skipper (Hesperia attalus), as well as most banded skippers and satyrs. Cut it back to the ground in late winter-early spring. Plant Switchgrass in masses to use as a screen or in naturalized areas of your yard. Use cut stems and seed heads as an accent in fresh or dried flower arrangements.
Lindheimer’s Muhly is a clump-forming, perennial grass. Its light-green to blue-green leaves surround delicate, lacy, white flower heads, which bloom May-November. Avoid cutting back the plants, since the leaves provide nesting material for birds through the winter. Use Lindheimer’s Muhly as a specimen in your yard, in groups for a screen, or next to foundations for wildlife-friendly appeal.
Southern Magnolia is a flowering, broadleaf, semi-evergreen (deciduous in colder climates) tree with a full, pyramidal shape. Its fragrant, large, creamy-white flowers bloom April-June, offering a stunning display. Southern Magnolia must be protected from winter winds, and is sensitive to frost. Plant it as a specimen, or as a shade tree in your yard or neighborhood park; select an appropriate place to ensure optimum growth. It is intolerant of urban conditions.