There's so much that changes in the MG landscape throughout the year...we thought a plant trial and garden blog was the best way to start sharing "what's new" and "what's happening with all those new varieties" with you! Visit often for updates on how trial plants are performing in the gardens and to see photos throughout the season as we grow and change!

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog
Astilbe 'Vision in Red' with Hosta 'Patriot' and Carex 'Ice Dance'

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Natives in the Garden

Happy Heat Wave Everyone,
Despite the intense heat that we've had the past couple weeks, there are certain plants in the landscape that have done very well.  Some surprising, and some not so much. We've finally received some rain, but it came down so fast that most of it ran off the areas that needed it most.  Though I think the pond is happy to have the run off.
Opuntia humifusa
On a trip to Michigan a couple weeks ago, I saw large stands of Prickly Pear cactus in Saugutuck State Park.  It was quite the sight to see.  There was a sign that said "Please do not disturb the natural area", so I obliged.  But here in St Charles, it's blooming too.  Our habitat is less fragile than the one in Michigan, so I could get nice and close.  Opuntia humifusa grows variable to 1.5' to 2.5' tall and spreads further than that.  This plant supports many mammals eating habits, and the guys here tell me it tastes great on the grill.
Euphorbia corollata
This is one of the plants that every year I can't resist photographing it.  Like a Poinsettia, the white parts are actually just modified leaves while the flowers are the tiny yellow center.  Growing anywhere from half a foot to 3 feet tall, this plant is incredibly drought tolerant.  Around here, I see it growing on the Fox River bluffs where it is mostly sandy and very well drained soils.  Like any other Euphorbia, I wouldn't recommend eating any of this.  Birds like it, but it is poisonous for mammals.

Cephalanthus occidentalis
This was my surprise of the day.  Janie Grillo told me there was a button bush at Natural Garden that was in a pretty dry area, but this was the first time I had seen it.  It looked great.  I guess this plant doesn't have to be near water after all.  There is something special about this plant.  It may not be the most clean looking plant in the world, but the strange white sputniks of flowers are incredibly interesting.  It made my day out there.

Thanks again for reading this abbreviated version of the blog.  Thanks also to the Garden Writers Association for coming to our facility this week.  It is always great to have you and our other guests out to our gardens.  Until next time, have a great day!


  1. Thank you for the great day on Thursday, always a wonderful educational experience. I bought some "Amsonia Blue Ice" today for in front of my ninebarks. Who knows what is will be called eventually. I forgot the name of the group of plants you said it matches genetically.


  2. Thanks for the tour and hosting Garden Writer's Day. It was a blast!

  3. I has as much if not more fun that you writers did. Thanks for coming out, and we hope to see you next year!


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