Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery & Landscapes

At The Nursery

Come view many of the plants growing in their natural habitats on the picturesque property in Litchfield County. Sit by the bog garden or by the shade house and observe the butterflies and humming birds busy collecting nectar.

We planned wood from trees on the site! We custom cut all of the complex joinery to make the posts and beams link together. The barn framework The finished product is a cozy and eco-friendly office and retail space.

Come visit the “barn”, a post and beam structure constructed from the oak trees that grew on the site. It is serving as our office. We invite you to come visit, walk the display gardens, ask plant questions and enjoy! And take home a few native plants!

There’s always a place for a native plant in every landscape!

Questions about your landscape? We have a landscape designer ready to answer all your questions.

Wetland issues? Talk to the wetland ecologist and soil scientist to get answers.


August 2016 - What’s Blooming?

Posted by Lisa

Take a look at a few of the many plants blooming at Earth Tones this August!

Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, has striking red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds who feed on the nectar and provide pollination.

blue lobelia white lobelia
The closely related, Lobelia siphilitica, provides a range of late summer color in blooms of blue-lavender and white.

solidago juncea
The easily recognized Goldenrod (Solidago) species are in their glory as they brighten up the late summer landscape with their astounding yellow color.

hardy ageratum
Hardy Ageratum, Conoclinium coelestinum, is a friendly neighbor that is native to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It has blue fluffy flowers in late summer and grows 2-3 feet tall.

Our New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is also beginning to show off its attractive purple flowers that bloom into the fall.

Who’s Visiting the Nursery?

Posted by Lisa

Take a look at a few of the many critters enjoying the plants at Earth Tones!

American Lady
The American Lady, Vanessa virginiensis, displays the dorsal view of its wings as it rests on the Amsonia spp. in bloom.

American lady ventral
Later in the season, this American Lady visits the Purple Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) and displays the ventral view of its wings.

A skimmer dragonfly (Libellula spp.) hangs out on a currant bush (Ribes spp.).

Flower Fly
Many flower flies (family Syrphidae) mimic the appearance of stinging wasps or bees in an effort to be avoided by predators.

Bumble Bee
A bumble bee (Bombus spp.) collects pollen from the Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) flowers.

Flower Longhorns
Flower longhorn beetles (subfamily Lepturinae) are important pollinators. Here, a couple is seen on a flower of Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana).

June 2016 - What’s Blooming?

Posted by Lisa

Take a look at a few of the many plants blooming at Earth Tones this June!

Lance-leaved Tickseed, Coreopsis lanceolata, forms stands of attractive yellow flowers.

Blue-eyed grass
Blue-eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, does well in poor to average soils. Flowers have yellow centers and are blue to a deep blue-violet color.

Our Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are just getting into bloom:

Want to attract butterflies to your garden?
butterfly weed
Try Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)!

mock orange
The Scentless Mock Orange, Philadelphus inodorus, is a shrub with showy white flowers.

blanket flower
Photo by Heather Turoczi. Blanket Flower, Gaillardia aristata.

virginia rose
Virginia Rose, Rosa virginiana, has pretty pink flowers in bloom!

What’s Growing at the Nursery?!

Posted by Lisa

Here are just a few of the many early spring bloomers at Earth Tones!

Red Columbine 5-1-16

Red Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, is a beautiful woodland wildflower with downward hanging, bell-like flowers. These flowers attract long-tongued insects and hummingbirds that are especially adapted for reaching the nectar.

Bleeding heart 5-1-16

Wild Bleeding Heart, Dicentra eximia. A friendly neighbor to Connecticut, this adaptable plant does well in full sun to partial shade and well drained, peaty, moist or dry soils.

Purple Trillium 5-1-16

Purple Trillium, Trillium erectum, has a single, nodding crimson flower. Its fragrance attracts carrion flies that act as pollinators.

foam flower 5-7-16

Clouds of soft white flowers give Foam Flower, Tiarella cordifolia, its common name. This plant makes an excellent ground cover with evergreen foliage and an ability to grow well in moderate to full shade.

Iris 5-1-16

Coming from our border state of Massachusetts, the Dwarf Wood Iris, Iris cristata, is a versatile, low-growing iris reaching only 5 or 6 inches tall.

Springtime at the Nursery

Posted by Lisa

Hello everyone! We thought you’d like to take a look at what’s blooming around the nursery now that spring is well underway! We’ve already had some of our spring ephemerals, like bloodroot and rue anemone, bloom spectacularly. Below is a photographic record of what’s coming up now, though it’s by no means a comprehensive list!

Trout lily

Trout lily, called so for its dappled leaves. Botanical name Erythronium americanum.

Eastern bluebell

Eastern bluebells, Mertensia virginica.

A species of Antennaria, or Pussytoes.
Ostrich fern

Robust ostrich fern fiddleheads, botanical name Matteuccia struthiopteris.

A species of Erigeron.
Lowbush Blueberry

Lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium.

Shagbark hickory

A young shagbark hickory (with an older one in the background), Carya ovata.

Foam flower

Foam flower, Tiarella cordifolia.



Bog Rosemary

Andromeda polifolia, Bog Rosemary.


Rhodora, or Rhododendron canadense. Does very well in wet conditions and is usually found in bogs.
Leopard frog

All these native plants create a thriving habitat for local wildlife. Here is a leopard frog, enjoying the sun in our bog!

Painted turtle

This is a new edition to our bog, baby painted turtles!
Nursery springtime


Posted by Terri

Vernal Pool Time

Posted by Kyle

As the rains of late winter begin to fall and the temporary ponds that develop in our wooded areas begin to lose their ice cover, the animals that use “vernal pools” migrate to them to breed and lay their eggs.  This migration can last into early spring on rainy nights.  Once eggs are laid, the salamanders move back to the woodlands where they spend the rest of the year.  Typically salamanders travel 250-500ft to get to their pools, but there are reports of them moving over 1200ft to get to new breeding areas.
PLEASE keep your eyes on the road for salamanders, frogs, and toads migrating on these rainy nights.  The spotted salamander can live up to 25 years and grow to SIX inches in length.

Red eft: Notophthalmus viridescens Marbled salamander Ambystoma opacum

Where to See Lisa & Kyle in 2013

Posted by Kyle

January 9th 12:30pm with the Easton Garden Club:

Lisa & Kyle will present “Native Plants & Their Use in the Landscape

Easton Public Library Community Room 691Morehouse Rd Easton,CT

January 10th & 11th with the Landscape Design Symposium

Lisa will be attending and networking on Native Plants in the Connecticut Landscape

Connecticut College, New London CT

January 16th 7:15pm with the Bronxville Working Gardeners

Lisa & Kyle will present “The Ecology & Benefits of using Native Plants in the Garden

Bronxville, NY

February 21st-24th at the 32nd Flower & Garden Show

Lisa & Kyle will have a display with CT Native Plants for our Landscapes

The Connecticut Convention Center Hartford CT

May 24th Women’s Club of Danbury & New Fairfield


March 21st      Enhancing your Backyard Bird Habitat

Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program
At Nonnewaug High School – Woodbury, CT
Adult Education Courses

Pictorial: Build a “BOG”

Posted by Lisa

Posted by Lisa

Pictorial: The Grotto

Posted by Lisa

Pictorial: Ephemerals

Posted by Lisa

On the Search for Spring Ephemerals

Posted by Lisa

When the Earth warms just enough in New England, spring announces her return with the most dainty and sometimes illusive flowering beauties. Before leaves unfurl from the trees and before nighttime frosts are no more, our native Spring Ephemerals start to pop up through the mulch. They greet cool spring days with enthusiasm and bring me messages of encouragement. When walking through the wooded wetlands, even with some ice and snow on the land, Skunk Cabbage emerge with a startling freshness and resilience. The surprise of a bright yellow Marsh Marigold blooming against the gray cover of last season’s fallen leaves always brings me a smile. Walking through my garden, seeking signs of spring, I am always delighted when I notice the little heads of Bloodroot up and marching, eagerly advancing. Yet already in full flower, in a burst of pure enthusiasm, the Rue Anemone flutters in the breeze. And Dutchman’s Britches, one of the first Dicentra’s for the spring, hangs out its white pantaloons.

In areas that are south facing and soaking up solar energy the first of the blues and pinks call out. Here, Creeping Phlox start to create its kaleidoscope blanket and Jacob’s Ladder reach up to meet the sky with an equally beautiful blue. Violets sweet faces smile back at me.

As Spring rains soak the ground and the temperatures gain, Mayapples start to poke through the ground and twirl open their umbrella-like foliage protecting their bloom underneath. Mertensia offer their flowers out for show and perform their amazing magic trick by changing colors from pink to blue to purple. Trout Lily nod their sophisticated yellow heads en masse, as if in serious discussions. By the time the Foam Flower pokes its fuzzy bottlebrush bloom up to offer nectar to all I know Spring is officially here and Summer is on its way.

Where To Find us, Events 2012

Posted by Kyle

We are looking forward to a great year! Come join us as we present at some terrific gatherings!

Jan 4 2012
CT Nursery and Landscape Association Winter Symposium
Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT
Presentation on -
“Rain Gardens -Storm Water Management, Aesthetics and Habitat”
Learn the importance behind Rain Gardens and the fundamentals of building one!

Jan 24 2012
Garden Club of Newtown 12:00pm
Booth Library , Main Street , Newtown, CT
Presentation on -
“Introduction to Native Plants and Landscaping Ideas”
Why are Native Plants so important? Understand the wonderful ecological impact you can have by incorporating Native Plants into your landscape.

Feb 1 2012
New England Grows!
3 day event!
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center - Boston, MA
Presentation - “Where the Wild Things Are - Designing with Native Plants”
Learn the intrinsic relationship between flora and fauna, learn how to build a native plant palette for specific ecological sites, gain inspiration for your next design using Native Plants.

Feb 14 2012
Pomperaug Valley Garden Club 11:00am
Woodbury Emergency Service Building, Quassuk Road, Woodbury CT
Presentation on -
“Native Plants- How to help the world by starting in your own backyard”

April 21 2012
Earth Day Celebration Woodbury CT 11am - 4pm
Come Join us and many other participants at Hollow Park for the Earth Day Celebration. The theme will be “Reduce Reuse Recycle”
Go Green!

April 22 2012
Earth Tones Official Opening Day!

April 28 2012
Ansonia Nature Center , Ansonia CT
Help continue the Earth Day celebration with events, hikes, woodland tours, song, dance and merriment!

May 15 2012
Danbury Women’s Club 10:00 am
Here at Earth Tones - Get a full tour of the nursery, the propagation methods, the office built from the timber off the land, the very green and very sustainable methods used , the mini Sphagnum peat bog with native carnivorous plants and orchids, enjoy the display gardens and of course have access to native ferns, perennials, trees and shrubs we offer for sale to the public. ( up to about 400 species available!)
Call us to have your Garden Club signed up for a tour!

May 22 2012
Flander’s Nature Center Hosts a presentation by Lisa on attracting pollinators
6:30pm at Woodbury Library on Main St, Woodbury
Earth Tones joins in a discussion of “The Plight of the Pollinators” with a presentation directing gardeners towards specific native plant material most beneficial to our native pollinators.

The Economy and Your Land

Posted by Kyle

With the current economic downturn we are ALL feeling the pain. As our government, from local to state, are making cut backs, we the landowners, i.e. taxpayers, can help reduce the cost of doing business. On the home front there are several things we can do that will save us money every day and reduce the cost that we contribute at the state and federal levels too.

Lately we have heard lots of conversation around the term “carbon footprint”, with talk of such things as a carbon tax on every product. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by ones actions. i.e. drive a truck which emits X amount CO2, or cook a dinner and emit X amount of CO2. Possibly a more appropriate term to use for this discussion would be an “ecological footprint” or simply the measure of demand on the ecosystem to support humans. This takes into account such things as how much land and water it takes to feed, cloth, wash, transport, and entertain every person.
Looking at our ecological footprint in regards to a plant nursery we see in the case of the “traditional, main stream” nursery stock, it would be the energy it takes to grow, ship and maintain a plant. In conventional agriculture there are carbon imputes from such things as shipping of seeds or starter plugs (by truck, diesel), green house heat (usually oil), fertilizer (usually petroleum based), lights (electricity) and more shipping, most nursery stock is grown in California, Oregon, and the Carolina’s (more trucking), and additional annual carbon imputes if this plant needs to be watered, fertilized and pruned to remain healthy. There can be additional costs associated with plants to be shipped. Other costs incurred can come from diseased plants, pests, or invasive plant that are brought to a new location. We the government spend substantial quantities of manpower and money to contain and control such situations. For example, look at how the Asian long-horned beetle has been dealt with in the northeast.

Fortunately at Earth Tones the use of carbon in producing plants at the nursery is very low. We collect the seed often on hikes, while biking or in our travels, (some carbon from auto). Some carbon is used to move soils with the machine and pump water for times of little rain, but we do not use petroleum based fertilizers, we don’t use heated greenhouses or lights to grow our plants, we use solar power. We do not ship our plants across the country, and this is our policy for a few reasons, first we want to keep the Connecticut gene pool strong by keeping our plants in our region for cross pollination with wild populations, collect locally, sell locally. This also encourages people who are not in our region that request plants to stimulate interest in native plants from their own region. Keeping plants in our region also reduces the CO2 impact. The annual cost of maintenance with native plants is usually zero or close to it because, once a native plant is placed in its proper site it will grow without the need for excess watering or fertilizers and does not need annual pruning.

Another area you can save BIG $$ and reduce your ecological footprint is your lawn. In a 2007 report for the Dry Creek Conservancy titled Economic Benefits of River Friendly Landscaping; it states a typical suburban lawn uses 10,000 gallons of water in addition to the annual rainfall!! it also shows how converting 1 acre of lawn to a natural area can save $90,000 over 20 years time!! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1 traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles. In America 800 million gallons of gas per year are used just to mow lawns!!! If you use petroleum based fertilizers be aware that you are artificially supplying grass the nutrients it needs for survival, instead of the plant obtaining them from the soil. You are creating a chemically dependent plant. And we have all seen what it cost an individual to kick their chemical dependency. You may also need a watering system to maintain your lawn and someone to maintain your watering system. Other direct and indirect costs can come from improperly applied fertilizers. Applications need to be based on soil, rainfall and plant conditions, applying too much fertilizer can runoff and contaminate local waters. This can create dead zones in aquatic systems and contribute to fish and other animal death. Polluted water is one area we the government spend vast quantities of money to clean and if you do not have a well the cost of purifying public drinking water is also increased.

Some options for saving $$ ; NEVER have more lawn then you need! Reduce the size of your lawn if possible. Less area = less $ spent for maintenance. If you like large grass areas consider fields. Lawn can be converted to hay and cut up to 4 times a year, and cost you nothing in most cases. You can convert your lawn to field and let it grow for 2 years, then cut it so it will be kept in field type habitat. Mowing keeps the trees and shrubs from moving in and creating a forest. Both will have immediate cost savings, up to $90,000 over 20 years, and greatly reduce your ecological footprint. Another benefit in the big picture from field cover is food for pollinators. Bees need quality food to create honey to survive the winter and native plants in your field will help! On a regional scale, if the farmer does not need to have bees brought in to pollinate crops then there is a cost savings and again a reduction in the carbon cost of the produce.

Consider a Rain Garden. A rain garden is a depression in the landscape designed to temporarily store water from gutters and driveways, parking lots and other non-pervious surfaces and allows it to infiltrate the soil. How does this save money? Putting water in the ground keeps it from concentrating and eroding your driveway or soil from your property Storm water management is one of our biggest areas of interest by clients. On a larger scale putting water back in the ground not only helps clean pollutants collected from this runoff but also helps recharge aquifers. It also reduces the immediately large amount of water reaching the streams and rivers from surface runoff, which helps in reducing potential flooding during a storm. Repairing flood damaged property is very costly to all, especially river communities. Rain gardens also provide beauty to your landscape and plants that provide nectar for wildlife, especially important to our pollinators.

Planting buffers along rivers and streams help in flood reduction, curbs nutrient impacts and improves habitat for wildlife. Our rivers evolved within a forested landscape and keeping plants along rivers is essential for healthy streams and rivers. Plantings of 25 to 50 feet from riverbanks will enrich river and stream health, improve wildlife habitat and reduce erosion. Eroded stream banks cause direct loss of property during major storm events, but without adequate vegetation there is continuous loss of soil that may not be noticed until a bank failure occurs Erosion is a natural part of river ecology but the increased rate of erosion caused by anthropogenic processes creates the problem. To see the cost of increased flows in our streams and rivers review the repair of the 2007 flood damage at Orton Lane in Woodbury, CT, 06798. Orton Lane now has a 12ft high steel sheet piling wall to protect the home on the river, effective, but not a very attractive or wildlife friendly area in the Pomperaug River. Our clean streams and rivers also attract visitors to Connecticut that spend money in our towns.

Plant with Natives! using native plants in your landscape can have many benefits which can reduce the money you spend every year on your property. Many of the benefits such as having plants keep soil in place and absorbing carbon and providing oxygen, or having shade from native trees, are direct benefits to your home as well as your state, national and global budget. Growing plants native to your region will benefit you by providing an essential component for the wildlife by strengthening the connections to the ecosystem and enhance the overall health of your ecosystem. These plants also bring beauty to our landscapes without the need for synthetic fertilizers or watering. So start saving today, not only the cash in your pocket, but the land as a whole- the Big Picture!

Pictorial: Fauna and Flora at Earthtones

Posted by Lisa

Where does our celebrated fall color come from?

Posted by Kyle

Short days and cool temperatures are the dual triggers of fall color.  They are signals to the plants to begin preparing for their long winter snooze.  But some of the glowing colors are not just a part of getting ready for dormancy.  Many plants actually expend energy to produce the compounds that make the reds, yellows, and lovely purples, and oranges of fall.

On a basic level, the plants break down some of the more valuable components of their leaves and move them to locations where they can be safely stored during the cold season.  As chlorophyll is broken down and its components reabsorbed, the less valuable chemicals remain, giving the leaves a yellow or mahogany hue.  The more vivid reds and oranges are another story.  These are produced by compounds that the plant manufactures for a specific purpose.  As a rule, organisms do not expend energy without some kind of return.  People began to wonder what the benefits of foliage color could be.

There is currently much debate in the scientific community as to the exact nature of these benefits.  One theory is that the chemicals that generate different colors also protect the plants photosynthetic centers from cold temperatures.  This safeguards the plants ability to recover the most biologically costly of the chemicals associated with photosynthesis.

Another interesting theory is that the bright colors are actually a screen against aphids.  Worrying about aphids in November may seem a little silly, but this is actually the time when they are sizing up locations to lay their eggs.  The eyes of aphids are very sensitive to green, as it is likely to signal a meal, but they have a hard time seeing red.  This means that the red leaves which are so bright to our eyes are actually a good disguise against aphids.  They will move on to a tree with green or yellow leaves, and deposit their eggs there, thinking they have chosen the best potential food source.  Another of natures clever and fascinating ploys!

No one has figured out the definitive answer, and there are many more possibilities.  It is a rather interesting conundrum to consider while taking a walk through the bright colors this autumn.

The Glory of Winter

Posted by Lisa

bluestem grassAlthough most plants go dormant at the end of the gardening season, many of them leave behind gifts that can be enjoyed throughout the winter months. Not only are remaining seed heads and berries a food source for wildlife, but they’re also a source for winter interest in the garden. Perennial natives such as purple coneflower and black-eyed Susan produce attractive seed heads that are a welcome feast for hungry birds and provide a striking profile in the winter landscape. Pair them with other plants with architectural staying power like little bluestem grass and red-osier dogwood to create dramatic vignettes, especially when cloaked in a blanket of snow.

The key to successful winter gardening is to choose plants that offer appealing characteristics for most of the year and during the cold months. Don’t look at just flowers, think about a plant’s leaves, bark, form, seeds, and fruit. Select native shrubs like red cedars (for their evergreen forms), birches (for their attractive exfoliating bark) or winterberries (for their red fruit).

Also consider changing your maintenance routine. Old habits may die hard, but resist the temptation to deadhead, cut back, and rake out beds. Deadheading and cutting back may make things neat and tidy, but it also robs you (and animals) of those coveted seed heads and structural winter forms. Raking beds also eliminates Mother Nature’s homemade mulch, which provides plants with organic matter, moisture, and a layer of winter protection. Unless the spent leaves are likely to encourage the spread of disease or attract unwanted insects or rodents, it’s okay to leave clean up until we’re hungry for sunshine and eager to get dirt under our nails again in spring.

Download the EarthTones Fall 2007 Newsletter

Welcome Summer

Posted by Lisa

Official summer is almost upon us. The weather will become hotter, the ground drier and panic will set in the hearts of some gardeners when they think of the upkeep in watering the garden! Will their well risk running dry this hot season? Will there be bans on watering? Will they ultimately lose precious plant material?

If you have native plants in your garden, then the answer is No! The native plants, if planted in the right ecological conditions will survive. They have had years of practice at surviving these harsh weather conditions that the New England area is so known for (some are even proud of it!)

Lonicera sempervirensAfter installing your beautiful, beneficial and hearty native plant, once it’s established (and this will require maybe a month of growing time) all you need to do is enjoy it! Speaking from experience, there have been more than enough times I have planted a gorgeous native plant (locating it in the proper soil and light conditions, of course) carefully setting it in its new home, lovingly mulched and watered it and then poor thing- forgot all about it!

As you know, life seems to pull us and our attentions in many different directions, snd the poor garden suffers. So, I forgot about the plant until it called out to me and finally attracted my attention by the beautiful blooms that it was waving about (It reminded me of the student in the back of the classroom practically standing in the chair while waving her hand to get the attention of the teacher¦). So I redirected my footsteps to take a minute and admire the new addition to the garden. Colorful, attractive, and getting along well with the other plants in the garden, it was simultaneously providing a nectar source for insects. Very impressive! But I had confidence in her anyway, yet was still, none the less, pleasantly surprised.

Note to self, Self, don’t forget to collect seeds in the fall from that one! She’s a beauty!

The Columbines are just going to seed, the Solomans Seal has finished its blooms, the spring ephemerals are starting to fade and yellow, I’ve already collected and have sown Marsh marigold seeds and Mitella seeds, and the Dicentra’s are going to seed also. Aside from the hot spell last week, the natural course of this plant palette screams that spring is over! Get ready for summer! The delicate soft green hues are turning deeper. The spring ephemerals that we so longed for, the ones that evoke the excitement like the birth of a new baby are now fading. Summer, with its heat, its intense solar glare, its dry ground and tough planting conditions needs some new recruits. The next wave of color is upon us!

GaillardiaMy favorites for Summer fun and color are:
Gaillardia (Blanket flower) -Loves full sun with fairly average garden soils. Crazy colorful and fun blooms that remind me of a brightly lit carousel during the summer evening fair. Hummingbirds enjoy this plant as well!
Asclepias - Wow! There is a milkweed for every occasion. Just to name a few…The A. tuberosa is the bright orange one that is at home in fields and open meadows, loves well drained soil and is hard to miss when in bloom.

Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata A. incarnata prefers moister soil conditions (hence the common name Swamp Milkweed) and A. syriaca, Common Milkweed, which is the only fragrant milkweed, tends to take over in a smaller garden, so prepare to have ample room for it so you don’t start a fight with it! The blooms last a fairly long time in a vase and I’ve read that the still fresh seed pods are edible. (Recipes anyone?)

Monarch Caterpillar

AND did you know that Milkweeds are a MAJOR food source for monarch butterflies? Plant a few milkweeds and ultimately you will also be enjoying beautiful butterflies, colorful caterpillars, and if you’re lucky enough- camouflaged chrysalis.
Aruncus – for the shade garden only. This plant can tolerate drier soils and throws out a huge white fluff of a flower that droops delicately long into the season. A great one for filling up a space because the plant grows 4ft tall by 3ft wide.
Campanula- Always more fun when you go through life with a campanula!
Ok, ok. But really! Hardy plants, bell shaped flowers, handles drought, some are petite and delicate and some bold. How can you not want one?

Lonicera sempervirens - A honey of a plant! This woody-stemmed vine flowers from mid-May until frost. And if the frost was not that bad, and there’s a warm spell - she’ll try to bloom a few more! Can handle sun to part shade and is a favorite with the hummingbirds!
Penstamon - This, like the Columbine, has such a delicate flower, yet the plant is very tough in the driest locations. Can handle full sun to part shade.
Monarch ChrysalisVeronicastrum - I’m pushing this one a bit. It doesn’t flower until late in the summer, but I always have enjoyed the leaf pattern. It has a sturdy stem with a whorled leaf that adds an intriguing texture to the garden. It will ultimately grow 3ft +, so give it room.

Hope you had a wonderful Spring and now time for some summer fun!

The Amelanchier

Posted by Kyle

Amelanchier canadensis, A. stolonifera, A. arborea and A. laevis can be found in our area. 

Amelanchier is a small tree or shrub that can be found in a variety of habitats from swamps to dry woods. When you see a sprinkle of delicate white splashed in the woods and nothing else is flowering you have found an Amelanchier.  This plant is known to many by a variety of names such as; Serviceberry, Sarvisberry, Shadbush and Shadblow.  These names reflect the intimate connection people had with their environments.  The Sarvisberry is a tree found in Europe with similar fruit, after a while people corrupted sarvisberry into serviceberry. 

As for the name Shadbush and Shadblow, this refers to the running of the shad in the northeast.  The American Shad is an anadromous fish that would move up the Houstonic and Connecticut rivers and into the smaller rivers to spawn in May and June. At the same time, the Amelanchier start to flower.  Because it is the earliest shrub/ tree to flower and the only plant flowering at that same time and can be found along stream banks it was easily connected with the shad.

The Amelanchier is in the rose family, in our area it can be found as a single stem tree or a multi-stem shrub, on dry hills or in swamps and along streams.  It is a highly adaptable plant for many landscape environments.  Besides having lovely white flowers, it produces outstanding fruit.  The berries are red to purple and have about a 1/4″ diameter.  They have a incredible flavor in which a large number of birds delight. 

They make some of the best preserves I have ever had and are great for pies too!  But there is one problem, you have to beat the birds and children to them, it does not take long for either to clean out a bush! 

 Which ever way you know this plant, it is one you should have in your landscape.

Spring Ephemerals

Posted by Kyle

The spring ephemerals are the first to show their stuff!

BloodrootWake RobinAlways a welcome site, these little beauties bloom before the trees unfurl their leaves. As the sun starts to warm the soil, these plants burst from tubers and bulbs and put up leaves and flowers all in a few weeks. Don’t cut them for your bouquets, many of these plants do not have a perfumed scent, as in the case of the purple trillium, a.k.a. Stinking Benjamin. These “stinking” plants attract flies for pollination. The spring ephemerals are often gone from the visable landscape by summer, but they have produced seeds and stored nutrients in their bulbs by this time and will be ready for next spring.

Trout Lily

In our area we see Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Trout Lily, Hepatica, Squirrel Corn, Dutchman’s Breeches, Trillium and Twinleaf blooming in our shade gardens and woodlands.

A Skunk in the Woods

Posted by Kyle

If you are out for a walk and see some greenish purple coming up through the snow it’s OK.skunk cabbage

This is Symplocarpus foetidus, better known as Skunk Cabbage. The Spathe, a hoodlike structure stripped purplish and green, has a green round spadix (or flower), which looks like a tiny pineapple with the leave cut off, on the inside of the hood. As this structure is emerging it produces heat, which melts the snow.

The pineapple like part produces the odor that gives this plant its name. This less than agreeable scent attracts flies that pollinate it. As spring approaches, the large, 2+ feet tall green leaves will emerge, creating quite a show- almost tropical.

When you see skunk cabbage you know you are near a swamp. They grown in wooded wetlands.

And, when you see skunk cabbage, you know spring is near! 

many skunks

Vernal Pools

Posted by Lisa

Newt and  Marbled SalamanderIn March, when snow is still on the ground, but it’s warm enough for some rainy nights, this is the time when our region’s salamanders and other amphibians migrate towards vernal pools and ponds to breed. So on rainy nights, keep your eyes out for those little critters crossing the road.

Did you know that spring peepers use sugars in their bodies like antifreeze to keep from freezing during cold periods.

Did you also know that a spotted salamander can grow up to eight inches long and live for 25 years!

To find out more about these critters and their habitats, stop in or check out articles in “Digging deeper” on our web site or contact Kyle.

Spring Is Coming!

Posted by Lisa

childrentrout lillyHi, everyone. Kyle and I hope you have had a great winter and are looking forward to the spring planting season! We just wanted to let everyone know that we will be resuming our regular hours (winter is appointment only) on Sunday April 22nd, which also happens to be Earth Day!

To learn more about Earth Day check out these sites:

We hope you can come by and visit. As always please contact us with any questions or help you might need as you plan your Spring planting!


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