A Successful Sale Day at FWG

Beaux Arbres had its best day yet at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s annual Native Plant Sale. Thanks to all our customers: some familiar faces and many new. We had a great time recommending plants to eager customers. Building on our experience in the past two years, this year we had laminated photo cards in place for every species, and many customers commented favourably.

The weather – cool but not raining – brought out the gardeners and was kind to the plants. The photo shows our full tables moments before the morning rush began.

Shade plants are always in demand by city gardeners. Shade plants are also slower to reproduce and some of them have exacting germination requirements. We can never keep up with the demand. Unfortunately, we are now out of several popular shade plants — Wild Ginger, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bloodroot, et al. — for the year.

Butterfly Food Plants

With all the conservation concern about Monarch Butterflies, gardeners want to plant Milkweeds, the food plants for the Monarch caterpillars. Will Beaux Arbres have Milkweed plants for sale at the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale this coming Sunday?

And the answer is No, not this Sunday. Milkweeds are very much heat loving plants of summer and they are slow to emerge in the spring, waiting until the soil is thoroughly warm.* Our Milkweeds are just starting to poke above the ground. You will have other opportunities to buy Beaux Arbres Milkweeds, as we are going to be at the Westboro Farmers’ Market on three Saturdays later this spring. And, of course, there will be Milkweeds for sale at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s great annual sale of native plants, this year on Saturday, June 1st.

Beaux Arbres has added two new species of Milkweeds this spring. In addition to the popular orange Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and tall, fragrant Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata), we have added Dwarf Milkweed (A. ovalifolia), seed from Manitoba, and Whorled Milkweed (A. verticilliata), from southern Ontario. Although neither of the new species is present naturally in the Ottawa Valley, the wide-ranging Monarchs are just as happy to encounter them here as they are in other parts of their summer breeding range. In fact, the narrow, thin leaves of Whorled Milkweed seem especially attractive to late-arriving mother Monarchs, who pass over the mature leaves of Common Milkweed. Both of these species spread into colonies, but they are much shorter than Common Milkweed and they may be just the thing for your garden if you have a sunny area of poor, dry soil.

We will be bringing some other essential butterfly host plants to the Rare and Unusual Sale. For the intrepid American Ladies (sometimes also called American Painted Ladies), Beaux Arbres is bringing Field Pussytoes, Plantain-leaved Pussytoes, and Pearly Everlasting, all with silvery grey foliage. For Black Swallowtails, we offer Golden Alexanders, with cheery yellow spring flowers. For the stunningly beautiful Baltimore Checkerspots, we have their only host plant: White Turtlehead. Now, Baltimore Checkerspots are homebodies, who do not easily find new plantings of Turtlehead, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you can attract this beautiful butterfly to your garden. American Ladies are strong fliers, who are good at seeking out food plants when you offer them.

✵ If you planted Butterfly Milkweed last year, do not give up on it. Butterfly Milkweed is one of the last to come up in the spring.

Swamp Milkweed

Two Native Primroses

Back in the winter, I showed a picture of two native primroses, Dwarf Canadian Primrose and Bird’s Eye Primrose, as they got ready for winter. Well, here they are in all their spring flowering glory and it is easy to see their different characters. Bird’s Eye Primrose (Primula laurentiana) has larger flowers and broader leaves, Dwarf Canadian Primrose (P. mistassinica) has delightful miniature proportions. I will have some of both to sell at the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in Ottawa this Sunday.

Dwarf Canadian on the the left, Bird’s Eye on the right.

Native plants are coming to town!

Beaux Arbres is coming to Ottawa’s Westboro Farmers Market on three Saturdays this spring. We will be bringing a selection of the best of our native wildflowers, grasses, and small shrubs to the lively west-end market on Saturday, May 18th, and Saturdays June 8th and 15th.

Of course, we will be at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Native Plant Sale on Saturday, June 1st. This is still the best sale of native plants in Ottawa, as you not only get to select from the Beaux Arbres tables, you also have all the great plants the volunteers at the Fletcher Wildlife garden bring to the sale from which to chose.

However, if you have to miss the FWG sale, or if you still have spots in your garden to fill, come out to the Westboro Farmers Market! Because spring has been so very late this year, and because the FWG sale is as early in June as it can be this year, we may not have slow-to-emerge species, such as the always popular Butterfly Milkweed(featured image), until later in the month.

You may be seeing our new poster around town in you live or shop in the west end of Ottawa.

A Small Step towards Spring

For the past few years, our very first Spring outing has been a vendor table at the Ontario Horticultural Association District 2 AGM. This year, the AGM was hosted by the Pembroke Horticultural Association last Saturday, April 12th.

The date was early this year and the spring weather has been miserable. We do not have a heated greenhouse so we did not have much available.

Some Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon meadia) were showing strong new growth and some of the experienced gardeners at the AGM were willing to take a chance. We will be bringing more Shooting Stars to the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale on Mothers’ Day. They may be in bloom then.

A Shooting Star in bloom in the Alpine Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden.