Seed Collecting Workshop, Sunday Oct 1

Collecting Seeds to Grow Your Own Wildflowers

Join Sandy Garland and Trish Murphy, of Beaux Arbres Native Plants, at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, in Ottawa, for a hands-on workshop on collecting native plant seeds, cleaning and storing the seeds and using cool, moist stratification and other techniques to prepare them to germinate.

  • Fletcher Wildlife Garden Centre
  • South of the Arboretum , off Prince of Wales
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Sunday, October 1st, 1 to 3 pm
seed collecting

Collect seed.


Plan your seed starting strategies and schedule the cool-moist stratification – a mid-winter task.


Most species will be ready and eager to germinate next spring.


Beaux Arbres is back on-line. Some new replacement equipment has been installed and, as long as a storm system does not come between us and our satellite, we should be re-connected with the internet world.

The photo is of Tall Sunflower (Helianthus giganteus), adding its own sunshine to a grey, misty morning.

Out of touch

We are having internet difficulties and will be back up as soon as we can. In the meantime call us directly at 819-647-2404. We are at Beaux Arbres most of the time so leave a message. If we don’t answer the phone we are probably in the garden.


September is a good time to plant

September is a good time to plant native wildflowers in your garden. It is an especially good time to add spring-blooming natives such as pussy-toes, columbines, and violets, if you want to increase wild-life attractiveness and spring colour for next year. These early bloomers grow well in cool soil so even with cooling night temperatures, they have plenty of time to root in well and prepare for lots of bloom for next year.

Pussy toes, both the low, creeping field pussy-toes (Antennaria neglecta) and the slightly larger plantain-leaved pussy-toes (A. plantaginifolia) are host (food) plants for the caterpillars of American Lady butterflies. American Ladies are strong fliers and mama American Ladies are well able to find new patches of pussy-toes, even in seemingly inhospitable city gardens.

Violets are also key butterfly food plants. The diverse native species of violets are the hosts for the caterpillars of the several species of Fritillary butterflies. We often see the small Meadow Fritillaries checking out the Canada violets which are growing in lower dampish bits of lawn at the bottom of our garden. And, yes, Canada violets are the aggressively spreading violets which will seed themselves in lawns. We have them in both purple and white form and we like the way they create a floral carpet in that part of the lawn. However, I can quite understand that not everyone wants this effect and why some people are wary of adding Canada violets to their gardens.

We also offer other species of violets, some of which are anything but aggressive spreaders. We have two species of violets for open, sunny, dry places: Bird’s Foot Violet (Viola pedata) and Hooked-spur Violet (V. adunca). They may be especially attractive to the large and glamorous butterfly called the Great Spangled Fritillary, a creature which likes warm, sunny places. Hooked-spur Violet is also called Early Violet and it is a lovely low, early bloomer for rock gardens. Bird’s Foot Violet is a very special species from Carolinian Ontario which has relatively large flowers and which will rebloom in summer. It is an exceptionally nice flower for sunny rock gardens.

September is a good time to plant shrubs. Beaux Arbres carries some of the smaller, decorative native shrubs and this year we are well supplied with Pasture Rose (Rosa virginiana), Sweet Fern (Comptonia peregrina), Purple Chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia), and Kalm’s St. John’swort (Hypericum kalmianum). The last one, Kalm’s St. John’swort, is a Great Lakes indigene which also occurs in the Ottawa Valley. We are proud to be able to say our Kalm’s St. John’swort is grown from seed collected here in Bristol Township, Quebec.

Beaux Arbres Native Plants has these and many other species of wildflower in stock. We are open until the end of September. Come and visit us soon.

Bringing some Standing Cypress to market

I planted some biennial standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) last summer just where they would catch the eye as one drove up our driveway. And these scarlet towers of bloom certainly do catch the eye. Like other vivid red flowers, they are hummingbird pollinated. From the U.S. Rockies, they are well north and east of their native range in western Quebec, but they will overwinter most winters if given excellent drainage, and they volunteer gently.

This spring, knowing we would be on a garden tour in early August, I potted up a flat of standing cypress seedlings, figuring they would walk off the benches if the plants by the driveway were even starting to bloom in time for the tour. Well, you can guess that didn’t happen in this wettest of summers. I sold exactly one pot of standing cypress. The tardy plants are just starting into their splendid eye-catching bloom now.

We will be bringing a flat (minus one) of pots of standing cypress to the Old Chelsea Farmers’ Market on Thursday afternoon. Plant them now for hummingbird-attracting bloom next August. Full sun and well-drained soil.


We will also have pots of this year’s seeding of Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) and Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Prairie Smoke is a popular items at the spring sales and I have been sold out of older plants for some time. This years seedlings were very slow to get going; they were waiting for some sun and warmth which didn’t come. The largest among them are now up to salable size.

Butterfly milkweed is always in demand. It is the bright orange, knee-height milkweed which is such a splendid garden flower and butterfly nectar flower AND a host plant for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. August is the best time to plant butterfly milkweeds. The seedlings wait until the soil warms up and they cannot be rushed to be ready for spring sales. They also hate being pot-bound and I always lose a high percentage of them trying to overwinter them in pots. Even though they are still small, put them in now. They will bloom next year, a little bit and a little later than established plants, and will come into their own the following year. Butterfly milkweed, even well-established plants, are very late to emerge in spring, waiting until the soil is warm, so do not give up on your plants next spring. They want full sun, although a little afternoon shade is acceptable, and well-drained soil.

Butterfly milkweed is native to the Ottawa Valley although it is quite uncommon and restricted to undisturbed areas. The seed for my plants this year came from Northumberland County, east of Rice Lake.



Not open Saturday afternoon, July 15

We are going to be at the Stone School Gallery in Portage-du-Fort for Michael’s talk on basketry. We will be at the nursery in the morning and after the talk, in the late afternoon.

The nursery is open anytime we are home from May until September. We try to be open most weekends during the season, but sometimes other commitments arise. It is always a good idea to phone to confirm we will be home – 819 647-2404. We are often out of range of the phone when working in the garden, but you may leave a message.

Beaux Arbres Native Plants will not be open Saturday, June 17th. We will be open the following week and back at the Old Chelsea Farmers Market on Thursday, June 29th. If you are interested in visiting Beaux Arbres — and we welcome visitors — please phone in advance to confirm: 819 647-2404.