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The Midwest Native Plant Primer: 225 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden (Paperback)

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This book is a very useful  introduction to adding garden worthy native trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials to your Midwest landscape.  It includes an essay on the advantages of native plants, as well as tips for picking plants and designing with them. The bulk of the book is an illustrated  list of plants to choose from. The author uses the common names (the Latin is also given)  and no US hardiness zone, but gardeners in southeast Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio can assume that, some soil conditions excepted, they can successfully grow all of these. His sense of humor and honesty remind me of legendary garden writer Allan Armitage. I loved this description of the swamp white oak: "the darling of city foresters in urban-damaged soils." Yes, that's the tree planted in front of Literati after others failed to survive. My neighborhood sidewalks  are shaded by the Kentucky coffee tree, a dinosaur  whose bark is "probably a protective armor for "long-extinct ground sloths." What the author fails to mention is its relentless suckering, its lateness at leafing out, and the giant seed pods that fall on your head.  I have planted and sometimes killed the majority of the perennials that he recommends. When I had tall coreopsis I had flocks of goldfinches, but also-once they found them-annual flocks of aphids. And when the author tells you that a plant is aggressive, believe him the first time. It took me five years to remove  non-native running bamboo from my yard: the running native pipevine will go down with the house. On the other hand, I would not be without yucca, butterfly weed ( there is always a short-lived  milkweed bug visit in the fall that I actually enjoy-no harm done)  maidenhair fern, marsh-marigold, virginia bluebells, wood poppies, and dozens of other natives. Get this book and go visit the new Belle Isle Piet Oudolf designed garden this spring to see a naturalistic planting that uses many (but not all) native plants.

— From Carla's Picks


Bring your garden to life—and life to your garden!

Do you want a garden that makes a real difference? Choose plants native to our Midwest region. The rewards will benefit you, your yard, and the environment—from reducing maintenance tasks to attracting earth-friendly pollinators such as native birds, butterflies, and bees. Native plant expert Alan Branhagen makes adding these superstar plants easier than ever before, with proven advice that every home gardener can follow. This incomparable sourcebook includes 225 recommended native ferns, grasses, wildflowers, perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. It’s everything you need to know to create a beautiful and beneficial garden.

This must-have handbook is for gardeners in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

About the Author

Alan Branhagen is director of operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the former director of horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden. He is the author of Native Plants of the Midwest and The Gardener’s Butterfly Book and has written articles for a range of publications, including Fine Gardening, Missouri Gardener, and Missouri Prairie Journal. Alan is a naturalist and plantsman with a background in garden design and management; he specializes in botany, butterflies, and birds.

Praise For…

“Concise descriptions and ample color photographs [that] make it approachable and likely to be useful to a wide range of gardeners. The index includes both common and scientific names.” —Booklist

“Gardening has never been more Minnesota-friendly than with The Midwest Native Plant Primer.” —Midwest Home Magazine

“An easy, breezy guide to garden-worthy trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials and vines for Midwestern landscapes." —Star Tribune

“Offers both inspiration and enlightenment for gardeners throughout the Midwest.” —The Columbus Dispatch
Product Details
ISBN: 9781604699920
ISBN-10: 1604699922
Publisher: Timber Press
Publication Date: July 21st, 2020
Pages: 256
Language: English