Greetings from David, Kentucky!

In our world tragedy and violence so often seem to take center stage; it is so in our face everywhere we turn and we can easily get sucked into the drama. It is crucial that we create balance and make time to “unplug” from that reality and observe another reality. Beauty abounds in our world; and is essential to health and wellness! Though it may not get headlines, it nourishes our body, mind and spirit! If we take the time to notice, we will find how prevalent this reality is, and grow in appreciation of these gifts.

The other day my sister, Gina, wrote and sent a photo of an exquisite bouquet. “Ann, here are some flowers from my garden to brighten your day. Have a blessed one.” Her thoughtfulness helped create my reality!Gina's bouquet

Flowers are some of nature’s most beautiful gifts to humankind. Those who take the time to sow the seeds are beauty’s co-creators.

landscape of perennials     Now for some information on flower gardening for those who have established gardens and those who wish to begin…

Fall is the season to take care of perennials, technically those plants that live for more than two years. If you noticed that these flowers did not put on their usual show of color this spring, it may be time to dig and divide. Once they become crowded blooms can become smaller and infrequent. Dividing the plants to create more room usually restores their vigor. dividing perennialsA good “rule of thumb” to remember is that if the plant blooms in the spring divide it after it blooms or in the fall. The reverse is true, if the plant blooms in the summer or fall, divide it in the spring.

Since perennials grow from underground structures like fleshy roots, rhizomes or bulbs; this is the part of the plant that needs to be divided. Dig up the plant, remove old leaves and shake off loose dirt to expose the underground parts. Gently pull or cut the plant apart into several sections making sure each section has some recent growth at the top. Replant one section in the original location, and set it in so that the crown is just at soil level. You can use the remaining “new” plants created from your divisions to expand your landscaping or share with gardening friends and relatives.

Monarch butterflyFall is also the time of year to plant wild flowers.

To be successful in attracting all butterflies, especially Monarchs, a combination of both nectar and host plants is needed. Male and female butterflies have different nectar needs, but will often converge where there are host plants. Unlike humans, butterflies “taste” through their feet when they land on a flower!

Monarchs utilize the milkweed species exclusively as host plants. This is the only plant that provides for this need. Their caterpillar ingests the toxins in the milkweed, which makes them poisonous to most predators. What an amazing survival technique!   milkweed pod

Flower nectar provides both energy and re-hydration for butterflies. Most flower nectar is about 20% natural sugar, and 80% water.milkweed flower

With the help of  my botanist friend, Kim, I have prepared a list of flowers, which are beneficial in attracting butterflies. Some of the familiar favorites are not native to Kentucky. The native species are highlighted in bold italic font. When planting a flower garden it is a good practice to search out the beauties from your particular bio-region. This said there is wisdom in planting both natives and nonnatives, as long as the nonnatives are not invasive. The nonnatives have their own unique beauty and are part of our wider world culture. The key is to be aware and conscious when choosing plants for your garden.

There are many great resources for learning about native species such as: Wild Ones – leading the natural landscaping movement … Ones organization promotes landscaping of native plants and natural landscapes. Native plant community – Education & Advocacy Organization. Wild Ones …

Here in KY I also like: as a resource.

Common Name                               Scientific Name

Butterfly Milkweed                      Asclepias tuberosa 

Common Milkweed                       Asclepias syriaca

Smooth Aster                                   Aster laevis

Siberian Wallflower                             Cheiranthus allionii

Cosmos                                                   Cosmos bipinnatus Native to Mexico

Sulphur Cosmos                                   Cosmos sulphureus

Purple Coneflower                        Echinacea purpurea

Indian Blanket                                      Gaillardia pulchella- Native in the S.W. and Southern US

Annual Baby’s Breath                          Gypsophila elegans

Annual Candytuft                                 Iberis umbellata

Gayfeather                                       Liatris spicata

Sweet Alyssum                                      Lobularia maritima

Marigold, Single                                   Tagetes patula

Hoary Vervain                               Verbena stricta

Zinnia                                                     Zinnia elegans

Wild Bergamot                               Monarda fistulosa

Orange coneflower                       Rudbeckia fulgida

Tall coneflower                               Coreopsis tripteris

Lanceleaf coreopsis                      Coreopsis lanceolata

Early goldenrod                             Solidago juncea

Joe-Pye-Weed                                 Eupatorium fistulosum

Mistflower                                        Eupatorium coelestinum

Garden phlox                                  Phlox paniculata

Meadow phlox                                Phlox maculata

Sundrops                                          Oenothera fruticosa

Ox-eye sunflower                          Heliopsis helianthoides

Slender mountain mint               Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Obedient plant                                Physostegia virginiana


Remember, we create the world we live in by our thoughts and what we sow!

                                                                  S. Ann Marie Quinn