Toni Leland


Going medieval

If you were to imagine a garden in A.D. 800, you might picture unusual and long-extinct plants, but in fact, gardens of the medieval period (or Middle Ages) were filled with plants that have thrived for centuries and still grow in our gardens today.

Absinthe, or wormwood, is from the Artemesia family and is a lovely accent to a modern garden. Absinthe was called Mary’s tree and was used as a spice herb as well as for medicinal purposes, such as stomach disorders or nausea, and to repel insects from the vegetable garden, but is known mainly for the alcoholic beverage that is made from it. Absinthe can be grown from seeds sown directly in the ground or planted from potted plants in light, well-drained soil in full sun.

A monarch butterfly sits on a flower.

Create your own butterfly farm

Many gardeners fill their space with flowers to attract butterflies, but how would you like to have a garden where the complete life cycle takes place? You can grow and raise your own butterflies, from eggs to interesting caterpillars to the beautiful winged creatures. With the right habitat, you can enjoy lepidoptera all season long and even host the same species in your garden year after year.

A picture of bright orange cannas

Jazz up your garden with interesting shapes

Color and texture are tried-and-true ways to add interest to your garden, but gardeners may not always stop to consider shapes. Contrast feathery with bold, tall and slender with wide and round, or any other variations you can imagine. Here are a few plants that just might inspire you.

Cannas are wonderful large additions to any garden, be it a border or a foundation bed. The many varieties provide gorgeous, exotic blooms in a variety of colors, but sometimes the leaves are the stars.