California aster

California Aster

California Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense). Herbaceous perennial. These plants have their good side and their not so good side. The not so good is invasiveness:¬†with water, they spread aggresively, zooming all over the garden. The good is that butterflies love them, they’re easy to grow, and they bloom September – October, months not generally associated with…

Showy Milkweed

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa). Herbaceous perennial. Monarch butterfly food plant. Showy milkweed is bolder and more structural in the garden than its narrow-leafed cousin. It also benefits from fall planting, and might perhaps like a bit more water than narrowleaf milkweed. These photos were taken in April and May – the shots with the caterpillar…

Narrowleaf milkweed

Narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). Herbaceous perennial. Food plant for Monarch butterfly. In a good year, these plants would be missing leaves devoured by Monarch caterpillars. This is not a good year in our garden. This is an easy enough milkweed to grow. Plant in fall. It will sit pretty much without growth, then die down…

Matilija Poppy

Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri). Large herbaceous perennial. Give these full sun, lots of room and let them go. They’ll happily spread all over your garden, but when planted at the back where their flowers appear above other plants this won’t be a problem – as long as they have space to thrive. They need good…