Updated October 20 2020

This is the 2020 plant list (scroll down). 

LOCATION: Just north of Elmvale, Ontario, inland from Georgian Bay, north of Barrie, east of Wasaga Beach, south of Midland, west of Orillia. The postal address is 1186 Flos Rd. 10. Elmvale ON L0L 1P0.

Do not use GPS to get to our nursery - it will mislead you! Follow directions on this

Spring 2021 plant list will be posted in November, to help with planning for next year. 
Seed list will be posted soon! Lots of collection and cleaning going on.

Sales process :

Call 705-322-2545 or EMAIL US to make an appointment to purchase (check the plant list) or browse at whatever time suits you. Fall is a great time to plant, allowing your plants to settle in, go into dormancy and overwinter, and get off to an early start when next spring arrives. For those already planning what to get next year, the spring 2021 plant list will be posted in November. The seed list is coming soon.

SOCIAL DISTANCING will be practiced. Please wear a mask.

PAYMENT OPTIONS: e-transfer, cheque, cash. No credit or debit cards.

About our plants: 
All plants are potted and hardy in the Huronia area. We use no pesticides or commercial fertilizers, to ensure that our plants are safe for pollinators and other insects and therefore safe up the ecosystem food chain. Most are grown from seed at the ROTN nursery. Some are sourced from other Ontario native plant propagators. No peat is used in our potting mix, which relieves pressure on the world's dwindling wetlands. The soil-based mix helps your plants accommodate quickly to the natural, non-peat surroundings you probably have in yor yard, and guards against frost penetrating root systems in winter.

About this nursery:
It is located in the gardens of our family home. Think of it as a small boutique operation, with a varied selection of perennial species, some not easily found.

No shipping
(except for books)

Please recycle:
We are always happy to have our pots and labels returned.

Useful reference for lakefront residents: Lake Huron Coastal Dune Plants Guide

Slideshow photography by Anne McArthur

Services Include:
  • Advice on creating an ornamental garden that works for you, your birds, your bees etc...
  • Advice on creating a traditional Medicine Wheel Garden
  • Advice on controlling invasives (see also, what not to plant)
  • Onsite consultations: $100, payable on the day of the visit, for an on-site consultation in the Barrie/Midland/Wasaga Beach area (includes written report with suggested plantings). Mileage charge of 55c/km to go further afield
  • Speaking Engagements (when the COVID-19 crisis is over). Topics include native plants, Monarch butterflies, pollinators, birds in your garden, creating habitat, the nature of soil, invasive species and related topics - Fee: $100.
  • Contract growing & potting
  • Find-a-plant - we are always interested in trying to track down a native plant if you have a specific request
Quantities may be limited. Prices subject to change

Annuals & Biennials

Cirsium discolor – Field Thistle SOLD OUT
Up to 2 metres. Native thistles are becoming rare on our landscape. Large flowers and abundant nectar attract pollinators, the seed is enjoyed by birds. Purple flower heads consisting of many narrow tubeshaped flowers appear from July to September. A biennial or short-leaved perennial, self-seeds readily on open soil. From August onwards, this plant starts to look the worse for wear. The bees still love it! but it's not for the gardener with conventional aesthetic standards. Full sun, accommodates to a wide range of soil conditions. 1 gal pot $7


Actaea pachypoda – White Baneberry SOLD OUT
Up to 70 cm Also known as Doll’s Eyes, for the black-dotted white fruit on red stalks that appear in August. Lovely frothy white flowers in June. Finely dissected grey-green foliage. Deciduous shade (needs sun in spring). Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1/2 gal pot $7

Agastache foeniculum – Anise Hyssop
100 cm approx. Our all-round favourite pollinator plant! Highlighted as a top performer by the Xerces Society. Member of the mint family. Bees and butterflies are irresistibly drawn to these pretty blue-purple flower spikes with leaves that smell and taste of anise (delicious in teas, salads and cooking). Grows into effective clumps, not fussy, not aggressive, self-seeds readily. Flowers early and late, in fact it's one of the last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for tardy pollinators. Sun, part shade. 8.5 cm pot $5

Allium cernuum - Wild Nodding Onion SOLD OUT
20-60 cm. A stand-out among members of the onion family that are grown for their decorative value. Nodding white-pink flowers in July-August. A Carolinian plant that's now rare in the wild, found principally on the Lake Erie islands. Attracts butterflies, bees. Full sun, average soil conditions. 1/2 gal pot $7

Amsonia ciliata - Fringed Bluestar
50-80 cm Clump-forming perennial with clusters of lovely star-like, pale blue flowers. Blooms in June. Attractive narrow leaves turn gold in fall. Not native to Ontario*, but further south on eastern North American continent - as far north as North Carolina. USDA map It is perfectly hardy here in Huronia. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun with some shade. 1 gal $7

Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
See under Groundcovers

Anemone cylindrica - Thimbleweed
60 - 100 cm. Small white flowers in early summer, with long-lasting thimble-shaped seedheads in summer and fall that burst into fluffy cottony masses for winter interest, and wildlife food and nesting material. Pleasing deeply divided foliage. Does best in poor soil. Drought tolerant. Self-seeds readily. Sun or shade. 1 gal  $7

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
See under Groundcovers

Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine
30-80 cm Flowers in May-June, one of the glories of Ontario's deciduous forests, more glorious also than any other aquilegia. Its delicate hanging flowers have tubular red and yellow petals, flat red sepals and long spurs with yellow anthers. Attractive green foliage. Pollinated by hummingbirds and long-tongued bumble bees. Best in well-drained soil in partial shade but adaptable - grows in sun in dry rocky terrain and poor gravelly soil. Self-seeds. 3.5''pot $5 1/2 gal pt $7

Aralia racemosa – American Spikenard 
120-180 cm Attractive shrub-like plant (it is a herbaceous perennial, dying back each fall) with widely spreading branches of compound, heart-shaped leaves, bearing racemes of delicate greenish-cream flowers in August that attract large numbers of pollinators, followed by plentiful purple-red berries that are great for wildlife. Sun or dappled shade. Moisture preferred but accommodates to range of average soils. Interesting write-up 1 gal $11

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
See under Groundcovers

Artemisia ludoviciana - White Sage
60-80 cm Also known as Silver Wormwood and Western Mugwort. Aromatic pale grey foliage. Prefers poor soil and dry conditions. Can spread aggressively. One of the four medicine plants, used in purification ceremonies (smudging) 1 gal $7

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed 
Up to 120 cm. Also known as Rose or Red Milkweed. One of several milkweeds native to Ontario, this one is particularly beautiful, with a round cluster of pale and dark pink blooms in June-July. Don't be put off by the "weed" part of its name – it's elegant, it doesn't spread with underground runners and it's a good plant to have, being a host to the Monarch butterfly (its caterpillars feed only on native Milkweed foliage). A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun or part shade. 1 gal pot $7

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed

80-100 cm. The perfect Monarch host, a beautiful plant with fragrant dusky pink flowers held in drooping globes from end of June to early August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Spreads - in the right circumstances, but as is pointed out on the Monarch Watch website, being a good colonizer does not necessarily mean that a plant species is a good competitor. In fact, Common Milkweed tends to be out-competed by more vigorous species and disappear as plant succession progresses. 8.5 cm pot $5

Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead 
30-90 cm Spikes of white flowers in August- September, the distinctive shape of the flower gives the plant its common name. Narrow lance-shaped leaves. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.  Visited most frequently by worker bumblebees and hummingbirds -  bees must push their way into the flower by forcing open the upper and lower lips to access the nectar. Full sun or part shade. Some moisture needed in the soil. 1 gal pot $7

Conoclinium coelestinum - Blue Mistflower
70-90 cm Native to points south and west of the Great Lakes* - USDA map. Blooms in September, with beautiful flat-top clusters of delicate powder-blue flowers that look like Ageratum. Closely related to the white-flowered Bonesets (Eupatorium spp.), and is sometimes referred to as Eupatorium coelestinum. Good cut flower, rain garden plant. Full sun to light shade - prefers moist conditions, is a bit of an aggressive spreader. 1 gal pot $7

Coreopsis grandiflora - Large-flowered Tickseed 
60 cm Showy yellow flowers from June to September (remove deadheads to prolong blooming), sun or part sun, likes good drainage in a variety of soils. Attracts pollinators. 1/2 gal $5

Coreopsos tripteris - Tall Coreopsis
A tall (2 metres plus), picturesque plant with long stems that sway in the wind. Daisy-like pale yellow flowers with maroon centres from July to September. Accommodates to most soils, good in sand. Sun. 1 gal pot $9

Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower SOLD OUT
70 cm A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with orange-bronze centres on erect stems. One of the joys of an Ontario summer. A nectar plant that's visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Sun or light dappled shade. Average soil. 1 gal $7 8.5 cm pot $5

Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset SOLD OUT
100-160 cm Showy clusters of white flowers really brighten up a shady spot. Leaves are "perfoliated," meaning they clasp the stem. This made it a folk remedy, based on the idea that a poultice of this plant could help broken bones knit together. Blooms August-October. Pollinator plant. Part shade. 1 gal pot $7

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster
see under groundcovers

Eurybia macrophylla - Large-leaved Aster
Approx 80 cm Large white flowers in flat-topped flower heads, mainly white, some with tinges of blue or lavender. Blooms in August-September.  Shade or part shade. 1 gal $7 

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
30-150 cm. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. In fact, in a different genus to other familiar Goldenrods that are in the Solidago genus (both are in the Asteraceae family). Pretty fragrant pale yellow flowers and a delicate form make this a desirable garden plant. Most Goldenrods (although not the shade ones that are also listed here) do seed, spread and try to take over. While this is not the worst offender, it is a spreader, and - like the others - a gorgeous celebration of the end of summer. Sun, average soil. 1 gal pot $7

Eutrochium maculatum – Spotted Joe Pye Weed
180 cm plus Formerly known as Eupatorium maculatum. One of the most glorious native plants in our area, Joe Pye grows six feet tall and is covered with a cloud of dusky pink flowers in July and August. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Later, the fluffy seeds are much relished by white-crowned and white-throated sparrows as they pass through on their fall migration. A wetland plant that accommodates to a variety of soils. But leaves will scorch if conditions are too dry. Sun 1/2 gal pot $5 

Filipendula rubra - Queen of the Prairie SOLD OUT
1 to 1.5 m Absolutely fabulous! 'cotton candy' panicles of fragrant pink buds and flowers (with pink petals, long white stamens and pink anthers). The large-lobed bright green leaves are also fragrant. A plant of moist meadows that will take to rich garden soils. Provide extra watering in average moisture conditions and at times of drought. If happy, will spread by rhizomes, which will make you happy, so give this Queen her space. Not an Ontario native* although widely naturalized in this province, Queen of the Prairie comes to us from south and west of the Great Lakes (USDA map). Full sun. 1 gal $9

Fragaria virginica – Wild Strawberry
See under groundcovers

Geum triflorum - Prairie Smoke SOLD OUT
30-60 cm Pretty red flowers in May - June that turn into tufts of pink feathery seedheads, drying into grey smoke-like whisps. Good front-of-border plant for dry sandy soil in full sun. Dislikes competition, don't allow other plants to encroach! Pollinated by bumble bees. 1/2 gal $7

Gillenia trifoliata - Bowman's Root SOLD OUT
60-100 cm Also known as Indian Physic. Loose panicles of white or pinkish flowers make for a lovely display in spring. When the petals fall, colourful red sepals are revealed. Three-lobed leaves turn red or orange in fall. A good choice for a mass planting. 'Bright' shade or partial sun. Mulch with decomposed leaves (leafmould) to add acidity to average soils. 1/2 gal $7

Heuchera richardsonii - Prairie Alumroot SOLD OUT
30 cm Basal clump with panicles of tiny bell-shaped flowers on tall (60 cm) wiry stalks. Members of the Heuchera genus are all native to North America. Wikipedia lists over 40 varieties from all over the continent. Alumroots, also known as Coral Bells, have been extensively hybridized to produce different coloured or patterned leaves for garden use. This one, native to Ontario and points west, has softly lobed green foliage and airy creamy-green flowers with stamens tipped in orange. Attracts pollinators. Good for a rock garden or edge of perennial border. Drought resistant. Light shade to full sun 1/2 gal $7

Helenium flexuosum - Purple-headed Sneezeweed SOLD OUT
45-90cm. Like Helen's Flower (H. autumnale), with the same attractive recurved yellow petals, but a little shorter, and distinguished by its decorative purple centres. Prefers moisture. An Eastern Seaboard native south of the Great Lakes, but not considered native in Huronia; the USDA map shows it to be naturalized as far north as Hudson Bay. * 1/2 gal pot $7

Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower  SOLD OUT
90 cm plus Bright yellow daisy-like flowers, about 4 cm across, from July to September. Lights up difficult-to-plant dry shady beds and attracts a variety of pollinators, which makes it an excellent plant for the woodland garden. Larval host for the Silvery Checkerspot, Gorgon Checkerspot and Painted Lady butterflies. Spreads by underground rhizomes, is said to be aggressive, but I have found it a boon if grown in shade.  1 gal $7

Helianthus giganteus - Giant Sunflower
2 m. A dramatic narrow-leaved perennial sunflower with numerous pale yellow flowers on reddish stems, July-October. Likes full sun, moist ground. Use in naturalizing, not in perennial beds, as it spreads and self-seeds aggressively. Like Jerusalem artichokes, produces edible tubers (but fewer and smaller).  From Heather Holm’s Bees: 'Sunflowers have a high wildlife value as they support many species of specialist bees, several moth and butterfly species and produce seeds sought after by songbirds.' 1 gal pot $7

Heliopsis helianthoides - Oxeye Sunflower
1 m approx Also known as Smooth Oxeye. A striking yellow daisy, member of the aster family, not to be confused with the invasive, non-native white oxeye daisy. Grows in dry soils in sun or part shade. Flowers June-September. Great meadow plant. Attracts butterflies and pollinators. Deer resistant, juglone (walnut) resistant. 3.5'' pot $5

Hypericum ascyron - Giant St. John's Wort
70 cm Robust shrub-like perennial with large yellow flowers bearing many stamens that produce large quantities of pollen (no nectar); attracts bees and butterflies. Leafcutter bees cut pieces of leaf for lining and dividing brood cells. Part shade, moist soil. 1/2 gal pot $5

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris
See under Pond Plants

Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia 
Up to 90 cm Clump-forming perennial with dense spikes of clear blue tubular flowers from August-October. Attracts bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. Full to part sun, average to moist soil. 1/2 gal' pot $5

Lupinus perennis - Wild Lupine SOLD OUT
40-60 cm Lovely spikes of blue flowers in June. This is the host plant for the caterpillars of the Karner Blue and the Dusky Wing, two butterflies that are extirpated in Ontario, as well as for the endangered Frosted Elfin. Grows in dry sand, tolerant of a wide range of soils. Full sun. 3.5'' pot $5

Mentha arvensis - Wild Mint 
65 cm Aromatic foliage, fragrant mauve flowers that bloom July-September in whorls around the axils of the leaves. Attracts small bees, wasps, butterflies. Sun or part sun, moist to average soil. Can be used to make tea. 1 gal $7

Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower SOLD OUT
60-100 cm Bushy plant with pretty mauve flowers that bloom for about a month some time from late June to mid-August. Needs consistent moisture, good for a rain or bog garden. Sun 1 gal pot $7

Monarda didyma - Oswego Tea Beebalm SOLD OUT
80-100 cm approx Also known as Crimson Beebalm or Red Bergamot – striking red blooms on tall stalks, aromatic foliage, a great favourite with humming birds. Full sun, will tolerate some shade, average to moist soil. Spreads slowly. 1 gal pot $7

Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot Beebalm
60-80 cm approx Also known as Bee Balm. Soft mauve flowers, sweetly scented, attractive to pollinators - bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A Xerces Society favourite. Easy to grow, flowers all summer long, self-seeds nicely. 8.5 cm pot $5

Monarda punctata – Dotted Beebalm  SOLD OUT
30-60 cm Also known as Spotted Horsemint. Delightful rosettes of creamy tubular flowers with maroon dots occur in whorls, forming a dense, elongated spike at the end of the stem or from leaf axils, each whorl resting on conspicuous leafy bracts (think poinsettia, only in light pink or lavender instead of red). Aromatic foliage can be used for tea. Ontario Wildflowers offers this advice: “A plant for really hot and dry areas. It requires open sandy soil to be happy and reseed, since it is short lived. Because it is rare (it is only found in two places in the wild in Ontario) it should not be planted in the wild.” Drought-tolerant pollinator plant. The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of its visitors. 8.5 cm pot $5

Oenothera fruticosa – Narrow-leaved Sundrop
To 60 cm No-problem plant with bright yellow flowers that flourishes in poor soil. An Evening Primrose that blooms in daytime. Drought-tolerant. Spreads. Shallow-rooted so easily controlled. Blooms June-July. Visited by hummingbirds, butterflies and many insects (including its own bee - the native Lasioglossum oenotherae bee which is an Evening Primrose specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this genus. No Oenothera, no bee). Songbirds visit for seeds. Sun or shade 1/2 gal $5

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus SOLD OUT
Up to 25 cm  Ontario’s only native cactus. A low-spreading succulent, with dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June, followed by fruit that turn red in fall. Natural populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds, handle with care or prickles will get you. Looking for a specimen plant in an inhospitable dry sunny spot? Large cactI with 3-5 main pads and up to 9 mini-padsi in 1.5 gal pots -  $25 each. 

Packera paupercula - Balsam Ragwort SOLD OUT
35 cm Bright yellow daisy-like flowers with recessed petals grow from a basal rosette. This is a plant found in the Carden Alvar in challenging conditions of little soil, intense drought and seasonal flooding. Also said to prefer moist sandy soil and full or partial sun. Also to be ideal for rock gardens and xeriscaping. 3.5'' pot $5

Parnassia glauca – Fen Grass-of-Parnassus
20-40 cm Single brilliant white flowers on stems that rise above a basal rosette. Grows in bogs, fens, wet meadows, dune systems (including Wasaga Beach, in the wet, ungroomed areas). Waxy white petals delicately traced with pale green veins that act as a visual cue to guide bees and other pollinators to the nectar. One of the bees, Andrena parnassiae, is a specialist pollinator of this plant - which is not a grass. The name comes from a member of the same family (Saxifrage) that grows on Mount Parnassus. This is a little gem for a rain garden or other wet habitat. Needs full sun, consistently moist soil containing some gravel or sand, and protection from competition. 1/2 gal pot. $10 

Parthenium integrifolium - Wild Quinine  SOLD OUT
60-150 cm Dense clusters of long-lasting pure white blooms that last through the heat of the summer (June to September) and attract an array of pollinators. Upright form, large blue-grey leaves, resistance to drought, pest and disease - a great prairie species that requires little maintenance. Recommended as weid and wonderful by the Xerces Society and featured by Heather Holm in her book Pollinators of Native Plants, Full sun, accommodates to a range of soils, dry to medium conditions. 1 gal $15

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue
80 cm approx Penstemons are one of the most beautiful North American flowering species. Clusters of white bell-shaped flowers on tall erect stems. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought-tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1 gal pot $7 

Penstemon hirsutus – Hairy Beardtongue
60 cm approx Lavender bell-shaped flowers, gets its name from the hairs on the stem. A little shorter than the Foxglove Beardtongue, clump-forming, drought-tolerant, a pleasing front of border plant. Sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1/2 gal pot $7

Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant
100-130 cm Mauve or white flower spikes. So named because the flowers can be bent into position and will stay that way for a while. Another name is False Dragonhead. An underrated plant that is very effective at the back of the border and is always buzzing with pollinators - hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Spreads but relatively easy to control as it is shallow rooted. 1 gal pot $7

Polygonum pennsylvanicum - Pennsylvania Smartweed
Attractive pink bottle-brush shaped flowers in June. The large seeds are an important food source for birds. This plant is said to be invasive, but I find it's easily controlled if planted in hot dry sun; it's a wetland plant, so the dry conditions keep it in check. Of course, if you have a wetland, let 'er rip. 1/2 gal $5

Pycnanthemum virginianum - Virginia Mountain Mint 
30 to 90 cm - Grown for its wonderful fragrance, medicinal and culinary uses, but most of all because it is an amazing nectar plant, beloved by pollinators for its densely packed clusters of white flowers with purple dots and long bloom time (July-September). A spreader, not as aggressive as mint, but give it its own space. The bees and butterflies will be grateful. Full to partial sun, moist to average soil. 1 gal  pot $7

Ratibida pinnata - Grey-headed Coneflower SOLD OUT
50-150 cm A tall plant of South-western Ontario’s tall grass prairie. Blooms June-September. Showy flower - with a prominent central disk, which is initially light green or gray and later turns dark brown, and extremely reflexed yellow petals. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Thrives in dry soil, excellent for xeriscaping. Sun or part shade. 1 gal pot $7

Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan

60-80 cm The cheerful face of summer in Ontario. Short-lived perennial. Self-seeds. Full sun to part shade, most soils. 1 gal $5

Rudbeckia lacinata - Green-headed Coneflower
90-150 cm Also known as Cutleaf Coneflower. The Cherokee call it Sochan and consider it an important medicine and a nutritious part of their diet. Tall, with a lanky appearance, it has unusual light green central cones with drooping bright yellow petals and smooth, deeply cut foliage. Its natural habitat is along stream banks and in moist forests, it prefers partial sun and poorly drained moist conditions. 1 gal pot $7

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia SOLD OUT
45 cm Not a petunia. Gorgeous pale lilac petunia-shaped flowers from July to October make this plant a stand-out. Shape is a neat clump, leaves and stems are hairy. Self-seeds.  Native to points south of the Great Lakes* (USDA map). Full sun, flourishes in dry conditions in any type of soil. 1/2 gal $7

Sisyrinchium montanum – Blue-eyed Grass 
30 cm Actually not a grass at all, but a miniature iris, a jewel of a plant with bright blue flowers in June-July. Sun to part shade. 3.5''pot $5

Solidago caesia - Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
30-90 cm One of two shade-loving Goldenrods on this list, an elegant plant, blooms September to end of season. Yellow flowers appear in clusters along the wiry, often blue-green, stalks. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Does not spread aggressively. Dry to average moisture in loamy soil (forest floor conditions). Shade or partial shade. 3.5'' $5

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod 
45-90 cm Yellow flowers on a zig-zag stem in September-October. Moist soils from sand to loam - forest floor conditions. Important source of nectar for many insects. Very shade-tolerant. Spreads by underground rhizomes, forming a mass in the woodland garden. 3.5'' pot $5 1 gal pot $7

Solidago graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
See Euthamia graminifolia.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae - New England Aster SOLD OUT
85 cm Also known as Michaelmas Daisy – the essential fall flower, much loved by pollinators feeding up before winter. Drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant. Blooms from September to October. Sun or shade. A lovely purple to offset the yellows of many fall-flowering plants. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal $7

Symphyotrichum laeve - Smooth Aster
30-90 cm With showy blue flowers surrounding a yellow disk that darkens to a purplish red, this is one of the most attractive blue asters. Light  green foliage is smooth, almost waxy. Blooms August to October. Needs to be kept free of competition from taller, more aggressive plants. Full sun, average soil, dry to medium moisture. Great wildlife value - visited by many species of pollinators for nectar and pollen, seeds are consumed the Tree Sparrow and White-footed Mouse, and by the Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey (which also eat the leaves). 1 gal $7

Symphyotrichum urophyllum - Arrow-leaved Aster
30-90 cm Small white flowers (occasionally pale blue to lilac) in dense clusters, yellow discs turn purple. Blooms August-October. Great pollinator plant. Partial sun. Variety of soils. 3.5'' pot $5

Tiarella cordifolia – Foamflower  
See under groundcovers 

Tradescantia ohiensis - Ohio Spiderwort
120 cm Very attractive to bees and other pollinators. Lovely blue three-petalled flowers with showy yellow stamens open early morning, closed by afternoon. Lance-like foliage. At its best in June, but continues flowering through summer and into fall, albeit less intensely. Develops a spreading fibrous root system that is hard to dig up - so plant it where it is to stay. Self-seeds. Good for a prairie planting, erosion control and bank stabilization. Most at home in full sun and well-drained  sandy soil, but adapts easily to part shade and a full range of soil conditions. 10 cm pot $5

Verbena hastata – Blue Vervain
60-180 cm Candelabra-like inflorescences of slender spikes of purple-blue flowers, often seen in ditches. Short-lived perennial, will self-seed. Attracts butterflies and bees. Larval host for the Common Buckeye Butterfly. Sun, average to poor soil, needs some moisture. 1 gal pot $7

Verbena stricta - Hoary Vervain  SOLD OUT
60-90 cm A standout showy vervain with spikes of large blue or purple flowers in July-September. A preferred nectar plant for butterflies and bees. Flourishes in arid conditions - needs sun and sandy or dry soil. Drought tolerant. (Very different habitat requirements to those of Blue Vervain, which prefers more loamy moist conditions). 1/2 gak pot $5 

Vernonia gigantea- Tall Ironweed SOLD OUT
160 cm plus or minus. An impressive addition to the summer / fall garden. Clusters of small fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers - August to October - attract pollinators. Tall stems bearing attractive tawny-golden seedheads remain standing all winter and are a resource for birds. Grows in damp in the wild but still flourishes in dry soil. Pamper it with a mulch of rotted leaf litter. 1 gal pot $9

Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root
70-160 cm Beautiful accent plant. Tall unbranched stems bearing white candelabra-like flower spikes from mid-summer to fall. Leaves arranged in whorls around the stem. Shade or part-sun, part-shade, moist to average soil. 1 gal $7

Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Up to 75 cm. Brilliant yellow flower umbels in May and June resemble Queen Anne's Lace (both are members of the carrot family and like others in the family are a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly). Attracts pollinators. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, grows in a wide range of soils. 1/2 gal pot. $7

Grasses & Sedges

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem
140-180 m. One of the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie prior to settlement. Highly ornamental with grey-green foliage turning bronze-red in autumn. Appearing in August, the inflorescences consist of three-pronged purplish spikelets from which depend pretty contrasting yellow anthers and resemble (some say) a turkey’s foot, giving it one of its alternative names – Turkeyfoot. Deeply rooted, forms a dense clump. A high-protein forage species, also being considered as potential feedstock for ethanol production. Songbirds eat the seeds, grasshopppers, katydids and other insects eat the foliage. Drought-tolerant. Full sun to part shade, accommodates to a wide variety of soils.  1 gal $7

Bouteloua curtipendula - Side Oats Grama

40 - 75 cm Arching narrow blue-green leaves turn bronze in fall. Spaced out floral spikes hang from one side of the stems, turning from pale green to purplish red to light tan. Found in mixed grass prairies. Fed on by grasshoppers and various bugs, seeds consumed by birds. In areas with little competition, can form a dense sod. Full sun, various soils including gravel. Drought tolerant. 1 gal pot $7

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
40-100 cm. Also known as Palm Sedge. Native to the Great Lakes region. Beautiful form and lovely glossy green foliage which branches out from the main stem, resembling palm fronds. Native to wooded lowlands. Prefers moist soil and will grow in shallow water. Full sun sun to part shade. Spreads. 1 gal $7

Carex hystericina - Porcupine Sedge
100 cm An attractive sedge of marshes and wet meadows with a bristly flower spike, provides food for many species of wetland birds. Will grow in average dry soil. Full sun. 1 gal $7

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats 
60-150 cm A lovely grass with arching panicles of flat drooping spikelets in late summer that start a light green and turn a purplish bronze in fall. Great in dried flower arrangements. Leave foliage in place over winter to add interest and protect crowns from cold. Self-seeds and spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions. 10 cm pot $7

Elymus canadensis – Canada Wild Rye
1.2 m A native grass that grows in riparian woodlands, many types of forest, lakeside sand dunes, and tallgrass prairie. Arching stems are weighted by the nodding, whiskery inflorescences that appear in August. Can be used for stabilizing eroded areas. Seeds feed birds. Full to part sun. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1 gal $7

Hierochloe odorata - Sweet Grass 
Aromatic grass, grows to about 20 cm (8 inches), spreads vigorously through underground rhizomes. One of the four medicine plants, used in North American indigenous purification ceremonies (smudging). 1/2 gal $7

Panicum virgatum - Switchgrass SOLD OUT
70 cm A plant of the tallgrass prairie in Ontario, adaptable to many soil types and conditions, used for sand dune stabilization, soil erosion control and wildlife habitat. Medium height, delicate airy panicles turn bronze in fall.1 gal $7

Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem SOLD OUT
70 cm Another of the dominant species of the tallgrass prairie. Finely textured clumping grass with a blue-green summer colour. Purple-bronze flowers in August. In fall through winter, fluffy silvery seed heads on grass that turns a rosy rust colour. Adapts to most soils, except for wet or highly fertile ones. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring. 1gal pot $7

Sisyrinchium montanum – Blue-eyed Grass 
See under perennials

Spartina pectinata - Prairie Cord Grass SOLD OUT
1.2-2.1 m A dominant grass of the wet prairies. Dramatically tall wth gracefully arching foliage. Spreads rapidly by rhizomes, making it useful for wetland restoration and erosion control. Provides valuable cover and sometimes food for gamebirds, songbirds and small mammals. Interesting fall colour. Showy seedheads attract birds. Pioneers and aboriginal peoples used it for thatching their dwellings and making rope and cord. 1 gal pot $7

Pond Plants

Acorus americanus - Sweet Flag 
30-90 cm A pond plant with a curious pale yellow flower. The straplike leaves are aromatic, the root is favoured by muskrats. Sun to part shade, moist to wet soil. 1 gal pot $7

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
See under Grasses and Sedges

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris 
60-90 cm A plant for the edge of the pond, strappy foliage, elegant blue flowers with a yellow highlight, blooms from May to August. Attracts bees, hummingbirds. 1/2 gal $5




Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone SOLD OUT
30-60 cm Charming white flowers, good foliage with deeply cut sharply toothed leaves, blooms from late May through to July. Spreads aggressively - don't plant unless you can give it space to run, or can contain it, like mint. Average soil, sun or shade. 1/2 gal $5

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
15-30 cm Low growing spreader has white flowers resembling a cat’s paw and grey foliage. Blooms from late April to early June and attracts many pollinators. Host plant for the American Painted Lady butterfly. Prefers full sun, sand or average dry soils. 3.5'' pot $4

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil 
25 cm Previously known as Potentilla argentina. Low-growing, attractive compound foliage with silvery hairy underside, spreads aggressively with red runners, yellow flowers from June to September. Attracts bees. This is a pioneer plant species that helps stabilize wetlands, dunes, and beaches. So, preference is for sandy or gravelly soil, but will accommodate to average conditions. Salt tolerant. Leaves and roots are said to be edible. 1/2 gal pot $7

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster 
Also known as Heartleaf Aster. Blooms late summer and early fall in dry shade – few plants are this accommodating. Spreads into large clumps. The clouds of white stars contrast sharply with its wiry black stems and show up well in shade. Shade, part shade. 1/2 gal $7

Fragaria vesca – Wild Strawberry
A low-growing, spreading groundcover. Accommodates to average soils, from sand to clay to loam. Good pollinator plant. Sun or shade. Produces tiny fragrant fruit if grown in full sun. 10 cm pot $5

Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf 
20-50 cm A low-growing woodland plant with clusters of pretty blue (sometimes white) flowers in May and June, deeply divided foliage. Shade or part shade, some moisture preferred. Leaves are said to be edible, raw or cooked, best when picked young. Spreads readily by seed and rhizome. 3.5'' pot $5

Tiarella cordifolia – Foamflower  SOLD OUT
15 cm (5 inches). An attractive woodland groundcover that spreads slowly by runners. White or pale pink flower spikes create a soft cloud-like effect mid-May to early June. Charming maple-shaped leaves offer continuing interest into fall. Shade or part shade. Average soil (prefers moisture but does fine in dry shade). 1/2 gal $7


Clematis virginiana - Virgin’s Bower
Up to 6 m Woody vine with clusters of pretty white flowers from June to September and fluffy seedheads that persist to provide winter interest. Prefers moist soil in sun or part shade. 1/2 gal $7

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper
Beautiful five-lobed leaves that turn brilliant red in fall. Virginia Creeper is not destructive of masonry and adds a level of cooling insulation in summer. It's good nesting habitat and the berries are a high-quality food for birds. A vigorous grower that does have invasive tendencies – but easy to pull out where not wanted. 1 gal $7


Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry SOLD OUT 
1-2 m Multi- stemmed shrub, good hedging material, salt tolerant. White flowers tinged with pink in June, glossy green foliage turning deep red in fall, with dark blue berries for which many claims are made regarding health-promoting properties. Good for wildlife. Prefers moist conditions, adaptable to most soils. 60 cm 1 gallon $9

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
See under Small Trees

Cornus racemosa - Gray Dogwood
1.8 m Dome-shaped panicles of white flowers in June turn into white berries in late summer. Spreads by suckering, which makes it a good naturalizer or screen. Wild life food source, habitat. Shade or part sun. Prefers some moisture, accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 80 cm in 1 1/2 gal pots. $9

Cornus sericea - Red Osier Dogwood

1m to 2m Noted for red stems that look great in winter against snow. Clusters of white flowers in spring. White berries. Wildlife value. Excellent for erosion control. Sun. 1 gal $7

Rhus aromatica – Fragrant Sumac
1 m to 2 m No, it doesn't spread - this is the only non-colonizing sumac in our area. It doesn't grow too tall either, making it useful in situations where a view needs to be preserved. Clusters of yellow flowers. Lovely trilobed leaves that give off a citrus fragrance when crushed. Great colour - a crimson red - in fall. Adaptable to part shade, but best in sun on dry sandy, rocky or clay sites. 60 cm 1 gal $9

Rhus typhina - Staghorn Sumac 
1 m and up. Yes, it does spread. Unrivalled for its fall colour, this is one of our most striking native shrubs. Feathery cream flower panicles in summer, deep red fruiting clusters in fall. Needs control in smaller gardens. Good privacy barrier, windscreen, erosion control, wildlife habitat. The astringent fruit make a delicious pink lemonade. Full sun or part shade, some moisture needed. 50 cm 2 gallon $8

Rubus odoratus – Purple-flowering Raspberry
1 m An excellent shrub with large well-shaped aromatic foliage, fragrant deep pink flowers from June to September. Edible berries (not as sweet as cultivated varieties, but enjoyed by birds). Spreads vigorously, good for naturalizing a weedy space. Sun, some shade. 1 gal $10

Salix bebbiana – Bebb’s Willow SOLD OUT
2-4 m Also known as Beaked Willow or Diamond Willow, the latter name due to a fungus that creates diamond-shaped patterns in the wood which is then prized for canes and other ornamental craftwork. Silvery grey foliage, fast–growing. Larval host for Mourning Cloak and Viceroy butterflies. Sun or part sun, most soils, moist or wet. 1 gal 40-60 cm $5 

Small Trees

Acer pensylvanicum - Striped Maple
8 m with a spread of up to 6 m This understory tree (widespread in the white pine forest of Tiny Township) gets its name from the bark’s attractive vertical stripes. Also known as Moose Maple, a reference to the fact that deer and moose like to browse on the twigs in winter - so if these mammals are an issue, protect the lower part of the tree with deer netting or burlap until it is tall enough. Its large, three-lobed leaves turn lemon-yellow in fall. Green flowers and, later, winged seeds hang in elegant clusters. Moist acidic sandy soil, shade or part shade. 2 m height 2 gal pot $32

Aescula Glabra – Ohio Buckeye 

9-12 m Showy yellow flowers in May-June are pollinated by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and various long-tongued bees. Attractive compound leaves and shiny brown ‘conker’ nuts in prickly husks. This is the North American cousin of the European Horse Chestnut and, as with that tree, all parts are toxic to humans and other mammals. Moist, humusy soil in sun or part shade. 1.5 gal 40 cm $13 

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
About 7 m Just a joy - an elegant small tree that arranges its branches in layers – like a pagoda. It can grow as a shrub. White flowers in spring, blue-black berries in July-August that are devoured by birds. Fast-growing. Shade or part shade. 1 gal $7 larger pots $10   

Maclura pomifera - Osage Orange
8-15 3m Grows as a tree or multi-stem shrub. Also known as Hedge Apple. Huge fruit, interesting history. These were started from seed last year and have come through one Huronia winter, well north of Caledon, their presently known northen boundary. 20 cm 1 gal $7

Shade Trees

Acer rubrum - Red Maple 
20-25 m, with a spread of 10-15 m This is the tree that lights up a brilliant scarlet in fall (not to be confused with the European Crimson King and other dark red cultivars of the Norway Maple, an invasive species). Delicate bright red flowers in spring attract early pollinators. Needs full sun. Average to wet soil. 60 cm 2 gal pot $22

Celtis occidentalis – Common Hackberry
10-15 m. Similar to elm in shape and size, but often considered superior. Withstands heat and drought. Yellow in fall. Interestingly ridged gray bark. Good for wildlife – the red-orange berries are said to be the favourite food of wild turkeys. Only host for the Hackberry Emperor butterfly. 40-60 cm 1.5 gal pot $15

Gymnocladus dioicus - Kentucky Coffee Tree  
15-20 m This species, a member of the pea family with soil-enriching bacteria on its root nodules, only grows naturally in Essex and Lambton Counties in Ontario. Its tropical appearance, with compound leaves that are the largest of any native tree in Canada, have made it a desirable ornamental that is planted far beyond its range. It is hardy in Huronia. A species of floodplains and rich moist woodland, it will tolerate open dry sites and partial shade. Also tolerates drought, salt, and is largely unaffected by insects or disease. Slow-growing (13 m by 10 years is one estimate). It can form a colony by sprouting from a spreading root system, so constant mowing is required if it is to be a specimen tree. Insect-pollinated with the white or green fragrant male and female flowers borne on separate trees or colonies. Seeds do not make good coffee. They have no natural dispersers, which is one reason the Kentucky Coffee Tree is listed as threatened in Ontario and Canada, and giving rise to the theory that the pods were consumed and dispersed by megafauna before the last Ice Age. 40 cm 1.5 gal $15


Abies balsamea – Balsam Fir SOLD OUT

25 m Christmas tree shape with aromatic resin. A mixed conifer windbreak of Balsam Fir, White Spruce and Cedar makes good wildlife habitat. 1 gal pot $5

Picea glauca - White Spruce SOLD OUT

25 m A handsome 'Christmas' tree that is important habitat and food for grouse, seed-eating birds and red squirrels. Adaptable to different soil types. 1 gal pot $5

*Note: I am a supporter of assisted migration - which means I favour including plants that are native to further south on the Eastern North American continent. We still need to intensify our efforts to restore the plants that belong in our ecosystems here and now, but we should not take an exclusonary view of natives that may need to move northwards because of changing conditions but be unable to keep pace with the accelerating manmade disaster that is climate change. More details on the theory of assisted migration.