Updated May 7 2021

This is the 2021 Plant List (scroll down). It will be updated from now through to September, additions are clearly flagged so check back from time to time.

OPENING MAY 14 2021.  We will continue to welcome customers by appointment, which is not as restrictive as it sounds as it gives you a wider range of hours within which we can accommodate you. Do come to browse or chat without feeling any obligation to buy. Do wear a mask. To book an appointment (after May 14), call 705-322-2545 from May 7 onwards. 

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

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

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 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 your 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. Consultations will be offered from June 1 onwards. Call 705-322-2545.
  • Speaking Engagements - in person or virtual. 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

Echinocystis lobata - Wild Cucumber Vine
Very attractive climber. Not edible. Deeply lobed leaves, curly tendrils and fragrant frothy white flowers in August that attract pollinators, interesting prickly seedpods that dry out to a delicate filigree. Self-seeds readily, squash-like seedlings are easy to spot in early spring and pull out where not wanted. 8.5 cm pot $5

Nicotiana rustica - Aztec Tobacco
90 cm A handsome plant with broad leaves and a cluster of beautiful greenish-white flowers, one of the four medicine plants of indigenous cultures. The seed is from plants grown at Return of the Native from seed that came a few years ago from Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds in BC. In 2003, Jason was given a few seeds that had been found in an urn from a burial site in the Great Lakes area, and were thought to be over 1,000 years old. He grew them on and some made their way back to Ontario. Here's a link to a Six Nations site for cultural information and to Richters for cultivation advice. 1 gal pot $7

Phaseolus coccineus - Scarlet Runner Bean
The Phaseolus genus originated from the mountains of Central America and travelled up the trade routes to be widely cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Ontario before the Europeans arrived. The Scarlet Runner is one of five main species that was domesticated in pre-Columbian times. It's an ornamental pole vine, with beautful red flowers (which attract humming birds(. Pick beans earlier than the size at which they are offered for sale at stores. That's when the pods are tender and delicious (but wouldn't travel well). 8.5 cm pot $4


Actaea racemosa - Black Cohosh
1.5 m Formerly known as Cimicifuga racemosa. Other common names are Black Bugbane, Black Snakeroot and – the most descriptive of this plant that can light up a shady area - Fairy Candles. Dramatic arching spikes of fragrant cream flowers are among the last bloomers of fall – from September onwards - and are a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators. Beautiful dissected foliage. Larval host for the Spring Azure butterfly. Average soil, shade or partial shade  1 gal pot $15

Agastache foeniculum – Anise Hyssop
1 to 1.5 m 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 1 gal pot $8

Ageratina altissima - White Snakeroot 
90 cm An older binomial name is Eupatorium rugosum. A star of the late summer / fall garden - brilliant white flowers in flat-topped clusters on slender, branching stems clothed in toothed leaves. Light up the shade garden at a time when there’s not much else. Often fragrant. Attracts pollinators. Habitat is woodland edge, so part sun part shade in moist soil is best, but this is a very adaptable plant and will tolerate a range of conditions. 13 cm pot $8

Allium cernuum - Nodding Wild Onion 
20-60 cm. A stand-out among members of the onion family that are grown for their decorative value. Nodding pale- to dark pink flower 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, adaptable, tthrives in mediumto dry soil conditions. 1/2 gal pot $7

Allium tricoccum – Wild Leek
30-45 cm Bulb-forming perennial. Also known as Ramps. A member of the onion family, one of the first plants to come up in Ontario’s deciduous woods, it’s a delicious early spring vegetable. Leaves die back by early summer, the creamy white flower appears on a long stem in July and sets seed. The plant then disappears, and remains dormant until the next spring. A clump will spread slowly over the years. If harvesting in the wild, take only one leaf, from each plant. Needs an area that gets dappled sunlight in spring followed by shade, with moist soil enriched by surface leaf mould. 8.5 pot $4

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 $8

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

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. 1/2 gal pot $8

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

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger
See under Groundcover

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. Seedlings 8.5 cm pot $3.50

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. Seedlings 8.5 cm pot $3.50

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE
40-80 cm. Brilliant orange flowers from June to September make this member of the Milkweed family, also a host to the Monarch butterfly, a most desirable garden plant. Clump-forming - doesn't send out underground runners, but does form a large taproot, making transplanting difficult. Drought-tolerant. Late to break dormancy.  Sun or part-shade. 8.5 cm pot $4

Callirhoe digitata - Fringed Poppy Mallow
90 cm Also know as Standing Winecups for the chalice shape of the strikingly beautiful flower - magenta with a spot of white at the centre of the bloom. Hardy, but not native to Ontario, the range of this species is from the southern shore of Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. Link. Unlike other Poppy Mallows that sprawl along the ground, this one stands tall, making it a good addition to a meadow planting. Blooms July-August. Full sun. 8.5 cm pot $5 10 cm pot $8

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. 10 cm pot $8

Conoclinium coelestinum - Blue Mist
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 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 Coreopsis
60 cm Also known as Large-flowered Tickseed. Showy yellow blooms from June to September (remove deadheads to prolong flowering), likes good drainage in a variety of soils. Attracts pollinators. Full or part sun. 1/2 gal pot $7

Coreopsis lanceolata - Lance-leaved Coreopsis
60 cm Also known as Sand Coreopsis or Sand Tickseed. Bright yellow, daisy-like flowers on long stems bloom in late spring and into summer (deadhead to prolong flowering). Drought tolerant, grows on sandy or poor soil. Attracts pollinators. Full sun. 8.5 cm pot $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. 1/2 gal pot $8

Dodecatheon meadia – Midland Shooting Star  
Delightful ephemeral woodland plant - not native to Ontario, but to points south and west of the Great Lakes. USDA map. Blooms in May and then goes dormant and disappears in summer, so mark the spot. White petals flare back, yellow stamens point forward, giving the flower a rocket or shooting star shape. An early gift to foraging bees.* Shade, average to moist soil. 1/2 gal pot $7

Doellingeria umbellata - Flat-topped White Aster NEW
1-1.5m Also known as Parasol Aster. An elegant tall aster with a flat-topped cluster of white flowers and a rigid, often, purplish stem. The lance-shaped leaves have prominent veins on the underside and feel smooth when stroke away from the stem, rough when stroked backwards. Attracts many pollinators. Full or part sun, moist soil (good for rain gardens), but also accommodates to average conditions. 1 gal $7

Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower
90 cm Slim pale petals, lavender to pink, droop from the orange-bronze centre. An early bloomer (June), providing welcome nectar for returning hummingbirds and butterflies. Goldfinches feed on the seed. Full to part sun. Average soil. 8.5 cm pot $5

Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower
110 cm A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with orange-bronze centres on erect stems. One of the joys of an Ontario summer, blooms from July to October. A nectar plant that's visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Seed enjoyed by goldfinches. Strong structure for winter interest. Sun or light dappled shade. Average soil. 8.5 cm pot $5, 1 gal $8

Erigeron pulchellus - Robin’s Plantain 
15-30 cm Daisy-like flowers with white to pink florets surrounding a yellow disk, from May to June. Spreads slowly through underground rhizomes, nice on a dappled bank. Sun, part sun in average to dry soil, but accommodating to most conditions. Nectar plant, attracts native bees and butterflies. 1/2 gal $7

Eryngium yuccifolium - Rattlesnake Master
1 to 1.5 m A striking plant much loved by pollinators. Sword-shaped leaves edged with prickles and and lovely pale green bristly flowerhead globes set off by whitish bracts, this plant looks like it belongs in a desert. Hot and dry desert-like conditions will do - full sun, well-drained dry soil (or sand or gravel). Hardy in Huronia, it's a tall-grass prairie plant that’s not native to our area, its range starts south of the Great Lakes. The name’s derived from the fact that indigenous people used it in a tea as an antidote for a rattlesnake bite. The dried seed heads were used as rattles. 1 gal pot $15

Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset
100-160 cm Showy clusters of white flowers really brighten up a shady spot. They are also fragrant, plant near a path to enjoy the scent. 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. Excellent pollinator plant. Part shade. 8.5 cm pot $5, 1 gal pot $8 

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 $8

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 $8

Eutrochium maculatum – Spotted Joe Pye Weed NOT AVAILABE UNTIL JUNE
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 gal pot $8

Eutrochium purpureum – Sweet-scented Joe Pye Weed
 limited quantities
120 cm A better Joe-Pye for many garden situations, because it is not as tall and - a woodland plant - it grows in drier conditions than Spotted Joe Pye. The flowers are pinker, the stem is purple, at the joints or all the way up. Similarly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators, with seeds also enjoyed by the white-crowned and white-throated sparrows. 8.5 cm pot $5

Filipendula rubra - Queen of the Prairie NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE
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
30-60 cm 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. 8.5 cm pot $5

Helenium autumnale - Helen's Flower ADDED 
Up to 1 m Also known as Sneezeweed (no, it won't make you sneeze, its pollen is distributed by insects, not by the wind). Yellow daisy-like flowers with pleasingly recurved petals in July and August. Attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Full sun, moist is its natural condition but it accommodates readily to average soils. 9 cm pot $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.' 8.5cm pot $5, 1 gal pot $7

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 gal pot $8

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris
See under Pond Plants

Liatris spicata - Dense Blazing Star
30-60 cm Wands of blue-violet flowers from July to November attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees. A Tall Grass Prairie plant that is threatened in the wild by habitat loss. Full sun. Moist to medium soil. 13 cm pot $8

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower 
60 cm Glorious spikes of scarlet flowers from July-September. The best red! Picky about where it will grow. Needs moisture and sun or part sun. Pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. 1/2 gal pot $7

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. 8.5 cm pot $4 1/2 gal pot $7

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 $8

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells 

30 cm A magical woodland plant, producing dramatic blue bells in May, and then going dormant and disappearing until next year (so mark the spot). Shade. Adapts to a variety of soil conditions. Spreads through shade by self-seeding. 8.5 cm pot $4

Monarda didyma - Oswego Tea Beebalm
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. 10 cm pot $5

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. 9 cm pot $7

Oenothera fruticosa – Narrow-leaved Sundrops 
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 $6

Packera paupercula - Balsam Ragwort NOT AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE
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 

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 $8bo          

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 $8

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 $8

Podophyllum peltatum - Mayapple
30 to 45 cm Also known as Mandrake. Beautiful colonies of this plant spread along the end of woodlands. The large umbrella-like leaves come up in early May. You have to lean in to see the pretty white flower that then appears, dangling underneath the leaf. A large pale green fruit follows - reportedly edible if ripe but use caution and research well - all other parts of the plant are toxic, as is the unripe 'apple.' Partial sun, shade 9 cm pot $7

Polygonatum biflorum - Great Solomon's Seal
45 cm approx. So beautiful in spring, when the double white bells hang down from the elegant arch of the stem. Later, a dark blue berry forms, to be enjoyed by birds. The perfect shade plant. Adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions. 1/2 gal $8

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 $6

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 $8

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. (The spring shoots are delicious. Cook like spinach.) Tall, with a lanky appearance, it has unusual light green central cones with drooping bright yellow petals and smooth, deeply cut foliage. It's a spreader. Its natural habitat is along stream banks and in moist forests, it prefers partial sun and poorly drained moist conditions. 1 gal pot $8

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia 
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. 8.5 cm pot $5 

Salvia azurea - Wild Blue Sage
100 cm approx. Tall spikes of clear blue flowers bloom from August to October. Narrow grey-green leaves are sage-scented. Native to points south of the Great Lakes - Link to USDA map. Full sun and dry, well-drained soils from sand to clay - but moist and fertile conditions will cause spindly growth and drooping. 8.5 cm pot $5

Sanguinaria canadensis – Bloodroot
20 cm A little miracle of spring – each flower stalk emerges wrapped in a leaf; the striking white flowers bloom in May, and then the leaves unfurl, large deeply scalloped saucers, held about 25 cm off the ground. Then the show fades away to go dormant in summer – but below ground, the thick clump of rhizomatous roots (blood-coloured) is slowly spreading. Shade, average soil. 10 cm pot $7

Scrophularia marilandica - Carpenter’s Square  
60-150 cm The name comes from its squared-off stem. Also known as Eastern or Late Figwort. Not a showy plant but its exceptionally abundant nectar makes it highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, native bees and beneficial insects. In fact, Figworts are given a special rating by the Xerces Society because of their value to insects. Broad panicles of small dark red cup-like flowers that bloom from July through October. Sun or part shade, accommodates to a range of soils, including sand, does need some moisture. 9 cm pot $7

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant

2 to 2.5 m One of the tallest native perennials.. Showy yellow daisy-type flowers from July-October. Drought-tolerant. Leaves clasp the stem to make a cup that holds rainwater for several days where it is used by songbirds, butterflies and other insects. Develops deep roots. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun. 1 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. 8.5 cm'pot $6

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. 1/2 gal $7

Solidago canadensis - Canada Goldenrod

1.5 m Goldenrods are the number one herbaceous plant in terms of the number of pollinators they support - so finding the right spot for this species will enhance the ecological value of of your garden. Ragweed, a native that flowers at the same time, is the one responsible for people's allergies, although Goldenrod, being conspicuous, gets unfairly blamed. Canada Goldenrod has large branching heads of tiny yellow flowers. One of the most common Goldenrod species in Ontario, it spreads aggressively and creates a riot of colour in summer and fall. Great for naturalizing. Not advised for small gardens where plants are required to play nicely. 1 gal $7

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod 
45-90 cm Another shade-loving goldenrod -  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. Spreads by underground rhizomes, forming a mass in the woodland garden. 1 gal pot $8

Solidago graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
See Euthamia graminifolia.

Symphyotricum oblongifolium - Aromatic Aster
30 cm A relatively compact aster that’s the last of its species to bloom in the fall, when it is covered in light purple flowers, turning reddish purple as they mature. The flowers have no scent, it’s the foliage that is fragrant when crushed. Native to points south of the Great Lakes* (USDA map). Full sun, drier soil but average soil is tolerated if well-drained. 8.5 cm pot $5

Symphyotrichum puniceum - Purple-stemmed Aster
80-100 cm Another common name is Swamp Aster, an older binomal name is Aster puniceus. Blue-violet daisy-like flowers with a central disk that starts yellow and turns purple, with the same strong attraction for pollinators in fall as the New England Aster, but this is a wetland plant that's more adapted to moist situations. Sun or part-shade. 8.5 cm pot $5

Symphyotrichum novae angliae - New England Aster
80-100 cm Also known as Michaelmas Daisy – the essential fall flower, much loved by pollinators feeding up before winter.  A lovely purple to offset the yellows of many fall-flowering plants. Drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant. Blooms from September to October. Sun or part-shade. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 8.5 cm pot $5, 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. 8.5 cm pot $6

Tiarella cordifolia – Heartleaf 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 $7

Trillium grandiflorum - White Trillium quantities limited - 2 per customer
20-45 cm Ontario's provincial flower - beautifully charismatic. Single large white three-petalled flower above a whorl of three leaves. A plant of deciduous woodlands, it needs dappled sunlight or light shade in spring, and shade for the rest of the year. A surface layer of leaves and other decaying organic material is desirable. Picking the flower can seriously injure or kill the plant. 10 cm pot $8

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. 8.5 cm pot $5

Verbena stricta - Hoary Vervain
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). 8.5 cm pot $5 1 gal pot 20-40 cm tall $8

Vernonia gigantea- Tall Ironweed
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. 8.5 cm pot  $5

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 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 $8

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 $8

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 $8

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 $8

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 $8

Elymus hystrix - Eastern Bottlebrush Grass
30 to 60 cm Sometimes called (erroneously) Hystrix patula. A clump-forming woodland native that looks great in the shade garden. Attractive seedheads resembling bottlebrushes appear from July onwards, Can be used in dried arrangements. Medium to loam soil. Part to full shade. 10 cm pot $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 
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 $8

Sisyrinchium montanum – Blue-eyed Grass 
See under perennials

Sorghastrum nutans - Indian Grass
100-140 cm A dramatically beautiful tallgrass prairie plant, with bronze spikelets in June from which tiny golden flowers depend. Deep-rooted, clump-forming, great fall colour and continuing winter interest. Major wildlife value – various species of grasshopper (an important food for many songbirds) feed on the foliage. Birds consume the seeds and use the foliage for nesting material and cover. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal pot $8

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 $8

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 $7


Cystopteris bulbifera - Bulblet Fern
60 cm Graceful rock-loving fern that will also grow in average soil in part sun / part shade. Round bulblets form on the light green fronds and can fall to grow into a new plant. 10 cm pot $7

Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern
75-125 cm A tall, striking fern that works well in formal gardens. Moist shade, but adaptable to many conditions. A vigorous spreader - don't plant unless you can give it space to run. Coiled spring shoots are edible (remove bronze-coloured sheath and boil in 3 waters). Sun, shade or part shade.1 gal $8

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern 
Up to 50 cm Its sensitivity is to frost, its fronds will wither at the first touch, but the plant is hardy and will be back in spring. Moist shade or part shade. Spreads. 1/2 gal $7  


Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
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 want it to occupy a space where it can run, or you can contain it, like mint. Habitat is moist meadows, swamp, banks of streams and rivers, but accommodates to average, even dry soil. Good for erosion control. Sun or shade. 8.5 cm 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. 8.5 cm pot $4 1/2 gal pot $7

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger
30 CM Beautiful rounded leaf with a satin sheen, this is an excellent groundcover for shade. You have to lift the foliage to find the intriguing tricorn maroon flowers that appear in April, lying close to the ground. Ants disperse the seed. Flourishes in moist conditions but will do fine in dry ground. Shade. 1/2 gal $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. 8.5-cm pot $5. 1/2 gal $7

Fragaria virginiana – 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. 1/2 gal pot $6

Tiarella cordifolia – Heartleaf Foamflower  
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 $8


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


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 1.5 gal, $8, 2 gal $9

Hypericum prolificum - Shrubby St. John’s-wort
90 cm approx Small, mound-shaped, deciduous shrub, with large yellow flowers in July and August. The abundant stamens are rich in pollen (no nectar) and are cross-pollinated primarily by bumblebees. Narrow fine-textured leaves, red to purple bark. Adaptable to most soils, moisture conditions, sun or shade. 1 gal pot $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

Viburnum lentago – Nannyberry
4-7 m Large ornamental shrub. Creamy, flat inflorescences in May-June, blue-black berries in September-October. Partial shade to sum (edge habitat). Adaptable to a wide range of soil condition. Wildlife values, the berries are an important winter food for songbirds. Rooted cuttings, 1 gal pot $6

Small Trees

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 may be available  

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 $8

Shade Trees




*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.